There was a time when the only option for brewing coffee at home was to use a percolator with a coffee pot. Then the automatic drip coffee maker was invented and it revolutionized the at-home coffee-making process. Even with drip technology development, as well as all the other advances in at-home brewing that have occurred over the years, there are still people who prefer percolated coffee.
Many coffee drinkers believe that percolators provide a less-than-satisfactory coffee drinking experience. Some call it flavorless, while others think percolators make coffee taste bitter. Of course, like many aspects of coffee drinking, tastes vary and what is delicious to one person might taste awful to another. The taste of coffee is subjective and for many, percolated coffee is, in fact, superior to drip and other methods.
How Do You Make Percolated Coffee?
A percolator coffee pot allows you to brew coffee. Instead of a carafe that fits into a coffee maker (used in drip and some other methods), the percolator is a one-stop-shop of sorts. Most are made of aluminum and they work by heating the water in the chamber and distributing it through a tube and over the coffee chamber, which is where the grounds are. The water soaks the coffee grounds and moves back to the bottom of the pot.
This happens again and again until the liquid reaches boiling point and is brewed. The process of a percolator coffee pot or stove-top percolator coffee maker is what causes a problem for many drinkers. Since the water saturates the coffee grounds and the coffee is recycled through the saturated grounds, the flavor weakens. The process of percolating coffee is actually one of the things that most coffee brewers try to avoid when making coffee using other mechanisms.
Those who enjoy percolated coffee describe the taste as rich and strong. They love the aroma and the fact that the coffee comes to them fresh and piping hot. Percolator coffee makers also provide a popular brewing method for people who want to make coffee outdoors, without the benefit of an electrical outlet. Another benefit of percolating coffee is that it saves you money.
Percolators usually cost a lot less than drip coffee makers, though this isn’t always the case. Many people who enjoy percolated coffee point to the fact that people using a percolator can ruin the taste of coffee if they don’t know what they are doing. Like all coffee brewing, percolating can be considered an art form, which means it takes some trial and error to perfect a satisfactory pot.
The general makeup of a percolator is the same regardless of brand or type. The key to creating a great cup of percolated coffee is in how you brew the coffee in the percolator. Some people prefer to place their prepared percolator on the stove on medium heat and wait. Eventually, the water turns brown (you’ll see it through the clear glass knob) and you’ll know it’s done.
You can also put the percolator on high heat, wait for it to boil, and for the basket to fill with water. Once boiled, remove it from the heat, wait for the water to drain, and then reheat on medium until the basket fills with water again. Do this until the coffee is fully brewed. If you’re using an electric percolator, you’ll have fewer options. Basically, with an electric percolator, you turn on the machine and the brewing cycle happens on its own.
You don’t even need a stove or other heat source. Most fans of the percolated coffee prefer the stove models to the electric models, but there are electric models that can give you a quality cup of coffee. In addition to knowing how to brew the perfect pot through percolation, you’ll also need to choose the right percolator. Our list of the best coffee percolators for home use can help you decide.
The best stove-top coffee percolator, in our opinion, is the Metro Stainless Stove-TopPercolator. It’s a simple pot made from high-quality stainless steel. It features a stay-cool handleso you don’t need to worry about burning yourself. It’s one of the most basic coffeemakers—percolator or otherwise—on the market. There are no bells and whistles, no timers,and no gadgets. You just get a simple and pure cup of coffee. It’s long-lasting and at less than$30, you will absolutely get your money’s worth over time.
If you prefer an electric percolator, one of the best ones we’ve found is the Farberware Percolator. These are stylish and reasonably sized. They feature stainless steel bodies and stay-cool handles, as well as warming functions and detachable cords. You’re also able to adjust the brewing time so you can make lighter or stronger coffee. Farberware offers a four, eight, or 12 cup model. Another option we like is the Hamilton Beach Percolator.
We like it because you’re able to brew 12 cups in just a few minutes—a time that would rival even the best drip coffee makers. It’s made from stainless steel and has a chrome finish, as well as a keep warm setting, detachable cord, and a drip-free spout. We love its ready-to-serve indicator light that allows you to know exactly when your coffee is ready. Percolated coffee is not for everyone and if you’re the type that prefers to add a lot of milk and sugar to your coffee or drink expensive lattes, chances are percolated coffee isn’t the best option for you.
In order to enjoy coffee that’s been percolated, you really need to love the taste of coffee. That isn’t to say you can’t get a milder cup when you use a percolator—it’s possible. But chances are, especially if you are just getting into percolation and you haven’t perfected the method yet, the taste is going to be a bit more astringent than what you’ve been used to. If you keep at it, though, and want to become a master at percolating coffee, the percolators we’ve listed above are going to help you get that perfect cup.