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How To Use A Coffee Percolator

If you are like millions of other people, coffee is one of your favorite beverages, and you may be looking for the best way to brew a perfect cup of coffee.

You’ve probably tried several different brands and roasts of coffee, using a drip coffee maker, a single cup coffee maker, or other popular coffee-making devices.

However, if you haven’t tried a percolator, you may be surprised as well this “old-fashioned” coffee maker will make your coffee taste.

If you are new to using a percolator, the following information will let you in on all of the secrets about your percolator, from how to use it to how to clean it.

What is a Percolator?

The easiest way to describe a percolator is by saying that it is similar to a kettle that pulls water through the coffee grounds, and then drips the coffee into the “holding tank”.

Before automatic, drip coffee makers, percolators were the most popular way to make coffee. They are available in either electric or stovetop versions, but both operate in the same manner.

One of the best things about using a percolator is the smell, as the coffee is being brewed it recirculates several times, so the aroma is amazing the more often it goes through the process.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Coffee drinkers generally have their own perfect method of brewing coffee and in reality; everyone has their own specific preferences and tastes.

Most people usually buy the same brand and roast of coffee and use the same brewing method.

Since some people think that a pour-over kettle makes the best tasting brew and some people prefer their coffee made in a percolator, it’s almost impossible to specify the perfect way to brew coffee.

However, knowing the advantages and disadvantages of making coffee in a percolator will help you to understand the details of this method and help you decide whether you like it or not.


  • Coffee brewed in a percolator has a more flavorful, stronger taste than other brewing options.
  • You can control the brewing time, even when using a non-automated model
  • An extremely high temperature is necessary for brewing coffee in a percolator, which means the coffee will be hotter than when brewed in other methods that require lower temperatures
  • Percolators can be used almost anywhere, especially non-electric ones that can be even used outdoors
  • Percolators are designed with simplicity, and they are easy to use
  • They are durable, so they are easy to transport and use in a variety of settings without concern for damaging it


  • When using a percolator, it’s easy to over-extract the coffee, which causes it to be bitter
  • When brewing coffee, the temperature needs to be controlled to prevent the risk of over-extraction, which coffee to be bitter
  • While brewing, the water passes through the coffee numerous times, which may cause the grounds to get into the tube and lead to over-extraction
  • Brewing coffee in a percolator takes longer than most other methods
  • It may take some practice to get the coffee just the way you want it
  • The percolator must be cleaned regularly and properly. All of the parts must be cleaned and rinsed after each use

Percolator Parts

A percolator is actually one of the simplest designed devices for brewing coffee.

The majority of percolators only have five parts:

  • Stem-The stem is a tube in the middle of the kettle. It connects the base to a basket for the coffee grounds. Water moves through the tube from the base and up through the coffee grounds.
  • Dome-The dome is a small, clear part of the lid. It generally covers the knob and is necessary for controlling the brewing process. The knob allows you to see the color of the coffee, so you can determine when to stop the brewing process. This is especially common and useful when using a stovetop percolator.
  • Carafe-The carafe is a type of cover that is placed over the basket. There are several circular rings and openings and allow the water to soak the grounds inside of the basket.
  • Base-The base is the bottom part of the percolator; a reservoir where you put the water for the coffee.
  • Basket-The basket is placed in the upper part of the percolator. It has an opening in the center for the stem and the holes allow the water to circulate while keeping the grounds contained.

5 Steps to Making Coffee in a Percolator

The process for making coffee in a percolator is actually straightforward and easy:


Connect the stem and the stand together and place them into the pot of the percolator. Pour fresh, cold water into the base of the percolator (the container). It’s important to not fill the water over the spring at the top of the stem

2-Coffee grounds

Add the coffee grounds to the basket. The typical amount is 1 teaspoon to each cup of water. Attach the stem to the grounds basket.

3-Set Everything Up

Firmly close the grounds basket using the cover. Make sure that the dome is placed in the center of the lid and securely cover the pot with the lid.

4-Brewing Coffee

If using a stovetop percolator, place it on a cold burner, and then slowly heat it until it starts perking. If using an electric percolator, you may need to adjust the knob to ensure you are making coffee to meet your tastes.

5-Final Step

Remove the percolator from its heat source and let it sit for a few minutes.

It’s important to routinely clean the percolator, preferably after each use. Most of the parts, including the basket and the stem, can be removed for easier cleaning.

Use warm water and dish soap to clean all components of the percolator; remember to scrub any stains as well.