How To Make Coffee In A Percolator

Brewing Coffee in A Percolator

how to make coffee in a electric percolator

Electric percolator coffee maker

The electric coffee percolator became a popular way to make coffee back in the 1930s, and held the top spot for brewing right up to the 1970s when the filter drip coffee machine arrived and knocked it off the number 1 spot.

More recently though the electric percolator coffee maker seems to be enjoying a revival and becoming a popular brewing method again.  Despite its rise in popularity, it’s still not considered the best way to brew your coffee if you want a quality cup as it’s basically just boiling the coffee grounds.  However, if you’re looking for a stronger, darker and more bitter brew, then making coffee in a percolator could be the best way for you.

How Does a Coffee Percolator Work?

Basically, the percolator coffee pot boils the water that has been poured in the lower section.  The water rises up the stem or tube towards the upper section where you’ve put your coffee grounds.

As the water continues to be heated, pressure builds up slowly pushing the water into the coffee grounds where it infuses with the grounds.   This occurs over several minutes and is a vital part of the process.


After a few minutes, the coffee will travel back down into the lower section and will happen a number of times until you’ve got the brewing strength you want.

How To Make Coffee With A Percolator

  • put the coffee stem in place in the percolator.
  • fill the coffee percolator with cold water and tip ground coffee into the filter and slot it into the percolator.
  • switch on the percolator to heat the water and let it ‘perk’.  As it heats it creates a steam pressure which is forced through the coffee grounds several times, making that familiar bubbling sound associated with the percolator.
  • watch for the light to tell you when the coffee is ready.
  • Be very careful with the next step and don’t burn yourself.  Remove the lid of the percolator and take out the stem to stop the steam condensing and prevent it from dripping into the spent coffee grounds and into your cup.

Percolator Coffee Grind

It’s really your choice when selecting the coffee beans for percolated coffee.  As the coffee brewed this way is boiled several times over, over-extraction and bitterness does occur,  so depending on how you like your coffee, choosing a low acidity, smooth coffee might be your best bet when using a percolator.

The grind should be medium to coarse.  This means that less of the bean’s surface area connects with the water, so the flavors have a longer extraction time and bitterness is reduced.

You might still get some grinds floating in your coffee, but a medium to coarse grind will certainly reduce this.

Advantages of Percolated Coffee

  • the aroma and bubbling sound brings back nostalgic memories for many
  • an electric coffee percolator will keep your coffee hot, and many have a “keep warm” function

Disadvantages of Percolated Coffee

  • can produce over-extracted and bitter coffee

What type of coffee will a percolator give me?

Full-bodied, dark and strong.


Although percolator coffee isn’t as popular as it used to be, there are those hardened percolator coffee fans that still have their coffee this way.  If you prefer your coffee strong and full-bodied, then making coffee in a percolator could be the way to go.

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