Coffee Percolator Info & FAQs

By | March 19, 2016

coffee percolator info & faqs

What is a Coffee Percolator

Coffee Percolators are the original coffee brewing devices which give a distinctive taste to the coffee brewed. Known for its simple construction and easy usage the percolators are quite popular. Most often shaped as urn the percolators have perforated chambers, tube, lid top, spout and water chamber.

Coffee Percolator

The perforated chamber inside the percolator is designed to hold coarsely ground coffee. A tube is attached to the chamber that runs to the bottom of the percolator, making contact with a chamber that holds water close to a heat source.

The heating source may be an open fire, stove-top or electric power outlet. As water in the bottom chamber heats, it is forced up the tube, where it spurts out over the grounds, making the distinctive blub-blub sound.

Hot water percolates or seeps through coffee grounds to again eventually trickle back down into the bottom chamber. When coffee is percolated well, the water never quite reaches the boiling point making good strong coffee. Percolated coffee gives off great color, taste and aroma.

Working of Coffee Percolator

Coffee Percolator works with a simple mechanism, you need to fill the urn with water depending upon the number of cups of coffee to want to make. Add the percolator coffee grounds basket with the desired amount of coffee (one tablespoon per cup), then fit the basket onto the urn and place on the stove top (the heat source depends upon the types of percolator).

Heat the water to boiling. The boiling water will be forced up through the coffee grounds and the brewed coffee will accumulate in the urn. Watch the coffee bubbles up through the glass cover to measure how dark (strong) it’s getting. Brewing should take for about 5 minutes. Remove the filter basket with the used grounds and pour it out.

The basic principle behind the Coffee Percolators is based on the formation of the air bubbles formed in boiling water at the bottom of the pot and their natural rising action. The base of the Pump Stem tube is designed to concentrate this flow of bubbles toward the tube opening.

The diameter of the tube is smaller than those of the bubbles, so that each snugly-fitting bubble that passes through the tube will carry a bit of water above along with its upward journey.

As these continuous jets of water reach the top of the Pump Stem, they discharge on the Spreader Cover, which then helps disperse the water over the grounds underneath in a more uniform manner, and also keeps grounds from splashing up.

Continuously, the infusion will boil upwards and filter through the grounds back down into the pot. Every time the water filters through the grounds, it moves more of the oils into the infusion, making it stronger. The longer the water percolates over the coffee grounds, the stronger the coffee brew becomes. And the lesser times the water percolates over the coffee grounds, the weaker the coffee brew becomes.

With practice you will learn how much coffee, how long to brew and percolate, etc.
Experiment until you find the optimal taste for you.

Tips for Perking Coffee in Percolators

A cup of coffee is mostly water and therefore coffee ought to be brewed in good quality water. Nothing kills the taste of coffee than chlorine. Using minimally filtered water preferably by activated carbon filter is preferable.

Water heating capabilities of a percolator need to be put to best use. Never pour hot water into the coffee maker itself. Pouring hot water over the filter is okay, but just make sure the water goes straight from the filter/coffee into the pot.

Percolators are looked at in askance for preparing the perfect cup of coffee. Most certainly you can make the best coffee possible. Even in antiquated percolators. You only need to perk it up with the following tips:

  • Avoid heating the coffee for too long. Coffee is best if not heated over 170 degrees F.
  • Procure and use a measuring cup and a cooking thermometer for best results.
  • Place desired amount of water in the measuring cup for testing. Put cup of cold water in the microwave and run for various times. Quickly remove the heated water to measure temperature. Find correct cooking time to achieve 170 degrees F. but not higher.
  • Always use freshly ground coffee. This tastes much better and is the secret to all great tasting coffee. Grinding your own coffee is best.
  • Place a large coffee filter in a measuring cup. Add desired amount of freshly-ground coffee on coffee filter in measuring cup. Add the previously measured amount of water for 170 degrees.
  • Heat the coffee and water in the microwave at 170 degrees. The coffee may be steeped for 5 minutes to increase brewing.
  • Pour brewed coffee from cup into a coffee-filter holder. Remove coffee grounds using the filter in the cup and discard.

Types of Coffee Percolators

Antique Coffee Percolators

Antique Coffee Percolator
These are charming and gracious additions to homes. These collectibles actually work and you can really brew coffee. A fine collection of antique percolators dating back to early eighteenth century are still available along with original pieces and parts.

Vintage Aluminum Coffee Percolators

Vintage Aluminum Percolator
Several types of stove-top and electric vintage coffee pots and percolators including vacuum coffee pots, Pyrex coffee pots and percolators, carafes and more are enjoyed as relics. Made of aluminum, glass or porcelain you even get replacement parts readily for them.

Camping Coffee Percolators

Camping Percolator
These are excellent, ultra rugged percolators for camping, patio, cabin, boat or RVs. Usually made of aluminum or high heat enamel on steel construction, they are sturdy, sporty units providing fresh brewed coffee for the simple pleasures while outdoors.

Coffee Percolator Pots

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Coffee Percolator Pot
These are hugely popular particularly with those wanting fresh, hot coffee, but have no access to electricity to satisfy their coffee cravings. Made in retro styles, percolator pots may be made of aluminum, stainless steel or enamel and work well on both stoves and fire-pits.

Stove Pot Coffee Percolators

Stove Pot Coffee Percolator
These old fashioned percolators make hot, delicious coffee with no cords attached! Made of aluminum or heavy gage stainless steel they go directly on to stove tops. Featuring stay-cool handles they are a nostalgic kitchen item that are also available in glass and pyrex.

Enamel Coffee Percolators

Enamel Coffee Percolator
For full bodied coffee there is nothing like the time tested and reliable enamel coffee percolator. With their very simple design they can really last a lifetime. Nothing much can go wrong and they keep providing strong flavorful coffee on camp grills, even as you might fish or hunt.

Stainless Steel Coffee Percolators

Stainless Steel Coffee Percolators
There is a stunning range of stainless steel percolators coming in stylish designs and finish. Made big and small, the fast brewing technology of percolators has coffee ready in minutes. Also in chrome finishes and retro styles, stainless steel percolators are convenient and practical.

Glass Coffee Percolators

Glass Coffee Percolator
Glass percolators for making coffee were very popular before electric ones came into vogue. Pyrex, the most famous of glass stove-top percolators come in varying shapes and sizes. These all glass pots had an aluminum basket and mid-band, with stem pump and pot made of Pyrex glass.

Electric Coffee Percolators

Electric Percolator Pot
These are the classic fifties coffee makers, popular to this day. Varied versions in sleek and classy designs allow coffee to be brewed quickly and efficiently. Easy to use electric percolators remain the quintessential coffee-makers in homes and offices spreading happy aromas of brewed coffee.

Cordless Coffee Percolators

Cordless Coffee Percolator
Cordless coffee percolators offer convenience like no other. You can set it right on the table just as meals are getting over to enjoy delicious coffee that takes minutes to brew up. Stylishly designed cordless percolators look and also perform well, offering superb coffee with no hassles.

Gravity Coffee Percolators

Gravity Coffee Percolators
The gravity type percolators uses gravity to acquire the desired strength of coffee. The gravity type percolator continually cycles the boiling brew through the grounds. It uses gravity to acquire the desired strength of coffee. he pot is placed on a heat source with water. The water should be below the bottom of the coffee chamber where it can pass through the vertical tube over the perforated lid. The water is then seeped through the grounds, leaving the coffee chamber. It will drop back into the lower half of the pot and force it upward. The process repeats as it approaches the boiling point. Finally, the perking action stops.

Pressure Coffee Percolators

Pressure Coffee Percolators
The pressure type coffee percolators are generally a decremental unit, made of metal parts that can be any time assembled for further use. This type works by placing the unit on any available heat source to a certain boiling temperature. The steam which is formed during this process creates pressure and forces into the coffee grounds through a tube. The mixture passes to the upper section for a concentrated coffee result.

Maintenance & Cleaning of Coffee Percolators


To make the most of coffee percolators to provide perfect cups of coffee every time, cleanliness is essential. There should be a cleansing routine performed once a month for light use, or after every two-dozen brewing processes for heavy use. Cleaning your coffee percolator on a regular basis is important to keep your coffee tasting great every time.

Coffee percolators work by heating cold water at the bottom of the pot and pumping it out a tube. Since the cycle is repeated frequently the percolator needs to be cleaned frequently. For proper maintenance, the percolator should be cleaned after every use.

Always keep the heating unit away from liquids. Cleaning in dishwasher is not a good idea. To remove calcium scales a solution of water and vinegar or lemon and rinsing with plain water works best. Here are maintenance tips to keep your percolator clean.

  • Create a solution of 2 tsp. of baking soda and eight cups of water for one complete cycle.
  • Clean by placing cleaning agents inside percolator and turning it on for one complete cycle. If your home is in a hard-water area, clean your percolator a second time with a mixture of water and white vinegar.
  • Allow percolator to dry completely. Make sure it dries thoroughly to avoid mold and mildew forming in interiors of percolator.
  • Remove the pump tube and basket from your coffee percolator.
  • Scrape out gently coffee residue trapped in the spaces between the washer and the pump-tube flange with a pointed brush. Coffee grounds do get trapped in the interiors of percolator and can prevent from operating efficiently.
  • Remove all debris from holes in pump-tube flanges by using a needle or a toothpick. Brush out the debris and dirt.
  • Unclog all the holes in your coffee percolator basket by taking a needle or toothpick and poking out the residue.

Pros and Cons of Coffee Percolator


Coffee percolators are equipments used to brew coffee. These are the oldest coffee brewing units since olden times and remain popular to this day. A percolator is very easy to use and the taste of the coffee made remains consistent. As there are some good things about coffee percolators there are some drawbacks too which can be taken care of through practice.

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Coffee brewed in a percolator is susceptible to over-extraction. In addition, percolation may remove some of the volatile compounds in the beans. This results in a pleasant aroma during brewing, but a less flavorful cup. This usually happens in vintage and stove top coffee percolators.

Electric percolators make consistent brew as they automatically stop percolation to go in warm-mode once brewed. Percolator enthusiasts remain devoted to its hotter, more ‘robust’ coffee, and maintain that the shortcomings of this brewing method can be eliminated by careful control of the brewing process.

Pros of Coffee Percolators

  • Favorite traditional brewing method.
  • Easy to brew.
  • Convenient to serve.
  • Durable construction.
  • Robust coffee flavor.

Cons of Coffee Percolators

  • Coffee percolators flout natural laws of brewing coffee by repeated processing.
  • They over extract oils and flavor of coffee grounds by reheating the brew with the grounds over and over again.
  • Coffee made with percolators tends to be stronger and often bitter tasting than coffee made with other brewing methods.

Whatever be the pros and cons but they will and always remain the favorite of some who have got habituated to the taste and aroma of coffee from percolators.

Percolators vs Coffee Pods

Coffee percolators are familiar coffee brewing equipment. Around for nearly three hundred years many of us rely on this old favorite for preferred choice of brewing coffee. Antiquated relics, regular stove top or electric percolators, they are all conversant units for strong coffee brewed as per choice.

Coffee pod makers are a modern-day marvel providing convenience. These single serve machines make consistent coffee by virtue of perfectly measured grounds, water, brewing time and temperature. With no room for error there is also no room for mood swings regarding change of taste, strength or body in a cup of coffee.

While you might become proficient over time to know when exactly to pour the coffee out of the percolator, glass top percolators help you see the changing color of the brew and determine its readiness for consumption. Pods allow ease of preparing, but you have to be satisfied with the same taste every time. All regular, flavored or gourmet pods taste the same with no variation.

Percolating coffee allows the coffee grounds to be more lively. But if left for too long the resultant over-boiling can mar the taste, unless you love bitter coffee. You have to keep watch while brewing and remove from heat when brewing is done. Electric percolators make consistent brew as they automatically stop percolation to go in warm-mode once brewed.

Coffee Percolator Buying Tips

Coffee percolators are still going strong despite the advent of newer processes to brew coffee. The steady following of percolator coffee drinkers might be amazed at the range of percolators available today. It is pretty dicey to make a decision as to what to look for when buying one. All you need to do is be mindful of your requirements.

Percolators come as both low end and high end products. You could choose one based on your requirement. You have either manual or stove-top percolators as well as automatic or electric ones. Electric ones are likely to give you better results as they reduce the heat after one brew cycle. This prevents coffee from being reboiled and percolating more than once.

Electric types are really more common for this reason, and they make brewing easier and faster. Other features to look for would include things like built-in filter, stainless steel or chrome housing, display light indicator and detachable base for cordless pouring.

Many people love the old fashioned stove top percolators that offer strong full bodied coffee. When buying manual percolators you must look for heavy-based pots to avoid scalding. Also you should check out for large handles that assist to pour easily.

Besides types one also needs to consider the capacity of the percolator, whether you want to have brew coffee for personal consumption or want to be able to make coffee enough to serve friends and family.

Considering all these things will definitely help you choose something best and that will make your each morning lively and fresh.


ratings of best coffee percolators
Model List Price Sale Price Material You Save % Customer Rating Details
Presto 02811 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker $79.99 $36.99 Stainless Steel #1 Best Seller


4,4 star Check Price
Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator $50.00 $20.41 Stainless Steel 59% 4,6 star Check Price
Farberware FCP240 2-4-Cup Percolator $59.99 $39.00 Stainless Steel 35% 4,1 star Check Price
Presto 02822 6-Cup Coffee Percolator $59.99 $31.92 Stainless Steel 47% 4,2 star Check Price
Chemex 6-Cup Coffee Maker $101.99 $101.99 resistant glass 4,0 star Check Price
Hamilton Beach 40614 Twist Lid Percolator $89.99 $39.92 Stainless Steel 56% 4,0 star Check Price
Bialetti Moka Express $34.99 $24.99 Polished Aluminum #1 Best Seller 4,5 star Check Price
Medelco 8 Cup Glass Stovetop Percolator $19.99 $13.27 Borosilicate Glass 34% 3,8 star Check Price
Copco 4- to 8-Cup Percolator $29.99 $22.60 Polished Stainless Steel 25% 4,1 star Check Price
Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker $54.95 $21.95 Polished Aluminum 60% 4,8 star Check Price
Cuisinart PRC-12 Classic 12-Cup Percolator $80.36 $80.36 Stainless Steel 3.3 star Check Price
GSI Sports Products 65006 Stainless Coffee Perk Cup $22.23 – $368.46 $22.23 – $368.46 Stainless Steel 4,3 star Check Price
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