Making coffee with a percolator is a classic method that results in a strong, flavorful cup of coffee.
Here’s how to make great coffee using a percolator:
Ingredients and Equipment:
Fresh coffee beans (preferably a medium to dark roast)
Coffee grinder (optional, for grinding beans)
Coffee filter (optional)
Fresh, clean water
Measuring scoop or scale
Stovetop or heat source
Step 1: Measure Coffee
Measure the coffee grounds based on your taste preferences. A common ratio is 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces (177 ml) of water. Adjust this ratio to your liking. For example, for a 12-cup percolator, you’d use 12 to 24 tablespoons of coffee.
Step 2: Grind Coffee (If Using Whole Beans)
Grind your coffee beans to a coarse consistency, similar to breadcrumbs. If you prefer, you can also use pre-ground coffee, but freshly ground beans usually result in better flavor.
Step 3: Assemble the Percolator
Assemble the percolator by attaching the stem and basket to the pot. If your percolator has a filter basket, you can use a coffee filter inside it to make cleanup easier.
Step 4: Add Water
Pour cold, clean water into the bottom of the percolator, filling it to just below the safety valve or marker inside.
Step 5: Add Coffee Grounds
Place the coffee grounds in the basket of the percolator.
Step 6: Heat the Percolator
Put the percolator on a stovetop or heat source. Begin heating it over medium to medium-high heat. Pay attention to the percolator’s clear top knob or glass lid to watch the coffee as it percolates.
Step 7: Monitor Percolation
As the water heats, it will rise up the stem and flow over the coffee grounds. The water will then fall back down into the water chamber, repeating this process. The coffee percolates, and the brewing time depends on your preference. Generally, you should percolate for 5-10 minutes, but you can adjust to your taste.
Step 8: Check the Color
Keep an eye on the color of the coffee in the glass knob or lid. When it reaches your desired strength (usually a rich brown color), you can turn off the heat.
Step 9: Remove from Heat
Once you’re satisfied with the strength, remove the percolator from the heat source.
Step 10: Let It Rest
Allow the percolator to sit for a minute or two to let the coffee grounds settle to the bottom.
Step 11: Serve and Enjoy
Pour the freshly percolated coffee into cups or a carafe, and serve immediately. Add any desired condiments or flavorings to taste.
Percolator coffee has a robust, full-bodied flavor. The key to making great coffee with a percolator is using good-quality coffee beans, the right grind size and finding the perfect brewing time to match your taste. Experiment with the coffee-to-water ratio and the percolation time to create a brew that suits your preferences.