How to make the best coffee using a Percolator?

We know how important your morning coffee is, and finding your favourite is a real personal journey.  We think using a percolator should be your next step on that journey.

You may roll your eyes, the memory of the last percolated coffee (made by some friend of a friend!) still lingering bitterly on your taste buds, but trust us, it’s time to give it another try.  We’ll guide you every step of the way to making sure you get nothing but perfect coffee every time.

How Does a Coffee Percolator work?

Coffee percolators may feel a little intimidating, but they are, in fact, very simple to use.   They have two chambers, one at the bottom for the water and one at the top that holds the coffee grounds.  They are generally heated on top of a stove, though are also great for camping as they can be used on an open flame.

As the water is heated it is pushed up through a vertical tube that passes through the coffee grounds.  The water then drips back down to the bottom chamber, passing through the coffee ground again.  This is how and why you get such a deep, rich, flavourful coffee from a percolator, it’s brewed several times providing a deep extraction of flavour from the beans.

How to make the perfect cup of coffee with a percolator?

Before you start you’ll want to make sure your percolator is squeaky clean as any lingering coffee from your previous cupful will influence the taste (in a negative way!).  Then we’re ready to start:

Step 1 - Water

Add your water to the bottom chamber.  There is usually an indicator from the manufacturer for maximum water level, but if you’re measuring by eye then a general rule of thumb is two cups of water makes one cup of coffee.

Step 2 – Coffee grounds

Next, you’ll add your coffee grounds to the upper basket.  If you’re looking for a stronger coffee then you should use about a tablespoon, a little weaker then drop that to a teaspoon.  Remember, the percolator brews several times.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re using coarse ground coffee.  Finely ground coffee you’ll find will fall through the basket into your coffee, which is not ideal.

Step 3 – Assemble

Next, simply screw together the top and bottom chambers tightly and make sure the lid is on.  

Step 4 – Percolate

Put your percolator onto your hob over a medium heat, to begin with.  You want to heat the water until it’s hot, but keep it just under a simmer (not definitely not a boil!).  You’ll almost certainly want to reduce the heat after a couple of minutes.  If you see steam coming out of the percolator at any point it’s too hot and you’ll need to turn it down.

If you’ve gone for the handy electric percolator then simply plug it in and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

You’ll want to let the magic happen for about seven to ten minutes depending on how strong you want your coffee to be.

Step 5 – Rest

Making sure to grab your oven mitts first (it will be hot!) and remove the percolator from the heat.  You’ll want to let it rest for a few minutes to let any stray grounds that might have made their way into the coffee settle to the bottom.

Step 6 – Serve and Enjoy!

Once rested, pour out your perfect cup of coffee and enjoy.  We’re confident that once you give it a try you’ll never look back!

We’d love to hear from you so let us know how you get on in the comments below…

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