The name coffee percolator stems from the word percolate which means to cause (a solvent) to pass through a permeable substance. The percolator was invented by the British scientist Benjamin Thompson in the late 1700’s.

Coffee percolators enjoyed great popularity in the USA during the diner glory days through to the early 1970’s.

Percolators often expose the grounds to higher temperatures than other brewing methods, and may recirculate already brewed coffee through the beans. As a result, coffee brewed with a percolator is susceptible to over-extraction.  However, percolator enthusiasts praise the percolator’s hotter, more robust coffee, and maintain that the potential pitfalls of this brewing method can be eliminated by carefully controlling the brewing process.

There are two types of percolators, the first force boiling water under pressure through the grounds into a separate chamber and the second type continually cycles the boiling brew through the grounds using gravity until the required strength is reached.

How to Percolate Coffee:

  • Disassemble the coffee percolator and put the coffee stem in place.
  • Fill the coffee percolator with water below the line on the stem where the filter basket will rest.
  • Grind fresh coffee to a medium/coarse texture and fill the filter basket, according to the size of your percolator.  Use 6-8 grams of coffee per 6.7oz of water.
  • Place the filter basket back in place.
  • Fit the basket into place inside the percolator.
  • If you are using an electric percolator, plug it in and turn it on. The coffee pot is now on its own until it’s done perking.
  • If you are using a stove top percolator, put it over a low flame and as soon as the first spurt of coffee hits that little glass bubble, turn the heat as low as possible.
  • Watch the pot carefully and as the pot stops perking, remove it from the heat.
  • Remove the lid of the percolator and remove the entire filter stem from the pot. If you leave it in there, the steam from the coffee will continue to condense, drip over the spent coffee grounds and drip into your coffee and dilute it.
  • Fill your cup and enjoy.