Percolator Coffee

Years ago, just about every home had a percolator coffee pot perched on the back of the stove.  At that time there were no electric coffee makers or pod coffee makers.  The percolator was filled in the morning and sometimes it simmered on the burner all day.  The coffee would get stronger and stronger as it kept brewing.  The percolator is probably the worst way to make coffee.  Still there are some people who prefer the taste of coffee made in the percolator even though it is more bitter than any other kind of coffee.

A percolator can be either electric or non-electric.  The percolator consists of five parts.  First you have a pot. Then there is a hollow metal tube which is the stem and fits on the bottom of the pot.  Over the stem slides a filter basket and cover and finally there is the coffee pot lid.  Often the lid has a glass bubble in it and you can watch the coffee coming up the tube and splashing before it goes back down into the pot.

Percolator coffee is usually considered an adult only drink since it is strong and has such an acid and bitter taste.  In fact, many people consider percolator coffee a good comparison to coffee boiled directly in the water.  It is hard to get a decent cup of coffee from a percolator.  For one thing the water is overheated.  The boiling water extracts too much of the nasty bitter flavors in the coffee grounds and it is impossible to completely avoid this when using a percolator.   Since the already brewed coffee passes repeatedly over the coffee grounds the grounds become over extracted.  The percolating action of the coffee does release many desirable compounds and flavors into the air.  The percolator does give off a wonderful aroma of fresh coffee, but often the coffee will taste flat or bitter.  You can avoid some of the strong bitter taste if you remove the coffeepot from the stove as soon as it stops perking.  The longer you brew the coffee the stronger it becomes.

It is possible to make a decent pot of percolator coffee if you follow some basic steps.

  1. Make sure the coffeepot is clean
  2. Use fresh coarsely ground coffee and use one heaping tablespoon for each cup of coffee
  3. Place the stem into the percolator
  4. Fill the pot with cold water to below the fill line indicated on the stem
  5. Put the filter basket in place
  6. Put the lid on the filter basket
  7. Put the lid on the coffee pot

If you are using an electric percolator just plug it in and turn it on.  If you are using a stove top percolator heat the pot over a low flame.  Turn the heat down when the first coffee spurts to the glass bubble.  When the coffee stops perking you should remove the pot from the stove and then remove the filter stem and basket from the pot.

You might want to brew a pot of percolator coffee if you want to take a trip down memory lane and enjoy the wonderful aroma that comes from a brewing pot of percolator coffee.