Percolator Coffee Makers: A Classic Way to Brew Coffee

Are you looking to start making coffee the classic way? If you’re drawn to the rustic charm of a percolator, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on for a complete guide on how to brew coffee using one of these iconic coffee makers. You won’t want to miss out!

The percolator has been around since the mid-1800s and is a classic method to make a flavorful cup of coffee that is rich in body and robust in flavor. This brewing process uses heated water to extract the natural flavors and oils of ground coffee beans, resulting in a delicious cup of coffee. By using a percolator, you are able control the strength of your brew, determine how much extraction occurs, adjust for creative variations within each brew type and time the strength of each batch with accuracy. This makes it possible to serve up an excellent cup consistently.

Today’s percolators use heat from various sources like electric heating elements or gas or coal fires to bring water to its boiling point. Water rises through a vertical tube inside the appliance at steady intervals, spraying droplets over pieces of freshly ground beans contained within the upper chamber. As this continues, steam pressure builds up above needed levels and forces hot liquid down from underneath that reintroduces oxygen-enriched grounds back into contact with boiling water below. As steam cycles keep forcing more flavor-filled liquid into the upper container till optimal saturation is attained and then propelled through filters before emptying into pot waiting below.

History of percolator coffee makers

The idea of boiling and re-boiling coffee has been around for centuries, with a number of different cultures using primitive versions of the percolator. For example, a ceremonial drink in Ethiopia called “bun” is made by continuously cycling boiled water through finely ground coffee, much like the modern percolator process. The use of metal contraptions to brew coffee was also popular in parts of the Ottoman Empire during the 1500s as well as in Poland during the 16th century.

The modern metal coffee percolator is believed to have first appeared on store shelves around 1865. The inventor should be credited to James Nason and Hanson Goodrich who successfully obtained the patent for their design in 1889. The product was originally named “American Coffee Maker” and marketed towards individual households with great success.

As powered coffee makers began to increase in popularity throughout the 1900s, many households preferred using electric drip brewers due to convenience and ease of use over doing it manually with a stove top pot. However, it wasn’t until later that people begun to appreciate the artistry behind a percolated cup of joe that was done right!

Early designs and development

The percolator has been around since the early 1800s, and has been used to make coffee for many years. Throughout its history, it has undergone several design changes and improvements. With many of these changes, came new names for the different varieties of percolators.

Early designs of percolators included a cylindrical cooking pot with a connected lid and a long handle to facilitate stirring. A removable basket held the ground coffee beans which was suspended near the bottom of the pot. Boiling water in this early design was heated with an external heat source such as an open fire or stovetop, while later versions were produced with an internal heat source such as fuel or electricity.

The introduction of airtight seals in in 1850 meant that steam pressure could build up within the vessels during heating which allowed for faster brewing times. Over time various other features have been added to the basic model, such as automatic shutdown devices, spring loaded valves and spigots for serving hot-brewed coffee from an upper partition.

In 1889 a patent was issued by two inventors from Chicago named Hanson Goodrich and Robert Sorensen for “an improved Coffee Maker”. This double-level version contained two separate compartments which allowed boiling water and compressed air to be pushed through coffee grounds contained in a filter located on top level of the appliance – a process that produced better tasting coffee than conventional percolation methods used at that time.

How percolators work

Percolator coffee makers are fairly simple, efficient machines that use pressure to produce a strong, flavorful cup of coffee. Inside the percolator is a chamber that contains boiling water. The boiling water rises up and through the holding basket located above it where the ground coffee is placed. The hot water then falls over the ground beans, extracting flavor from them as it passes through. This extraction process continues until your desired strength is reached and heating element of the machine shuts off automatically.

The water continuously cycles within this system as regulated by a float valve that ensures only freshly brewed coffee rises to the surface for dispensing into your mug. What makes percolators so popular is how quickly they make coffee – taking only 5 minutes or so for several cups of consistently delicious brewed coffee!

To make sure you get the best possible brew with minimal hassle, here are some important tips to remember when operating your machine:

Basic components of a percolator

A percolator coffee maker typically consists of two chambers: a boiling chamber and a coffee chamber, that are connected by a tube.

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The boiling chamber is filled with water, which is heated either on the stove or with an electric heater. As the water boils, it rises up through the tube and into the coffee chamber where it comes in contact with the freshly ground coffee beans. As it steeps, hot water is forced back down through the tube into the boiling chamber while leaving behind already-brewed coffee in the upper chamber. The process continues until you manually switch off the heat or move away from your kitchen to let your percolator cool down gradually.

The percolation process

Percolating coffee requires the use of a brewing vessel with a tube and filter basket that regulates water distribution. The percolated water, which holds the brewed coffee, is forced up through bo

III. Choosing the right percolator

When looking for a percolator, there are a few things to consider. The size is an important factor since percolators come in various sizes, depending on how many cups of coffee you want to make. The material they are made of also matters. For example, stainless steel is a classic option that will last a long time, but enamel and glass are also available.

Next step is to decide on the heat source you prefer—electric or stovetop. Electric models offer convenience because they automatically shut off when the water is done brewing the coffee. On the other hand, if you don’t have access to electricity, then a stovetop model might be more suitable for your needs.

Let’s not forget about features such as easy-to use shutoff valves, convenient carrying handles, several spouts for pouring and washing off-handles to make cleaning easier. Every percolator comes with different features so it’s important to find the right one for your needs before making a purchase decision.

Last but not least – choose the right grinds! Choose something that will work best with your chosen percolator, as some require finer grounds while others prefer coarse grinds.

Factors to consider when choosing a percolator

When shopping for a percolator, there are several factors you should consider. The first and perhaps most important factor is the capacity of the percolator; most range from three to twelve cups. Secondly, consider the methods of operation; an electric model will have an on/off switch while a stovetop model will be manual.

Other features to keep in mind when selecting a percolator include temperature control, additional accessories such as steam wands or frothers and safety features such as automatic shut-off for stovetop models.

Finally, check out any warranties that may be available with the product.

Popular brands and models

Percolator coffee makers are a classic way to brew coffee and can still be found in many homes today. Manufacturers produce a wide range of models, ranging from pristine vintage percolator units to more modern electric models. These devices come in a variety of sizes, styles and with different features, such as automatic shut-off switches and digital temperature control. They can also be purchased with different types of filters, including stainless steel and paper filters.

When choosing a percolator, it is important to consider the size of the unit versus the amount of coffee that needs to be brewed. Buyers should also note whether manual or electrical controls are preferred, or if an adjustable timer is necessary for convenience.

Popular brands and models include Farberware Percolators, Hamilton Beach Percolators, Primula Aluminum Coffee Makers, OXO On 9-Cup Brew System Coffee Maker, Presto 02811 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker & Scoop Coffee Maker from Gourmia.

Cleaning and maintenance

Cleaning and maintaining your percolator coffee maker is important if you want it to last for many years. Many percolators are crafted from stainless steel or aluminum, so it is critical to use appropriate materials when cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces.

When cleaning the exterior, do not use steel wool or any other abrasive materials, as this can scratch the surface and damage the piece. Instead, use soft sponge with a mild soap solution and warm water. Once all visible dirt has been removed, you can use a diluted vinegar solution (one part vinegar to two parts water) for further cleaning on stubborn spots or areas of discoloration. After rinsing with water and drying thoroughly with a clean cloth, you can then apply a light coating of vegetable oil on the surface to prevent oxidation and rusting.

You should also periodically clean the inner components of your percolator such as the lid, stem tube, basket baskets, spout lip etc., otherwise residue can build up in these areas which will affect both taste and performance. It’s advisable to hand-wash these components using a mild detergent solution each month or whenever needed after regular usage. Allow all components to dry thoroughly before attempting assembly again; otherwise moisture will get trapped in crevices/inner walls that are difficult to access during future servicing/maintenance tasks.

Importance of regular cleaning

Regular and thorough cleaning of your percolator coffee maker is important for the lifespan of the machine as well as for maintaining the taste of your coffee. Coffee oils can get inside the machine and will quickly break down if left there, resulting in off-flavors that can be transferred to subsequent batches of coffee. Regular cleaning also helps keep your coffee fresh by removing built up carbon deposits. Here are some specific tips for extending the life and quality of your percolator:

1) wipe down all visible surfaces with a damp cloth after every use.

2) clean the pot with mild soap and warm water after each use. For tough deposits, try using a combination of baking soda, water and vinegar to loosen them up

3) remove all parts from inside the pot and give them a good wash in warm soapy water

4) detect smells coming from other parts like filters or baskets? Check for any clogs or buildups here first before giving them a gentle rinse in hot water

5) descale regularly – make sure to dilute any descaler before adding it to your machine! As always, follow any instructions given by your manufacturer.

Steps for cleaning a percolator

One of the greatest benefits of using a percolator is its easy cleaning process. To clean your percolator, follow the steps below:

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  1. Unplug the appliance and allow it to cool fully before proceeding.
  2. Remove the lid and inspect the internal filters for any buildup or residue that may have accumulated. Rinse away any debris and dirt from these areas with a cloth dipped in soapy water or vinegar solution, depending on your machine’s specifications for cleaning.
  3. Hand-wash all other components visible in warm, soapy water, including the pot’s external surface and its baskets, windings and knob if present.
  4. Avoid using harsh cleaners such as bleach or powerful chemicals when washing a percolator as this can damage certain components or its interior coating if not properly allowed to air-dry first.
  5. If your appliance contains a detachable cord then unplug it before wiping down both parts thoroughly with a damp cloth before drying them separately with paper towels.
  6. Lay out all parts to dry prior to assembly then reconnect them in their original order according to manual instructions once everything is fully dry again.


Percolator coffee makers are a classic way to brew coffee and still popular in today’s marketplace. Percolators offer a unique brewing experience and create a bold cup of coffee.

These stovetop devices are simple to use; all that is needed is to fill the chamber with water and ground fresh beans, then turn on the heat source. The process takes several minutes, as the boiling water passes through the chamber, creating an effect which repeatedly cycles through the beans until your desired strength is achieved.

The flavor produced from a percolator may take some getting used to, as most users find it to be more robust than other methods such as drip-brewed coffee makers. If you are ready for something different, a percolator might just fit the bill! And if you don’t like it, no worries – there are plenty of other coffee-making machines available!


Is a percolator the best way to make coffee?

It depends on personal preference. Some people enjoy the strong and bold taste of percolated coffee, while others prefer the smoother taste of drip or French press coffee.

Why aren’t coffee percolators used anymore?

Coffee percolators fell out of favor due to the introduction of drip coffee makers and other brewing methods that are considered to produce a better-tasting cup of coffee. Percolators can also over-extract the coffee, resulting in a bitter taste.

How do you use a traditional coffee percolator?

Fill the bottom chamber with water, add coffee grounds to the top chamber, and place the percolator on the stove. Once the water boils, it will travel up the stem and through the grounds, dripping back down into the bottom chamber. The process is repeated until the desired strength is reached.

How did old coffee percolators work?

Old coffee percolators worked by boiling water in the bottom chamber, which created steam that traveled up a stem and through a basket of coffee grounds in the top chamber. The brewed coffee then dripped back down into the bottom chamber and the process repeated until the desired strength was achieved.

What is the disadvantage of a percolator?

Percolators can over-extract the coffee, resulting in a bitter taste. They can also be difficult to clean and require more attention than other brewing methods.

What is the advantage of coffee percolator?

Percolators are a simple and inexpensive way to make coffee, and they can produce a strong and bold flavor that some people prefer.

Is percolated coffee better than drip?

It depends on personal preference. Percolated coffee is stronger and bolder, while drip coffee is smoother and less bitter.

Is percolated coffee better than instant?

Percolated coffee is generally considered to be better than instant coffee because it is made with fresh coffee grounds and has a richer flavor.

Is a percolator stronger than French press?

Percolators and French presses both produce strong coffee, but percolators tend to produce a stronger and bolder flavor.

Which type of percolator is the best?

The best type of percolator depends on personal preference, but some popular options include electric percolators, stovetop percolators, and camping percolators.

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