How To Make Stovetop Percolator Coffee

How To Make Stovetop Percolator Coffee

Getting up in the morning and brewing a cup of coffee is a soothing experience but what if you can shake things up a bit. Use a different brewing method and add a little retro flavor to your morning cup. Step out a bit from your comfort zone. You can get that retro flavor by giving the stovetop percolator a try. You’ve probably heard that this method isn't the best way to make coffee. 

But read on and learn more, we live in a world where people have different tastes and preferences. Your chosen brew method has a lot to do with the quality of a cup of coffee you drink as well as the type of coffee beans you use. Are you using the best coffee beans?. Don't completely discount the stovetop percolator coffee until you have tried it. 


Percolation simply means making a solvent pass through a permeable substance (coffee grounds). The percolators look like tall kettles, the unassuming façade carries a reliable steam-powered vacuum (for coffee brewing).  This is not like pouring over coffee where water passes through the coffee grounds. 

The vacuum brewing creates an environment where steam saturates the coffee grounds evenly before you filter. Stovetop percolators are not the only coffee brewers that do this, even siphon makers do the same. Hanson Goodrich filed for a patent in 1889 for the stovetop percolator. The goal he had was to remove grounds and impurities from coffee. The patent equally did that but there were a few side effects. 


This is one of the reasons stovetop percolators have fallen out of favor. It mostly brews bitter and dry coffee. But over the years, people have grown to appreciate a wide variety of flavors from coffee, so it will be a good idea to give them a second chance. Besides, you can't call yourself a true coffee connoisseur unless you are willing to try different brewing methods.  

So, what made the stovetop percolator coffee so bitter? Before brewing, you need high heat to create steam pressure that's enough to brew coffee. This is why it is important to pay attention to brewing temperatures.  It is important to note that the nature of this brewing method plays an important role in the flavor and texture of the coffee. When the steam soaks the grounds, the coffee just drains back to the water reservoir. The next thing is that the coffee will be steeped again and reheated several times, which will supersaturate the coffee.  

Like we mentioned, it's a matter of taste. If you prefer a stronger brew, you should give the stovetop percolator a try. If you don't like it, stick to other brewing methods that produce a milder brew.  Another reason people don't like the percolator is that it is an active method. What this means is that you can't just turn it on and walk away like you can when using other makers. 

You have to keep an eye on the percolator if you don't want to risk over boiling the coffee. You wouldn't want the coffee to go beyond bitter into what people call the ‘yucky territory’.  

Some people love the percolator method because of the unbeatable aroma the brew produces. They love the sight and sound of the percolator bubbling and brewing overheat. Another advantage of the percolator is that it be used on camping stoves or even an open fire. You can also transport the percolators easily and carry them while traveling. So maybe you should consider using the stovetop percolators and see if you’ll like them.  


What you’ll need 

You need many asides from the stove to brew with this retro coffee maker.  

  1. Freshly roasted coffee beans 
  2. Water 
  3. Coffee grinder 
  4. Stovetop percolator 
  5. Spoons or scale to measure coffee 
  6. A mug 


To get a nice balanced brew, you need to check your stovetop’s percolator volume. Carefully measure coffee and water to achieve the right flavor and make sure you don't over boil. For this post, we’ll be using 30grams of whole beans for every 500 grams of water. When you keep experimenting, you’ll get a hang of it, you’ll know the coffee/water ratio that works perfectly for you. If you are not used to drinking bitter coffee, reduce the amount of coffee and increase the water to get a milder flavor. 


This is one of the easiest parts of coffee making, just use a burr grinder to get an even, medium-coarse grind, which is perfect for a stovetop percolator. If you grind too fine, you’ll have an even more bitter brew because the grounds will dissolve quickly and end up right back into your cup. If you grind too big, it will under extract, and that will be a waste of delicious coffee flavor. If you own a stovetop percolator with slightly too large holes, and some grounds make it to the final cup, you can easily strain it out. 


Simply add water to your percolator reservoir, based on the quantity of coffee you grind. The goal here is to let the water heat slowly, that's why cold water is used. 


Use the manufacturer's manual the first time to make sure you assemble correctly. If you don't have the manual, you can quickly do an internet search for your percolator model and assemble it quickly. If the stem and coffee basket disassemble, put the stem inside the water-filled pot before doing any other thing. When you’ve done that, gently tighten the coffee basket on the stem. Take out the basket lid, if your percolator has one. 


Fill the coffee basket with grounds. Ensure that you check the measurement again. You don't want to overfill the chamber and you surely don't want to waste coffee. As we mentioned, percolators make strong coffee, so you can use fewer coffee grounds to be on the safer side. If your percolator basket has a lid, cover the basket before closing it. 


Place the percolator on the stove and set the burner to medium or even low heat. The idea here is to slow the heating process and prevent over boiling. Watch the pot carefully, due diligence is required if you want to make great percolator coffee. Some models have a clear glass at the top of the kettle. 

When the water is getting hot, you’ll see it bubbling up into the knob. What this means is that the water is hot enough to steam the coffee. To maintain the heat, just make sure the bubbles only occur a few seconds apart.  If the bubbles are more constant, it means the water is boiling and you need to turn the heat down. 

Remember, if the water is too hot, it will make your coffee too bitter. If the water is too cool and the bubbles are not happening, increase the heat a little bit. Also, as the coffee brews, you’ll see the water shift from plain to coffee-colored. This means the process is working fine and you're not from a strong cup of coffee. 


Once the water keeps bubbling at intervals, you can set a timer for 5 to 1o minutes at most. The time you set really depends on your taste but remember, the longer the coffee stays, the stronger it will be. Ensure that you keep an eye on the bubbling water and adjust the temperature when required. 


As soon as the timer goes up, turn off the heat and remove the stovetop percolator from the heat. You need to be careful while doing this as the vessel will be hot. You should use a kitchen towel to protect your hands.


Are you ready to drink your first cup? No, it's not yet time. Before you pour out the coffee, you need to remove the coffee grounds first. Some percolators don't have strong seals that separate the basket from the reservoir so if you pour out the coffee immediately, you might get a mug filled with more coffee grounds than liquids. 

You have to remove the basket, then toss out the coffee grounds. If you still notice a few leftover grounds in the coffee, that's fine too. You’ll just be adding an extra shot of bitterness. But if that's not appealing to you, use a mesh filter to drain the coffee before pouring it into the final cup. Remove the lid and pour yourself a hot cup of joe and enjoy! 


Yes, this is an old-fashioned way to brew coffee but that doesn't mean it's bad. You can still enjoy coffee from a stovetop percolator as long as you follow the right procedure and brew with freshly roasted coffee beans. Remember practice makes perfect.  

Get freshly roasted coffee beans with chocolatey, nutty, and floral flavors from Coffee hero to get started. Happy brewing!

Fresh coffee beansFresh coffee beansFresh coffee beans

Older Post Newer Post