How to Prepare Stovetop Percolator Coffee: It’s most of our daily routine to get up and brew coffee for drinking. But sometimes, you need to shake things up. Let us step out of our comfort zone and give stovetop percolator coffee a try.
You may have heard this is the worst way to make coffee. But we live in a world with endless tastes and preferences. Plus, while your chosen brewing style does have a lot to do with the quality of the coffee you drink, just as much of it depends on whether you’re using the best coffee beans possible. So don’t discount that stovetop percolator until you’ve tried it yourself. Let’s give it a shot.
What is a Stovetop Percolator?
To percolate is to make a solvent (in this case, steam) pass through a penetrable substance (in this case, coffee grounds). Stovetop percolators look a lot like tall kettles, but the unassuming façade hides a reliable, steam-powered, coffee-brewing vacuum.
One of the main reasons stovetop percolators have fallen out of people’s choice is the bitter and dry coffee cups they’re known to produce. But we’ve grown to appreciate a greater variety of flavors and mouthfeels, so we thought of giving them a second chance. After all, you can’t very well call yourself a true coffee fiend unless you’re willing to try various styles and types.
The nature of this brewing style also plays a role in the coffee’s flavor and texture. As the steam soaks the coffee grounds, the brewed coffee drains back into the water reservoir. The brewed coffee is then reheated and re-steeped several times throughout the process, basically supersaturating the coffee.
How to Prepare Stovetop Percolator Coffee? Complete Guide
The Things which are needed to Make Stovetop Percolator Coffee:
- Coffee (Preferably fresh whole beans)
- Coffee Grinder
- A Heat Source
- Filtered Water
- Measuring Cup or Spoon
- A Percolator
1. Measure your coffee:
Getting a measured brew depends in part on your stovetop percolator’s volume. Weigh coffee and water accurately to achieve the right flavor, and avoid overboiling. We recommend 30 grams (about 1 ounce) of whole beans for every 500 grams (roughly 17 ounces) of water to start.
Once you get used to using a stovetop percolator, you can experiment with your coffee/water ratio. If you’re not used to strong, bitter coffees, you can try reducing the amount of coffee and increasing the water for a milder flavor.
2. Grind Your Beans:
This is the easiest part. We suggest Burr coffee grinders for more even, medium-coarse grounds, which work best in a stovetop percolator. Too small, and you’ll add even more bitterness to your brew, plus your grounds may dissolve and end up back in your coffee. Too big, and you waste delicious coffee flavor.
Read more about Conical vs. Flat Burr Grinders: How do they differ? Full Guide
You may find that some stovetop percolators have slightly too-large holes, funnily enough defeating its original design. That’s okay. If some of the grounds make it into your finished coffee, you can easily strain them out at the brewing end.
3. The Grind for Percolator Coffee:
That’s one of the two most significant factors while preparing the perfect cup. Every stovetop percolator has a different diameter of holes in the filter basket, which decides the grind size for your coffee beans.
You don’t want any coffee grain to be going through these holes into the water because that will eventually become part of your drinkable coffee. The percolator filters are not as fine as ones in a drip coffeemaker so you would need a coarser grind size.
You can even place a filter paper of some sort to make it fine. The roasting intensity uses medium roast coffee beans because the process will snatch all the flavor from it. If it is dark roasted, the chances of getting a bitter, acidic beverage enhance greatly. The most suitable choices for coffee beans are Ethiopian coffee, Sumatran coffee, and Colombian coffee.
4. Fill the Percolator:
Use your intuition to add cold water to your percolator reservoir based on the amount of coffee you ground. Your goal is to let the water heat slowly, so cold water helps at the start.
5. Assemble the Percolator:
You’ll need to attach the basket (which will be housing your coffee grounds) to the stem in most cases. After these two pieces are assembled, you’ll place them into the pot. If you’ve assembled your percolator properly, you should still have a lid-shaped piece of the percolator set aside – the basket lid.
Not all percolators are created equal, so we recommend you always read the instructions that come with your pot.
6. Add Coffee Grounds:
Now fill the basket with coffee grounds. Be sure to add the amount according to the measurement narrated above. Ensure that none of the ground enters the stem’s hole, or you will get grains in your cup.
Place the basket lid on if it has any, and then the lid of the percolator. You should not just place it ‘on’ but airtight it by closing it safely as there will be a lot of pressure build-up that can launch a loose lid upwards in the air.
7. Turn up the Heat!
Rest your percolator on the stove before setting the burner to low or medium heat. The trick to great percolator coffee is a slow the healing process and prevent any boiling.
8. Set the Timer and Oversee it:
This is the stage that will define the strength of your coffee. The longer you let it boil, the stronger your coffee will be. There is a glass knob on the top of the lid where you will see the first “perk” sign in the form of bubbles.
Congrats, the water has neared boiling but don’t be too excited. The real work has just begun. Set your timer to 5 minutes, as a general rule, and maintain this heat for a few seconds until you see the bubbles appearing continuously. After this, turn down the heat and notice the color change in the glass knob. The sizzling sound at this point must be occurring every 4-5 seconds, which indicates you are going really well.
After the timer rings, see if the water has changed to coffee-colored. Suppose it hasn’t, give it about half a minute or more. The stated time varies massively for different people. Play with it each time you brew coffee to decipher the “sweet” time for yourself.
9. Stop the Heating and remove Coffee Grounds
Now stop the heating process and remove the percolator from the stove. It will be scorching, so you have to either use oven mitts or kitchen gloves to hold it. We also recommend letting the coffee sit for a minute.
Take a mug and pour your freshly brewed coffee in it – but wait! You forget something. Coffee grounds resting peacefully on the basket can easily become part of your poured beverage if you don’t remove them first. Some percolators might have strong barriers separating the basket from the reservoir, but not all of them are equipped with them, so why take the risk? Carefully remove the basket, throw it away, or better use the coffee grounds as your garden compost.
There might still be some grains left in the coffee due to the percolating process, so those who are very particular about having grain-free coffee should strain it while pouring them in the mug.
10. Sip and Enjoy
You have received the gift of your morning hard work. Add milk or sugar to it, or just have it raw on the side of bread or cake. Take pleasure from it now by sipping it slowly.
11. Clean up
You might remember what we discussed in the ‘Advantages’ section above: stovetop percolators are very easy to clean. Unsecure the basket assembly and rinse it with the dishwasher before doing the same for the pot’s rest.
If some spilled coffee beans are on the kitchen counter, wipe them off with a cloth and get ready for your office or school. It’s already been so late!
How Does a Percolator Work?
The percolator works by sending boiling water upwards through the main stem before being poured over the coffee grounds, which extracts its flavor. This part continues several times, depending on how much strong coffee you want.
How Do I know when My coffee Percolator is done?
You may get a perfectly brewed coffee on the first attempt but a bitter one on the second. Generally, the coffee is ready when the color of water shifts from clear to reddish-brown in the glass knob. It depends largely on the type of coffee grounds, the number of coffee beans, and the time of brewing.
Check out our article on Best Coffee Maker with Grinder
Conclusion: How to Prepare Stovetop Percolator Coffee?
Although stovetop percolator is a traditional coffee brewing method, it is also the simplest and purest of all. While other modern machines have so many controls and buttons on them and need electricity to power up, this can easily be taken on camping trips and need nothing more than a stove or a source of fire; merely woods would do.
It emotionally attaches you to your daily cup of coffee. Don’t let this connection break because now you know how to make stovetop percolator coffee.