What is a Percolator?

A coffee percolator is a type of pot used to brew coffee.  There is a chamber at the bottom of the pot that is located near the heat source.  A vertical tube goes from the chamber to the top of the pot and a perforated chamber is located just below the upper end of the vertical tube.  Percolators continually cycle the boiling or nearly-boiling coffee through the grounds using gravity until the liquid has reached the strength that is desired.

Percolators were very popular at one time but lost popularity when the automatic drip coffee makers were introduced in the early 1970s.  Percolators usually brew hotter java because the grounds are usually exposed to higher temperatures than other brewing methods. 

 

Brewing Process

Water is poured into the bottom chamber of the pot and the grounds are put in the top chamber.  Once the water has started boiling, it travels up the tube and is distributed over the perforated lid of the coffee chamber.  The boiling water seeps through the grounds and goes out of the chamber through the bottom, traveling back down into the lower half of the pot.  The colder water that is still at the bottom of the pot is forced up the tube, thus causing the whole cycle to repeat itself over and over.

The percolator will make a spurting sound, which is commonly known as “perking”, when the temperature of the liquid reaches the boiling point.  This is when your brew is ready to drink.

If you have a stove top percolator, you should remove or reduce the heat when it starts perking.  If you leave it on high heat for too long, your drink will be bitter tasting.

Most electric percolators automatically reduce the heat when they are finished with the brewing phase.  This in turn keeps the liquid at a drinking temperature instead of a boiling temperature, where your mouth could be burned.

There are more non-electric percolator models on the market today than there are electric models.

Things You’ll Need To Make Your Coffee Indoors:

  • Percolator
  • Heat source if the unit isn’t electric
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Water

Things You’ll Need to Make Your Coffee By The Campfire:

  • Percolator
  • Camping Stove
  • Campfire Grill
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Water

What Kind of Coffee Grounds?

Coarsely ground coffee is preferred for the unit.

Types of Percolators

  • Electrical
  • Stove Pot
  • Microwave

Why Use A Percolator?

You might be asking yourself why anyone would want to use a percolator instead of one of the other more convenient coffee makers on the market today.  One reason might be because of fond memories of their grandmother using this appliance when they were a little tyke and remembering the aroma of grandmother’s freshly brewed coffee.  They might remember the smell of their grandmother’s brew being very intense and inviting and they want to recreate that same cup of joe.  This type of machine brews a much bolder, richer java than the other models which might be the reason they remember the aroma of their grandmother’s brew so vividly.

Percolators don’t have any plastic parts and that is another reason people are still using them to brew their java.  There are a lot of people that are worried about chemicals leaching out of plastics when the plastic comes in contact with hot water, so they choose to use these units.  You won’t find many drip-coffee machines that come without plastic parts, so many settle for the percolator.

Last but not least, many people use the stove pot percolators on camping trips.  Nothing smells and tastes better than a freshly brewed cup of joe on the campfire early in the morning!  In fact, many say that having a cup of brew while relaxing in the woods seems to be a lot more tasty than having a cup at home. 

A coffee maker full of hot, steamy java isn’t that hard to fix while you’re out in the woods.  It’s almost as easy as making a cup while you’re relaxing at home and not only that, you have three different options to choose from.  A camping stove, a grill or a campfire can all be used to make that desired drink in a percolator.  No matter which one you choose, it’s bound to be a great cup of joe!

Don’t forget that when you are using one of these appliances, the longer you allow your brew to simmer, the stronger it will be and it might actually have a bitter taste to it.  Also, be very careful when handling a hot percolator to keep from burning yourself.

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