How to Percolate Coffee: Learning How the Pros Do It

Want to know how to percolate coffee? This is probably one of the hardest ways to brew your coffee. Why? It is because the brewing system itself is so inaccurate that the finished product really depends on your brewing skill. But do not worry because we are here to guide you through the process.

People say that perking coffee is only for the master brewers, but we beg to differ. Do you recall those cowboy movies wherein the protagonist will brew coffee out in the wild west? What did you think he or she used? Of course, none other than a coffee percolator.

It might seem a hassle to brew coffee this way, but in the past, brewing through perking is the way to go. Therefore, we can conclude that the proper way of perking coffee can also be done by regular people, not just master brewers. How else did people of the old days get to enjoy their coffee, right?

So, now that you have a coffee percolator, what should you do? Let this article be your guide! Here, we will give you some tips and tricks to percolating coffee using two types of coffee percolators. Lastly, we will give you the three commandments of perking.

Ready to be called a master brewer? Then, keep on reading.

Is Perking for You?

Before we get down to business, let us first talk about this process of perking or percolating. Now, not a lot of people like this coffee brewing method because, more often than not, you end up with bitter coffee. Why is this so?

This is the case because this brewing method is not like the others wherein you just have to turn the machine on, and you can just leave it. What is so special about perking is the fact that you have to keep a close eye on it. Hence, it has a glass or plastic knob at the top for you to check how your coffee beans are doing.

With that said, if you are someone who needs to walk out the door in just five minutes, perking is not for you. It is best that you get a Keurig or a regular coffee brewer. On the other hand, if you are someone who really makes time to make coffee and you really take a moment in the morning to savor the smell of ground coffee beans, then perking is perfect for you.

The Three Commandments of Perking

Just like what we said earlier, it is very easy to mess up this brewing method. So, here are the three things that are non-negotiables when starting your percolation.

  1. Always use a squeaky clean coffee percolator.
  2. Use freshly ground beans. It is best to stick with a coarse grind.
  3. The water that is to be used should either be distilled or filtered. The best route to go is the former.

Two Types of Perking

These two types do not really refer to the method, but instead, with the type of coffee percolator. Nevertheless, the process takes a different turn based on the percolator that you are using.

  • Stovetop Percolator

This is the design of most coffee percolators. You put this percolator on the stove and generate actual heat from a fire to get it started.

  • Electric Percolator

This is the type of brewer that is common nowadays. All you have to do is to plug it in, and it will start to heat up. Most of the time, it will also automatically shut off once the timer is done.

How to Percolate Coffee

Let us now go through the steps of perking coffee, starting off with the classic method.

Using a Stove Percolator

  1. Determine how much coffee you need and estimate the amount of water to put in the reservoir.
  2. In the process of adding the water, you might have removed the tube and chamber assembly, so now you can put them back.
  3. Add your coarse coffee grounds. The rule of thumb is to add one tablespoon of coffee grounds for every one cup of water.
  4. Turn on your stove and set it to medium heat.
  5. Put the coffee percolator on top of the stove.
  6. The goal is to make the percolator reach a temperature that is below the boiling point.
  7. Through the knob, check how the grounds are doing. If they are moving around, that means that the water is already hot. The darker they look, the more brewed your coffee will be.
  8. Remove the percolator away from the heat if you feel like it will come to a boiling point but you still think that the brewing is still not done. Repeat this process until you see a good brown color and bubbling.
  9. You can brew it for 10 minutes, but if you like a bitter brew, then you can keep it there longer.
  10. Remove the percolator from the stove, make sure that you use mitts.
  11. Get rid of the grounds first, then pour your coffee.

Using an Electric Percolator

  1. Determine how much coffee you need and estimate the amount of water to put in the reservoir.
  2. put the tube and the chamber assembly back.
  3. Add your coarse coffee grounds. Similar to the first method, add one tablespoon of coffee grounds for every one cup of water.
  4. Close the lid and plug your percolator in.
  5. If you need to press start or on, then do so. However, most percolators heat up immediately after plugging it in.
  6. Brew it for seven minutes. You can do 10 minutes if you want a bitter brew.
  7. Unplug the percolator if you see that it is already steaming, but the color is still not brown. Let it cool for a while and plug it in again to continue the brewing process.
  8. Once done, unplug it and get rid of the grounds.
  9. Pour your coffee.

Final Thoughts

Those are the steps on how to percolate coffee the right way. Pretty simple, right? The trick is to really pay close attention to the movement of the grounds and the color of the water. Surely, through constant perking, you will immediately know if the grounds are already brewed to perfection.

At the same time, it is also important to exercise caution as percolators are almost always made of stainless steel, which heats up easily. Do not forget to use towels or mitts when handling them.

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