In spite of the “black sheep status” coffee percolators seem to have when it comes to coffee makers, it’s still a favorite of quite a number of people and, since you’re reading this, you are probably one of them. People hating on this coffee-making old timer have their reasons, chief of which is the bitter taste that is associated with coffee made with percolators. However, in fairness to the device, knowing how to properly use it takes care of that problem.
Coffee percolators are of two types; we have the electric percolators and the stovetop percolators. The electric percolators, like coffee makers
, need to be connected to an electrical power source before they function, while their stovetop counterparts only need to be placed on a heat source, whether it’s a campfire or your kitchen stove.
To get great coffee with a percolator, timing is key. It’s also important that your coffee beans be well-ground so that you’re able to get all of the flavor out in the shortest time possible, and a good coffee grinder
should be on hand to efficiently handle that task.
Not many people like their coffee cold – we’re yet to come across any – and the warmer feature on coffee percolators ensures that you don’t have to join that tiny demographic (seeing as we live in an interesting world, we wouldn’t be surprised to find that such people exist). If you don’t already have cup warmers
, you’ll find this to be a very handy feature, as it’ll save you some trips to the kitchen for refills, since you can just place it on a table wherever you are.
Finally, we believe that you’re in the best position to decide what the best coffee percolator for you is and we do not intend to argue on that point, but we’ll tell you this – coffee can only be as good as the brewer allows, so don’t settle for something cheap.
When it comes to shopping for a coffee percolator, you’re going to find them at different price points. This is basically due to the fact that there are two types of coffee percolators: the electric and the stovetop percolators. They can be made with different materials and boast different features. This means that the price any of these coffee brewers are sold for will depend, to a large extent, on the type of materials it’s made with and the features it comes with. The coffee percolators we featured in our review fall into a $30 to $63 price range and, although cheap coffee percolators are also available, we didn’t consider them in this review, as they didn’t meet our standard for great quality.
As with all good things, you’ve got to know what to look for if you’re going to end up with a coffee percolator that you’ll be pleased with. So, what are those features that make a great coffee percolator? Here is a list of some of the more important ones:
- Filter Size
- Cleaning up
- Prep Time
Let’s talk about these features some more, shall we?
Construction and Design
As we’ve already mentioned, there are two types of coffee percolators: the stovetop percolators and the electric percolators. They are similar in their basic construction, seeing as it’s the same principle at work in both of them. The obvious difference between the two of them is in the cover or lid. You see, while the stovetop percolator comes with a transparent lid which allows you to watch over the coffee so that you’ll know when it’s ready (using the color intensity of the liquid as an indicator), the electric percolator automatically shuts itself off when the coffee is ready (this one uses a preset timer). The only other major difference is in the fact that you’ll need electricity to run one, and you won’t need it to run the other.
Coffee percolators are made with a variety materials that include stainless steel, aluminum, glass, plastic etc. Always determine beforehand the type of percolator you want, as it will help you determine which material will best suit your purposes, seeing as some of these materials will require more care than others.
Performance and Ease of Use
If you’ll be making coffee for only yourself, or to drink with a few friends that drop by, it doesn’t make much sense to get a coffee percolator with a large capacity. It’ll just take up precious counter space and probably prolong the prep time. For a large family, or for those occasions where one has quite the number of coffee drinkers gathered in one place, a coffee percolator with a larger capacity would do just fine.
Talking about capacity brings us to two other issues – size and prep time. The standard prep time for percolating coffee isn’t quite established, but it’s somewhere between three and five minutes. Just bear in mind that the longer a pot of coffee percolates, the higher the chances that you’ll end up with bitter stuff when you turn off the heat.
Now, on to the issue of size. This may be a simple matter of aesthetics for some, but for those of us with limited counter or tabletop space, it’s a make-or-break feature. To avoid the dilemma that will arise from having to figure out how to work with a large percolator in a small space, check out the dimensions before buying.
it’s believed that the finer the ground coffee, the shorter the prep time and the sweeter the end product. However, the filter basket on some percolators may be wide enough to allow the ground coffee to pass though, resulting in grainy coffee. Look for percolators with fine filters, or you can add filter paper to the setup when it arrives.
Properly washing your percolator is essential to getting a delicious cup of coffee. Find out the maintenance requirements of the percolator before purchasing. Some of them have parts that can be washed in a dishwasher, heating element included. Read the washing instructions to learn this.