This summer we went to Europe for a vacation. We had four full weeks because we didn’t use last year’s holidays due to the COVID 19 situation. Hence we decided to take a tour around Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal. It was a remarkable experience on many levels. But we have to tell you that we fell in love with the coffee people make at home in those countries.
Coffee?! But coffee is coffee everywhere! What is there to fall in love with? That is one way to look at it and it is perfectly legit. But, honestly, our experience showed that the taste of java changes greatly depending on the brewer and many other things. In Europe, we discovered an exciting coffee maker, called a percolator.
Since we liked the joe made with it so much, naturally we were curious to find this machine when we got back home. But quickly we realized that we need to learn more about them to be able to choose the one that will suit our needs. Hence, we began our research and talked with baristas and connoisseurs to understand all the differences and features of percolator coffee maker models. It also crossed our minds that there may be other people who are curious to know more about percolator coffee pot but don’t know who to ask. Thus, we compiled all the information we got in these coffee percolator reviews, which we now would be glad to share with you!
What Is a Percolator and How Does It Work
We have this tendency to think that if we don’t know about something then it has to be a new invention. At least it is what we thought about best percolator. However, it is an old-fashioned coffee maker which existed before drip machines. Nonetheless, some people are still very passionate about it, and for a good reason if we may add. The device itself looks like a kettle, which makes a lot of people confused.
It is a coffee pot with a chamber at the bottom. It comes with a vertical tube that goes from the chamber to the top where you will find a perforated basket. So to percolate coffee you need to fill the bottom chamber with water and the basket with coffee grounds. Keep in mind that it is best to use coarse grounds. The water inside is near the boiling point and it is continually cycling through the coffee grounds. The longer you leave it cycling, the brew will be stronger.
Percolator Types Explained
As you have probably noticed there are two types of percolators on the market – stovetop and electric percolator. They work in the same principle but use different heat sources. Electric models come with a built-in heating element, while to use a stovetop coffee percolator you need to have an external source of heat. Besides that, there are also gravity and pressure percolators.
These are the standard percolators that work on the principle we previously described. The water moves from the chamber up through a tube and reaches the grounds that are in the basket. The more water circulates the better will be the taste of coffee. You have to make sure to not over brew the coffee. Also, remove the filter basket before pouring to prevent grounds from ending up in your cup.
Well, things are a bit confusing here, because even though we call it a percolator, it doesn’t use the percolation process to brew coffee. A pressure percolator is a machine also known as a Moka pot. The principle of Moka pot, aka Machinetta, is similar to gravity percolator. However, the brewing process is somewhat different.
Indeed, you put the water in the bottom chamber and the grounds in the filter basket. There is also a top chamber, where the brewed coffee ends up. When you put the pot on the heat source, the water starts lifting because of the pressure and going through the grounds. Then the coffee moves through the tube to finish in the top chamber.
How Percolator is Different from Other Coffee Makers
We all know that there are a plethora of various coffee makers out there. it is clear how automated machines differ from other devices. But what about those that seem similar but are very different in reality. How is a percolator different from a drip maker? Or Moka pot?
Percolator vs. Moka pot
Okay, so we already explained that the pressure percolator is Moka pot. But how is it different from than standard gravity percolator? Well, the main difference we discovered in the process of making these coffee percolator reviews is in the quality of coffee you get. Moka pot, also known as a stovetop espresso maker, makes a smaller amount of delicious, concentrated coffee. But percolators make way more joe.
For example, you can even get a 12 cup percolator. However, the beverage is not very strong. Technically, percolators were very popular and practical coffee makers used in restaurants before the invention of drip coffee machines.
Percolator vs. Drip
Okay, so we have repeated plenty of times by now that these two coffee makers are very similar. We also mentioned that percolators were used before the invention of drip coffee makers, right? So what is the difference then? It is just about the strength of the brew. Drip coffee machines run water through the grounds only once and make a cleaner but less strong brew. Percolators brew stronger coffee because the water makes at least two cycles. It depends on your taste which one will suit you better.
Overall Benefits of Having a Percolator
- Variety of flavors: As every coffee lover will testify, this machine delivers a perfect taste whenever you use it. More than that you can make coffee with various flavors.
- Very fast: The percolator doesn’t take a lot of time to brew coffee. You just need to put the water and coffee and put it on the heat source. The coffee will be ready in a minute.
- Compact: It doesn’t take a lot of space on the kitchen counter so it is ideal for small kitchens.
- Portable: It is usually lightweight, so it can be easily carried around. A lot of campers have percolators.
- Easy to clean: Percolators are very easy to clean because you can take them completely apart and wash each piece separately.
- Retains heat: Coffee is brewed hot in a percolator and stays hot for a long time.
What to Look For in Best Coffee Percolator?
So, now we know what percolator is and the types that exist on the market. But the question remains how to choose the right one. Let’s look at the most essential features of stovetop and electric coffee percolator which will help us find an answer to this question.
As you know, it was already mentioned that stainless steel coffee percolator can be electric or stovetop. To choose one or another it is important to know how you are going to use it. If you want an electric percolator, you must always have a power source nearby. If you are planning to use a percolator for camping then the stovetop option works better as you need a heat source but not electricity. Stovetop percolators are practical for outdoor use because you can use them on the campfire, gas heaters, etc.
The most common materials used for percolators are stainless steel, aluminum, and enamel. Of course, each of them has its advantages.
Stainless steel is the highest quality option. It is remarkably durable as it doesn’t rust and it is practically impossible to damage it. It is also easy to clean and maintain.
Only stovetop models can be made of enamel (baked ceramics). They are less expensive than stainless steel models and retain heat quite well.
The aluminum models are lightweight and durable and in this sense ideal for camping. They heat up quickly. However, they also get quickly cold. Plus, an aluminum coffee percolator is very cheap.
Many people like percolators because they allow them to make a lot of coffee at once. Hence, the most important factor when choosing the right model may be capacity.
Think about your needs when buying this machine. The average models make about four cups of coffee. However, if you live in a bigger family of avid coffee drinkers, you might want to look for an electric model that makes twelve or even fourteen cups at one go.
For many of us, price is a significant factor in deciding on the product. Percolators are generally cheaper than drip coffee makers or other coffee maker under 100 models. However, while creating our coffee percolator reviews we’ve also discovered that you may come across some expensive models as well. And these often times have a lot more features and are made of more high-quality materials.
How to Use a Percolator
As we mentioned there are two types of percolators – electric and stovetop. The ways of using them are practically the same, except for the difference in the heat source.
Now, we are going to show you how to make coffee in a percolator, step by step.
- Prepare the percolator. It practically means that you have to make sure that the machine is clean. After that pour the right amount of water into the tank.
- Some people like to grind fresh beans while others use pre-ground coffee. It is totally up to you. Whatever you choose, you need to put the coffee in the filter basket. Keep in mind that the amount is similar to the amount you use for the drip machine. For a stronger brew you want to use a 1:1 ratio, and for less strong 1:2.
- Heat the percolator. When the water becomes hot enough it will start the process.
- Let it do its job for about eight to ten minutes.
- Pour and enjoy your beverage.
How to Use a Stovetop Percolator
- Fill the chamber of your camping coffee percolator with the amount of water you prefer. Make sure that you don’t overfill it.
- Then fill the basket with grounds. It is up to you whether you will use the filter or not. Put the spreader over the grounds and close the percolator.
- Put the machine on the stove or another heat source. When the water boils reduce the heat and let it perk for several minutes.
How to Use Electric Percolator
- First, check the instructions for your machine.
- Remove the lid and the stem and pour the desired amount of water.
- Replace the stem assembly and put the basket on top. Add coffee grounds and plug the machine in. Press start and wait until the percolator does its job.
- If there is a light indicator it will show you when the coffee is ready.
How to Clean and Maintain a Percolator
Now, when we know how does a percolator work, it is time to see how to clean it. Generally, you should do it after every use.
It is pretty simple to clean a percolator because you can disassemble it entirely. Stainless steel percolators are usually dishwasher safe. You can also clean it by boiling water with sodium bicarbonate. If there are some stains you can remove them by using the solution of water and vinegar.
While these machines are now considered a bit old-fashion, some aficionados remain loyal to the best coffee percolator and this traditional method of brewing coffee. And that’s not surprising – they are cheaper and provide some amazing and authentic coffee!
If you are drawn to this method, now when you know all the features it will be a lot easier to choose the most suitable best coffee percolator 2023!
So, have you tried java brewed in a percolator before? What are your impressions?