Coffee pots come in many different styles and varieties, from the old-fashioned percolator like those the cowboys used to fancy drip varieties that cost a small fortune. Ask those that use an old-fashioned stove-top percolator why they refuse to switch to one of the many new electric varieties and the answer is usually the same. Many coffee connoisseurs prefer the bold rich flavor of real coffee from a percolator. Percolators like the varieties people used decades ago are still available. When used correctly, a percolator works like a charm, and unlike electric gadgets that clog and require disposable filters, it will last a lifetime. Try the following easy way to make coffee in a percolator, and find out what real coffee tastes like.
Begin with Cold Water
When preparing to make coffee in a percolator, begin with a clean empty pot and cold water. This will allow the water to slowly heat to the proper temperature. Also, the coffee is only as good as the water used to make it. I use filtered water to make coffee in my Faberware percolator. Unlike chlorinated city water or well water, it will not alter the flavor.
Measuring the Freshly Ground Beans into a Percolator
Do not place the percolator basket and stem assembly inside the pot until after adding the grounds. This will help prevent the grounds from ending up in the water. Wet the basket and lid. This will also help keep the grounds where they belong. Next, measure one level scoop for every two cups of water in the pot. A scoop equals one-eighth of a cup. Use more or less for stronger or weaker coffee, depending on personal preference. Place one finger over the hole of the stem, and with the spring and percolator basket in place, carefully add the grounds. Top the percolator basket with the perforated metal lid, and carefully place the assembly inside the pot of water. Snap the lid in place.
Proper Timing is the Key
When striving to make the best coffee in a percolator, timing is the key. Place the pot over mid to high heat. Watch the clear top on the lid to see when the coffee begins percolating. It will boil up to the top of the clear lid and down again. Once this begins, set a timer from five to eight minutes, and turn the heat down a little to help avoid grounds in the coffee and spattering from the spout. The longer it is allowed to percolate, the stronger it will be. This is a matter of personal preference. Make a pot that has been timed for five minutes. If it is not as strong as desired, step it up a minute each time you make a pot until achieving just the right intensity and flavor.
Allow it to Sit in the Percolator Before Serving
One mistake many people make when striving to make the perfect cup of coffee in a percolator is serving it immediately after the heat is turned off. Allow it to sit undisturbed in the percolator pot for a few minutes before pouring. This will allow the water in the basket to drain, and it will make more flavorful coffee.
When trying to make really good coffee in a percolator, give these tips a try. My dad taught me how to make the very best coffee in a percolator, and I would never again use a drip coffee maker or another variety. A fancy modern electric gadget with disposable filters is not required to make a perfect cup of Joe. Sometimes the old ways of doing things really are the best.