For decades after its introduction in the early 1900s, the electric percolator was the appliance of choice for making coffee. Only in recent years has the popularity of the electric percolator been replaced by the drip coffee maker. Electric percolators can still be purchased, both new and used, and are very easy to use. The key to using a percolator is using a coarser ground coffee to prevent the grinds from overflowing the basket.

Things You'll Need

Remove the basket from the percolator and fill the pot with water to the fill line. If making less than a full pot of coffee, measure the water needed for the number of coffee cups you want to fill. A standard coffee cup is 6 ounces, while many coffee mugs hold 8 ounces or more.

Replace the stem of the coffee maker in the center of the pot and place the basket over the stem through the center hole.

Measure one coffee scoop of ground coffee into the basket for every cup of coffee you wish to make. A coffee scoop holds 2 Tbsp. of ground coffee.

Place the lid on the basket if your percolator has this feature. If not, place the lid on the coffee pot.

Plug the electric cord into an electrical outlet. Most percolators do not have an “on” switch; instead, they begin the coffee-making process when plugged in.

Allow the coffee to percolate until the cycle is finished. On some coffee makers, a light will come on to signify that the coffee has completed brewing; on other models, a light will go off when the brew cycle is complete.


  • An average rule of thumb is 2 Tbsp. of ground coffee to 6 oz. of water. You can add more or less coffee depending on the strength you like.