How to Use a Corning Ware Coffee Percolator

By Kathryn Meininger

Once a staple kitchen item in many homes, the vintage Corning Ware percolator is staging a comeback. There are two types: stovetop and electric. Both are easy to use and make a bold cup of coffee. To brew coffee in a percolator, the coffee grounds are placed in a metal filter basket and a hollow stem feeds boiling water over them. Look in thrift shops and online, because the company stopped manufacturing them in 1985. Before you buy, check the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission's recall list. All Corning Ware percolators that have metal pouring spouts -- both stovetop and electric models -- are unsafe to use, and were recalled in 1976 and 1979. Use only those models that have ceramic glass pouring spouts.

Classic Coffee Cup
credit: marrakeshh/iStock/Getty Images
A percolator makes a strong, full-bodied cup of coffee.

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Stovetop Percolator Instructions

Step 1

Begin with a clean coffeepot, basket and stem. Oils from the coffee grounds can leave a residue that contaminates your percolator, so clean and rinse it well before beginning and after each use.

Step 2

Remove the lid and all internal parts from inside the percolator. A Corning Ware stovetop percolator contains a metal filter basket, filter basket top and hollow stem. Set them aside on a clean paper towel.

Step 3

Fill the percolator with cold, filtered water to the desired fill line. Corning Ware percolators have measurement markings at intervals inside the pot based on a 6-ounce cup of coffee. Do not overfill the coffeepot.

Step 4

Moisten the coffee filter basket to prevent grounds from getting into your coffee. Measure your coffee grounds and place them in the filter basket. Use regular or coarse grounds for best results. Corelle Corner recommends using 2 level tablespoons per 6 ounces of water for a strong cup of coffee.

Step 5

Reassemble the filter apparatus. Put the filter basket lid over the filter basket and fit the hollow stem into the bottom of the filter basket. Carefully place the filter apparatus inside the percolator, stem first.

Step 6

Secure the lid and place the percolator on your stovetop burner. Set the burner heat or flame to High. Heat until the coffee begins to perk, and then reduce the heat to Medium High. Allow the coffee to perk for no longer than eight minutes to avoid bitterness.

Step 7

Remove the percolator from the stove and take out the filter basket carefully, using potholders or a towel to protect your fingers. This prevents grounds from getting into your coffee as you pour it. Pour your coffee into a cup or mug and enjoy.

Step 8

Clean the percolator and its parts completely when the coffee is gone and the percolator has cooled off. Whether you wash it in a dishwasher or by hand, rinse it several times before using again to ensure all oils and detergent residue are removed.

Electromatic Percolator Instructions

Step 9

Begin with a clean, dry coffeepot.

Step 10

Remove the lid and take out the immersion heater unit, filter basket, filter basket cover and pump stem from the inside of the coffeepot. Place them on a paper towel until ready for use.

Step 11

Fill the coffeepot with cold, filtered water to the desired level. The inside of the percolator has markings indicating serving numbers. One serving is 5.5 ounces of water. Place the immersion heating unit in the bottom of the coffeepot.

Step 12

Wet the filter basket with a small amount of water. This allows the coffee grounds to stick to the inside of the basket and not overflow into the brewing coffee.

Step 13

Attach the filter basket to the pump stem. Screw the basket onto the pump stem until it clicks.

Step 14

Fit the bottom end of the pump stem into the well in the immersion heater base. Press down on the basket until it clips into place under the heater arm.

Step 15

Add the desired amount of regular or coarse ground coffee to the filter basket. Refer to the label on the coffee package for the correct amount.

Step 16

Tip the filter basket forward, place the filter basket cover over the filter basket and slip it back underneath the clip on the heater arm.

Step 17

Replace the percolator lid. Slip the flange under the top edge of the heating unit and press down until the lid snaps in place.

Step 18

Plug the proper end of the electric cord into the percolator underneath the handle, and the other end into a wall outlet. The coffee begins perking as soon as it is plugged into the outlet.

Step 19

Place the percolator on a heat-protected surface or trivet. An indicator light turns on when the coffee is perked and ready to pour.

Step 20

Wash and rinse all parts thoroughly after the percolator has completely cooled.