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.
Stovetop Percolator Instructions
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. 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.
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. Moisten the coffee filter basket to prevent grounds from getting into your coffee. Corelle Corner recommends using 2 level tablespoons per 6 ounces of water for a strong cup of coffee. Use regular or coarse grounds for best results.
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.
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.
Electromatic Percolator Instructions
Begin with a clean, dry coffeepot. 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. 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.
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. Attach the filter basket to the pump stem. Screw the basket onto the pump stem until it clicks.
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. 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. 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.
Replace the percolator lid. Slip the flange under the top edge of the heating unit and press down until the lid snaps in place. The coffee begins perking as soon as it is plugged into the outlet. Place the percolator on a heat-protected surface or trivet. An indicator light turns on when the coffee is perked and ready to pour.
Note the Recall List
Before purchasing or using a Corning Ware percolator, check the government recall list. Initially, all electric Corning Ware percolators and some stovetop percolators were recalled in 1972 and 1979. The recall included all Corning Ware percolators with metal spouts. Eventually, some Model E-1210 Electromatic percolators were declared safe by Corning Ware. They have a three-digit code on the handle. If your Corning Ware Model E-1210 Electromatic percolator doesn't have that three-digit code, it isn't safe to use. Stovetop percolators with the typical Corning Ware glass spout were not recalled and are safe for use.