Prior to the development of the electric coffee maker, a coffee percolator was one of the only ways to make a hot cup of coffee. Coffee percolators come in two varieties. The electric percolator simply plugs in, while the stovetop percolator uses heat from the stove to boil water and make the coffee. If you are using a stovetop coffee percolator it is important to use high quality freshly ground coffee to ensure that your end result will be as flavorful as possible.

Things You'll Need

Wash and dry all parts of your coffee percolator if you did not do it after the last use. Use a long thin brush or pipecleaner to get inside the stem of the percolator.

Remove the filter basket and fill the pot with water to the desired cup markings. If your percolator does not have cup markings, fill it to just below where the filter basket will sit.

Place the filter basket over the stem of the percolator.

Add one heaping teaspoon of ground coffee for each cup of water in the pot.

Place the basket lid on top of the filter and place the lid on the percolator.

Place the percolator over low heat on the stove and watch it carefully. Turn the heat down as soon as you hear the the coffee start to perk.

Remove the coffeepot from the heat as soon as it has finished brewing. You will know it is finished when the perking sound stops.

Take the lid off of the percolator and remove the filter basket, stem and bottom from the pot. Pour your coffee and add milk and sugar to taste.


  • Use your coffee as soon after grinding it as possible. A small blade-style coffee grinder will help your coffee to taste fresher and less bitter than preground coffee.