How to Use an Electric Coffee Percolator

By Karen Spaeder

You might not find a coffee expert recommending use of an electric coffee percolator, but those who prefer dark, strong coffee tend to disagree. While a standard drip coffee maker allows the water to gradually drip through the grounds in the coffee filter, a percolator fills the filter with boiling water, lets the water drip down and repeats the cycle until brewing is completed. The percolator's resulting cup of coffee is far more bitter and hot than that of a drip maker. If this is the cup of coffee you're after, follow these steps to use your percolator correctly and ensure an ideal brew.

Percolators brew a robust cup of coffee.

Step 1

Clean and rinse your equipment with warm water and mild dish soap. That includes the filter basket, the basket lid, the inside of the pot, the water pipe and the percolator lid. Cleaning the equipment ensures you've removed any coffee oil residue, which could degrade the taste of your fresh pot of coffee.

Step 2

Grind coffee beans coarsely to prevent over-extraction of the coffee. Check the bottom of your pot or mug after your next brew if you're unsure how coarse your grounds are. If you are left with sediment at the bottom, then you're grinding your beans too finely.

Step 3

Fill the pot with fresh water. Add the ground coffee to the basket. Use approximately one tablespoon of coffee per cup of water, adjusting the amount to taste. Place the basket in the pot with the water pipe in its center. Put the basket lid on top, followed by the percolator lid.

Step 4

Plug in the percolator. The coffee will begin brewing immediately, taking roughly five or six minutes to complete the cycle. You'll know your coffee is done brewing when you hear the water stop boiling inside. Some percolators include a light on front indicating when the coffee is ready.

Step 5

Unplug the percolator when the brewing is completed. Avoid touching the outside of the percolator, as it will be hot. Pour the coffee carefully into mugs. When the percolator is cool, remove all parts and clean them.