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The Ultimate Guide to Using Percolators

a man pouring coffee from a percolator into a clear glass mug

SipScribe Coffee |

Percolators have been a staple in coffee brewing for over a century. While they may seem old-fashioned, they are making a comeback in the coffee world. If you're new to using a percolator or just need a refresher, this ultimate guide will teach you everything you need to know about using a percolator to make the perfect cup of coffee.

What is a Percolator?

A percolator is a type of coffee pot that uses gravity to circulate hot water through coffee grounds, resulting in a strong and flavorful cup of coffee. It consists of a pot, a chamber for the coffee grounds, and a tube that runs from the bottom of the pot to the top of the chamber. As the water boils, it is forced up the tube and over the coffee grounds, creating a percolation process.

How to Use a Coffee Percolator


by Josh Withers (

Using a percolator is a simple process, but it does require some attention to detail. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Prepare the Percolator

Before using your percolator, make sure it is clean and free of any old coffee grounds. Fill the bottom chamber with water, making sure not to exceed the fill line. Then, place the coffee grounds in the top chamber, using about 1 tablespoon of grounds for every cup of water.

Step 2: Assemble the Percolator

Place the top chamber onto the bottom chamber, making sure it is securely in place. Then, place the percolator on the stove over medium heat. As the water boils, it will be forced up the tube and over the coffee grounds, creating a percolation process.

Step 3: Monitor the Percolation Process

As the water percolates, you will see it bubbling up through the tube and into the top chamber. Keep an eye on the percolation process and adjust the heat as needed to maintain a steady percolation. The longer the water percolates, the stronger the coffee will be.

Step 4: Remove from Heat and Serve

Once the percolation process is complete, remove the percolator from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, carefully remove the top chamber and pour the coffee into your mug. Be careful not to pour any grounds into your cup.

Tips for Using a Percolator

  • Use freshly ground coffee beans for the best flavor.
  • Experiment with different coffee to water ratios to find your preferred strength.
  • Don't let the water boil for too long, as this can result in a bitter taste.
  • Clean your percolator after each use to prevent buildup and maintain the best flavor.

Coffee for Percolators

When it comes to choosing the right coffee for your percolator, it's important to consider the grind size. Percolators work best with a medium to coarse grind, as a fine grind can result in a bitter and over-extracted cup of coffee. Look for coffee labeled specifically for percolators or choose a medium roast coffee for the best results.


Percolators may seem intimidating at first, but with the right technique and attention to detail, you can make a delicious cup of coffee every time. Whether you're a coffee connoisseur or just looking for a new way to brew your morning cup, using a percolator is a fun and flavorful experience. So go ahead and give it a try, and enjoy a delicious cup of percolation coffee.