What Is a Coffee Percolator and How Does It Work?
A percolator is a type of pot that prepares coffee by nearly boiling the coffee and cycling the coffee ground until it’s ready. Inside the coffee percolator there’s a chamber, or a filter, where the coffee ground goes. This filter connects to the heating element of the percolator.
There are two types of coffee percolators: a stovetop and an electric.
In this post, we’ll focus on electric stainless steel percolators. Why electric? Well, temperature is a key element when it comes to preparing coffee using a percolator. Overheating or boiling the coffee will make it taste bad, and that happens a lot when using a stovetop percolator (many people tend to forget it). Using an electric percolator takes the pressure of timing off your shoulders, it will automatically shut down the brewing process and will keep your coffee hot longer.
Best Rated Electric Percolators
Here’s our TOP PICK…
As I write this, Presto’s percolator has nearly 14,000 reviews with a near-perfect score. Its easy of use and classic design is part of what makes it this popular. It’s made of durable materials, too.
The body of the percolator has an easy to clean stainless steel body, the filter basket is stainless steel, too. The handle is plastic, which helps keep it cool to touch when you pour your coffee.
The percolator can make as little as 2 cups of coffee, and up to 12 cups, which is the perfect capacity for a family or for entertaining guests.
How long it takes for the coffee to prepare will depend on the amount you make. Brewing the minimum of 2 cups will take only a minute to prepare, so naturally, 12-cup will take a few minutes to get ready.
A signal light will show you when the coffee is ready to serve and enjoy. When the coffee is ready, the percolator will automatically switch to keeping the coffee hot.
Our second best pick…
Farberware’s percolator does not look a lot different than Presto’s. It’s another popular pick with a nearly perfect score, too.
The percolator has a stainless steel exterior as well as a stainless steel coffee basket. Coffee capacity is 2 to 12 cups, and can brew at a speed of a cup per minute. Once the coffee is ready, it will automatically switch to Keep warm function, which will keep running until you unplug the machine.
What’s missing though is an indicator light that shows you when the brewing has done. How do you know the coffee is ready, then? You’ll hear that the percolating sound has stopped.
What To Look For in a Percolator
Capacity: when doing research, I found 12-cup capacity to be the most popular for electric percolators. Although there are several that are smaller with 6 or 10 cup capacity. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that most brands will measure in 5 oz per cup, so do your own calculation depending on the cup size you use to see what you’ll really get out of each percolator size.
Stainless steel vs. aluminum parts: I know a lot of people do not like Aluminum touching any part of their coffee or coming in contact with hot water. Many percolators have stainless steel exteriors, but aluminum baskets. Heating elements of percolators are usually made of aluminum, but those don’t ever come in contact with the water.
Both percolators we picked above are 12-cup capacity and have stainless steel exteriors as well as brew baskets.
Do You Need a Paper Filter for a Coffee Percolator?
No, the only filter you need to use is the included stainless steel filter basket. Some people use paper filters, or the small round type of filters, but this is not necessary with a new type of percolators.
How To Clean a Stainless Steel Percolator
Cleaning the percolator is quite easy. Daily cleaning will consist of clearing out the filter basket and washing it after discarding the coffee grounds. The pot itself can be simply rinsed with water, but never submerge it in water and always make sure the plug socket does not get wet.
For deep cleaning, you can always you hot water and baking soda, which is natural and will never leave an after taste.
Cleaning the exterior of the pot is done by simply wiping it clean. Always make sure it is cool to touch before any cleaning.