Stovetop Percolator

Stovetop Percolator 101: Making Coffee With A Percolator

Making coffee with a stovetop percolator can be relaxing. Have you ever tried it before? Well, the process is quite easy to follow.

Brewing with a coffee percolator isn’t as easy as fun as brewing with a machine, but with a stovetop percolator, you can surely brew tasty coffee that your family would love.

Note: After reading this and trying it out, you might get addicted to brewing coffee with the old fashioned coffee percolator and not want to use a machine again.

Are you ready to make coffee the percolator way? Let’s ride then!

About The Stovetop Percolator

To a chemistry student or teacher, the word percolate means “to make a solvent” pass through a substance that can be penetrated. 

In this case, we are going to be passing steam through a substance called “coffee”.

The stove percolators have the look of a tall kettle

Don’t mistake this process with that of pour-over coffee, pour-over coffee uses vacuum brewing where water is allowed to pass through coffee beans, it creates a steam environment that saturates coffee beans before filtration takes place.

This is how a stovetop percolator works. Boiling water is sent upwards via a tube to the top of a net-like compartment. It then rains down on the coffee and goes back down. This process is repeated for a while.

Ever heard of. Siphons? Well, they work similarly.

coffee percolator

Brew Is Quite Bitter

Stovetop percolator coffee pots have almost lost favor completely, want to know why? There are known to produce dry and bitter cups of coffee. But there is no denying that we sometimes want something a little distinct from the normalcy. 

Knowing how to use a percolator to make some wonderful percolating coffee will elevate you into the status of a connoisseur.

What makes this coffee dry and bitter? 

It is very important to keep track of the temperature. High heat is required to form steam pressure in brewing the coffee, and the same high heat is known to produce a metallic taste.

If you don’t have issues with a bitter-tasting coffee, you won’t have issues with the coffee from a stovetop percolator.

An Active of Method Brewing

Brewing percolating coffee is an active method of brewing. You can’t step away from it for too long during the brewing or else you risk over boiling the coffee. 

This doesn’t just create a severely bitter tasting coffee, it makes it yucky and inconsumable.

Nevertheless, it’s still a very soothing way to brew coffee. After getting your percolator coffee grind you can brew your coffee with an active state of mind, and in other aspects of your life, being in the present offers tremendous value.

How Does A Percolator Work

Getting the water right can be a bit hard but once you get the hang of it you can easily manage water and heat. The most important thing is to pay attention to the brewing and trust your gut.

Getting Started

You’ll need:

how does a percolator work

Steps to follow: how to make coffee in a percolator

1. Use Right Measurement

You need to measure the right amount of coffee and water to get the right flavor and avoid overboiling. 

If you have mastered the art of coffee to water ratio you wouldn’t have issues. Just make sure you measure right. If you are a novice you can check out our article on coffee to water ratio, that table might be of help.

2. Grind beans with Burr Grinder

I highly recommend that you use a burr grinder to grind coffee beans before taking the grounds to the stovetop percolator. Why do I recommend a burr grinder? With a burr grinder, you can determine the grind size and for our stovetop percolator, we will be using medium-coarse grounds.

3. Add Water

Based on the number of your coffee grounds add water to the base of the stovetop percolator. Do not add hot water, add room temperature water.

4. Set Up The Stovetop Percolator

You must read the manual that came with your stovetop percolator about 3-4 times before setting it up. If by chance you can’t find the manual you can check the model of your stovetop percolator and search for the PDF format of the manual on the internet.

If you have successfully set up your stovetop percolator, move on to the next step.

5. Pour In The Coffee Grounds

Here you need to be careful so you don’t have a lot of leftover coffee, check your measurements. Overfilling the coffee grounds chamber isn’t a good idea at all.

6. Heat The Percolator

We’re almost there, now you need to take your stovetop percolator and place it on an actual stove. We’ll be using low or medium heat to slow the healing process and thus prevent any serious boiling.

7. Monitor The Brew

90% of stovetop percolators I have seen have a plastic knob at the top that enables you to see inside, most percolators have glass but I’d stick with plastic because glass might end up hurting me someday. 

So, the plastic knob isn’t actually for fancy, you can see water bubbling up into the knob after being on fire for a while. Now, to maintain the heat, you need to ensure that the bubbles occur some seconds apart. 

If the bubbles are too constant that means the water is boiling too much, you’ll need to turn down the heat. 

Also, take note of the color of the water, if it turns to coffee color, that’s a sign that your coffee will soon be ready.

8. Time Yourself

Here’s the tricky part, you need to time yourself, set a timer for 10 minutes when you notice that the water is bubbling occasionally. You could set a timer for less than 10 minutes but it depends on your preference.

9. Turn Off The Heat

Turn off the heat. Get a towel (because it will be hot) carefully remove the stovetop percolator from the stove.

10. Remove the Coffee Grounds

Remove the basket then pour out used grounds. If you don’t do this you might end up having coffee filled with coffee grounds and that can be quite annoying. 


Using the stovetop percolator coffee pot is a pretty old way of making your favorite beverage, but still, it’s an invaluable method. You might not get it right on your first try but as they say, practice makes perfect. With time, you’ll be a pro. 

Thanks for stopping by, I wish you good luck in your coffee making adventure.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *