The 10 Best Percolators
This wiki has been updated 35 times since it was first published in March of 2015. For those who prefer to get their morning joe the old-fashioned way, check out our selection of classic coffee percolators that can deliver the caffeine buzz you need to start your day or get through the afternoon. They’re made of long-lasting materials, like stainless steel, aluminum, and borosilicate glass, and are ranked here by brewing speed, ease of use, and durability. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 04, 2020:
When camping, there’s nothing like waking up in your tent to the aroma and sound of freshly brewing coffee, and the newly added Coleman Stainless Steel is great for bringing with you to the great outdoors, thanks to its corrosion-resistant, stainless steel build. Its light weight means it won’t add to your load too much, and it can make up to 12 cups of coffee at a time, so you’ll have a site full of happy campers come dawn. It’s suitable for use on an outdoor stove or a grill. If you’re a camper who would prefer a model that can be hung over the coals, look to the GSI Outdoors Glacier, which is made with a wire bail handle. Once your coffee is brewed, just hang this pot from a tree branch, where it will be within the reach of anyone who’s interested in a second cup. Leaving the list to make room for the Coleman model is the Hamilton Beach BrewStation, the nozzle of which has issues with durability, according to reports.
Retaining its top spot on the list is the Euro Cuisine, which is as aesthetically pleasing as it is good at brewing coffee. Its durable stainless steel body is covered in a glossy copper finish, which makes it a nice option when you want to serve dessert to guests. It’s also easy to clean up after, thanks to its drip-free spout and dishwasher safe filter.
If it’s a glass model you’re interested in, check out the Medelco Stovetop, which is composed of high-quality borosilicate glass, which is resistant to high heat. This makes it capable of going from the burner to the tabletop to the fridge without cracking due to temperature changes. For a budget-friendly, yet highly capable, choice, look to the Faberware Classic Yosemite, which is available in 8- or 12-cup capacities, and features a permanent filter basket, so you won’t have to bother with messy, throw-away filters that aren’t friendly to the environment. It’s attractive, too, thanks to its mirror-like finish and a sturdy glass knob on top.
Service Ideas Flame-Free Thermo-Urn This vacuum-insulated device is great for any business that is serving coffee to a crowd. It keeps the beverage hot for six or more hours, with no external heat source. Since there is no direct heat needed, the brew keeps it taste and won’t turn stale. You can host events without needing to have someone on hand to reheat or refill the coffee supply, which potentially saves you hundreds of dollars per year. Its legs are available in either a regal or a modern design, and it’s available in brushed, polished, or powder-coated finishes. serviceideas.com
It's Time for the Percolator
The taste of percolated coffee, given no other variables, will differ from an automatic drip brew.
This titular song rose to popularity in the nineties, however, the actual percolator enjoyed fame much earlier than that. A percolator is a device used to brew coffee. Out of the myriad of options you have for coffee brewing today, the percolator is the precursor to modern brewing methods and it's still used today due to its simple design.
It works by placing a heat source at the bottom of the pot; which is filled with water. The water boils and travels up a central tube in the pot and recycles down on a filtered layer with coffee grounds. The boiled water makes contact with the grounds and extracts the coffee. The water then travels back down towards the heat source and the process is repeated until the entire pot has percolated.
The taste of percolated coffee, given no other variables, will differ from an automatic drip brew. If you come from a background of a certain brew method, I strongly advise you to try percolated coffee before you purchase it. Many claim that percolated coffee will come out stronger and more robust, albeit not as consistent as an automatic drip brew.
The heat source can be an electric hot plate or a fire from a stovetop or bonfire while camping. If on a stovetop, it's essential to remove the pot once it boils: "Coffee boiled is coffee spoiled," as the adage goes. The electric heated pot is designed with this in mind and has a built-in feature to shut off the heat source once the optimal temperature is reached.
Perks: Ups and Downs
Depending on the number of coffee drinkers in your household or how often you host java-loving guests, you must determine the size of the percolator you need. Some will only brew two cups at a time. The measurement of two cups is misleading and varies greatly. A standard cup is eight ounces, however, most coffee cups are designed to hold ten to twelve ounces, leaving the consumer with less coffee than desired. A twelve cup percolator will be beneficial for large gatherings and it eliminates resetting and cleaning the percolator many times to serve everyone. Large percolators are usually found at church gatherings or special interest meetings.
While porcelain is an option for stove tops, the stainless steel model reigns supreme.
Most of today's models are electric; unless you dig into your basement and find your mom's pot from the seventies. The electric percolator tends to brew a more consistent cup of coffee, however, some prefer the non-electric models so they can make coffee anywhere. Porcelain models are ideal for campers who enjoy making fresh coffee over a campfire. Given that it's no completely reliant on an electric source, the percolator shares a closer relationship to the Moka and french press than the automatic drip coffeemaker.
While porcelain is an option for stove tops, the stainless steel model reigns supreme. The danger of steel, however, is that the heat conducted during percolation makes the handle too hot to touch. The rectify this, quality models will support a sturdy handle that is far enough away from the body of the pot to eliminate accidental burns.
The complaint most have with the percolator is that the water is too hot when it makes contact with the coffee. With a pour over coffee, you have some time for the coffee to cool before the pour. The result of percolated coffee is an inconsistent cup that can easily become overpowering with flavor. In my opinion, the fix is to simply add less coffee and it'll save you money in the long run.
A Brief History of the Percolator
The first percolator model was invented in 1814 by Sir Benjamin Thompson to simply supply the Bavarian Army with a quality stimulant. Thompson's model, however, did not include the central tube to recycle the boiled water. It wasn't until five years later in neighboring France that a tinsmith called Laurens improved the designed and made it capable of being heated on a stovetop.
It was ousted by the automatic drip coffeemaker, which was seen as a vast improvement over the manual coffeemaker.
In 1889, Illinois farmer Hanson Goodrich perfected what is to be known as the modern percolator. It used the down flow method and gravity to extract flavor from the beans, and Goodrich's model has not been adjusted drastically since.
The percolator rose to popularity in the 1970's, particularly for camping, as one could make coffee without electricity. It was ousted by the automatic drip coffeemaker, which was seen as a vast improvement over the manual coffeemaker. Building on that technology, most of today's models of percolators use electricity. Perhaps this is the best of manual and automatic in brewing the perfect cup of coffee? Only time will tell.