How Long to Percolate Coffee For?

coffee percolator
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Suppose you are late for work and wondering how to make the easiest and quickest brew ever. Home brewing coffee is easy, fun, and a great training tool to polish your barista skills.

Despite the traditional drip machine’s popularity, there are many other ways to make a great cup of tea. Using a percolator is one way you may need to be made aware of.

Brewing coffee via percolator is super quick and easy and does not require any barista experience or training equipment. You must follow a few guidelines to brew the best coffee out of this machine.

For the starter, here is the most common question about percolating: how long to percolate coffee for? Percolate your coffee between 8-10 minutes, according to your pot’s size. Ensure you remove the pot before the water boils, and the coffee you use is coarsely ground.

In this article, we will dig deeper into all information related to percolators and how to make coffee in them. We will make sure you turn out to be a percolator coffee expert after reading this blog. Let’s begin!

What is a Coffee Percolator & How Does it Work?

We’ll take a look at coffee makers and its history now. A coffee percolator was nearly found in every home before drip machines became popular. The coffee maker was patented in the US in 1865 and originated in Paris in the early 1800s.

A percolator is a type of brewing kettle consisting of a lower chamber containing water and a top section containing ground coffee connected by a vertical tube.

  • At the top chamber, heated water drips over the ground coffee as it climbs through the percolator’s spout.
  • After passing through the grounds and extracting flavors, the water leaks into the bottom chamber.
  • During the brewing process, the process repeats itself continuously until the coffee perks up and is ready to be consumed.

Different Types of Percolators

Typically, there are two most common types of coffee percolators available in the market.

Stovetop percolator

A stove top percolator is the most traditional kind of percolator that operates by using an external heat source. Whether you are camping, at work, or on the go, it’s a great way to brew coffee, but it may require a bit more care when brewing and can quickly overheat or overextend, resulting in a bitter stove top percolator coffee taste.

Coffee percolating on stove

Electric percolator

There is a price premium for electric percolators over stovetop options, and they need a power source to operate. The water temperature is better maintained with them. As well as percolating for the right amount of time, they won’t let the coffee over stew.

electric coffee percolator

How Long Does it Take to Percolate Coffee?

To get the perfect flavor, it is best to percolate your coffee for eight to ten minutes. If you exceed the maximum time limit, you will end up having a burnt, bitter coffee taste. In contrast, if you remove the coffee pot earlier than the recommended time, the final brewed coffee cup will be weak, with no taste or aroma.

The length of time can be adjusted based on how strong and intense you like your coffee to be. It may take as little as five minutes if you’re using a stovetop percolator. Percolators such as the moka pot, which don’t circulate, can be turned off when the top compartment is full.

When using a stovetop brewing percolator, keeping an eye on it is essential since it can quickly boil over if you are not paying attention.

Compared to stovetop percolators, electric coffee percolators are relatively easier to use. When the coffee has finished brewing, plug-in electric percolators turn themselves off. Monitoring isn’t required – and coffee brewing also doesn’t need to be timed.

What to Know Before You Start Percolating the Coffee?

Before starting to percolate your coffee in the percolator, there are a few things you must learn about.

Getting ready

Before adding fresh coffee grounds to the percolator, ensure it is clean and free of the old coffee grind, as they can affect the flavor. Choose your desired coffee beans and grind them into a coarse texture in your coffee grinder. 

You can also use pre-ground coarse grinds or even French press coffee

Filter paper

If you don’t want to have a gritty, strong coffee, add filter paper to the percolator’s upper basket. But if you want a stronger brew, percolating your coffee without a filter is also perfectly okay.

What type of coffee is best to use in a percolator?

In terms of choosing the best coffee for percolation, there is no hard and fast rule. Your taste preferences and what flavors you enjoy most determine what makes a good cup of coffee.

Generally speaking, dark roast coffee beans are more oily and have intense flavors such as chocolate and nuts. Although less acidic than light roast coffee beans, they can become bitter if over-extracted.

As a result of its higher acidity, light roast coffee has a more complex flavor and brightness but a weaker coffee taste. There are fruity and floral notes, but it is not bitter brew isn’t as intense as a dark roast.

Still, trying to figure it out? If it’s your first time, try a coarsely ground coffee in medium-roast!

water pouring in coffee cup

How much coffee to add to the percolator?

You need to adjust the coffee-to-water ratio to suit your taste preferences when percolating coffee. For each cup of water, add about 5g of coffee (about a tablespoon). One part of coarse-grind coffee for two parts water. (1:2 ratio).

Your coffee maker’s size determines how much water you should use, but keeping it from filling up above the spout is essential.

To counteract an overly solid or underpowered taste perk coffee, increase or decrease the amount of coffee you use.

water pouring over coffee grounds

How Do You Percolate Coffee in a Percolator?

Following are the steps involved in making coffee in a percolator:

Step 1: Fill the percolator with coffee beans and water

The first step is to insert a coffee filter and fill the upper chamber with the requisite amount of beans and water for the number of cups you need to brew. We have already discussed the ratio of coffee and water you need for a single cup (1:2).

As the coffee brews, close the lid of the container. The chamber has tiny perforations that allow the coffee to drip out.

Step 2: Put the percolator on the heat source

Turn on the burner of the stove and place the percolator on it on medium heat. Percolator bottoms have a sealed chamber that is accessed through a hollow tube. Pressure is created in the bottom section as the percolator warms up on the stove or with a power source.

Step 3: Monitor your brew

Most stovetop coffee percolators have a plastic or a clear glass knob on the cover to monitor how the coffee is brewing. Water will produce bubbles every few seconds if heated to the right temperature.

You should set your timer for no more than ten minutes at this point so that the coffee begins to perk.

Water is pushed upward into the tube and over the coffee grounds in the chamber. As the hot water circulates repeatedly, the coffee beans are brewed until they are boiling.

Step 4: Turn off the heat

When the percolator makes a spurting whistle sound, it’s time to turn off the heat. It is now time to remove the brew from the heat source as the brewing process is complete.

Step 5: It’s time to serve!

Wait a few minutes for the coffee to cool. Pour it into the mug and serve!

coffee pot with coffee filter

How to Clean a Percolator After Making Coffee?

Whether you have a traditional percolator made of stainless steel at home or invested in a more modern device- the electric coffee percolator- you must keep your device clean and free of coffee grounds.

This is because a clean coffee-making device will deliver the best brew with a fantastic taste. If you have old coffee grounds stuck in your percolator, they will produce coffee oils, thus affecting the coffee flavor of the fresh batch you are brewing.

The percolator should be washed with soapy water immediately after each use, so the grounds don’t build up oils and residue from previous batches. For best results, repeat this process once a week or how frequently you brew yourself a fresh coffee cup in your percolator.

The Bottom Line!

You may not find one of these at any of the coffee shops you frequently visit because the percolator coffee maker is a pretty old-fashioned way to make coffee. However, throwing it back a few decades isn’t such a bad thing, is it?

Take a break from your standard drip coffee brewer and try a percolator next time you want to teach your friends about the coffee history and slow things down a little bit!  

You should practice the process of percolating coffee as much as you can, and make sure not to let the water boil! Otherwise, you will end up with a very bitter taste and unpleasant mouthfeel for a long time! Good luck.


Can you percolate coffee for too long?

The recommended time to percolate your coffee in a percolator is 8-10 minutes. If you brew it longer than this, the final coffee cup will taste burnt, bitter, and unpleasant. However, this time also depends on the pot size and number of cups you are percolating.

Why is my percolated coffee so weak?

You will need to percolate the coffee longer if it tastes weak or watery. Percolate your coffee using a medium roast. To release the flavor of a light roast, the coffee would have to be percolated for so long that it would be over-extracted.

How do percolators know when to stop?

Percolators make a sound when they reach boiling point, which indicates that they are done brewing. It sounds like a tea kettle whistling and bubbling or sputtering sounds from the brewing coffee. It is easier to find in an electric percolator since it automatically shuts down when the water reaches a boil.

Does coffee taste better in a percolator?

It is common for many coffee drinkers and connoisseurs to use a percolator mainly because of its more affluent and darker flavor than drip coffee. A double brew and intense heat make the percolator a perfect coffee maker.

Can you use a percolator twice?

When you double brew with only a percolator, your coffee will have grits. It happens because you’re repeating the process on a cup that’s already saturated. It is also vital to ensure the basket is cool when pouring coffee grounds a second time if you double-brew it with a percolator.

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