Coffee Notes, by Jay Spencer Seiler


Percolating Coffee. Yes We still do that.
November 16, 2009, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Coffee | Tags: , , , ,

Percolating coffee is basically verboten for those who are coffee snobs, however it is still a very popular way of making coffee for those who like their coffe dark and strong. Plus percolators, both the stove-top and electric kinds, are cheap and easy to use and quickly brew up strong coffee for a caffeine fix. Below I have pasted in some quick instructions on using a percolator for a decent cup of joe.

First you grind the Coffee
If you use a regular ground coffee for an automatic drip coffee maker you will be straining grounds through your teeth. Not really pleasant. The fine grind results in the finer coffee bean bits going through the strainer basket. If you have a grinder at home, set it to a course grind and grind the coffee beans that way. If you don’t have a grinder, then grind the coffee at the store to a course grind that you need to properly make percolated coffee. Basically you want the same grind that you would for a french press.

Now you fill the Percolator
With the percolator taken apart, add water into the base of it up to the fill line. Usually this is just below the bottom of the coffee strainer basket. Put your ground (fresh?) coffee into the strainer basket. After doing some websearches for opinions, it turns out this should be in the ratio of 1 tbsp. ground coffee to each cup of water in the percolator. But tastes may vary. Play with it a little to find what you like. Replace the strainer basket and put the lid on.

Now we Brew the Coffee
If you are using an electric percolator, just plug it in to start the percolator. If you are using a stovetop percolator, set your stove on a medium-high heat and put the percolator on the burner. Every percolator has a little glass “bubble” on the lid that will show the coffee as it bubbles up through. Remember those Maxwell House commercials? That’s right. Now the jingle is going through your head. If this is before your time, search for it on youtube I bet you can find it. As the water inside comes to a boil, it will be pushed up over the coffee grounds and the coffee will strain down into the base of the percolator water-filled reservoir. The process repeats itself and through the little glass bubble you can see how dark and strong the coffee is getting. The process on the stove top should take about 5 minutes. An electric percolator can take a little longer, between 7 to 10 minutes. Once the coffee is ready, or strong enough for your tastes, remove the lid and take out the basket before you pour it. This prevents the used grounds from ending up in your coffee cup.

Sit back and enjoy.
Those of us who are older can remember that this was the way our parents made coffee. Before Joe Dimaggio made the Mr. Coffee drip machine a household item. Those people who are avid outdoors people still brew this way over the campfire or coleman stove. My father in law used to just throw his ground coffee into a sauce pot and boil it up. Now that is old school! It is possible to make a pretty good cup of coffee by percolating it, and it is also really easy to ruin it too. So watch the percolating process carefully and you may find you like it this way better than drip!

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