How Long Do I Percolate Coffee For In A Stove-Top Percolator?

Q: How long do I percolate coffee for in a stove-top percolator?

A: How to Use a Percolator for Making Coffee: Fill pot with water for the number of cups of coffee you want. Try not to over fill it, as it will either boil over or seep out from the lid on an electrical percolator. Place coffee grounds in the basket: 1 tbs per cup of water is recommended. Fit basket into the urn and place on stovetop or plug into outlet. (for stove percolator) Heat the water to boiling. With an electrical percolator, nothing more will need to be done as it has a constant heat source. You may however, wish to lower the heat somewhat on a stove top percolator so it will not boil over. The boiling water will be forced up through the coffee grounds and the brewed coffee will accumulate in the pot which holds the water. You’ll be able to see the coffee bubble up through the glass dome to see how strong (bold) it’s getting. With each perk, you’ll notice the coffee in the dome darkening. Brewing should take about 5 minutes for a stove top percolator and about 7-10 minutes for an electrical percolator. (Important) Remove the filter basket with the used grounds and pour. If you do not do this, you will end up with coffee grounds in your coffee cup. You may anyway depending on the grind you’ve used. The finer the grind, the more chance you’ll have for grounds to filter through the holes in the basket. Obviously, you would not want to use an Espresso grind.

Discuss It!

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Rich said:

I use a percolator all the time and love the end result. Stove percolating is a bit trickier because it is easier to burn the coffee by using too much heat. Additionally, I use a paper filter in the brew basket as it eases clean up. It may also reduce sediment.

Tim said:

Just a correction on the answer about "boiling" the coffee on the stovetop. I have run accross this VERY COMMON MISCONCEPTION about percolators time and time again on the net. Contrary to popular belief you absolutly don't want to "boil" your coffee in a stovetop percolator and ELECTRIC PERCOLATORS DO NOT BOIL THE COFFEE!!!! A water temp just under boiling (200 deg) is optimal and the laws of thermodynamics take over to force the heated water through the perk tube and over the grounds. Too much heat IE; boiling releases the nasty burnt bitter taste we all hate. Electric percolators have temp sensors in the elements to heat the water to that optimal temp. If you see steam its too hot and your boiling the water.

Glen said:

"If you see steam and its too hot and you're boiling the water."

jackBruce said:

i use a farberware stovetop coffee maker, it never leaves ground in the coffee. it's pefect for what it's made to do

Ashley said:

Tim, what you say does make sense. I know certain teas are better made below boiling point as well. and a coffee pot also does not boil the coffee. But the coffee I make on my stove top I always assumed it boiled in the percolator, and I prefer it to regularly brewed coffee. once I start seeing the coffee in the dome I turn it down to low. does that mean that it is seen in the dome before it hits boiling point? I always assumed the coffee in the perc was better because of the higher temp it was being brewed at.

Jay said:

I have been drinking coffee for a long time and I like full flavor, at least I thought I did... But, 1 TABLEspoon ("tbs") and it's often recommended, per cup strikes me as way too much coffee. We use one of those camp coffee pots (big family:) and that would figure out to 2 cups of grounds. We use TEAspoons.

Don Zacher said:

I'm using a Farberware Yosemite stovetop percolator on an induction burner. This allows me to set the temperature to 180 degrees, just enough to make sure it percolates. It also allows me to set the over all time. For 6 cups I use 20 minutes, about 8 minutes after percolation starts. Then it shuts off and I can pour the coffee into a vacuum carafe. Voila makes fantastic coffee and easy to change the time for your particular tastes.

Bob said:

If you are using TEAspoons then you are drinking MIGHTY week coffee! TABLEspoons is correct.

Hammie said:

Agree that the US made Farberware electrics (ie "Superfast"), are foolproof and make excellent perc'd coffee without boiling or burning. I would hesitate to uniquivocally state a time for stovetop percolation, though. There are too many variables involved; just turn the heat very low after percolation begins, and watch vigilantly. Of course coffee doesn't boil in a percolator! An irritating belief that just won't go away because it keeps getting repeated by people who should know better.

Rich Arabica said:

Don't use tablespoons, use the scooper they give you with the cofee . 1 for every 2 cups. Use fresh ground coffee. Add cinnamon. Don't perk more than 5 minutes. It will put hair on your tongue.

Samuel Hazelnut said:

DO NOT put cinnamon in your coffee, not only will this clog your machine it is well agreed upon as an unpleasant combo of flavors. If you wish to experience with some zing try star anise or sugar.

David Shore said:

I have studied this vigilantly and experimented with this on and off for years. I do 2 tablespoons per 6 ounces water, but that's strong for many so simply adjust. Do not shake or tap the basket to level the coffee or some finer particles will settle and slow the drip by clogging the holes. Start on high flame and one must watch & not go away! As soon as the water comes up into the the clear dome or knob (which IS NOT at boling at this point)immediately lower the flame but not so much that the perk stops. Have the flame as low as it can be to just keep it perking slowly. I set timer for 7 minutes and sometimes leave for 8 or 9 at most according to color. Turn off & let sit a few moments to drip the remaining water through. I remove the basket (use rag/towel/etc. not to burn fingers. Don't be discouraged. It sounds more difficult when explaining, but after a few trys you'll be delighted. Coffee is run by the machine industry and they intentionally perpetuate the myth that the water boils when perked.

Mike Michigan said:

I have been using my mothers old 8 cup glass perc. she had for years. When she passed i grabbed it first chance I had. I can't seem to get that taste mom had but who ever does with anything these mothers make.Lots of great info here I learned. Especially how much grounds. i was percing it for about 10 minutes and see now i need to adjust my grounds, not my perc time. Thanks everyone. Every time i have a cup from here I remember this thing working away several times a day making great coffee. Mom did it right.

LifewithLarry .me said:

I see a lot of comment about the grounds. 1 TBLSP per Cup is Correct. I see a lot of comments about time and types of boiling. (depends on pot and taste) but no one is mentioning the water. You need to understand that its 1TBLSPN to 1 "Coffee cup" not Cup. A "Coffee Cup" is 6 oz. where as a Cup is 8 oz. So if you are measuring out 8 - 8oz cups, you will be using way too much water. The marks on the pots are calculated at 6oz. so if you are going by the marks, you are fine. As for boiling, simmering. etc. The water MUST be boiling to percolate up, the mistake people make is that once all the water has filtered through the grounds- you are done. NOW you need to remove the brew basket and keep is simmiring to keep warm or just use it all right away. Note: If you want stronger coffee, use less water per TBLSPN. Weaker Coffee - Use more water. Keep your perk times the same.

LifewithLarry .me said:

oops. That should have read 2 TBLSPN per 6oz of water. Some coffee scoops are calculated to 2 so if you are using a scoop like that (which I do) you use 1 Scoop.

Susan said:

Why does water get trapped in the basket sometimes?

HotForCoffee said:

love all the comments from coffee enthusiasts. Just got a Farberware stovetop percolater for Christmas and LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! but come on guys life is too short to drink cheap coffee. If you're buying coffee canisters that have a plastic scoop with them forget about it it's not going to taste good no matter how you try.

charles said:

Got a corning ware perc from my mother. Drip coffee is crap. Love this thing. HotForCoffee is right. Start with an inferior product and the whole experience won't matter

Perry's coffee said:

There is an excellent PBS show on gourmet coffee efficianados. They may disagree on a few things but the ALL agreed that a percolator is close to the bottom of the list on brewing methods. They all favored a simple French press over all. More controllable, much easier to use, never ever gets burnt taste. (I still use my percolator for sentimental reasons or if I need to make a large pot and appreciate all your good tips above. )

Lil said:

Is using an aluminum pot a no-no?