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Percolator

Percolator

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How does a percolator work?

Percolator is a kettle-like coffee brewing device. The concept is to bring the water inside to its boiling point and continually cycled through the coffee grounds. The longer the cycling time, the stronger the brew is.

Stovetop vs Electric

There are two types: stovetop and electric. Stovetop coffee percolator requires external open flame and while electric percolator coffee maker needs to be plugged into a socket.

Electric percolator is suitable for indoor use. You do not need to keep an eye on it as it usually comes with automatic shut-off function. Stovetop percolator is good for internal and outdoor use but it requires your attention when it operates. In terms of price, electric percolator is usually higher than stovetop

Size of Percolator

It usually comes in 3 cups, 6 cups, 9 cups and 12 cups. Here comes a common question: how much coffee grounds should be used? This is very subjective and personal. We can start with one teaspoon for one cup. If the flavour turns out is not strong enough, you can change to use one tablespoon for one cup in next brew.

Over-extraction

Coffee brewed by percolator is usually very strong and it is easily led to bitter flavours and over-extraction. This is due to the working mechanism of percolator. When the water inside percolator is heated, the steam creates a vacuum that sucks water up the central tube. The water pours over the coffee grounds back to the bottom of the pot.  This process is repeated. Therefore, carefully controlling the temperature during brewing is the key to avoid over-extraction and control the brewed coffee flavour.

Percolator coffee vs Drip coffee

The main difference is brew strength and flavour. Percolator coffee maker brews stronger coffee because it keeps brewing the coffee grounds repeatedly and drip coffee maker only brews once, making the flavour less strong.

Tips:

How long to brew coffee in a percolator?

Depending on the desired strength and flavour, 7 – 10 minutes is usually enough.
Paying attention to temperature is essential. Temperature that is too high will cause over-extraction and makes the flavour extra bitter even the brew time is short. While if temperature is not hot enough, the flavour cannot be fully extracted from coffee grounds.

Maintaince of percolator affects the brewed flavour

It is advised to clean percolator right after brewing. The brewed coffee grounds inside the basket will be dried out if it is being left for a long time and it will be difficult to remove it. The brewed coffee also should not be left inside the chamber too long as it will stain the chamber wall and this will certainly affect the flavour of your next brew.

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