How Long Does A Stovetop Percolator Take

How To Use A Stovetop Percolator For Great Coffee?

Want to know how to use a stovetop percolator to make a good old-fashioned brew? Read all about how you can brew great coffee full of flavor on the stove.

The traditional method of “perking” with a stove coffee percolator beats the competition every time, in every way.

It is sad to see that the coffee maker that happily bubbles away and brews on the stove has been pushed to the back of the shelves.


New, fancy electric coffee machines have come onto the market, bragging about all the convenience and speed they offer.

But… they may not necessarily be the best buy for you.

And percolated coffee does not take that much longer than brewing coffee any differently. In fact – done correctly – percolated coffee can provide a richer, stronger brew than a fancy machine in the same amount of time.

In this article we will explain how to use a stovetop percolator to obtain the best results.

What Is A Stovetop Percolator?

The word “percolation” is derived from the Latin word “percolare,” which means “to stretch.” When a liquid is strained through a filter, as when making coffee, percolation happens.

Perky is derived from the word percolate, which means “to bubble over.” Hence the expression ‘perky’ is when someone is feeling energized, on top of the world, and bubbling over with joy.

When anything percolates, it is referred to as percolation. Percolation is most commonly associated with coffee by us laypeople, but chemists employ it in a variety of research fields too.

Most stovetop percolators resemble tall, thin kettles, but they do a lot more than just warm water. A percolator is a steam-powered coffee brewer.

Unlike pour-over coffee, which filters clean water through the layer of ground coffee, vacuum brewing saturates your ground coffee beans with steam before filtering.

To percolate is to prepare coffee by filtering hot water through ground coffee beans, again and again, using steam.

The heat source needed to do this is a hot plate on your stovetop.

How To Make Coffee With A Stovetop Percolator The Easy Way

How To Use A Stovetop Percolator

Buying the best percolator to suit your needs will stand you in good stead for many years to come.

These coffee pots are easy to use, easy to clean, and portable to anywhere far away from electricity and a wall socket.

They won’t stop working for some inexplicable reason and are a reliable source of really hot coffee whenever and wherever.

For those of you aware of the side effects of plastic and are looking for a coffee pot that is exempt from this dreaded modern-day material… this is the answer.

Most models are stainless steel with a glass globe on the lid. You can brew to your heart’s content knowing that you are BPA-free.

The majority of percolator coffee pots for brewing on the stove make approximately 4 to 8 cups of coffee. Please bear in mind that 2 cups are equivalent to 1 standard coffee mug.

Find A Stovetop Coffee Percolator For Sale on Amazon

The following Amazon products will be a long-lasting and favorite addition to your brewing arsenal.

Start making coffee with a stovetop percolator now – and start enjoying the aromas and flavors this type of brew offers.

How Does a Stovetop Coffee Percolator Work?

Even though every brand of percolator looks slightly different, the basic mechanism inside is exactly the same.

The coffee grounds sit in a small basket with a myriad of small holes above the waterline. There is a narrow tube that extends from the base of the basket to the water below.

This mechanism is the heart of the stovetop coffee brewer and how your delicious brew is made.

When the water heats up from your heat source, it rises up the tube and into the coffee grounds. This action allows the hot water to circulate through the coffee grounds, absorbing its flavor and aroma.

This flavored water drains back down into the pot where the process will be repeated.

Very simple.

How Long Does A Stovetop Percolator Take To Brew Coffee?

How long does a percolator take to complete a brew?

The first thing you have to do is get your percolator to a rolling boil, making sure your water is bubbling at regular intervals.

Then set your timer.

How long you set the percolator to perk depends on how you like your coffee. Every individual likes their coffee a certain way.

Some percolator experts only brew for six to eight minutes, but the brewing time will ultimately be determined by how strong you want your coffee.

Some coffee drinkers will brew for 10 minutes!!

Tips On How To Use A Stovetop Percolator

When the coffee is brewing – watch through the glass globe on top. It should bubble every few seconds. that is perfect. But if you notice steam coming out of the percolator, it is too hot. Turn the heat down.

One of the most common reasons percolated coffee is too bitter is because your water was too hot. Brewing coffee with water that is too hot over-extracts your coffee, making it bitter.

Also, be careful not to overdo the brew time. Brew for too long, and the coffee will develop a bitter flavor.

The longer your coffee sits in the pot, the stronger it becomes.

How To Make Good Coffee In A Stovetop Percolator

The only ingredient you have to get right when making coffee – is the coffee!

When percolating, you need to use the correct size of grounds and use the correct amount of grounds for your taste.

First – get the correct size grinds.

Top Tip

Use a coarser ground coffee for percolators.

As the water rotates many times during the brewing time, if the grinds are too fine, the coffee can become muddy.

This is caused by the smaller-sized coffee grounds being transferred into the water below, and into your coffee, through the holes of the chamber.

Therefore, using the correct coffee grinder to prepare your beans is essential.

Also, a lighter roast is better to avoid a bitter taste.

How Much Coffee To Use In A Percolator?

Knowing how much coffee to use in your percolator is imperative for a good-tasting cup of coffee.

Now, this all comes down to personal choice.

A stronger cup will need more grounds. And remember that brewing it longer with fewer grounds does not make for a stronger flavor.

That will just produce a bitter, unenjoyable taste. It’s far better to brew for less time with more coffee grinds.

Stovetop Percolator Coffee Measurements

In general, a good start is to use one tablespoon of coarsely ground coffee per cup of water for a strong brew. To make a weaker brew, use one teaspoon per cup.

You can then adjust the coffee amounts to suit your taste buds. After a couple of brews, you will have your perfect water to coffee ratio.

For large brews, use a coffee scoop to measure out your grinds – a coffee scoop is the equivalent of two tablespoons.

Step by Step How To Use A Coffee Percolator

Using a percolator is easy – just follow the steps below on how to use a stovetop percolator on the stove, and you will be well on your way to a tasty cuppa.

Add Water

Add the amount of water required for the number of cups or mugs you need to the percolator.

Assemble the Basket and Tube

Place the tube or stem inside the coffee pot and slide the basket over the tube into position.

Add Coffee Grounds

Place the coffee grounds in the basket. Be careful not to overdo the quantity. This method produces stronger coffee than other machines.

A little experimenting with your favorite bean and accurate measuring with a scoop the first couple of times is needed to achieve the right strength for you.

Start Brewing

Place the percolator over medium heat. The key to a good pot of coffee is to heat the water slowly to a point just below boiling.

The temperature is perfect when you can see the coffee start to bubble through the glass bubble on the lid. It should “perk” approximately once every few seconds at a regular roll. This is a good perking pace.

If your pot starts steaming, it is getting too hot. Either take it off the heat for a bit or reduce the temperature of the heat source. Try to achieve the nice perking roll observed through the glass top.

When is a percolator done?

Brew for approximately 7 to 10 minutes for a stronger cup or 5 to 6 minutes for a weaker brew.

Take off the heat, carefully remove the basket and tube, and pour your cuppa.


That is how to use a stovetop percolator!

How To Clean A Stovetop Coffee Percolator

It is important to keep your percolator clean so that there is no buildup of oils and stains.

If your coffee pot gets too dirty, it can affect the quality of the coffee brew and can leave you wondering why it tastes a little off.

Cleaning is very simple to do, and if done on a regular basis, it means you have great coffee all the time.

Regular upkeep can be done simply with a cloth and soapy water. Give it a good rub inside to get the stains and leftover oily residues off the sides of the pot.

Every now and then, you may have to give it a good clean with something a little stronger, as regular washing is not cutting through the build-ups.

Clean A Percolator With Vinegar

An easy method to clean your coffee pot is vinegar.

  • Dilute 1 part white vinegar with 1 part water.
  • Place in the percolator.
  • Let the solution stand for 15 minutes.
  • Run a complete brewing cycle.
  • Tip the solution out.
  • Run 2 or 3 more brewing cycles with plain fresh water.

You can also read about other methods you can use to clean a percolator without vinegar.

Types of Percolators

There are several types of stovetop percolators to choose from on the market.

So you need to be open-minded and consider alternatives to what you have always imagined a stove coffee brewer to look like.

You have the option of:

  • Stainless Steel
  • Enamel
  • Glass

Within these categories, you will also find old-fashioned and even vintage-style coffee maker designs.

How about that?

You actually have quite a choice!

Making coffee with a percolator for the stove provides many style options. These are listed below.

Stainless Steel Stovetop Coffee Percolator

Stainless Steel Stovetop Coffee Percolator

This is probably the most popular coffee maker people choose.

They look very elegant and come in several different designs to suit your lifestyle and kitchen decor.

Their popularity probably also comes from the idea of durability as well as the ease of cleaning and maintenance. These are very important factors to consider when contemplating purchasing any item for your kitchen.

One of the factors to consider is the size and number many cups or mugs of coffee you can brew.

These vary between a maximum of 6, 8, 9, or 12 cups. 12 cups are generally the largest stovetop coffee percolator available and are a very generous-sized brewer.

But the minimum brew can be between 1-2 cups.

Most coffee pots come with water measurements printed inside. It is advisable to only use the amount of water required for the number of coffees being brewed.

Also, measure out the required coffee grounds accordingly. Then you can brew away.

Advantages of a Stainless Steel Coffee Pot:

  • Constructed of heavy gauge stainless steel
  • Heat safe to 600-degrees Fahrenheit
  • Most stovetop coffee percolators feature a glass cover knob and permanent cup markings on the side
  • Makes fresh perked coffee without using electricity
  • Water levels clearly marked inside for easy measuring
  • Percolator parts disassemble easily for cleaning
  • Generally dishwasher safe

These are a perfect addition to outdoor entertaining and hiking trips. They are easy to use and set up over a fire.

Enamel Stove Top Coffee Percolator

Enamel Stovetop Coffee Percolator

Now – enamel coffee percolators are the hard-wearing, knock it about, outdoor brewer.

These pots bring to mind the cowboys sitting around their campfire in the middle of nowhere. I can just picture them eating beans and drinking strong black coffee out of their metal cups!!

These durable brewing pots are reminiscent of the old-fashioned coffee pot from a bygone era. But they are by no means a thing of the past.

They are still being made today and are just as efficient at brewing coffee as they always have been.

Coming in varying sizes, there is an 8 cup, 12 and even 14 cup capacity pot.

These are the ultimate in outdoor coffee brewing over the fire. Hard wearing and durable, these percolators are made for the outdoors.

The Benefits of an Enamel Stove Top Coffee Pot

  • Heavy glazed enamel steel is rustproof and durable.
  • They generally have top and side handles
  • Kiln-hardened enamel finish prevents chips and scratches
  • Steel core heats quickly and efficiently
  • An enamel surface will not alter the taste of coffee or tea
  • No PTFEPFOA or other harmful chemicals
  • Dishwasher safe

When looking for a basic coffee pot that does not need electricity and is usable both indoors and out – this type of coffee pot is the answer.

Glass Stovetop Percolator Coffee Pots

Glass Stovetop Percolator Coffee Pots

There is a small variety of glass percolators for the stove on the market.

Within this range, there is a selection of vintage styles that take you back in time.

These will add a little class to your coffee experience and become a talking point with your guests.

There is no need to be worried about the glass being put on a hot stove plate. They will not shatter or crack as soon as the stove plate gets to the right brewing temperature.

They are fully functional and made to withstand the heat required to make a proper brew.

Glass Percolator Qualities

  • Thermal-Shock Resistant
  • Made from Borosilicate Glass
  • Heat tolerant handles
  • Some come with a trivet so can be used on coil electric stoves
  • Can go from stove to table to fridge without cracking
  • Stain-resistant
  • Dishwasher-safe

These coffee makers also come in varying cup capacities.

Camping Percolators

Camping Percolators

Stovetop coffee percolators are the quintessential coffee brewers for camping outdoors.

So easy to set up and use – once the fire is going nicely, of course!

When making coffee outdoors with a percolator, bear in mind that the stainless steel and enamel varieties are the perfect pots for brewing on a fire.

As a personal choice, I would go for the enamel type – they seem more robust for using over the flames. They have the outdoorsy feel too.

Another option would be the basic stainless steel pot. Not one with a high sheen or gloss, as the flames may tarnish the exterior. They will also get knocked around by being lugged around in rough environments.

Practicality is the order of the day when choosing camping percolators!

An alternative to brewing coffee while camping is a battery operated coffee machine. Without fire, you can still have a warming cup of brew in a fraction of the time.

How To Use A Stovetop Percolator?

To Sum Up…

The stovetop coffee makers are back to basics and produce a coffee that is just as good, if not better than a drip coffee maker.

If you are seriously thinking of making coffee with a percolator on the stove, I would like to say a little something to you:-

The newfangled, fancy coffee makers with all the lights and settings are not everything.

Making a cup the way your grandparents did has its merits.

So how long does a stovetop percolator take to brew?

It does not take any longer than an electric version – under 10 minutes and you are done.

Now Make It Happen!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you use a stovetop percolator?

Place your grounds into the basket and place the lid on the percolator. Put the percolator on a hot stove plate or fire to heat up and start boiling. Turn the heat down so that the coffee is on a slow, rolling boil. Let the coffee perk for between 6 and 10 minutes, then remove it from the heat. Pour and enjoy.

How long do you let coffee percolate on a stove?

Once your percolator is perking, on average, it takes between 6 and 10 minutes to get a good brew.

How do I know when my coffee percolator is done?

On a stovetop, you will need to set a timer for the ideal brew time. A little experimentation is required when you first start brewing, but after that, your brew time should not change.

Do you need a filter for a percolator?

If you are using a coarser grind, you should not need a filter. But a finer grind will escape from the coffee pot’s basket, and then a filter when pouring is advisable.

How do you keep coffee grounds out of a percolator?

Use coarser grounds so that they do not escape from the basket during the brewing process.

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