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Using a percolator

As I mentioned in the coffeemaker thread, my Zojirushi gave up the ghost. Among my many coffee toys I recall I have a stovetop percolator, but I've never used one. Suggestions? Links to info on using a perc?

asked by Windischgirl 10 months ago

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15 answers 503 views
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added 10 months ago

My parents used one yonks ago- best I recall, you simply put water in the bottom, coffee grounds in the top, and set it to boil. As the coffee is kept at a boil and repeatedly run through the grounds, and coffee available in the '50's was pretty poor, the result was not great- at any rate, my parents were glad to drop it when drip coffee became known.

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79ca7fa3 11e3 4829 beae d200649eab49  walken the walk
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added 10 months ago

I guess I'm a geezer then. I have a Biaggi that still works fine if you use good coffee. Yes eater in the bottom and grounds in the top.

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added 10 months ago

Somewhere in the world (probably in England) there are no doubt collectors who would pay big bucks for a working percolator. Nero Wolf had one in his basement, which he ended up using to test a small bomb, nearly decapitating himself in the process- a fine use, I thought. I wonder if anyone else still has a good old Rockwell coffee cone.

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added 10 months ago

I am very late but I have to protest the notion that perk coffee was the only choice available pre automatic drip machines. My parents had from their 1945 wedding a coffee maker that made excellent coffee for about 40 years. The only differences from an automatic drip machine and this trusty devise was you had to boil the water first and then all the water was poured at once over the compartment where the grounds were trapped. Water travelled once and only once thru the grounds avoiding the common deficits of perked coffee. We always referred to this as drip but maybe not accurate, the water dripped thru but it did not arrive to the top of the coffee in anything resembling a drip.

23d08e08 3b57 4e81 adcd 91701fc50809  fb avatar
added 10 months ago

Sure, drip coffee predated the percolator, as, no doubt, did cowboy coffee, and in my opinion is still the best way to go. The percolator, however, was really in tune with 50's sensibilities- it was somewhat high tech at the time and was kind of neat to watch, and they became pretty ubiquitous at the time. But drip was always there, as I would guess was the French press and tea-like methods of brewing it.

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added 10 months ago

Thanks Pierino. How long do I let it perk?
BTW, I think I have a stovetop espresso pot in the archives as well. I really do have a ridiculous number of coffee appliances...

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79ca7fa3 11e3 4829 beae d200649eab49  walken the walk
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added 10 months ago

A espresso pot is a percolator. It was the original "espresso" maker before they started making high pressure machines as big as a Vespa in Italy. Just set it on your burner and let it come to a boil. There should be a steam release valve on the top. So just keep an eye on that.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 10 months ago

I could be wrong, but doesn't it stop percolating when all the water has percolated up and over the grounds?

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added 10 months ago

That's how I remember it- the espresso maker just boils the water, not the coffee.

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added 10 months ago

I have both, and they really are two different animals...

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added 10 months ago

I have a Corning wear perc that I use when feeling nostalgic.
There should be a water level mark on the side of the base. For every 2 cups of water (2 cups equals one coffee mug at my house), I add a heaping soup spoonful of coffee to the top basket. Put it on the stove and start timing it when it begins to bubble through the glass at the top. It will bubble till it runs dry if you leave it on the stove, unlike an espresso pot. Depending on how strong you like you coffee, turn it off when done.

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added 10 months ago

GRG, Thanks for the hints. I see the cup markings on the sides. I just opened the lid and discovered I had written myself a note for amount of coffee and perk time. I'll try it tomorrow!
Pierino, thanks for the inspiration too. I think I'll set up my espresso maker this afternoon, when I need to power thru that paperwork for work.
You might appreciate the message I got from my 20yo daughter who works at Starbucks. She was sent over the edge by the customer who wanted a 'no-foam cappuccino.'
Oy.

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79ca7fa3 11e3 4829 beae d200649eab49  walken the walk
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added 10 months ago

Just an afterthought, the creator of the Biaggi died recently and requested that after cremation his ashes be packed into his creation. Kind of a cool idea.

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79ca7fa3 11e3 4829 beae d200649eab49  walken the walk
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added 10 months ago

Just an afterthought, the creator of the Biaggi died recently and requested that after cremation his ashes be packed into his creation. Kind of a cool idea.

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8671a78d 7dd4 4230 a4ec 2a67389ef45e  image
added 10 months ago

Thanks for everyone's input. Last Sunday I staged a taste test with hubby comparing drip, perc, and Stovetop espresso. Yes, I know it wasn't a fair test because espresso is a different prep. However, hubby really liked the espresso. My little drip was okay...passable. The perc was weak but I probably could have let it go a little longer and used more coffee; we did try the trick of pouring the coffee over the grounds for a bit more oomph.
Will be making the espresso again--I had forgotten how easy it is!
Anyway, hubby broke down and got an insulated carafe Mr. Coffee model on eBay. I'm a little embarassed but he's a desperate man...

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