Coffee percolation is a much older method that is without many of the bells and whistles of today’s brewing methods. Many people nowadays don’t want to percolate their coffee because it takes too much time and effort. In reality, it takes just a little patience, practice, and 5 minutes out of your morning to make perfectly-percolated coffee.

What is Coffee Percolation?

coffee percolation

A coffee percolator is a kettle-like contraption that lets you brew coffee in a very innovative way. The usual drip/pour over method involves water seeping through the coffee grounds and extracting their flavor. Percolating, on the other hand, uses steam to saturate the grounds before it filters through the coffee.

There are two ways to perk your coffee: on the stove and via an electric percolator.

Stovetop Percolation

The traditional method of percolating is using a coffee percolator on the stove. A consistent, hot temperature that isn’t quite at boiling is crucial – a lot of people tend to overheat their coffee, which creates a nasty, bitter taste. The water should be kept at a temperature just below boiling for around 5 minutes so that it’s rich and strong, not burnt.

Electric Percolation

Electric percolators take the guesswork out of the process. As long as you have the right coffee beans and a good coffee to water ratio, you can make a great-tasting cup every time without any hassle. The kettle has its own heat plate and temperature sensors that heat the water to the perfect temperature.

How Long Should You Percolate Your Coffee?

It really depends on how strong you like your coffee, but anything over 10 minutes will burn the brew and make it taste bitter and dry. 5-8 minutes is optimal, but this varies depending on which percolation method you use. The time isn’t as important as how careful you are with the process. It’s definitely a very active, hands-on brewing method that requires you to keep a close eye on it.

You have to watch the percolator to make sure that there’s no steam coming out of the kettle. This means that the water is boiling, and is likely oversaturating your coffee grounds. You have to raise the temperature very slowly, and reduce the heat before it starts to boil.

Percolating your coffee sounds like a very complicated process, but it’s actually incredibly simple. With enough practice, you’ll be able to brew enjoyable perked coffee, cowboy-style, in under just 10 minutes.

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Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.