There’s a huge variety of ways to make coffee at home nowadays, all of which have their fans and detractors.
It’s so easy to get swept up in a whirl of capsules or to lose yourself in the world of timers, scales, and pouring kettles.
From cafetiere to Aeropress and everything in between, you would be forgiven for forgetting an old coffee-making staple; the humble percolator. First patented in the US in 1889, the percolator was one of the most popular ways of making coffee at home until the omnipresent drip machine overtook it in the 1970s.
The percolator dropped out of fashion due to a perception that it often led to over-extracted coffee, but in a world where people are more aware of how coffee brewing works that needn’t be the case!Before we dive into the best percolator coffee makers available right now, a quick note on how percolators work is probably a good idea.
Within their jug-shaped exterior, there is a water reservoir at the base and a basket near the top which you fill with coffee.
You either place the percolator on a heat source such as a hob, or in the case of electric percolators the base contains a heating element.
A tube runs up from the water reservoir, carrying the heated water up and into the coffee grounds to enable extraction to take place. It’s essentially a filter that pours itself. The reason this design can lead to over-extraction is that this is a continuous process, and often an invisible one due to the body of the percolator being opaque.
However, a little bit of experience (and some design improvements in some modern models) make this wholly avoidable.
The percolator is an easy-to-use coffee brewing method and one which deserves its time again!
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Let’s kick things off with a modern classic. With percolators of old, your heat source was your stovetop.
We will be reviewing some great stovetop percolators in this article, but the advent of the electric percolator was a serious step forward in the portability and user-friendliness of percolators.
With an electric percolator, you can brew anywhere you can plug in!
The Presto 02811 is a quick-boiling percolator with an auto-warm function. You can have a cup of coffee ready in one minute, and keep it at drinking temperature until you’re ready.
You can brew up to 12 cups of coffee in this percolator, making it perfect for gatherings or meetings, or if you just want to have a hot cup of coffee available whenever you fancy it throughout the day.
The Presto 02811 is mostly made out of stainless steel, except for the base and handle.
This includes everything from the external body of the percolator, all the way through to the internal basket and perk tube.
Stainless steel is a hard-wearing but attractive metal, making this percolator both durable and classy to look at.
The plastic handle insulates your hand from the heat of the percolator.
The handle is smartly designed to avoid discomfort and burns, wrapping all the way around your hand and preventing you from touching the metal body of the percolator as you pour.
Pouring itself is easy thanks to the smartly designed spout and detachable cord.
The only major negative aspect of the Presto 02811 is that it doesn’t have an automatic shutoff function.
You are alerted to your coffee being ready by an indicator light, which is no problem if you’re able to attend to your coffee while it’s brewing but could lead to over-extraction if you’re in a busy environment or are distracted.
It’s also worth noting that this percolator doesn’t have an on/off switch. That’s one less part to fail, but it also means that once you plug it in, it’s on!
- Stainless steel construction – hard-wearing and solidly attractive, stainless steel is a classic percolator material for a good reason.
- Speedy percolation – you can have a cup of coffee ready to go in just one minute.
- Stay-warm function – brew yourself a pot in the morning and keep it at drinking temperature until you’re ready.
- No auto-shutoff – a lot of electric percolators turn off automatically, but not the Presto 02811. This might not be the best choice for a busy workplace.
- No on/off switch – you can’t leave this percolator plugged in, but it’s only a minor inconvenience.
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Another design classic, this time for your stovetop, the Farberware Yosemite is a quietly beautiful percolator that delivers excellent coffee every time.
If you’re looking for a charming stovetop percolator that’s also easy to use, the Farberware Yosemite should be high on your list. Every part of this percolator is made from stainless steel except for the plastic insulating handle and glass top knob (more on this later), and it is fully and easily disassembled for easy cleaning.
Every part of this percolator is dishwasher-safe and fully immersible. The use of stainless steel for the body of this percolator is perfect for two main reasons.
The exterior is polished to a mirror shine, so it looks great in your kitchen or on your table.
The interior is non-reactive, so you don’t impart any unwanted or unpleasant flavors to your coffee.
The stainless steel filter basket is easy to remove and clean, eliminating the need for filter papers. The glass knob is a neat little innovation on this percolator.
Situated directly above the perk tube outlet, it allows you to see when percolation begins, and also to monitor the progress of your percolation process.
With a little bit of practice, this window into your percolator should enable you to stamp out over-extraction!Pros:
- Timeless design – there’s something about the shape and construction of the Farberware Yosemite that gives an impression of an enduring classic, and thanks to the durable stainless steel construction it matches form to function perfectly.
- Glass top knob – you can observe your coffee as it percolates, helping you to time your heating process to perfection.
- Dishwasher safe – every part of this percolator can go through a dishwasher, or be fully immersed for hand washing.
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