Top 3 Coffee Percolators
How to Use a Percolator
If you’re amongst the millennials, then you’ve probably never had to make coffee yourself because it’s as simple as driving down to Starbucks (don’t get me wrong- their secret menu items are an absolute treat). When it comes to making the perfect cup of joe, there are several methods which can be used to materialise this vision of “the perfect cup”. You could use a French press, a fancy new coffee machine, instant sachets, or the good old fashioned percolator. A typical one looks like so:
Using a percolator is an old-fashioned way to make your own coffee, and what puts a lot of people off is how “active” the coffee-making process is. For those who are unaware of what a Percolator is, it’s a completely manual contraption which relies on the power of gravity and condensation rather than electricity to make your brew. You place your ground beans in a filter compartment, and the bottom is heated to enable steam to travel into your beans and cause coffee to drip out of the holes on the bottom of the filter compartment. I hear those bells ringing, NON-ELECTRICAL? Yes! Powerless. No mains, no extra bills, just a friendly machine sitting on your counter doing it’s job right: making you a classic cup of coffee. You can pick up a brand new one today from as little as £10 to as much as £100. The latter are usually just fancier; they all do the same job!
Before you consider buying one for yourself, it’s good to have a run-through to give you a feel of what it entails. Read on to find out more, including how to use a percolator (below):
1. Measure your coffee: A good ratio for coffee beans to water is about 1:16, or 1:17 if you prefer it weaker. I like my coffee strong and bitter, so I stick to using 1:16 (oz). Note that I’m talking about whole beans here, the amount of coffee you end up with will apparently increase in volume once the beans are ground into powder.
2. Grind the Beans: The quality of your bean grounds can make or break your percolator coffee. When doing this step, make sure the ground coffee beans aren’t too coarse or too fine; the former would result in a brew which hasn’t unlocked its full taste-potential, and the latter would make your coffee too bitter. Take care when grinding your beans, when using a percolator, results vary from using a coffee machine; they naturally make very strong brews. Keep an easy hand when grinding.
3. Fill the Percolator: Add your desired amount of cold water to your percolator reservoir. Remember this must be in accordance with your bean-to-water ratio from earlier.As this process involves gradual heating of water, starting with cold water achieves this effect properly.
4. Assemble the Percolator: When you buy your percolator, there should be a manual with it. You can always find it online by hitting your machine’s model number into Google though, so don’t panic. We’ve listed a few recommendations below for our top 3 picks- in case you’re looking for inspiration. Assemble it as per the instructions, and then tighten up the coffee basket.
5. Add the beans! Now you need to fill up the coffee basket. Make sure you don’t overfill as this will cause an overflow- that’s a no-no! When adding the coffee bean powder, bear in mind that Percolators naturally brew stronger coffee than usual, so reducing the amount won’t hurt.
6. Heat it: Now, to heat the coffee, simply place the percolator on a stovetop and turn the heat up to “medium-low”. As we’ve all heard, easy does it! A slow, gradual, tempered and controlled heating process is what will unlock your percolator’s full brewing potential. You need to prevent any boiling from occurring, as this may mess up your result!
7. Keep an Eye on it: Ever noticed how your water boils a bit too quick when you’re multitasking in the kitchen, but if you watch it- God does it take forever. They say a watched pot never boils. In this case, we can take advantage of the necessity. Most percolators on the market these days have a neat clear glass at the top of the kettle. Once your water is hot enough, you will see it bubbling up into the knob.
Bubbling on the Knob: What does it mean?
- If the water is seen to be bubbling up to the knob, it means the water is hot enough to steam the coffee, which also means your water is close to boiling. This is the heat you want to maintain in order to attain that rich handmade coffee flavour.
- If the bubbles are consistent and recurring, your water is boiling. Turn down the heat -this can make your coffee too bitter.
- If the bubbles aren’t happening often enough, your water is too cool. Turn up the heat.
And lastly, look out for a change in colour; once it turns from clear to coffee, you know you’re on the road to a lovely cup.
What Factors should be Considered when Purchasing an Appliance
When buying any coffee-making appliance, the main things people tend to focus on are:
- Appearance (how modern is it? how pretty will it look in my kitchen?): Nobody ever seems to consider things like “How sturdy is it?”,”Can it withstand a drop on the kitchen floor”, “Is it heatproof?”.
- Price: Sometimes, a hefty price tag doesn’t correlate with quality, so you’ll find that a £16 Argos appliance will function way better than a £40 from House of Fraser. As crazy as that sounds, it may in some cases be true
And that’s about it. The rare minority of us will weigh out the different factors which will give you a longer lasting, faithful product. But that’s what I wish to clear up and enlighten you on.
- Power Output: How much power does it consume, and how much of it is actually useful energy? In other words, is most of the electricity wasted as sound, or buzzing? This information is usually indicated using an A-G energy efficiency rating sale in the UK. Pick one closer to A, as this means that less power is wasted.
- Weight: We don’t want something too heavy, how will you move it if you need to clear some space on your counter? We don’t want something too light, because that just-wouldn’t be right. It would easily topple over the counter and *boom*. There goes your coffee.
- Value: Why is a certain machine so expensive? It had better not be because of those fancy LED’s rimmed around the edge. What I mean to say is, don’t end up spending a bomb on a machine that just looks cool or has a fancy-but-unnecessary feature. Buy a robust, sleek machine which does what it’s supposed to do, best.
After evaluating these features and a few more, we settled upon 3 different percolators which we recommend to you. The table at the top of this page is an overview of what I’ll discuss below.
Our Top 3 Percolator Picks
I’ll now run through our top three picks for Percolators: which should you go for? It would be a good idea to check up the dimensions of these to see which would fit nicest in your kitchen!
Our Number 1 Choice: Quest 35200
Our first percolator is this Quest 35200 by the renowned brand Quest. To provide a little background, this is a British brand that’s been around for almost 40 years. They are known for making affordable yet sleek and modernistic home ware -microwaves, general kitchen appliances, fryers, ovens, grills, and my personal favourite: dessert makers! I’ve owned one of their waffle makers for a long time now, and there’s one thing I can definitely vouch for: they are great value. I paid around £30 for mine, and it’s lasted me over a year.
- Cordless device: One thing which a percolator should be is cordless. It needs to be able to be moved around to different locations, and in addition- how dangerous would it be to have electrical wires and cords hanging around by the stove! That’s a literal flame…So this is a must for a percolator!
- Built-in (Integrated) filter basket: This provides ease in cleaning of the machine.
- Durable Stainless Steel material: Making this device less prone to wear, tear and scratches, the Stainless Steel exterior build makes this Percolator an elite pick. Not only will this look beautiful sitting in your kitchen, it has insulating properties and durability.
- Transparent knob: As I mentioned earlier, having a transparent knob is near crucial when making coffee with a percolator. It really does help to see the status of your brew while it’s in the process rather than going by time slices set by you-tubers teaching you how to use a percolator!
- Sleek, contemporary design: Sadly, I am also quite superficial. A nice looking machine can be a total game changer for me, so this really tickled my fancy with its beautiful design and sleek appearance.
Number 2 Choice: Lakeland Retro
Lakeland is perhaps everyone’s favourite home ware store. I bake a lot, so for me, Lakeland is heaven for finding all the newest baking supplies. They sell anything and everything that would be found in a kitchen. Their products aren’t cheap, but they aren’t excessive; you pay for what you see- and that’s quality. Lakeland always make the products they specialise in, and they stick to it. I’ve never seen them try to meander out of their niche, except for the time they made their own sweets range, but that’s not an issue because ultimately they belong in the kitchen too.
Lakeland’s Retro Stovetop Coffee Percolator is a Stainless Steel one, which differs in shape quite a lot to the previous model we showed. It exhibits a robust, firm stainless steel body and a soft-touch handle. This provides ease of use and flaunts a sleek appearance.
- Stainless Steel Exterior material: Stainless steel provides this percolator with a durable and anti-damage shield to extend it’s longevity. Not only is the use of stainless steel practical, it’s ideal because of its sleek and modernistic appearance as well as excellent performance enhancement.
- Soft grip handle: The handle itself is made of an insulating soft grip, perhaps a rubber type material, which allows you to hold the machine with ease and relaxation. No more burning hands!
- Clear knob: As mentioned earlier, this allows you to better determine the status and progression of your coffee making.
- Medium-Large capacity: This percolator can make 4-8 full mugs of coffee, and its capacity is one thing which almost every customer highlights. This is truly an ideal choice for those of you who have a coffee-drinking family, or just host parties often!
- 3 year Guarantee: Lakeland provide a 3 year warranty with proof of purchase of this product, adding to the amazing value of this product.
- Lightweight: Weighing only 1.08 kg, this machine is the ideal weight for a device intended to be portable. For those of us who make coffee daily, this needs to be a feature otherwise we would be fed up of the regular arm workout we get!
- Dishwasher Safe
- Magnetic exterior (excl. the base): Due to presumably chemical reasons, the base of the percolator is not magnetic, however the rest of it is.
- Great Tasting Coffee: This percolator claims to provide an extra rich, frothy cup of coffee- and online reviews have definitely vouched for this! What better advantage to a coffee-maker than producing a delicious cup of coffee?
Number 3 Choice: Netta Filter Coffee Machine
Here comes the most extravagant of our picks, also my favourite- because indeed I am sadly superficial: the apparently 3-in-1 coffee machine. Netta is an Amazon shop who make sleek, contemporary products for the home. This is the percolator we have in mind:
This is described as a mess-free, programmable 12 cup coffee system. Not only does it look extremely professional and high-end, its got a load of features.
- 24-hour programmable clock/timer – Allows you to set brew time ahead, so you can wake up to fresh-brewed. Brew cycle is fast in just 8 minutes. Easy-to-use LED Control Panel, easily to set the time.
- Durable glass Carafe – The 12-cup carafe is easy to brew coffee for the family or for a group, it has an easy-grip handle for comfortable. You can brew the full 12 cups, or choose two or four. It all depends on your mood.
- Brew “Pause & Keep Warm” function: Includes a pause feature to allow sneaking a cup mid-brew. It has an optimal brewing temperature of approximately 95°C and automatically keeps your coffee hot at a steady temperature of 80°C, 40-minute automatic shut off for safety.
- Removable Permanent Filter: For easy cleaning and a mess-free serving
- Reusable Permanent Filter: Great value for money!
- Easy Grip handle
- No-Drip Pour: I personally find the drip of coffee while it brews to be quite satisfying, so being stripped of this satisfaction is perhaps the one downside to this machine.
So there you have it, our top 3 Percolators. I hope you’ve learnt a lot about these handy little contraptions and are even considering purchasing one yourself. The satisfaction of brewing your own coffee the old fashioned way is a feeling like no other. I’ve classed the verdict in the table on the top of this page, so do take a look at that and evaluate it.