How does a percolator work?

Many have never heard of a percolator until they have been on holiday in Italy. In this country, the percolator, also called moka pot or expresso cooker, is widely used by residents and in the catering industry. You can't go wrong: once you have experienced the smell, sound and taste of coffee from a percolator, you will want to use it yourself.

Brewing coffee with a percolator is not difficult, but perfecting the brewing process can improve the taste. In this blog we explain everything about the percolator and how to use it.

Vienna Coffee percolator

What is a percolator?

A percolator is a small coffee maker that is easy to use without electricity. The coffee is brewed by boiling water and pressing it through the coffee grounds, after which a coffee extraction takes place with delicious aromas. Because the percolator does not require electricity, it is an ideal coffee maker for on holiday, on the road or just at home.

There are several types of percolators available. Most are made of stainless steel or aluminum. The aluminum variant is lighter and conducts heat better, but can age over time. Stainless steel percolators are more durable and the stainless steel retains its shine longer. In addition, stainless steel does not affect the taste, unlike aluminum. A stainless steel percolator is also suitable for induction and other heat sources.

How do you use a percolator?

Now that you know what a percolator is and what types there are, it's time to explain how it works. Every percolator can be used in the same way and consists of the same parts. The taste of coffee from a percolator can be strongly influenced by the coffee beans and other variables from the brewing process. Therefore, experiment until you find your favorite flavor.

Step 1: Choose the right coffee

The percolator usually needs approximately 20 grams of ground coffee to fill the basket. Preferably grind the coffee with a coffee grinder just before brewing. The taste is in the details. Choose a coarse grind. This helps to prevent over-extraction and allows the water to flow better.

Step 2: Preparing the percolator

Now that you have ground the grounds with a coffee grinder, you can fill the water reservoir with water to just below the edge of the valve. Tip: fill the reservoir with hot water from a kettle for the best results. Fill the basket on the water reservoir and fill it with the grind. Spread the grind evenly, but do not press it down, otherwise the water cannot be forced through the grind during brewing.

Then tighten the top of the percolator to the reservoir. Use a tea towel to grip the bottom if it has become too hot from the boiled water.

Vienna Coffee Percolator

Step 3: Place on the stove

Now it's time to start the brewing process. Place the percolator on the heat source and open the lid. This way you can always follow the brewing process. Turn the stove on to medium heat. It is important not to rush the brewing process. This can burn the percolator and coffee.

Step 4: Put your senses to work

The great thing about brewing coffee with a percolator is that you can follow exactly with your senses how the percolator is doing its work. As soon as the water starts to boil, steam is released and the percolator starts to make noise. The pressure that builds up pushes the water through the coffee grounds. This process takes a few minutes and fills the top pot with delicious, fresh dark coffee.

Keep a close eye on how the coffee bubbles out of the riser. If you hear slow and rolling bubbles, you need more heat. If the coffee comes out of the tube quickly with a lot of noise and bubbles, then the heat is too high and you should turn it down and remove the percolator from the heat to cool down. The percolator starts to whistle or hiss slightly. This means that the brewing process is finished.

Step 5: Experiment

It sometimes takes some practice to find the right taste with a percolator. So don't give up too quickly and try different variables to test with, such as: grind, how much grinding, heat level and type of coffee beans. Practice makes perfect!

Vienna Coffee percolator

Which coffee suits a percolator best?

The coffee that is best used with a percolator are coffee beans that are suitable for a somewhat darker roast. These generally have a more robust flavor that can withstand the long extraction time and provide a rich and deep flavor. The type of coffee bean is subjective, and which one is most suitable depends on your personal taste preference. Our Espresso coffee beans are very popular among percolator users.

How do you maintain a percolator?

After brewing, it is important to clean the percolator properly and maintain it regularly. Therefore, follow these tips to extend the life of your percolator and preserve the taste of your coffee:

  • Clean thoroughly after use with warm water without soap.
  • Regularly clean all parts and soak them with a mild detergent to remove oils.
  • Descale the percolator regularly with water and vinegar by brewing this mixture through the percolator. Then rinse with water.
  • Check the seal of the pot occasionally. Make sure they are clean and free of cracks. Replace them in time.

We hope this blog has helped you discover how a percolator works. Are you curious about the taste of coffee from a percolator? Click here to find more information about the Vienna Coffee Percolator . This is suitable for all heat sources and large enough for 6 cups of coffee.