The percolator, moka pot, moka pot or Bialetti is a very popular way of making coffee. Maybe you were already familiar with it, but you are looking for more depth. Or maybe you are looking for another new world of coffee making? And do you want to discover secrets that you may not have heard about the percolator before?
If you enjoy enjoying a rich, aromatic cup of coffee, this is the blog for you. Also, if you are a lover of espresso style coffees like espresso, americano, cappuccino - then the percolator might be something you really want to try.
Today I'm going to walk you through the simple steps of brewing coffee using this classic brewing method. I say simple, but very honest - it's also easy to ruin percolator coffee. However, this is a thing of the past if you follow our secret tips. So grab your percolator and let's get started!
What is a Percolator?
Before we dive deeper into brewing coffee with a percolator, let's take a look at what a percolator actually is. A percolator is a coffee maker that originated in the early 1800s. It consists of a lower chamber in which water is heated and an upper chamber in which the brewed coffee runs.
The unique feature of a percolator is that the water is repeatedly forced through the ground coffee by the pressure of the hot water, creating a concentrated and intense coffee flavor.
You will find percolators in all shapes and sizes, suitable for different heat sources. Different brands such as Bialetti are also used as a brand name to indicate the same type of device. A percolator, Bialetti, Moka pot or moka pot are, in fact, all about the same devices.
Suitable Hand Mill for On the Go
Many enthusiasts of percolator coffee know it better than anyone. You can often easily take this brewing method with you on vacation or on a trip! This is due to its compact size, but also because you simply put it as a whole in a bag and place it on the available heat source when using it. If you are traveling and you want to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee using a percolator, it is useful to have a suitable hand grinder that you can easily take with you.
Fortunately, there are several hand mills on the market today that are perfect for on the go. Highly recommended is the Hario Mini Mill Slim Plus hand mill. This affordable grinder grinds the beans evenly and offers the option to adjust the grind size to your preference. With a hand grinder like this one, you can enjoy freshly ground coffee wherever you are.
Do you prefer a step higher in terms of quality? Then I can recommend the TimeMore C2 Max . This sturdy manual grinder can also be easily adjusted to the correct grinding degree for percolator coffee and is just a bit more consistent in its grinding degree. Do you really want to go top notch? We ourselves had this super nice hand mill with us on holiday from 1Zpresso - the JX-Pro and that was certainly without regrets!
The Correct Grind for a Percolator
Now that you roughly know what a percolator is and have the right grinder at your fingertips, it's time to discover the right grind size for preparing coffee with a percolator. For a percolator, a medium-fine grind is ideal. You want to avoid having the ground coffee too fine, as this can result in over-extraction, clogging of the tiny holes, and a bitter taste.
A slightly coarser grind ensures that the water can flow evenly through the coffee and a balanced extraction can take place. So invest in a good coffee grinder and choose a grind that is slightly coarser than for an espresso, for example, and slightly finer than quick filter coffee.
Tip: do you want to try it first and don't have your own coffee grinder at your disposal? You can order pre-ground coffee in our webshop . In this case, choose percolator grind. Please note: this is a compromise grind since every coffee and every percolator needs a slightly different grind.
Now let's start making coffee!
Secret 1: A Clean Percolator and Rubber Ring Not Dried Out
I would like to start with a very important tip. Make sure your percolator is clean. A percolator is quickly dirty due to the deposit of coffee. Can't get rid of the leftovers? Then use an espresso machine cleaner such as this blind filter cleaning . A clean percolator is a really good base to start with, so you can prevent a bitter taste in your coffee.
Another bonus tip from James Hoffman from the video below - if you keep the percolator in your kitchen cupboard, don't turn the chambers on top of each other too soon. Keep it loose so that the rubber ring is not under too much pressure and remains in the best condition!
Secret 2: The Amount and Temperature of the Water
How much water you use depends on the size of your percolator, so that's the starting point. So fill the lower part of the percolator, up to the mark if present, or just below the safety valve (this is demonstrated in the video below). Be careful not to overfill it.
The secret of a perfect cup of coffee with a percolator lies in filling the above-mentioned water chamber with the correct temperature of water. Cold water is often used for this, but James Hoffman recommends something else! Fill the lower chamber of your percolator with hot (!) water from, for example, a kettle (or boiled water from a pan, if you happen to be at the campsite!). You do this because otherwise you will have your percolator on the heat source for too long and you are also slightly heating your ground coffee in the meantime. The latter in turn gives a more bitter taste to the brewed coffee.
Secret 3: Freshly Ground and Quality Coffee - The Key to Success
Now that we have our percolator and have determined the appropriate amount and temperature of water, it's time to focus on the chosen roast of the beans, the right grind and the amount. Preferably choose a medium roast of the beans, which give a full and round taste that matches the espresso character of percolator coffee. Do not opt for a dark roast coffee to avoid bitter flavours.
Freshly ground coffee beans are essential to bring out the best flavors. Choose a high-quality coffee bean such as freshly roasted specialty coffee and grind it just before brewing. This ensures that your coffee has unparalleled freshness and taste. So get out that coffee grinder and grind with love!
A crucial factor when brewing coffee with a percolator is the ratio of coffee to water. You could stick to the size of the chambers of the percolator (so fill the bottom chamber with water up to the valve and fill the coffee filter completely without pressing).
But you can also weigh and measure... A general guideline is the ratio of 1/7 - 1/8, which means that you use 1 gram of coffee per 7-8 grams of water. This ratio can be adjusted to taste, depending on how strong you want your coffee. From the weight of the water (1 ml = 1 gram) you take 1/7 or 1/8 of the weight for the coffee to start with and with that you can continue experimenting. Experiment with the proportions and adjust them to your personal preference. However, remember that too much coffee can result in over-extraction and too strong a taste, while too little coffee can lead to a watery cup of coffee.
Keep in mind that you don't press the coffee like you do when making an espresso with an espresso machine. There must be enough room for the water to move through the coffee.
Secret 4: Patience and Quitting at the climax
Place the percolator on a heat source and let the magical brewing process begin. The hot, steamy environment inside the device will allow the water to flow through the coffee and create a delicious, concentrated coffee extraction.
First you will hear the percolator sizzle while the water is heating up. At a certain point, steam comes out through the hollow tube and into the upper chamber. When coffee comes up through the hollow tube, the process has really started.
Now make sure you stop on time. If you go on too long the coffee will burn too much and it will quickly become bitter. You can determine the right moment by listening carefully to the sound. When you start to hear a slight gurgling sound, remove the percolator from the heat source, and, one last golden tip from James Hoffman - hold the percolator by the handle and cool the lower chamber of the percolator under a cool stream of water ( like from the tap). Then you stop the brewing process.
Taste the result and add milk if necessary
When the captivating aromas spread through your home, you know it's time to taste it. Carefully pour the freshly brewed coffee into your favorite cup and take the time to discover the rich flavours. Let the coffee cool down before you put your lips to the rim of the mug and enjoy that first delicious sip. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and let the flavors captivate your senses. Ah, coffee bliss!
If you are a cappuccino enthusiast, you can use the percolator coffee as the basis for the cappuccino. Froth your favorite milk the right way and pour it on the coffee.
Congratulations! You have just mastered the art of brewing coffee with a percolator. With the right percolator, freshly ground beans and a little patience, you can now enjoy a coffee experience that takes you back to the good old days. Whether you are at home or on the road, with a suitable hand grinder you can always enjoy a delicious cup of coffee with a percolator. So put on your percolator, embrace tradition but remember these shared secrets from James Hoffman for a non-bitter cup of coffee. Cheers!