Finding a great percolator is not as simple as heading over to Amazon and doing a simple search – there are different types of coffee percolators that you might not know about or consider as a method of percolation.
Keep reading as we dig in and talk about the very topic of coffee percolators and the 6 different types that you can think about before you splash the cash.
What Is Percolation?
The definition of percolation is the moving and filtration of a fluid through a filter of substance.
With coffee percolation, the substance is coarsely ground coffee and the filter basket in which the bed of coffee sits.
This definition of a coffee percolator means there are different types of coffee percolators and all of them perform the same function – extracting coffee from ground beans by passing water over them.
All coffee percolators’ basic structure is the same. It has a water chamber with a heat source and a means of passing the water up and over the coffee beans.
The water chamber is usually a metal pot made of either stainless steel or aluminum, and on occasions copper. The part holding your coffee grounds is almost always a metal basket.
Let’s now proceed and talk about the various types of coffee percolators.
Read: How long do you percolate coffee?
6 Types Of Coffee Percolators
When you think of coffee percolators a coffee enthusiast will usually only be able to name two or three with the first two types named being stovetop percolators and electric percolators Some different types of coffee makers below are what I would classify as a fancy coffee maker.
Let’s dig deeper into this topic.
Read: Moka pot Vs Percolator
#1 Stovetop Percolator
A stovetop percolator is made primarily of two materials:
- 1. Aluminum.
- 2. Stainless Steel.
It functions by boiling water, and using the pressure created by the air bubbles to move the water up through the central tube which then deposits the water over a spreader plate that then showers the hot water over the coffee grounds.
This cycle continues on a perpetual basis until you remove the percolator from the heat. Your cup of coffee will be well brewed, often double brewed at least and with a potent caffeine kick.
#2 Electric Percolator
Electric percolators are considered as a better type of percolator than the stovetop version due to having a more even distribution of heat. Modern versions have the ability for you to perform functions, including the ability to control the water temperature and an auto off. There is usually an indicator light that will indicate when your percolated coffee is ready.
The brewing is exactly the same as a stovetop version, only the heat source is electric, and you can’t take these on a camping trip. On the plus side, you can make better cups of coffee with an electric percolator than a stovetop percolator.
#3 Moka Pot
The moka pot dates back to 1933 and is incredibly popular in Southern Europe, particularly Italy and Spain. Often it is called a stovetop espresso maker and like a traditional percolator, modern electric versions are available.
Technically speaking, this is not quite percolation as there is no continued brewing cycle but it certainly mimics the process and often, people think of a moka pot as a percolator.
In a moka pot the water is heated up in the bottom chamber and then rises up under a pressure of 1.5 bar and through a bed of finely ground coffee and then to a second chamber, the coffee chamber.
The coffee produced is not quite an espresso but is espresso like. It lacks the thick creama on top to be a true espresso. For an authentic espresso you need at least 9 bars of pressure which this coffee brewer is not capable of achieving.
You can most certainly use the coffee made to make all your favorite milk-based espresso drinks.
#4 Siphon Coffee Maker
The Siphon coffee brewer is a combination of percolation and infusion and a very different way to make coffee. It looks like something fit for a science lab and certainly does not look like something that would be used in a coffee shop.
It works through the process of evaporation and steam.
Steam pushes the hot water and vapor up the stem of the container with the coffee grounds, mixes with the ground coffee as it infuses. The water vapor rises up from the pressure chamber and to the brewing chamber and then cools down.
Viola, your coffee is ready.
#5 Drip Coffee Brewing
This is another version of coffee percolation. With drip coffee, strictly speaking, it is not obliged that your water is boiled, or reaches near boiling point for it to get to the brewing temperature.
Most drip brewers are designed to make hot coffee and wait until the water reaches the desired temperature before it evenly drips over the coffee grounds in the brewing chamber.
It then passes through a filter and into your cup of coffee or carafe. You can make a pretty neat iced coffee this way as all you need to do is fill your carafe with ice and await it to fill with coffee. If you do so, account for the ice melting and make a stronger coffee using a more focused coffee to water ratio.
The type of coffee filter that you use will alter the flavor of your coffee with a metal filter making a stronger coffee and a paper filter making a cleaner crisp tasting coffee. A cotton filter gets you something that is in between the two, a middle ground.
#6 Turkish Coffee Maker
Turkish Coffee is often not considered as a method of percolation and at other times it is.
Analysing this brewing method, while no filter is used at all in the process, the constant heating and taking of the boil and reheating of the very finely ground coffee grounds does percolate the coffee.
This is not a simple immersion brewing process like French press coffee makers where no heat and no percolation is involved at all.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee Percolators
What Type Of Coffee Percolator Is Best?
Which type of coffee percolator is best is a subjective and opinion based. Sticking to the strictest of terms and the originality of coffee percolation the choice of the 6 is narrowed down to just 2 options – stovetop or electric. An electric percolator will produce a better quality cup of coffee than a stovetop and this it is accurate and fair to say that an electric coffee percolator is the best coffee percolator.
Which Is Better Stovetop Percolator Or Electric Percolator?
Stovetop coffee percolators can take between 5 and 8 minutes to brew your coffee while an electric percolator can take a little longer. Generally speaking, when brewing small quantities, an electric coffee percolator can brew one or two cups of coffee quicker. I consider an electric percolator to be slightly better as they have a more even distribution of heat which can be difficult to obtain with a stovetop version.
What Is The Difference Between A Coffee Maker And A Percolator?
By definition a coffee percolator is a coffee maker as the term coffee maker is an umbrella term that covers all types of coffee makers. A percolator is a type of coffee maker that brews your coffee by using a continuous cycle of brewing using gravity and heat as the mechanisms of action. Once the desired strength has been achieved, you can end the brewing process.
What Is The Difference Between A Drip Coffee Maker And A Percolator?
The difference between a drip coffee and a percolator is how they brew coffee. A drip coffee maker makes a cup of coffee by heating water and then spraying or dripping the hot water over the ground coffee. The coffee then either drips through a mesh metal filter, paper filter or cotton cloth filter.
A percolator uses a very different method of brewing coffee which uses a continuous cycle of brewing that double brews your coffee. Percolated coffee is known for its strong caffeine kick.
Do You Need Special Coffee For A Percolator?
No, you can use any coffee for a percolator as long as you use coarsely ground coffee. Some coffee experts advise avoiding specialty coffee for a percolator, but I beg to differ as if you are very good at making percolator coffee you can use specialty coffee beans and enjoy a full flavored cup of coffee.
Final Thoughts, Frappé-Ing It All Up, Types Of Coffee Percolator
Now you know there are at least 6 different types of coffee percolator, with each one making a very different tasting cup of coffee. A regular electric or stovetop version makes the strongest cup of coffee.
A moka pot will give you the ability to make all the milk-based espresso drinks at home and a traditional Turkish Ibrik and a siphon coffee maker are both eye catching are look great in your kitchen or on display in a glass cupboard.