How To Use a Percolator (14)

A couple of years ago our electric coffee maker died. Knowing that we wanted to transition to more off-grid living, we decided to replace it with a non-electric percolator. I had never in my life even seen a percolator before then, much less did I know how to use one. But as with most things that have come with this lifestyle I was game for trying something different.

For less than twenty bucks I ordered a well-reviewed Farberware Stainless Steel 8-Cup Percolator. We love it. In the beginning, there was much trial and error as we got used to the new contraption, and several batches of burnt coffee to dump out before we figured out exactly how to use it. Mainly, it was a matter of determining how hot to keep the pot and how long to allow it to percolate. Now that we’ve got it down pat, we wouldn’t go back to an old drip machine.

Percolators can be used on electric stove tops, on a hot wood stove, on a rocket stove, or over an open camp fire. Pretty much any heat source hot enough to bring water to a boil can percolate a cup of coffee.

Most days I still make our coffee on the electric stove, though it’s nice to know I can brew a batch without power if I wanted to or needed to.

For those of you who have no idea how to use a percolator to brew coffee, I thought I’d show you step by step how it works.


How To Use A Percolator To Brew Coffee
(with or without electricity!)

How To Use a Percolator To Brew Coffee |

This is our percolator pot and all of its pieces. All percolators look pretty much the same, although some are electric and plug directly into an outlet. The percolator basket is assembled, filled with coffee, and then inserted into the pot to brew. I appreciate how easy it is to take apart to wash, and that there aren’t any pieces to burn out, malfunction, or otherwise need replacing over time.


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This is the percolator basket and lid.


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To brew a pot of coffee, first you need to add coffee grounds to the percolator basket. Add about 1-2 Tbsp coffee grounds per cup you want to brew, adjusting to suit your taste. I don’t even measure the grounds out now, I just know approx. where I need to fill the basket for a full pot of coffee.

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Put the spring on the stem, then place the filled basket on the stem as well. As shown.


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Place the lid on the percolator basket.


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Fill the pot with enough water to brew the desired amount of cups.

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Place the assembled unit inside the pot.


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Make sure it’s centered in the pot so the lid can fit over it.

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Place the lid on the pot.

Then turn the heat up to high to bring the water to a boil.

If you’re cooking over a wood stove or a fire you may need to add more wood to get it nice and hot in order to bring the water to a hard rolling boil.



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You’ll be able to see the water boiling up through the clear cap on the lid. Once you see that it has begun to percolate…

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Turn the heat down to medium and set the timer for 5 minutes. (The heat and time may need to be adjusted depending on your heat source.)

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Next, pour your freshly brewed coffee into your favorite mug and enjoy! We love to sweeten our coffee with honey and milk.

And that’s it! Not so bad, huh?

In case you need something to dance to while you brew your first cup… hahaha!