How to Use Old Fashioned Coffee Maker

For many of us, a day without a cup of coffee is difficult to imagine. Electric coffee makers have simplified the process, allowing us to prepare our brews with minimal effort. Several coffee machines can even be programmed to brew coffee automatically at a designated time. Despite these conveniences, it’s possible that a number of us are unfamiliar with the operation of a traditional coffee maker.

Do you have an old percolator coffee maker and want to make a cup of coffee on it? You have just landed in the right place. Below, we will discuss the steps you need to follow for using an old-fashioned coffee maker.

So, What is an Old Fashioned Coffee Maker?

An old-fashioned coffee maker, also known as the coffee percolator is a manual appliance. It is basically a kettle that includes a discrete chamber for the water and coffee ground. Although not that popular nowadays, a lot of people still use such coffee makers for preparing the drink during camping. It doesn’t require any electricity but you will require heating from below using a gas stove or fire to heat up the liquid.

As we said prior, the coffee maker equips two chambers where one is the lower chamber to store the water. The upper chamber of the percolator is basically a compartment that houses the basket. You need to add the ground coffee beans on there. When you heat up the device, a vertical tube inside forces the hot water to go through to the coffee ground. Now the coffee drip on the bottom of the pot.

What makes the percolator interesting is it brew the same coffee several times. As a result, your coffee becomes incredibly intense and aromatic. However, the issue with the machine is you easily end up over-brewing the coffee. For this reason, the uses of old-fashioned percolator coffee makers are not used much currently. And, it requires some learning to get the best out of the device.

How to Use Old Fashioned Percolator Coffee Maker

Using the Percolator is not that hard. Just make sure that you are following the steps in the right order carefully. Make sure that you have all the required things. These include the machine, coffee grinder, water, stove, cups, measuring spoon, and of course, the coffee beans or the grounds. Here are the steps:

Step 1

If you have roasted coffee beans, begin with grinding them by using the grinder. Make sure that you have enough ground for making the preferred amount of coffee. The coarse ground is best for the Percolator. Typically, it requires around one tablespoon of the coffee ground for every 8 ounces of water.

Step 2

The next thing you need to do is to add the water to the reservoir of the Percolator. It would be better to measure the water before adding to add just the right amount. Else, you may end up with a very strong or weak brew. The next thing you need to do is to add the tube and the chamber in their place.  The design of the Percolator usually doesn’t vary much. So, it shouldn’t be hard to put it together.

Step 3

Now add the grounds in the percolator basket. Make sure that you have measured the right amount of the coffee ground using a measuring spoon. If you don’t have it, consider using the tablespoon. The coffee ground and the water ratio must be perfect for the best outcome. Especially, you should avoid adding additional ground as the coffee in the Percolator is usually more intense.

Step 4

Now what you need to do is to heat the Percolator. Turn on the stovetop and position the machine on it. Make sure that the heat is medium and the Percolator is in the middle of the heat. It is crucial to heat the water slowly until it reaches near the boiling point. Adjust the heat if needed.

There is not a lot of option for you to understand the water temperature inside the machine. As a result, you need to guess it from the sputtering and gurgling sound that comes out from the Percolator. If it is sputtering fast, that means the coffee is very hot and you need to lower the heat. If you notice the sputter every 2 to 3 seconds, that means the temperate is correct.

Step 5

Unlike the usual coffee maker, a percolator requires your attention much more. Typically, you will require the machine on the heat for around 10 minutes to reach the optimal temperature. You might reduce the brewing time if you prefer the coffee weaker. You might not get the best outcome on the first tries, but you will definitely go better with the experiments.

Step 6

Once you feel that the water is heated enough, you should take off the percolator from the stove. Then remove the coffee grounds by opening the machine. Make sure to use an oven mitt as the entire percolator will be very hot. Bring out the lid quickly to prevent burning the finger.

You might end up mixing the coffee with the ground while brewing if the ground is not removed properly. In such a case, wait a few minutes to allow the ground to sink to the bottom. After taking off the coffee, you can pour it into the cups and enjoy. You may customize the taste and flavor by adding milk, cream, sugar, or sweeteners.

Which Coffee is the Best for Percolator?

The quantity and quality of the coffee ground can significantly affect the taste of coffee preferred in the machine. As the coffee bean will be brewed multiple times, you should pick a coffee that is labeled as light-roast or mild. Also, the bean needs to be coarsely ground as the finer ground can fall through the basket.


The old-fashioned percolator might not be in practice currently but it can be still very useful in some situations. Especially, when you don’t have electricity or you are camping outdoor, the vintage device will be very effective. We hope you will be able to prepare the coffee in the percolator using the above method.