How to Make Coffee in an Electric Percolator?

Even though percolators are somewhat forgotten about with the invention of newer coffee makers such as the drip coffee maker, it doesn’t mean that percolator coffee is completely wiped off the map.

There is a sizable amount of people who enjoy the extra strong cup of coffee that a percolator produces, which is why they haven’t replaced their percolator in favor of a newer coffee maker yet. Although using a percolator is one of the lesser convenient ways of making coffee, there is a special place for percolator coffee in people’s hearts.

Fortunately, technology brought advancements to percolator coffee as well, namely in the form of the electric percolator. As electric percolators remove a lot of the hassle that is attached to brewing percolator coffee, they became a useful tool for enjoying a cup of percolator coffee in a much more convenient manner.

As expected, newer technology also comes with questions, leaving traditional percolator lovers to wonder whether they will be able to achieve the same coffee experience with an electric percolator. For this reason, we decided to take an in-depth look into electric percolators and share what we found out with you.

Today, we will be talking about the best practices for brewing coffee in an electric percolator and see how they differ from brewing with a traditional stovetop percolator.

What Is an Electric Percolator?

To understand what an electric percolator is, let’s quickly go over the traditional percolator first.

Simply put, a percolator is a coffee maker that consists of a top chamber, bottom chamber, perk tube, and lid. Since a traditional percolator doesn’t have a heat source of its own, it requires an external heat source such as a stovetop to operate. 

When heat is applied to the bottom of the percolator, it causes the water that rests in the bottom chamber to rise through the perk tube and drip through the coffee grounds that are located at the top, extracting the coffee grounds in the process.

In the case of an electric percolator, an electrical heating mechanism is added to the mix. The heating mechanism allows the electric percolator to produce enough heat for the brewing process, removing the need for an external heat source.

How Does an Electric Percolator work?

The way an electric percolator works is quite simple to understand. When an electric percolator is turned on, the heating element that is at the bottom starts warming up.

Since most electric percolators are designed in a way to work without burning your coffee, they often stop producing heat when the required temperature is reached, which also signifies that your coffee is ready. At this point, you will notice that an indicator lights up to inform you that the brewing process is over.

That being said, it’s also possible to find percolators with temperature control that allow you to optimize your brew if you wish to, so going electric doesn’t have to mean that you lose all control of the brewing process. 

In fact, using an electric percolator makes it a breeze to adjust the temperature as you can constantly see the current temperature on the screen, which saves you from the hassle of having to use a thermometer and rely on adjusting your stovetop to get the temperature right.

Making Coffee in an Electric Percolator

  1. Start by measuring the amount of coffee you will need. If you aren’t exactly sure how much coffee to use, you can use the golden ratio, which states that you should use roughly 17 grams of water for 1 gram of coffee.
  2. Grind your coffee coarsely. Since coffee grounds that are ground too fine will go through the perforated filter and mix with your coffee, getting the grind size right is of importance. For this reason, we recommend grinding your coffee beans for percolator and not using pre-ground coffee.
  3. Pour water into the percolator. Make sure that you don’t overfill the percolator to the point where the water would reach the top chamber.
  4. Insert the top chamber, and put your coffee grounds in it. Evenly spreading the coffee grounds is a good idea to ensure that all coffee grounds are extracted equally.
  5. Plug your percolator in, and turn it on. The brewing process takes a few minutes, depending on the percolator you have. As electric percolators stop producing heat automatically when the brewing process is over, you won’t need to watch it.
  6. When the brewing process is over, an indicator will light up to inform you that your coffee is ready to go.
  7. Turn your percolator off, unplug it from electricity, and serve.

Electric Percolator vs Stovetop Percolator

As you may have noticed, the only difference between an electric and a stovetop percolator is the fact that an electric percolator contains an internal heating element. So, let’s take an in-depth look into how this small addition impacts your cup of coffee.

The most apparent advantage is the automatic regulation of temperature and brewing time. The internal heating element knows how much to heat and when to stop, which removes human error from the brewing process. You can simply turn your electric percolator on and forget about it, whereas with a stovetop percolator, you have to watch the brewing process.

As getting the temperature and brewing time right with a stovetop percolator can prove to be quite hard at times, the improvements that come with an electric percolator are definitely helpful.

On the flip side, you may be wondering whether using electricity to heat the water impacts the taste of your coffee in any way. Truth be told, we haven’t noticed any difference between an electric and a stovetop percolator in terms of taste, so feel free to give it a try if you feel like you could benefit from the convenience that comes with using an electric percolator.

Best Practices for Making Coffee in an Electric Percolator

With the electric percolator handling the temperature and brewing time for you, there are only a few things to keep in mind to brew the perfect percolator coffee. 

Paying attention to these factors will ensure that your percolator coffee consistently provides a pleasurable coffee drinking experience.

Keeping Your Electric Percolator Clean

First things first, let’s talk about keeping your percolator clean, as failing to do so can cause buildup that will produce unpleasant aromas and flavors to mix with your coffee.

To ensure that your percolator stays clean, the best thing to do is to clean it as soon as you are done with it. If you let old coffee or coffee grounds stay for too long, it will get harder to get rid of them.

To clean your percolator, start by taking out the filter as soon as you’re done with the brewing process, dump the used coffee grounds, wash the filter, and let it dry. If there are coffee remnants that you couldn’t get rid of by washing, you can gently scrub the filter with the help of a sponge. Since you can’t wash the percolator while there is coffee in it, the next step of cleaning should be done after you finish drinking your coffee.

When you’re done, simply unplug your percolator, pour the leftover coffee into the sink, and rinse your percolator with a mixture of soap and water. Scrubbing with the soft side of a sponge can prove to be helpful to ensure that there aren’t any remnants that are stuck to your percolator.

If you wish, you can dry the filter and the percolator with the help of a towel after you’re done washing them.

Getting the Grind Size Right

Next up is the grind size. Since a percolator utilizes a perforated filter with holes that would allow the finely ground coffee to go through, it’s important to use a coarse grind to ensure that your coffee grounds don’t end up in your cup. 

Coffee grounds being mixed in your cup will cause it to be muddy and bitter, which is why using the correct grind size plays an important role in how your coffee will turn out.

That being said, a grind size that is way too coarse will also cause problems such as under-extraction, which is why it’s important to find the middle ground.

As pre-ground coffee is finely ground of the time, we highly recommend buying coffee beans and grinding them yourself. This way, you will be able to try different grind sizes until you find the size that works best.

The Importance of Coffee to Water Ratio

The last thing to do is to get the coffee to water ratio right. Luckily, there is a guideline we can follow to ensure that we consistently get the coffee to water ratio correctly.

The golden ratio of coffee states that roughly 17 grams of water should be used for 1 gram of coffee, so feel free to follow this guideline to make sure you aren’t having problems. If you don’t already own one, investing in a kitchen scale is the best way to achieve consistency.

Using the naked eye often creates room for miscalculations that cause your coffee to be under or over-extracted, which is why you should refrain from it as much as possible.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Does an electric percolator make good coffee?

While percolator coffee is certainly a niche thing nowadays, the coffee that is produced by an electric percolator will be just as good as the coffee produced by a stovetop percolator as there are no differences between the two in terms of the brewing process.

In fact, there is a good chance that an electric percolator will provide you with a better cup of coffee as it automatically handles brewing time and temperature for you.

Can you use pre-ground coffee in a percolator?

Using pre-ground coffee in a percolator is not something that we recommend, as using the wrong size can completely ruin your coffee. Since there is no way of knowing whether the grind size of the ground coffee you bought will work well with your percolator, it’s better to stay away from it.

We recommend buying coffee beans and grinding them yourself so that you can control the grind size.

Does using an electric percolator change the taste of coffee?

We haven’t noticed any significant difference in the taste of coffee while brewing with an electric percolator, and there is no logical reason for there to be a difference either.

If you enjoy percolator coffee, an electric percolator can be a great way to make the brewing process more convenient.


Electric percolators should definitely be welcomed by those who are fans of percolator coffee with the convenience they bring to the table. 

We feel like convenience was one of the leading factors that caused drip coffee makers to overtake percolators, which is why electric percolators are a step in the right direction.

Have a great day, and enjoy your coffee.