Paul's passion for making and consuming coffee extends back over thirty years. Born in England, he currently lives in Florida.
Many people, including myself, prefer the more robust and satisfying taste of a well-made percolated coffee to the beverages produced by drip brewers.
I have used percolators for years and generally find the advantages of this type of brewer outnumber the disadvantages, but they are not for everyone.
4 Advantages of Stovetop Percolators
- It's a personal thing, of course, but there are many who prefer the fuller, more robust taste that you get with this type of brewer.
- Brewing is straightforward, there is no programming or messing around with complicated settings. You add the coffee and water and brew.
- I love the sight and sound of a percolator, bubbling and brewing happily on the stove. It provides an unbeatable aroma and atmosphere for the home.
- Some of the more hardy models are good for use on a camping stove, or even an open fire. You can also transport the more rugged percolators easily and take them traveling if you wish. They are my chosen brewer type when journeying in an RV.
2 Disadvantages of Stovetop Percolators
- This type of brewer isn't very versatile, they basically make one type of coffee. There are no settings to fine-tune, no programs to set. You either like the coffee they produce or you don't.
- The glass models look great but can be easy to break, I know this from experience. That shouldn't necessarily put you off them, but it is something to be aware of.
Top 3 Stovetop Coffee Percolators
Here are my three selections:
- The Farberware Classic Yosemite: Affordable, Solid and Sleek
- The GSI Outdoors 8 Cup Enamelware: Ideal for RV and Camping Use
- The Medelco 8-Cup: Inexpensive and Easy
I go into more detail regarding my choices and experiences below.
The Farberware Classic Yosemite: Affordable, Solid and Sleek
The Farberware Classic Yosemite is the percolator that I currently use and I have no plans to switch. I bought it to replace my glass percolator, which unfortunately broke while it was being cleaned.
The Yosemite is available for a very affordable price, I paid just under twenty dollars for mine online, which makes it a great value for money in my opinion.
- Solidly constructed from stainless steel. I don't expect there will be any need to replace it for many years.
- It has a sleek, attractive look that I really like.
- I can just stick it in the dishwasher when I need to clean it.
- The permanent filter basket means that the hassle associated with having to buy and use paper filters is avoided.
- It's not the quickest percolator I've used, so not great if you need your coffee in a hurry.
- The design means that it can retain some water when I rinse it out.
The GSI Outdoors 8 Cup Enamelware: Ideal for RV and Camping Use
My favorite stovetop percolator when I am on the road in my RV or camping, the GSI Outdoors 8 Cup Enamelware is ideal for traveling and outdoor use.
This brewer is sturdy and built to last. It's constructed from heavy-gauge steel with an attractive speckled enamel finish. As well as being rugged, it also makes a tasty brew of coffee, thanks to its design which maximizes heat distribution.
- Excellent value for money, you can pick them up for under $20 online.
- Produces strong, hearty coffee, just what you need when you are in the outdoors!
- No need for paper filters, provided you brew with coarse coffee grounds.
- Rugged construction and classic design.
- Easy to clean.
- Easy to store and transport.
- It has a plastic percolator top which works fine, but I would prefer no plastic parts.
- It's great value for money but you get what you pay for. There are better, if more expensive, outdoor percolators available.
The Medelco 8-Cup: Inexpensive and Easy
Before I switched to a stainless steel percolator, the Medelco 8 Cup was my favorite affordable stovetop and I used one for just over three years. I do love glass brewers as they allow you to see everything that's going on. You do have to be a lot more careful with how you handle them though.
One thing that I will say about this percolator is that you do always need to use a coarse coffee grind, or the grounds will slip through the filter basket.
- The price, you can pick them up for not much more than $15 online, which is incredible value
- It's easy to clean; wiping it by hand or putting it in the dishwasher are both quick and simple.
- I do like watching the coffee brew through the glass, you can't do that with a stainless steel brewer.
- No need for paper filters (provided you use coarse coffee like I mentioned).
- Maybe it's just me being rough or clumsy, but I always seem to crack or break anything that's made from glass sooner or later.
- As with all stovetops, you have to be careful not to burn the brew and make it taste sour, that does take a little care and experience.
- One reason why this machine is so affordable is that most of the components are plastic. That's likely not a problem for most, but others may wish to pay a little extra for a superior brewer.
Drip Coffee Makers vs. Stovetop Percolators: Which is Best?
If you like your coffee strong, then you will likely prefer percolators, as the coffee is essentially double brewed and robust in character. While a drip coffee maker typically produces coffee that is weaker, it is also cleaner and less bitter, as the brewing process only involves the water passing through a single time.
Which of the two methods is best is debatable and depends upon individual requirements.
- Fans of percolators see them as easier because you don't have to mess around with filter papers and there aren't lots of detachable parts, neither are there any complicated settings, you just put your grounds and water in and put the percolator on the stove.
- Fans of drip makers usually like the fact that you have more control over the process, and you can just set them to do their thing and come back later to hot coffee, without any of the babysitting involved with percolators.
How to Store Coffee: 5 Useful Tips
- Coffee can quickly lose its flavor if not stored correctly, here are some useful tips for making the tastiest brews:
- Grind your own beans and do it right before you brew, rather than buying ready ground coffee.
- Use an airtight container for storage. Ceramic, glass and stainless steel containers usually work well.
- Store the coffee away from direct sunlight and sources of heat, i.e. somewhere relatively dark and cool.
- Do not freeze or refrigerate the coffee. This will cause it to lose flavor
8 Interesting Coffee Facts
- Coffee beans are not actually beans. They are berries that have undergone a roasting process.
- Before it was a drink, coffee was eaten. People would chew on the berries from the plant mixed with fat for extra energy.
- Although coffee was first consumed in Ethiopia, it was the Arabs who first cultivated the plant, and also the first to introduce roasting.
- There are two main types of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. 70% of the coffee drunk is Arabica, the more aromatic and milder type. The other 30% is Robusta, which is much stronger, but more bitter-tasting.
- Coffee is the second most traded international commodity.
- New Yorkers consume nearly 7 times as much coffee as people of other cities in the US.
- Coffee can kill you if you drink too much. The lethal dose is around 100 cups.
- Coffee shops have been talking shops throughout history. In 1675 King Charles II of England banned them because he thought that that’s where his opponents were meeting to plot against him.
© 2014 Paul Goodman
EdMahn on June 17, 2020:
Great post Paul, I'm an old hack from the 50's when coffee was smashed in an electric high speed grinder and the Birko Perked the fine power exactly as you've shown thru a fine filter paper.
Now some times the budget was to lean for filters so we just skipped that luxury. Always drink the real McCoy straight. Everything else is white and 1 sugar. Love your work champ. 10/10 here.
Gina Klempel on November 05, 2019:
Can you use this Yosemite percolator on a glass top stove???