How to Make Stovetop Percolator Coffee

Get up. Brew coffee. Drink. Sure, routine can be soothing, but sometimes you just need to shake things up, y’know? Maybe add a little retro flavor to your life? Step out of your comfort zone? We’re betting you could do all three just by giving stovetop percolator coffee a try.

No really, hear us out. You may have heard this is the worst way to make coffee. But we live in a world with endless tastes and preferences. Plus, while your chosen brewing method does have a lot to do with the quality of the coffee you drink, just as much of it depends on whether you’re using the best coffee beans possible. So don’t discount that stovetop percolator until you’ve tried it yourself.

Just What is a Stovetop Percolator?

To percolate is to make a solvent (in this case, steam) pass through a permeable substance (in this case, coffee grounds). Stovetop percolators look a lot like tall kettles, but the unassuming façade hides a reliable, steam-powered, coffee-brewing vacuum.

Unlike pour over coffee, where water is filtered through coffee grounds, vacuum brewing creates an environment where steam saturates your grounds before filtering.

Stovetop percolators aren’t the only coffee makers to do this. Siphons work in a similar way. They’ve been around since the 1820s, with multiple patents for the imaginative glass contraptions filed throughout the nineteenth century.

In 1889, Hanson Goodrich filed and was granted a patent for what became the modern stovetop percolator. His goal was to remove “grounds and impurities” from the coffee. His patent did just that, but not without a few side effects.

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