The Best Electric Coffee Percolators
Coffee Percolators have made a bit of a comeback to popular culture in recent times. They have not always been the most popular devices out there, partly because of the rise in popularity of the French Press and Drip Brew methods, but also because if not used correctly, they can easily over brew coffee.
However, electric coffee percolators have come along to solve these issues and reintroduce this traditional method of brewing exceptionally hot and bold coffee to the masses.
But, if you are new to coffee percolators and don’t know where to start, you may struggle to know which make or model will best suit your needs. If you are in this boat, you’ve come to the right place!
What is a Coffee Percolator?
A coffee percolator is a kettle-like brewing device that heats water over and over again to produce strong coffee. Coarsely ground coffee is added to a mesh basket inside the device and water is added to the chamber at the bottom of the kettle. Then, heat is applied to the percolator either by placing it onto a hot stovetop (for a manual version), or plugging in an electric version that turns on the internal heating element.
As the water in the lower chamber begins to boil, it rises through a thin inner tube that passes through a hole in the middle of the basket containing the coffee grounds. This water then pours over the coffee and drips through it back into the original water chamber. This is done via the process of percolation, which is repeated until the coffee is brewed to the desired strength.
Manual coffee percolators are notoriously difficult to control, as it is very easy to overheat the stove and end up burning the coffee grounds. It is also very easy to over brew the end product. If a percolator is allowed to continue brewing even a few seconds past its optimum strength point, the coffee can end up burnt and bitter thanks to the direct application of heat.
However, electric percolators solve this issue by consistently and gradually applying a controlled amount of heat throughout the brewing process to ensure you get a great cup of coffee every time!
What to Look For in an Electric Coffee Percolator
There are a few things to consider before you go ahead and purchase your brand-new percolator.
Think about the number of people you’ll likely be serving with your percolator. The size of your percolator will of course determine how many people it will serve, from a tiny 2-cup brew all the way up to 20 servings!
The size of your percolator will also depend on how portable you want it to be and how quickly you want your coffee to be brewed. If you are going to be using your percolator mainly at home and don’t mind waiting 10-15 minutes for an extra strong cup of joe, then opting for a larger-sized device would serve you well.
The majority of coffee percolators follow a 1-minute brew time per 1 cup of coffee served rule. Therefore, the more coffee you need, the longer you’ll have to wait. This does make it a lot easier to predict how long your cup of joe will take compared to a lot of other coffee brewing methods though!
However, you favor portability and see yourself using your percolator on a camping trip. If you are after extra strong coffee in a hurry to perk you up for a full day of hiking, a smaller, more portable percolator could be your closest companion!
This may sound like a nerdy point to make, but the material your percolator is made from can actually make quite a big difference to the taste of your coffee! Generally, speaking percolators are made from aluminum, ceramic, or stainless steel.
Each of these has its pros and cons, but by far the most popular choice in the market is stainless steel
Aluminum percolators are the least expensive, lightest weight, and actually, gain and lose heat the fastest. This makes them ideal for campers or hikers that want a freshly brewed cup of coffee fast! They can also make great larger capacity devices too, as their ability to gain heat quickly means you can serve a large number of people in no time.
There have been concerns that aluminum percolators will contaminate their contents as they are heated up, but this theory has been rejected by many scientific studies testing the claim.
Ceramic percolators tend to be the more designer option as they are easier to customize. They are of course only used in manual, stove top configurations, but are also worth mentioning in case coffee enthusiasts fancy something a little different in their coffee equipment cabinet.
Ceramic percolators retain heat really well, so they keep your coffee hot for a long period of time. They are also pretty good value and make a great decorative ornament!
The daddy of percolator materials is stainless steel. This is the most popular choice for good reason! It is very durable and easy to clean, as well as being the highest quality material of the three. The main disadvantage of stainless steel being used is that it is on the more pricey side, but you certainly get what you pay for here.
Stainless steel percolators tend to stay hot for a long time once they are brewed, and the vast majority of electric coffee percolators you come across will be made from stainless steel. They are also easy to incorporate plastic into, making for easy-hold handles and thermally insulated bases.
Another factor to consider is whether or not your coffee percolator is dishwasher-safe. As there is no actual filter being used (which collects the coffee and is easily disposable) in a percolator, they can be a little more challenging to keep clean.
Dishwasher-safe percolators are well worth looking out for, as they make keeping your new device clean a doddle! Otherwise, you’ll have to spend ages meticulously cleaning each individual component of the percolator, which can be a bit of a laborious process.
Many modern electric percolators are dishwasher safe, so look out for the label when you are considering which make and model to go for!
Best Electric Coffee Percolators
Here are my top picks for the best coffee percolators out there. These are ranked in no particular order but show a nice variety of different capacities, price points, and features.
1. Farberware FCP240
The Farberware FCP240 is a reasonably priced, small-capacity electric percolator that is ideal for coffee lovers on the go. If you want freshly brewed, strong coffee as soon as you get to the office and need a personal device to make it for you, this is a great percolator to go for.
The FCP240 has a simplistic design and is very quick to heat up, ensuring you get your cup of joe in an instant. Farberware is renowned for producing high-quality coffee brewing products, and its smallest percolator is no exception.
2. Presto 02822
A great overall all-rounder is the Presto 02822. It is also a very reasonable option at a middle-of-the-road price point that can hold up to 6 cups of coffee. The Presto strikes a nice balance between capacity, brew time, affordability, and clean but stylish looks. Whilst it does not excel in one particular category, it is a solid option for someone that is new to electric percolators and is looking for a no-fuss device.
There is no plastic used on this percolator, but it also lacks that characteristic glass top. You don’t see the water bubbling up with the Presto 02822, but this encourages you to simply wait for the ‘ready to serve’ button to light up and you’re away!
There is a drip-free spout and a keep-warm mode which stops the percolator from over brewing your coffee but keeps it warm and ready for your next serving.
3. Farberware 47053
Another offering from the coffee champions at Farberware is their 47053 model. This is a simple-looking but classically designed percolator that has all the familiar features you would expect from this type of device.
Farberware has nailed the usability component of their 47053 model, creating a dishwasher-safe (aside from the pump tube spring) electric percolator that caters to the masses. It is therefore incredibly convenient and easy to clean and also comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can have peace of mind and trust in the quality of this product! This model comes in either an 8-cup or 12-cup capacity, so no matter whether you favor speed or quantity, the 47053 has you covered.
Electric coffee percolators are great for producing extra hot, extra strong coffee that brings a modern twist to a traditional brewing method. Percolation is a unique brewing practice that is more similar to a french press or drip brew than a moka pot or espresso maker but yields fantastic results.
Electric coffee percolators are incredibly convenient and many who use their state won’t go back to any other brewing method! There are a few things to consider when buying an electric coffee percolator, such as the materials used, capacity, and how easy it is to clean.
There are plenty of great options out there to choose from, so I hope my recommendations serve as a nice starting point for your electric coffee percolator search!