Making Coffee in a Percolator

Category Kitchen Tools
Whether using the pot on the stove or an electric appliance, this was the most common way to make coffee for a long time. This page is about making coffee in a percolator.


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One of my cooking groups kept talking about how the best coffee is brewed in a percolator. They were popular in the 1950s and 1960s, but not today. I found one at a thrift store and took it home. It was missing the instruction manual. I looked online and found out how to use it, so I am passing along the information. My percolator is electric, but the instructions are still good if you have one to use on the stovetop.
This is a great way to have coffee for a crowd, or if you drink multiple cups a day. I refrigerate it for iced coffee.

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 8 cups for my coffee pot

Source: Internet


  • percolator
  • ground coffee
  • water


  1. Take all the parts out of the percolator.
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  3. Put the water in. I put the maximum number of cups my percolator holds, 8 cups.
  4. Put the basket assembly, minus the cover, in the hole at the bottom of the percolator.
  5. Use a coffee measure. If you don't have one, it is equal to 2T ground coffee. Use half the scoops as the number of cups of water you put in. Since I put in 8 cups of water, I used 4 scoops of coffee. Put your finger over the hole in the basket to prevent coffee from going through.
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  7. Put the basket cover and the top of the percolator on. If you have an electric percolator, plug it in. If not, put on the stove. You will see the coffee percolating through the glass top. When the coffee stops percolating, it is done. For my full coffee pot it took about 15 minutes.
  8. If you are drinking the coffee hot, pour and enjoy.
  9. I am going to have iced coffee. I unplugged the percolator, removed the top and the basket to allow the coffee to cool.
  10. When cool enough, pour into a pitcher and refrigerate.
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  12. To serve, put in ice in a glass, and add the coffee. Add sweetener and milk or creamer if desired.
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I've been trying to cut down on opportunities to ingest cholesterol laden food and drinks. We just recently started drinking perked coffee as opposed to auto drip. There is a lot of oil in coffee.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 16, 2010

I just got a Farberware coffee percolator. It uses 3 tablespoons of coffee grounds per 6oz coffee cup. Once the water starts to bubble, how long do I have to let it percolate? Then do I take it off the flame and let it rest? Please be specific, as I have never had a percolator before. Many thanks.


By araucano


December 16, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Once the coffee begins to perk (bubble), let it continue for 5 minutes, then it is ready to drink. It will be very hot, so be careful. Three tablespoons for 6 oz. of water is way too much. I'd measure one tablespoon per cup and see how that turns out, then add more ground coffee next time if it was too weak. It takes a bit of experimentation until you get it right.

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December 17, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Wow, that's gonna be some strong, expensive coffee! Start with 1 Tbl. per cup. Percolator coffee is stronger than drip coffee because the hot water is run over the grounds more than once by bubbling up through the tub unlike a drip which only drips hot water through once.

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December 10, 2008

I have a Farberware electric percolator that seems to have a problem making coffee. It comes out very weak. Any hints as to why?

Bill from NJ


December 17, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Have you tried simply increasing the amount of coffee that you put in? I know this is obvious and simple, but sometimes a simple solution is all that is needed.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 16, 2010

How much coffee grinds do I use to make coffee in a 60 cup percolator? I would like to know the same for 20, 30, 40 and 50. I'm hostessing a big BBQ today and need to make the coffee.



By Audrey Lebowitz from Manalapan, NJ


Making Coffee In a Percolator

Directions should be on the coffee, if not use 1 teaspoon for each cup. Good luck. (05/29/2010)

By kathleen williams

Making Coffee In a Percolator

Everyone has a formula that works for them! But it all depends of the grind (coarse, regular, fine) and the roast (dark, med, light) and the type of coffee (there are 2 species of coffee, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is less bitter with less caffeine that Robusta). The basic measurement is from 1 to 2 Tablespoons and usually you'll need 1 heaping tablespoon per cup for perked coffee, but it can be as little as 1 Tablespoon to as much as 2 tablespoons per cup (depending on grind). To make that even more confusing, each brand of coffee maker has different amounts as to what a "cup" of coffee is. It can be anywhere from 6 to 8 ounces and a mug is 8 to 12 ounces.

A coffee scoop filled level contains two tablespoons of coffee. And two tablespoons is what you usually need for a 6 ounce cup of coffee (with a regular grind and a medium roast). But many find this too strong. If it were me, I'd buy a light to medium roast of a quality coffee. The Duncan Donuts brand makes a fairly low cost coffee that is smooth and mellow and not bitter. If you use something like Folgers (coffee Robusta) you'll get a more bitter (but higher caffeine content) coffee.

Perked coffee doesn't make the best coffee because of 2 things, 1) It's run through the grounds over and over and 2) the water is boiling, but you gotta use what you have available!

I start out with one level tablespoon per cup and make as small a batch as you can to test it first. You may need to up the amount to 1 heaping Tablespoon per cup.

Coffee Brewing Method:

More Info:

By Cyinda

Making Coffee In a Percolator

If you look closely at the grounds holder it may have lines showing how full it needs to be. I love perked coffee. If it doesn't say then go by what you use at home in the small coffee maker. Whatever you use for four cups multiply times 15. (06/02/2010)

By Lilac

Making Coffee In a Percolator

I was taught that the 30 cup percolator takes 1 8 oz cup of ground. This is pretty close to the 1 tsp. for every cup made, again a formula from the 1960s. I make good coffee (so I am told, I don't drink it). (06/02/2010)

By Grandma J

Making Coffee In a Percolator

To Mike wanting to make coffee in the 10-12 cup aluminum stove top pot. I am presuming you don't have the cup to set grounds in. This is the campers type, only way my father makes coffee and he is 81.

Cold water up the the amount, say 10 cup line. Then 10 tsp measures of coffee in the cold water. Bring to boil, watch, let boil about 5 minutes. Then turn off burner, take pot off, drop in 1 cup cold water. This settles the grounds to the bottom.

Pour up your cup. (06/02/2010)

By Grandma J

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May 29, 2010

I recently bought an old 10-12 cup aluminum stove top coffee pot (percolator) in very good condition. I would like to make some coffee, but don't know the correct way to brew it. I would appreciate any help. Also, is the coffee measured out the same as an automatic coffee maker? Thanks for any ideas.



Making a Coffee In a Percolator

I love perked coffee and it stays hot longer in a thermos.
Use 1 coffee scoop of grounds (not fine grind) for every 2 cups of coffee and perk for 4 minutes. Remove the stem and basket if you won't be using all the coffee as soon as it is made. Enjoy. (09/28/2005)

By siris

Making a Coffee In a Percolator

You can find info on coffee packages concerning amounts of coffee grind to use, but that all depends on how weak or strong you like your coffee; that's just a trial and error experience. Most important thing you should know is to run boiling water through your pot and grind dispenser before the first use so the coffee won't have an after taste. I use an old fashion drip pot and that has always happened to me when it's not used for a while. Hope this helps, enjoy your coffee!

Kajun Connie (09/30/2005)

By Connie(guest post)

Making a Coffee In a Percolator

I use a percolator when we go camping. If you use a gas burner make sure you move the pot so that the flame burns where the stem is. That way the water will "perk". I heat up the water until just under a boil, then move the pot over. Also, once it starts to perk, turn the flame down or else you will perk lots of grinds into the coffee water and have a lot of texture! If that happens, the grinds will mostly settle to the bottom of the pot and your cup. The coffee should still be tasty if you can get over the lumps. The full size pots usually hold 10 cups, so I just measure for the percolator the same as I do a drip. I let it perk for about 5 minutes. Any more than that makes the coffee too strong for me. Hope this helps. (10/02/2005)

By Donna

Making Coffee In a Percolator

I inherited a percolator when my mother passed away. I forgot how much better the flavor is, and threw away the old brewer I was using. One tablespoon per cup, watch the color in the glass dome to your satisfaction. (12/02/2008)

By Richard

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