To a degree, percolator coffee is relatively fool proof. This counts double if using a decent electronic percolator, which for the most part takes care of pretty much everything on your behalf.
However, it’s not to say that you cannot step up your game with a few basic tips and tricks from the experts. Even when brewing using an automated percolator, there are still a few things you can do to produce consistently superior coffee.
Here’s a brief rundown of the most important rules and guidelines for producing perfect percolator coffee at home:
Even if your tap water is of relatively good quality, stepping up to filtered water can and will make a big difference. Invest in a decent water filter and you’ll never go back to the stuff from the tap again.
Freshness applies to both how recently your coffee beans were roasted and how recently they were ground. Both of which will make a huge difference to the quality of the coffee you brew.
Even if your machine already has an inbuilt filter, the addition of a quality paper filter can help eliminate the finer grounds from the resulting coffee. In addition, it’s also worth giving each paper filter a good rinse with hot water before use. This is to prevent the filter imparting any unwanted fragrance or flavor on the coffee.
Personal preference plays a role here, but it’s worth experimenting until you come up with the right coarseness for you. Also remember that while coarser grounds take longer to infuse the hot water in the percolator, fine grounds can make their way into the coffee and create a ‘muddy’ cup.
The quantity of water used should be adjusted in accordance with how much coffee you want to brew, but under no circumstances should touch the bottom of the filter basket above. Preheating the water is an option preferred by some, but is by no means compulsory.
Most decent electronic percolators automatically shut off at just the right time. Otherwise, it’s a case of waiting until you hear that first characteristic ‘burble’, before turning down the heat and allowing it to do its thing at a gentle pace. As a general rule of thumb, percolators usually need around 1 minute for every cup of water.
Last up, it’s essential to ensure you take your freshly brewed coffee out of your percolator as soon as it is ready. This is to prevent steam from the coffee making its way back into the upper chamber, passing through the coffee and continuously intensifying its flavor. All of which could result in an unpalatable cup with elevated acidity, so it’s better to decant the coffee into a suitable receptacle.
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