How Much Coffee In A Percolator?

How Much Coffee In A Percolator?

If you appreciate the traditional way of brewing coffee, a percolator will appeal to you the most. It is a type of pot used for brewing coffee and the process involves continually cycling the boiling brew through the coffee grounds with the use of gravity. Brewing coffee with a percolator is a classic and common method in the US. 

How much coffee in a percolator?

You should use at least one heaped tablespoon of coarsely ground coffee for every cup or six ounces of water if you want a strong brew. If you prefer a weaker or lighter brew, use one teaspoon for every cup of water. Understandably, if you change the amount of coffee grounds, it will alter the strength of the coffee. 

You should grind beans to a coarse grind so that it is larger than sugar or sand particles. If you prefer buying ground coffee, choose regular coffee grinds that are suited for any type of coffee maker. Do not use finely ground or drip coffee grounds as they are too fine for a percolator. 

Here is a guide on how much coffee you should use in a percolator for larger servings and if preparing for many persons:

  • Use one to one and one-fourth cups of coffee grounds to brew 12 to 18 cups of coffee. 
  • Use one and one-fourth to one and one-half cups of coffee grounds to brew 20 to 25 cups of coffee. 
  • Use one and one-half to two cups of coffee grounds to brew 28 to 36 cups of coffee. 
  • Use two to two and one-half cups of coffee grounds to brew 40 to 45 cups of coffee.
  • Use three to four cups of coffee grounds to brew 50 to 60 cups of coffee. 

Types of percolators 

There are two types of percolators:

1. Electric percolators 

Electric percolators are automated and they control the temperature of the water and length of the percolating process.  If you adore strong and dark coffee you will like this type of percolator. 

2. Non-electric percolators 

These are also called stovetop percolators. They are manual percolators and have no fancy parts.  These percolators are usually made up of a pot, stem, basket, basket lid and lid with a small glass globe.  When making coffee on a stovetop percolator, you should raise the temperature of the water gradually and then reduce the heat once the pot starts to percolate. 

Coffee percolators have separate chambers for the water and coffee grounds.  Stovetop percolators are popular among campers and travelers because they work well on a campfire. Electric percolators make it easy to peak coffee and automatically switch off when the desired flavor intensity is achieved.

Parts of a percolator 

These are the basic parts of a percolator:

  • Coffee pot 
  • Stem or long tube
  • Filter basket – the part that holds the coffee grounds.
  • Filter basket cover 
  • Coffee pot lid – has a glass bubble on the top 

How does a percolator work?

A coffee percolator forces boiling water up through a hollow tube and into a perforated basket containing coffee grounds. As water pours it causes the pressure to rise as more water is pumped through the tube. The water is then pushed back over the coffee grounds where it extracts the coffee. The flavor is extracted from the coffee grounds, drains out of the basket and remains in the pot. 

The water will heat at the bottom again and the process repeats until the preferred flavor intensity is achieved. You will hear the gurgling sound that percolators are famous for during this process.  When the sound stops, it means the coffee-making process is complete. 

What is the best coffee for a percolator?

The best coffee for a percolator is light roast coffee. It has low acidity, and is smooth and mild. You should also grind the beans coarsely so they won’t spill over the filter basket. 

How long should coffee percolate in a percolator?

The standard time to percolate coffee is around seven to 10 minutes. This will also depend on the desired coffee strength level. Keep an even heat in the percolator during the process.  Brewing coffee with a percolator can be tricky since if the water gets too hot the coffee becomes over-extracted and will have a bitter taste. Inversely, coffee becomes under-extracted if the water is not hot enough. 


With the wide array of modern coffee makers nowadays, enjoying your cup of joe using the traditional method of percolators is a unique experience. Percolators are popular among campers and travelers because they can be used on campfires. You should use at least one heaped tablespoon of coarse coffee grounds for every cup or six ounces of water. You may adjust it though, according to your personal preferences. 

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