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Once upon a time, everybody that loved coffee owned a percolator.  Praised for its convenience and efficiency, this style of old fashioned coffee makers have fallen out of favor from today's coffee lovers.  However, percolator coffee makers still have some fans and it never hurts to have a percolator as one of your coffe makers.

Sometimes described as a type of bubbling coffee makers, there are many different types of percolators.  Percolators vary on their source of heat, as some percolators use fire as its heating source.  This is most common when percolators are used over a campfire.  Additionally, stovetop percolators used to be very popular.  However, the most common type of percolator coffee maker used today is the electrical percolator that uses electricity as its heating source.  Electrical percolators have a built-in heating element and one is even able to obtain a cordless electric percolator if they so wanted.

Despite the different varieties of percolators, percolators share a common design that is similar to a carafe in which water is contained within to brew the coffee.  At the top of the percolator lies a perforated basket while a tube sits at the center of the percolator.  To brew coffee using a percolator coffee maker, one has to follow these easy steps:

  1. Put water in the carafe
  2. Put coarsely ground coffee beans in the basket
  3. Cover the basket
  4. Depending on the type of percolator, heat the water to the point where it has nearly reached the point of boiling
  5. The hot water will then be forced up the center tube and is dispersed as it hits the perforated basket at the top of the percolator
  6. The hot water will then come back down the center tube into the basket that contains the coffee grounds, which will then turn into brewed coffee
  7. The brewed coffee then mixes with the water
  8. Repeat this process until the coffee is completely brewed.  If the percolator contains a glass dome, you will be able to watch the coffee bubble up.  This allows you to watch your coffee darken to its desired flavor.
  9. Once the coffee is completely brewed, take out the basket containing the coffee grinds and discard the used coffee grounds.
  10. Drink up your coffee, you've earned it!

For the best type of coffee that one can brew using a percolator, it is ideal to use regular or fine coffee grinds.  The advantages of the percolator are that it results in a cup of coffee that has a full body and a nice aroma.  The coffee will be clear and steaming hot, however many coffee lovers have very few positive things that they say about the percolator as a coffee machine.

That's because many feel that the percolator violates two rules of effectively brewing coffee.   Due to its design, the percolator has a tendency to boil the coffee, which is a no-no in the world of coffee lovers.  By boiling the coffee grinds, the percolator is cooking away the delicate flavor essence of the coffee beans thus diminishing the intended flavor of the coffee beans.  Additionally, percolator coffee machines have a tendency to pass brewed coffee back over the coffee grounds.  This process has the effect of over extracting the coffee grounds, thus diminishing the flavor of the final cup of coffee.  While many coffee lovers attempt to circumvent this effect of the percolator by using a very course grind, this doesn't prevent the fact that the coffee grounds will become abused.  What results from a percolator coffee machine is a cup of coffee that is over extracted and has a foul taste.

Additionally, many feel that the percolator is an inconvenient type of coffee maker.  A common complaint is that percolator coffee makers take far too long to brew a cup of coffee.  It is estimated that it takes 13 to 18 minutes for a percolator to brew enough coffee for six cups.  Considering the effect that a percolator has on the taste of coffee and the time consuming process, it is recommended that you obtain a different type of coffee maker.