Do you remember the electric coffee makers? Percolators were the primary method of brewing coffee for over 100 years and were gradually replaced by the automatic drip coffee maker in the 1970s. American James Mason is credited with being the first to patent an electric coffee maker on December 26, 1865, now known as National Coffee Pot Day. Although this day was originally designed to celebrate coffee percolatorwe can extend that celebration to include various applications from the percolator.
Finding a percolator is pretty simple. Used percolators in good condition can be found at garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores, and possibly in your (or your parents’ or grandparents’) attic. The new percolators are available from sporting goods stores to high-end kitchen stores and everything in between. Percolators are electric or non-electric and come in clear glass, ceramic, enamel, or stainless steel. Percolators also come in all sizes with some making up to 55 cups.
Experts disagree on the best method to clean this appliance. Some people use dish detergent, but most suggest avoiding soap, emphasizing a more natural method of cleaning. Soap often leaves behind a soapy residue. Coffee contains an oil that can build up over time and affect the flavor of your coffee. Fortunately, a percolator is almost self-cleaning, like an oven.
To clean, fill the pot with water and 2-3 tablespoons of baking powder or cream of tartar. Him, let him cheer! After the water has cooled, rub it in with a non-abrasive tool, such as a plastic scouring pad.
Activity 1: Make percolator coffee
This ancient method of brewing is making a comeback, and National Percolator Day gives us the opportunity to learn more about and/or review this method of brewing. Once again, coffee lovers seem to have divided into two camps: those who extol the virtues of percolator coffee and those who avoid it altogether, claiming that coffee made this way is bitter. In this world of quick and easy pod coffee, the coffee maker almost seems out of place. Brewing a good cup of coffee in a percolator is an art, as it is with any percolator. Patience and time are necessary to prevent the coffee from “burning”. The steps to make traditional coffee are as follows:
Step 1. Start with a clean appliance. Old coffee residue left in an unwashed coffee maker results in bitter tasting coffee. Disassemble and clean all parts with each use.
Step 2. Choose a coarse-grind, low-acid, very mild coffee. While it is ideal to grind the coffee beans themselves, it is not necessary. The coarse grind allows the flavor to release slowly during the recovery period.
Step 3. Water does it to import. Be aware of the mineral content of your water, as minerals can affect the flavor of the coffee. Fill the brewer with cold filtered water, noting the desired level on the markings on the side of the brewer.
Step 4. Measure the coffee accurately, adding 1 heaping tablespoon to the basket for every 8-ounce cup.
Step 5. This step is very important to avoid an extremely hot mess later: Carefully place the basket lid on the basket, snapping it into place. Otherwise, hot water and coffee grounds will enter the coffee maker. Then add the top of the percolator, also important.
Step 6. If you are using an electric coffee maker, plug it in and turn it on. If you’re using a non-electric percolator, put it on low heat and watch! As soon as the first stream of coffee hits the glass bubble in the lid, lower the heat. Avoid letting the water boil.
Step 7. Perk time varies. When the heating stops, the coffee is finished, so remove it from the heat. For the stovetop percolator, this is a good place to experiment. Some coffee drinkers let their coffee brew for 2 minutes, others up to 8 minutes. While you wait, add hot water to a thermal carafe to warm it up.
Step 8. Take care of yourself! Avoid burning yourself while removing the lid and the entire basket system. A silicone glove or pot holder is a great way to prevent burns.
Step 9. Put in a coffee mug and enjoy! Pour the remaining coffee into a carafe to keep warm.
Another favorite percolator coffee recipe is Swedish coffee. As before, add the water and place the basket in the pot, then add the coarse ground coffee. Next, crack a raw egg directly into the basket; yes, add it to ground coffee. Add the egg shell too. Add a pinch of salt, mix and prepare as above. Swedish coffee lacks the sometimes bitter flavor of scented coffee, resulting in a more subtle and less intense flavor.
Activity 2: Making percolator punches
Alright, this isn’t really coffee, but use a coffee maker and it’s a great way to celebrate this holiday.
Here’s a spicy punch:
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon red cinnamon candies
1-2 cinnamon sticks
6-8 whole cloves
3 tablespoons cranberry juice
3 tablespoons pineapple juice
3-4 tablespoons water
Thoroughly clean the coffee maker, making sure to remove all coffee residue. For juices and water in the percolator. Put the sugar, candies, cinnamon and cloves in the basket. Operate the percolator as for coffee. Serve the punch hot.
Here is another Piercing Percolator:
2 quarts of apple cider
cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of nutmeg
teaspoon of salt
1 orange, cut into wedges, with peel
Pour the apple cider into a 10 to 12 cup electric percolator and place the remaining ingredients in the basket. Take cover and cheer up!
Activity 3: Planter with percolator
Here’s another “no coffee” activity for the day: A stovetop (non-electric) percolator makes a whimsical planter that’s perfect for the kitchen, deck, or dining room. Why not paint the flower pot for a child’s room? The quickest way to turn a legacy percolator into a planter is to slip a small plant in a plastic pot inside. Otherwise, purchase an insert to support the soil and plant, allowing drainage. Then fill the liner with equal parts potting soil, peat moss, and perlite, and add plants. A clear glass stove top percolator could be turned into a terrarium.
Activity 4: Percolator Vase
This activity is the perfect way to use up that old coffee pot that has been sitting in the attic, the one that may seem too old to use for coffee – add dried flowers. Or, if the pot is ceramic or enamel, add fresh flowers.
Activity 5: Percolator lamp
How about adding a bit of nostalgia to your kitchen, den, breakfast nook, or guest room? Turn that old coffee pot into a lamp! Here is a video explaining how to do it.
Celebrating National Percolator Day
National Percolator Day not only celebrates the day the percolator was first patented, but also celebrates a way of life that no longer exists. This celebration can range from admiring an antique, heirloom, or whimsical coffee pot decoration or lamp to relaxing with a fresh cup of coffee. Despite the difficulty of “perking up” that perfect cup of coffee with a percolator, many coffee lovers have refused to give up their percolators and enjoy strong coffee with a distinctive flavor. Others choose coffee makers for health reasons: Coffee makers have no plastic parts, so they avoid chemicals that leach out of plastics when they come in contact with hot water.
This year, why not try the coffee maker? There may be one hidden in your attic or your grandparents’. If you can’t find one in any of those places, there are still plenty of models available to buy. Fill it with cold water, add some coarse ground coffee, making sure to smell that delicious aroma, add your heat source, sit back and listen to your coffee make that distinctive “reanimation” sound.