While in Kentucky this past summer (2018), we went through several different antique and flea markets. I am always in the market for hidden treasures in the coffee department. While going through one of the flea markets in Lexington, I found this complete amazing percolator that was made around the 70’s.
I fell in love with this particular style and model because it has 2 handles. One at the back and one on the top. The plastic piece on the top was a little worn and cracked but it doesn’t leak so it is in currently in perfect working order. Here are the piece that come with it and these are all of the pieces that should come with an old percolator so you know what to look for.
You have the pump stem or the long slender piece that has a wide bottom that sits in the middle of the percolator. On top of that you have the coffee basket that sits on it. On top of the basket sits the spreader cover. If you find a nice old percolator that is missing one or more of these parts you can find a good resource for replacements here. But be careful as you don’t want to spend a ton of money on these. I found this one for $20 so they are pretty cheap with all of the parts.
The reason I love these old style coffee makers is that they allow the coffee to “steep” inside the maker. Steeping is defined as
Definition: To allow dry ingredients, such as coffee, tea, or spices, to soak in a liquid until the liquid takes on the flavor of the dry ingredient.
According to the National Coffee Association, steeping time varies in what method you use and you actually can allow the coffee to steep too much. They say, “In a drip system, the contact time should be approximately 5 minutes. If you are making your coffee using a French Press, the contact time should be 2-4 minutes. Espresso has an especially brief brew time — the coffee is in contact with the water for only 20-30 seconds. Cold brew, on the other hand, should steep overnight (about 12 hours).”
In this particular percolator I put the coffee into the basket and then put the pot on the burner. Coarse grounds work better in this case as the older pots do sometimes let grounds get through. After a couple minutes the water begins to percolate. After the percolation begins I turn the burner down to 1/2 heat (my settings go from 1-9 so I keep it about a 5) and set the timer for 5-8 minutes. This gives the coffee time to steep – to go through the grounds multiple times to make the perfect rich cup of coffee.
For me this creates the most amazing cup of coffee. It is rich, dark and full of flavor. Remember when you take this coffee off the burner after your timer has gone off to let it sit for a couple of minutes. It has been boiling for several minutes and will need to cool off. Enjoy! Til the next amazing ancient cooking method comes along for me to share…