When I was a college student, coffee was my stimulant of choice. I spent many a night right beside my electric percolator, carefully measuring the water and ground beans to insure only the best cuppa joe.
Now that I am a busy working woman, I use the ADM (Automatic Drip method). Though more efficient than the old trusty percolator, there is something missing, something that only can be found in those percolated cups of yore.
There is a certain richness that only a percolator can provide. Let's briefly explore the method that each uses to illustrate this point.
According to the website Fantes.com, “the Percolator is one of the most familiar methods of brewing coffee. It works by filtering boiling water through the coffee grounds over and over. Many people still enjoy this old favorite, especially when it is used with very mild coffees.”
There are three types of percolators, Stovetop, Electric and Cordless Electric. There is a drawback to using a stove top percolator. If not carefully attended to, there is the tendency toward bitterness from “prolonged overboiling.”
ADM's work by simply dripping a stream of water over filtered grounds so that the coffee “leaches” through and into the pot below. The drawback here is that you can use too little or two much of either coffee or water making either enought bite to put hair on your chest or not enough of a bite to sprout peach fuzz.
Once gaining expertise in the use of either one, however, and the drawbacks disappear. Your hooked on one or the other and search the world over for the machine that will give you the best cuppa joe you can get outside the walls of Dunkin Donuts.
Pricewise, percolators run a bit more (per cup)than ADM's but are well worth pursuing.
Most ADM's go from anywhere starting at $19.95 for a generic name brand to $139.95 for a Krups. All these are 12 cup ADM's, the industry standard. Percolators can run from $14.99 for a glass 8 cup Simex stovetop model to $79.99 (actually less than a ADM) for a 12 cup Cuisinart Brew Centrel Electric Programmable Coffee Maker.
When it comes to replacement parts, however, the percolators have the ADM's beat. Most only need to have the glass tops replaced and they run as little as $1.99 each. Glass carafes for the ADM's can start at $29.99, in some cases, more than an entire coffee maker and more than double the cost of an 8 cup glass stovetop model percolator.
So how do you choose? If you already own a state-of-the-art ADM, you have half the battle won. You already know how well this type of machine performs, so your next step is to try out a reasonably priced percolator to see the difference. If the stovetop variety leves you a bit on the nervous side, a nice electric model by Farberware can run you about $34.99 and will last quite a long time, if well maintained.