How to use a stovetop coffee percolator

Updated July 17, 2018

Prior to the development of the electric coffee maker, a coffee percolator was one of the only ways to make a hot cup of coffee. Coffee percolators come in two varieties. The electric percolator simply plugs in, while the hob percolator uses heat from the stove to boil water and make the coffee. If you are using a hob coffee percolator it is important to use high quality freshly ground coffee to ensure that your end result will be as flavourful as possible.

Wash and dry all parts of your coffee percolator if you did not do it after the last use. Use a long thin brush or pipecleaner to get inside the stem of the percolator.

Remove the filter basket and fill the pot with water to the desired cup markings. If your percolator does not have cup markings, fill it to just below where the filter basket will sit.

Place the filter basket over the stem of the percolator.

Add one heaping teaspoon of ground coffee for each cup of water in the pot.

Place the basket lid on top of the filter and place the lid on the percolator.

Place the percolator over low heat on the stove and watch it carefully. Turn the heat down as soon as you hear the coffee start to perk.

Remove the coffeepot from the heat as soon as it has finished brewing. You will know it is finished when the perking sound stops.

Take the lid off of the percolator and remove the filter basket, stem and bottom from the pot. Pour your coffee and add milk and sugar to taste.


Use your coffee as soon after grinding it as possible. A small blade-style coffee grinder will help your coffee to taste fresher and less bitter than preground coffee.


Be careful not to burn yourself when you open the percolator to remove the filter. The steam that escapes the pot will be very hot.

Things You'll Need

  • Coffee percolator
  • Ground coffee
  • Water
  • Hob
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About the Author

Stacy Zogheib's writing has been published in various online publications. She is a teacher and developmental specialist with experience teaching first grade, special education and working with children ages 0 to 3. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University.