Percolator Problems

Written by sommer leigh
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Percolator Problems
Clean and maintain your percolator to prevent problems. (Moka caffettiera coffee percolator image by c from

The percolator has a simple design with a basket suspended on a tube so water boiling up bubble through and brews the coffee grounds. Because of its simple design, a percolator should not cause many problems as long as it's used correctly. Follow the instructions closely for selecting the right coffee, using the percolator and any maintenance procedures and you should avoid most problems.

Calcium Deposits

Calcium deposits build up on the metal parts of the percolator over time, possibly affecting how the percolator operates as well as the taste of the brewed coffee. The amount of build-up depends on the hardness of your tap water. Some percolator manufacturers recommend decalcifying your percolator to remove deposits from the interior. Place cream of tartar into the percolator and run it through a normal cycle to decalcify it.

Over- and Underbrewing

The coffee brewed in your percolator will vary in taste. If you leave the percolator on the stove for too long, the taste will become bitter. If you take it off too soon, the coffee may taste weak. Choose a high-quality coffee and grind and measure it properly to consistently ensure a good taste.


Keeping your percolator clean keeps your coffee tasting fresh with no odours or sediment build-up to affect its quality. Some percolator manufacturers recommend cleaning it after each use. Remove the cover, basket, spreader and pump tube from the percolator; these parts are typically dishwasher-safe. Rinse the washer on the pump tube to dislodge stuck coffee grounds. After several uses, use a cleaner formulated to clean percolators to remove oil build-up and coffee stains.

Defects and Damage

Some percolators come with a warranty that extends from one to three years from the date of purchase. Contact your manufacturer directly for warranty service if your percolator is defective or becomes damaged. The manufacturer can also offer further assistance if you are unable to resolve a problem. When calling, have your model name and serial number ready for quicker service.

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