The popularity for the percolator has been waning for some time now.
Is this opinion justified and what actually is the difference between percolated and drip coffee?
It’s a controversial subject in coffee circles. A quick trawl of the internet will find proponents for percolators arguing passionately against drip coffee champions.
A percolator is basically a kind of pot used to brew coffee. They are traditionally aluminium and work by heating water in a chamber which is in turn distributed up a tube and over the perforated coffee chamber.
This water is soaked over the grounds in the coffee chamber and back into the bottom part of the pot. The process is then repeated with the as yet unheated water until the liquid in the pot reaches boiling point at which point it should be removed from the heat and drunk.
The critics of percolated coffee cite the brewing process as being the main cause of detriment to the flavor. They say the grounds being saturated with boiling water (to many the cardinal sin of coffee making) allied to the coffee being recycled through the grounds weaken the flavor.
The aluminium percolator is also said to impair the flavor although percolators made of alternative materials are available.
The drip coffee maker works by pouring hot water over filter-contained ground coffee which absorbs the flavors and oils contained within. It is then retained in a receptacle underneath.
Unlike a percolator this process only happens once which theoretically gives a smoother flavor.
Also, as boiling water isn’t used it is said that over extraction doesn’t occur and we get none of the bitterness associated with brewing with a percolator.
It is said however, that due to the process of water passing through the ground only once. The coffee at the bottom of the pot is stronger as most of the oils and essences of the coffee have been extracted by the initial soakings.
Many people will also point to the sometimes excessively long brewing time of drip coffee as being a negative.
The Better Option?
It would appear that the choice between percolator and drip coffee is entirely down to personal taste.
Many people enjoy the rich, strong brew that comes from a percolator.
They will point to the pleasures of a piping hot cup of coffee which gives off a delightful aroma and say this can only be produced by a percolator.
Also, people who spend a lot of time outdoors will point to the percolator as being an essential piece of kit.
In addition to these factors, drip coffee making can be much more expensive than coffee through a percolator.
Those in the drip coffee camp will always claim the smoother taste they get from their favorite coffee maker outweighs all the advantages of a percolator.
It is a debate which will rage on. One thing is for sure though, if you aren’t making coffee with the freshest, best tasting grounds, it doesn’t matter how you brew it.