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What are Coffee Percolators?

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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Coffee percolators have been around for nearly 200 years. The technology involved in making a pot of coffee the percolator way caught on quickly, and the coffee percolator is still used. The coffee pot was a fixture in most frontier homes, and although the first ones were not percolators, later ones certainly were. A coffee percolator is simple to use, requires only a heat source and has just a few parts. This made it ideal when people were packing belongings in wagons and had very little space. The coffee percolator was also an improvement over the old pot because the grounds stayed in the basket, not at the bottom of the pot. The vacuum pot was also popular at the same time as the coffee percolator, but the percolator became more common simply because it was smaller and less expensive.

Simple physics controls the way coffee percolators works. The percolator has a basket inside that attaches to a hollow stem. The coffee grounds are placed in the basket and the basket is attached to the stem, which fits into the bottom of the pot. Water is then poured into the pot. In a coffee percolator, the water is heated to nearly boiling, which causes it to bubble up through the stem and then to drip down into the coffee grounds, through the holes in the basket, and back into the pot. Typical coffee percolators may have a glass dome in their tops. The coffee coming up through the stem will bubble against the glass dome, which directs it back down to the basket.

In this age of fresh-ground, French press, gourmet coffee, coffee percolators have fallen in esteem. Because the coffee is heated almost to a boiling point and because the water drips through the coffee grounds over and over, the resulting brew is usually very strong and often bitter. Some manufacturers still make the stainless-steel, electric variety, however, and the non-electric kind is still popular for camping. They can be purchased in stores or online, and usually cost anywhere from $30 to $80 US Dollars (USD).

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