Why doesn't my percolator perk? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 09-09-2007, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a newbie percolator user. We're planning on going camping at one point, so I figured I'd get one and learn to use it before we went. We usually don't drink coffee but there's something about coffee around the campfire that's so comforting.

It appears to have all the pieces: brewing vessel, lid, glass top, basket, stem and basket lid. I did get it used so I got no instructions with it.

I put some water in it and tried to boil it, just to see how it works and the water boils but it doesn't come up the tube. No perking! What can I do? The tube isn't clogged.

Thanks in advance!
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#2 of 8 Old 09-09-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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There are instructions here. Along with diagrams.

Because of how it works, I don't think you'll see "perking" unless you actually have coffee in the basket.

HTH

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#3 of 8 Old 09-09-2007, 11:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! I will try again tomorrow and this time with some coffee.
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#4 of 8 Old 09-12-2007, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok tried it twice today, with coffee both times. It works!

Only problem now seems to be that not very much water makes it up the pipe. I don't know if that's because of the design of the one I have or I had the temp wrong. When I opened it after 5 minutes of boiling, one side of the coffee was dry.

Any ideas on that?

Oh and I totally know why the coffee is supposed to be a coarser grind for percolators.. had I drank this, it would have been chewable coffee.
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#5 of 8 Old 09-13-2007, 12:59 AM
 
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Check that all the holes in the cover are clear. And it should boil until it stops perking.

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#6 of 8 Old 09-13-2007, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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wait, the stovetop one will stop perking? this i didn't know..
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#7 of 8 Old 09-13-2007, 04:14 AM
 
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From Wikipedia (bolding mine):
Quote:
A percolator consists of a pot with a small chamber at the bottom, which is placed closest to the heat source. A vertical tube leads from this chamber to the top of the percolator. Just below the upper end of this tube is a perforated chamber.

The percolator is prepared for use by placing the desired quantity of water in the pot, and a corresponding amount of a fairly coarse grind of coffee in the top chamber. It is important that the water level be below the bottom of the coffee chamber.

After the percolator is placed on the heat source (such as a stove), the temperature rises until the water in the bottom chamber boils. While some models may feature a one-way valve at the bottom of the tube which forces some of the boiling water up the tube, most operate on the simple principle of rising bubbles forcing liquid up the tube. The hot water is distributed at the top over the perforated lid of the coffee chamber. This water then seeps through the coffee grounds and leaves the coffee chamber through the bottom, dropping back into the lower half of the pot. The rest of the colder water at the bottom is meanwhile also forced up the tube, causing this whole cycle to repeat continually.

As the brew continually drips through the grounds, the overall temperature of the liquid approaches boiling point, at which stage the "perking" action (the characteristic spurting sound the pot makes) stops, and the coffee is ready for drinking. In a manual percolator it is important to remove or reduce the heat at this point, as most coffee-drinkers agree that it should never be allowed to boil; an adage to this effect states, "Coffee boiled is coffee spoiled". Brewed coffee left on high heat for too long will also acquire a bitter taste.

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#8 of 8 Old 09-14-2007, 05:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quietserena View Post
Ok tried it twice today, with coffee both times. It works!

Only problem now seems to be that not very much water makes it up the pipe. I don't know if that's because of the design of the one I have or I had the temp wrong. When I opened it after 5 minutes of boiling, one side of the coffee was dry.

Any ideas on that?

Oh and I totally know why the coffee is supposed to be a coarser grind for percolators.. had I drank this, it would have been chewable coffee.
Hi Serena,

You can actually get paper filters for percolator pots. I use a stainless steel one that I've had for years, and I have made very fine grind coffee in it (Lebanese coffee with cardamom - yum!) without a lot of grounds getting into the coffee. The filters I have are made by Eight O Clock and they are just round disks. You could probably improvise by using a small basket filter and just poke the tube through the middle of it.

I let mine go until the house smells like coffee, then I know it's done. That stuff will really wake you up in the morning!
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