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Thread Number: 68627  /  Tag: Small Appliances
Percolator or drip coffee maker
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Post# 913907   1/4/2017 at 09:51 by vintage1963 (Ohio)        

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Hi friends...I am considering getting a percolator to replace the drip coffee maker at I have (which belonged to my parents). It has been many years since I have seen a percolator in use since the drip coffee makers are all the rage, and with the advent of those units that use pods, which I also have for those times we just want to make one cup of coffee. In any case, does anyone have any recommendations on the best percolator to buy, and the usage of it? I am also looking on eBay for any good used vintage ones that will still give me a few good years of use.

Post# 913916 , Reply# 1   1/4/2017 at 11:24 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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If you'd like a vintage perk, check your local thrift stores.  You'll probably find at least a few on offer for lower prices (and no shipping or handling fees) locally than on eBay!  


Most older perks will probably need a good cleaning before you start using them - I think a product called Dip-It still is available in most US cities and trust me, this stuff works miracles.  


Check any perk to make sure that all the parts are there and look for any scars or scratches in the bottom of the pot - this will have an ill effect on the quality of coffee brewed.   A glass or  Corningware perk will not have this issue and can be washed in the dishwasher to keep the pot clean. 


As for which perk is "best", I won't start that debate... LOL    However, in my opinion, the GE 'potbelly' P400 series pots are good, as are the original Faberware SuperFast perks and show up on my counter pretty often!   I love the look of the Sunbeams and the style of the older Universals.... Uh oh, here I go.... LOL 

Post# 913921 , Reply# 2   1/4/2017 at 11:36 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I've been using Sunbeam vacuum pots of many years, I have a small collection one model I'm missing is the larger C50 from the early 60's - harder to find at the right price.  There are many out there and they do a great job. If buying vintage look to see if the gasket is soft and pliable.  I have mine set up with a timer and have fresh hot coffee waiting for me when I get up.

Post# 913932 , Reply# 3   1/4/2017 at 12:45 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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I would never go back to a percolator, as the drip method produces a better tasting cup of coffee.  Also, drip machines are much easier to find second hand.


If you're bent on perking, find yourself a vintage Corningware Electromatic percolator.  The Electromatics are heavy, but entirely immersible and far easier to clean than conventional electric models.   Do a little on-line research about which Electromatics to avoid, as some of the later models were recalled.  Simple rule of thumb:  The older the better.

Post# 913934 , Reply# 4   1/4/2017 at 13:18 by ea56 (So. Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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I love coffee and I love coffee pots, all kinds. Over the years I have used just about every type of coffee brewing method, with the exception of cold brew process.

For most of last year I brewed my coffee using one of my many vacuum coffeepots. The Sunbeam C-30 probably brews the best coffee for an electric pot. But they are prone to losing their thermostat adjustments and will sometimes cause the brewed coffee that is being held warm to begin to boil. I found a Nicro stove top vac pot and used it for several months and I liked this pot very much too.

But my real preferred brewing method is a stove top, stainless steel perc. They are easy to keep spotlessly clean and I can control the perc time, something that many electric percs don't allow. I have used just about every brand and type of electric perc. The problem I have found is that they either brew too long or not long enough, or they don't hold the brewed coffee at a hot enough temp. Or they perc too vigerously and cause grounds to overflow into the coffee. My personal experience is that a older, 8 cup Farberware electric perc gives the best results consistanly. Look for one that was made in Yonkers or Brooklyn New York.

I have finally settled on using a Farberware stove top perc. I like either the Yosemite, which is widely available or the model that they made just before the Yosemite. This is the very best I've ever used. I can even put it in the dishwasher. And since its stainless steel I don't have to worry about glass parts breaking. I use dishwasher detergent to do a periodic deep cleaning. I works just like DIp It, which is hard to find and pretty expensive if you can find it.

I have found that it takes about 5 to 7 mins for the perking to begin, at which time I wait for it to perk steadily, about 30 to 45 secs, then I turn down the heat to med lo on my electric stove and perk for 7 to 8 mins. Then remove the pot from the heat and let it set for about 3 mins. before pouring. Keep the coffee at drinking temp on you stoves lowest heat setting. I leave the brewing basket in the pot and I do not have any problem with grounds in the coffee. This makes a rich, strong cup of coffee. I use a good colombian coffee, as for a perc med. roast works best.

Will never go back to drip coffee, I can't stand the taste the paper filters impart to coffee.

I hope this helps.

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This post was last edited 01/04/2017 at 16:27
Post# 913938 , Reply# 5   1/4/2017 at 14:13 by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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Personally I dislike perc coffee, to me it always seems to be over extracted and has a 'cooked' taste. Of course peoples tastes vary so perhaps that is a benefit!

I do have a couple Farberware electric percolators. You can score these frequently in the thrifts, I have a 6 & 8 cup model and I bet I don't have $10 in the two of them together.

The Sunbeam vacuum makers are cool too and they make a great pot of coffee. There is a bit more cleaning needed though. If you want to play with vacuum coffee get the C50 Matt mentioned above, it is the most modern and has the best seal design. Nice that it is slightly larger and the base is semi-water resistance too.

I bought a little pour over funnel for my single cup needs. I've never had a pod cup of coffee that was really satisfying, they always seem cold and weak to me.

Post# 913939 , Reply# 6   1/4/2017 at 14:21 by ea56 (So. Sonoma Co.,CA)        

ea56's profile picture
If perked coffee is done properly it doesn't taste cooked or over extracted, but you do have to get your process down as to what works best for you.

This post was last edited 01/04/2017 at 19:38
Post# 913941 , Reply# 7   1/4/2017 at 14:28 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I went through a phase of using percolators a few years ago, thanks to this site. The best was probably the CorningWare Electromatic, but that does pose safety concerns (the glue holding the handle in place might fail, causing a pot full of hot coffee to fall). CorningWare did a recall on at least some of the coffee makers they made.


A stainless steel Farberware wasn't as good, but was probably safer. One plus to the Farberware for me: they made many small pots (4 cup or so), which seems better for someone living alone. With small capacity like that, one could make small amounts of coffee like a Keurig, but for far less, and none of the waste of those pods.


I was actually surprised at how good it was after years of hearing how horrible percolators are! Although I think other methods are better. (French press is my favorite, although vacuum might also be cotender--I don't have enough vacuum experience to say.) But I think percolator coffee at its best is good enough for daily drinking, and it's certainly better than a "better" method that's poorly implemented.


As for paper filter impact, yes, that can be an issue for drip. But they do make permanent filters for drip coffee makers. The coffee is probably better with a permanent filter, and it eliminates the need/cost of paper filters.


My one objection to Sunbeam vacuum pots is that they are metal, and thus one can't watch the coffee brew like a glass pot. (Small issue, to be sure.) But they do have a good reputation, and are attractive in their own right.


As for stovetop vs electric percolator, I seem to recall hearing one coffee expert claim stovetop is better (with the that resigned "If you must use a percolator" tone one presumes. LOL). I've got a couple which I've never really tried out... I should... But one thing I like about electric is the simplicity--just put water and coffee in, and plug it in. If I'm willing to tinker a bit, I'd probably be more inclined to make something else.


Post# 913943 , Reply# 8   1/4/2017 at 14:31 by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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I have a large collection of percolators. My favorite vintage ones are the corningware ones although they are recalled and potentially dangerous. My work percolator is a 6cup newer Presto and it makes a great cup of coffee. I also have a Keurig which was a gift. I dont really like for coffee but it does have a lot of uses.

I usually use folgers coffee.

Post# 913944 , Reply# 9   1/4/2017 at 14:32 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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If you're able to detect any paper taste from drip machine filters, you can find "gold" permanent filter replacements for either the flat or cone types.   I think I've even seen them at Walgreen's.  Also, I think it's Peet's that recommends wetting paper filters prior to brewing in order to reduce or eliminate any such taste from the brew.


I recently purchased a Bona Vita drip machine with glass carafe, and I'm very pleased with its brew.  It's one of only a few machines (Technivorm is another one) that has received the ACS (Association of Coffee Snobs?) or some such group's seal of approval for its brewing method, and a permanent filter wasn't included with it, so I assume they think paper is just fine.   I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that the white bleached paper filters are less likely to influence the taste of the brew than the tan unbleached ones.

Post# 913946 , Reply# 10   1/4/2017 at 14:34 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

We use an electric percolator at our house. None of the new ones seem to last much more than a month or two. We tried a new Farberware, a Delonghi, and a Presto and the thermostats all failed in a short time causing the coffee to look like weak tea. I went on Ebay and picked up a nice early 1960s Sunbeam AP-20 and it's been working perfectly every morning for about 8 years now.

I often hear that you can't make good coffee in an electric percolator because it boils the coffee, but I believe that's not possible since a properly designed electric percolator stops perking when it reaches around 195 degrees fahrenheit.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO kenwashesmonday's LINK

Post# 913947 , Reply# 11   1/4/2017 at 14:35 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I wouldn't be surprised if white paper filters are better. I've used both white and brown, but the white does seem a bit more "neutral" to  me. But I'm not sure I actually recall much difference between coffee from one filter or the other.


Brand of filter might also make a difference. Melitta makes a big fuss over why their filters are better. Perhaps it's just to create justification for a more expensive filter. But, again, the filter is in the path of the coffee, and so it might make a difference.

Post# 913967 , Reply# 12   1/4/2017 at 17:14 by alr2903 (TN)        

Reply4  ea56,   Beautiful example of quality Farberware like many here the box alone would of caught my eye. 

Post# 913970 , Reply# 13   1/4/2017 at 17:29 by ea56 (So. Sonoma Co.,CA)        

ea56's profile picture
Thanks Ralph. It was brand new and much better than the model that followed in the second photo. The older model has the cup markings clearly visable in the pot,on the new model its very difficult to see the cup markings. Also the older model has no hidden crevices inside the pot, making it easy to keep the pot clean.

Post# 914008 , Reply# 14   1/4/2017 at 19:45 by vintage1963 (Ohio)        

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Thanks for all the excellent replies. There are a couple of Proctor Silex glass percolators I have my eye on. Both appear to be pristine. I received an eBay gift card for Christmas so I thought I would use it for a coffee pot. Vintage but in good working order, of course!

Post# 914075 , Reply# 15   1/5/2017 at 07:52 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Well, my electric-drip's long-been, after about 1-year, put away, so here's what I use--lots of work, but best tasting' coffee, 'period, 'nuff said:




-- Dave

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Post# 914131 , Reply# 16   1/5/2017 at 14:28 by vintage1963 (Ohio)        

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This is the one I bought. It's on the way and I can't wait to try it out. I'll post pictures of it in action when it arrives.

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Post# 914231 , Reply# 17   1/5/2017 at 22:38 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Looks good.  I have a glass Proctor Silex perk pot stashed away in the basement.  Used it for years, liked the fact I could pop off the glass bowl and toss it in the dishwasher.  Mine is white with the lights in the bottom.  I always enjoyed looking at the coffee "glowing" in the pot, made me want to drink it more...

Post# 914235 , Reply# 18   1/5/2017 at 22:54 by vintage1963 (Ohio)        

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Hey MattL...there are some of the light up ones on eBay. I am interested in those too. Since the glass pot is removable, I wonder if they could be interchanged with the bottom that lights up.

Post# 914269 , Reply# 19   1/6/2017 at 09:33 by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        
best in Glass

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I have one also mine is in avocado green.

Post# 915064 , Reply# 20   1/11/2017 at 06:48 by 2011hoovermatic (owosso michigan)        

I've been using a hoover percolator and I love the results. Mine is the same as a 60s presto super fast 9 cup.
That my input.

Post# 915143 , Reply# 21   1/11/2017 at 14:22 by kd12 (Arkansas)        
Time vs Taste

My experience has been that electric percolator pots make the best tasting coffee. I have a chrome GE percolator that is about 15 years old that I use occasionally. But time is a factor. Takes a lot longer to prepare and brew a perco pot. If you don't have time to wait to get coffee brewed, automatic drip is the way to go. I have never found a percolator with a timer on it.

Post# 915146 , Reply# 22   1/11/2017 at 14:26 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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The Farberware percolators were reasonably fast. Not sure how they compete with a drip, though. But I can recall marketing on some Farberware models in the 80s that talked about a "cup a minute" brewing time. When I was using percolators, I'd make probably only a few cups, and the Farberware probably took only 5 minutes or so.

Post# 915147 , Reply# 23   1/11/2017 at 14:32 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

My early 1960s Sunbeam AP-20 brews a full 10 cup pot in 6 minutes flat.

Post# 915192 , Reply# 24   1/11/2017 at 18:18 by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

I think there are a couple of generations of the Proctor-Silex; and the one pictured is the later generation with the plastic top/lip. The earlier had the glass lip and the lights and so-on.

Post# 915305 , Reply# 25   1/12/2017 at 11:04 by cycluxe (Allentown)        

I use an automatic perc daily. It's a Universal Coffeematic, circa 1955 if the ad in my old Ladies' Home Journal is to be believed. Awesome coffee, and it stands up to hard use.

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Post# 915315 , Reply# 26   1/12/2017 at 11:32 by vintage1963 (Ohio)        

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Here are the pictures of my Proctor Silex beauty. I'll need to post more pics of it actually making coffee. Maybe I'll do a video!

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