Olde-Timey Percolator Help

I just got a really old percolator from a garage sale. Apparently it’s an Empire Supreme 4 cup – looks exactly like this.

It’s been forever since I used one of these so quick question, will it shut off on its own or just keep perking away forever? Do I have to watch it?

My dad used an electric percolator for many years. It would stop perking when the coffee was ready, and the heating element would remain on.

Cool - thanks!

I used a Corning Ware percolator for several years. You put it on the stove. Wait for the water to boil and then let it perc two or three minutes. Serve. I always turned off the stove but you could leave the element on warm.

Note that this is the way dad’s worked. I don’t know if all electric percolators work this way.

From an old ‘math quiz’: Hypotenuse: A tall coffee pot perking.

I would definitely watch it the first time, to be sure it turns off. I have recollections of grandparents unplugging theirs when it was done.

ETA: I asked my wife, and she thinks her parents’s percolator had to be manually timed and turned off, but that it also had a keep-warm setting.

On the ones you put on the stove, there is (was) a transparent glass top that allowed the brewer to watch the action. Since the design of the device is such that the heated water is funneled to the top, to percolate over the grounds and drip onto the (cold) water in the pot, by watching the brew cycle, one could stop it when the liquid in the glass top began to become dark, the brewing was complete.

A helpful hint. Never use hot water, only cold, to fill the pot. Room temperature water is questionable, I’d use refrigerated water if your tap water gets much above 65F in the summer (mine is around 80F). This type of brewing depends on the fact that cold water is denser than hot, so the hot, brewed coffee is on top and the cold, fresh water, which is heated and made to drip over the grounds. If done correctly, the brewed coffee is not boiled as the brewer is supposed to stop the brewing (and remove the innards) once brewing is complete. Not doing this correctly will detract from the taste (ruin it, is some people’s opinion).

Since the one the OP included in the picture did not have a glass top, I would have to suspect it works on a timer circuit or perhaps a temperature sensor to turn off. You should still remove the grounds to prevent them from souring the coffee.

Good luck with your percolator. Prior to the introduction of Mr. Coffee to the household appliance market, percolators like that were how most Americans made their morning coffee.

excavating (for a mind)

My parents used a percolator. They’re noisy, and disgusting because they spread the evil odor of coffee everywhere. As I hear it they were convenient but made lousy coffee because the foul liguid is repeatedly being passed through the coffee grounds.

80F? Where you live?

OK - turns out it does stop perking after a bit and makes a passable cup of joe.
It’s not gonna replace my French press but it may just make me put that big drip machine in the back of the closet.

Make it strong. Like, two tablespoons of coffee per 8 oz. cup if you’re using cheap coffee (which is only proper for a percolator). Add about 1/8 teaspoon of salt to the grounds.

Yeah I noticed it needs a LOT of coffee. I’ll try the salt next time.

Salt cuts the bitterness of cheap coffee. Just don’t use too much. You want it to cut the bitterness, but not be able to taste it.

I fondly remember the last electric percolator I had. It was a quick-brew one, and I loved it.

I often think about getting a new one.

I grew up listening to the sounds of my parents’ peculator; they had one you put on the stove, not an electric one.

makes the house smell like heaven.

A couple of weeks ago I found two old stove-top percolators in the back of a cupboard. They have to be 50 years old, if they’re a day. I think more likely 65 or 70 — aluminum pots with bakelite handles and glass handles on the lids to see the colour of the perking coffee.

I decided to fire up the one with a basket lid, and after thoroughly washing the pot, the lid, the magic spindle and its basket and lid, I tossed in two tablespoons of coffee for each cup, added cold water and thought of Data on the starship Enterprise timing a watched pot to see when it would boil.

The coffee eventually percolated, and I turned the heat down. When the coffee looked to be the correct colour through the glass handle on the lid, I took if off the heat and had perfect cups of coffee.

Making coffee in a stove-top percolator means standing around forever and timing everything. It could turn into a ritual like a Japanese tea ceremony.

It seemed to me, though, that the coffee tasted better than out of the drip machine. I’m thinking of buying an electric, automatic percolator.

I don’t know where excavating lives but our tap water is often the temperature of a lukewarm bath, this time of year. Whoever designed the building’s water system put the pipes up on the roof (don’t ask me way), and they get hot in the sun.

We have a plug-in percolator that stops by itself and then lowers the temperature to where it will just keep it warm. We don’t normally use it although I sometimes do myself if I want an extra cup or two in the afternoon.

Here in South Florida, my tap water is currently 77F, according to my instant read thermometer.