A coffee percolator is one of the best, if not the best way to make the perfect cup of coffee. And, you don’t even have to travel to the nearest coffee shop for your favorite custom blend of joe… you can use a coffee percolator at home. But, just the name itself sounds a little intimidating and stirs up all kinds of questions about how to use a percolator.
For instance, do coffee percolators need filters? No, coffee percolators don’t need filters. They can function without one, since they’re designed to do so. But, many percolator aficionados do recommend using a filter.
But what kind of filter do you use with a coffee percolator? Why use a filter if a coffee percolator is made to be used without one? If you have these questions, then this article is for you. Maybe, you’re just wondering, what is a coffee percolator, and do I need one? Then this article is for you, too.
Can You Use a Paper Filter in a Percolator?
Using a filter can improve the flavor and taste of your coffee made in a percolator. Also, filtered coffee can make the coffee slightly more healthy. So, not only can you use a paper filter in your coffee percolator, you probably should use one.
Why Use a Paper Filter in a Percolator
We’ve briefly mentioned that there are both health benefits of using a filter, as well as maximizing the deliciousness of every sip. Here’s just how that happens, when using a filter in a percolator.
A Healthier Cup of Coffee
There’s some evidence that suggests there’s a correlation between oils found in coffee, and higher cholesterol levels. However, filtering coffee can prevent some of these oils from getting into the coffee that you drink. The oils are absorbed into the paper filter, instead of your drink.
This isn’t to say that unfiltered coffee can cause higher cholesterol, but it can stimulate cholesterol levels in someone that’s already experiencing heightened levels. Using a paper filter can, well, filter the oils, and keep the majority of them from making their way into your body.
Better Tasting Coffee
I know what you’re thinking, coffee is already delicious. And, using a percolator is supposed to make it even more tasty… so how is it that using a filter can make it even better?! Prepare your taste buds, because it can!
Since percolator coffee is made through infusing the grounds with water, it can really elevate the flavor. But, it’s important to be careful during the brewing process to not let the percolator go for too long, or else there can be a hint of burnt flavor. The percolating process as a whole is a great way to bring out as much flavor as possible, in a shorter amount of time.
Preventing Grounds from Getting into Your Coffee
Percolators are designed with filters. But, on occasion, some of the teeny tiny little coffee grounds can make their way through the filter that’s built in. And, you might not know this is even happening until you either bite into one or find one wedged in your teeth. Either scenario is clearly not ideal.
Using a filter is the only way that you can keep these little guys from falling into what might be the ultimate cup of coffee. Nothing can ruin that first sip quite like a crunchy coffee ground.
What Kind of Paper Filters Should be Used in a Percolator?
Thankfully, using a filter isn’t as complicated as it might seem. I know that when I first started using a percolator, I was resistant to the idea because it just seemed silly. Why use a filter if there’s already one built in? And, how hard is it going to be to find a filter? But, there are actually plenty of filters available for using with a coffee percolator.
These are very easy to find, and almost every big box store or online coffee retailer carries them. Disc filters typically come in three inch and three and a half inch sizes. Here are some of the more popular ones used with percolators:
- Brew Rite 3” Disc Filters
- Melitta Disc Coffeemaker Filters
- Bozeman Percolator 3.5 Inch Premium Disc Coffee Filters
Regular Coffee Filters
There’s no doubt that purchasing disc filters for a percolator can get a little expensive. Especially, if you’re a serious coffee drinker. I was spending quite a bit on disc filters, until I discovered that you can actually make your own percolator filters.
Inexpensive, standard coffee filters can be trimmed to fit perfectly in your percolator. And spending less money on filters can make that cup of coffee taste even a little bit better. If you’re curious, How to Use Cheap Regular Coffee Filters in a Percolator can be helpful. You just need some filters, and a little time.
Although it might seem like just a matter of personal preference when it comes to the shape of filter being used with a percolator, there have actually been studies done that show the shape of the filter does actually affect the taste, in a positive way.
A conical shaped filter allows the percolator to maximize the flavors during the brewing process. And, according to some, actually improves the taste. If you want to test this out yourself, try one of these cone filters:
- Rockline Cone Coffee Filters – Oxygen Cleansed
- Melitta Super Premium Cone Coffee Filters
- Technivorm Moccamaster White Paper Filters
How to Use a Filter in a Percolator
Using top notch coffee is one way to make sure that you’re getting the best cup of coffee. But, a filter in your percolator can take the flavor up a notch, and, as we know, keep some of the undesirables from finding their way into your coffee.
Choose the Shape
Determine which shape you’ll need for your specific percolator. Whether or not you choose to purchase some filters, or DIY your own, it’s important to use the ones that you think will fit best with the already built in filter. The paper filter will serve as a liner for the percolator filter, so a good fit is important.
Get it Together
Each percolator is different, so assembling it will depend on what brand it is. Put the percolator together, according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remember, while they all function primarily the same, there are some differences from brand to brand. Line the built in filter with the paper filter.
Just Add Water… & Coffee, Of Course
Use cold, filtered water to fill the percolator. Carefully measure the coffee grounds to the manufacturers’ specifications. Too much will make your coffee taste like rocket fuel, and too little will make it taste like watered down… coffee.
Crank Up the Heat
Not too hot, of course. Burnt, bitter coffee is not delicious by anyone’s standards. Slow and low is the way to go when it comes to percolator coffee. Yes, you want the coffee as soon as possible, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. Allowing the coffee to slowly brew will make it taste its absolute best.
Keep an Eye Out
Although a watched pot never boils is true, I can guarantee that your coffee is actually boiling. And, you do need to watch it. So, don’t go too far from the percolator. Stay close and pay attention to your senses, if the smell of coffee becomes too strong, or there’s even a hint of burning in the air, remove the percolator right away.