Want to find the best coffee for stovetop percolators? This article offers suggestions for those looking to take their percolator coffee to the next level.
There’s something magical and nostalgic about stovetop percolators, even if your parents or grandparents never owned one. They call up a bygone era where making coffee was more of a production than it is now.
For those looking to capture the magic, stovetop percolators give a more updated option. But once you have your percolator, how do you choose the best coffee to go with it?
I’ve covered the best coffee for percolators more generally before, but stovetop percolators present a few specific needs. Read on to find out what you should be looking for and my favorite picks for the old-fashioned stovetop brewing method that’s making a comeback.
Stovetop Percolators: Old School Turned New School Brewing
Percolators were one of the earliest machines for brewing coffee, with the first patent for a modern percolator going to Hanson Goodrich in 1889. Of course, that machine is a pretty far cry from the kind of stovetop percolator available on the market today, but the basic premise is the same.
The newer models incorporate lighter, stronger materials like stainless steel and various kinds of rubber gaskets, and they’re easier on the eyes, but the action is the same. As a result, some commonalities appear in the best coffee for stovetop percolators both in the past and now. There are some things to know about choosing coffee for your stovetop machine versus a countertop model.
Coffee For Your Stovetop Percolator: What To Look For
In general, you want to avoid dark roast coffee beans for percolators because the process of percolating coffee tends to continue cooking it somewhat–so you’re more likely to get bitter flavors with darker roasts. You also want to avoid the lightest roasts with a stovetop percolator because the process doesn’t do them justice; instead, they end up watery and weak-tasting.
The region tends to come into play a little more with stovetop percolators compared to countertop models. Since you’re applying heat a little more directly, you want coffee beans that can stand up to the extraction–and that largely means Latin American beans, with a few exceptions. So what beans make the best coffee for a stovetop percolator? I have a few choices.
The Best Coffee For Stovetop Percolator Kettles: My Selections
So knowing that region and roast both play a crucial role in selecting the best coffee for stovetop percolator kettles, a few brands shine. The following are my top picks based on the flavor and consistency of the finished coffee:
Copper Moon Guatemala Antigua: I make no secret that I enjoy Guatemalan coffees in general, but this single-batch roasted blend performs exceptionally well in a percolator. It’s categorized as a light roast, but it is still dark enough to get a nice flavor depth and capture notes of smoke, spice, and cocoa. Copper Moon is also socially and environmentally active, which just adds to the charm of their coffees.
Volcanica Peru Tres Cumbres: The stovetop percolator brewing method is excellent at bringing out hidden nuances in coffee, and that’s a significant reason why Volcanica’s Peruvian Tres Cumbres organic beans work so well with it. The coffee is complex, with floral notes hidden among lemon grass and plum’s soft acidity and flavors. The finished result is a smooth finish and a mild cup that is good, either black or with milk and sugar.
Barrie House Ethiopian Yirgacheffe: This medium roast Ethiopian coffee is Fair Trade and Organic certified, and while the brand isn’t one of the most well-known, they’ve been in business since the 1930s–which is a good sign that there’s a quality product. The coffee is rich in all the flavor notes I associate with Ethiopian beans. Still, the roast is light enough that the result out of a stovetop percolator doesn’t take on any pronounced bitterness—a smooth, velvety cup of coffee out of your percolator that’s still rich and full-bodied.
- Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Single Origin
- Whole Bean Coffee
- 2 lb Bag
- Fair Trade
- Organic Certified
- Medium Roast
- 100% Arabica Coffee Beans
Volcanica Sumatra Mandheling: This is perhaps the darkest of the coffees I’d recommend for stovetop percolator brewing, but Volcanica’s Sumatra Mandheling is worth trying if you want something with a more robust flavor. It can be tricky to find medium or lighter roast Sumatran coffees, but this blend hits the balance in the tendency towards Indonesian coffees to come in darker roasts. It’s still on the darker side of medium, but it’s not so roasted that the percolator process will produce burned flavors.