"This Is Coffee" (1962) or "How To Percolate Coffee"

>> 14 June 2011

Last summer I went camping and enjoyed the best cup of joe I've had since my travels in Europe when I graduated high school. Maybe it was the great outdoors. Maybe it was the fresh clean air. My friend who brewed it fresh every morning swore it was the fact that it was percolated using a camping percolator coffee pot.

Life was good.

Summer came and went and along with it was those mornings of fresh coffee brought to my tent.


Cut to: this year where I'd been laid off and out of work for almost five months. Fun-employment can be pretty brutal and not so very fun so every day I went to my local multinational coffee chain store, paid $2 bucks for a cup of drip coffee and hammered away on my computer utilizing the store's free WIFI in search of my next gig which I got at the end of April.

Now I'm in a 9-5, at a desk with no windows so I remember fondly last summer's camping trip and the great coffee. I remember and wonder about my pals at my morning coffee klatsch as we pored over job listings and Craigslist posts.  But one thing's for sure: I don't miss spending $14 a week on coffee.

Do. The. Math: a two buck-a-day habit multiplied by 365 days and your average coffee expense amounts to a whopping $730 a year! That's a round trip ticket to Paris or a cruise in the Hawaiian Islands, egads! I mean, that's a lot of money, especially when you're coming off an extended bout of unemployment and accepting significantly less pay than you're used to because of this economy.

Now my new gig has a coffee service, and the coffee is just OK. The brand is good, so I'm thinking that maybe it's the coffee maker itself from which flows this mediocre coffee and wouldn't you know it? I was right!

I went out to my local thrift shop and got a good old-fashioned electric coffee percolator, cleaned it out really good with vinegar and starting making my own fresh perc'd coffee and let me tell you (exaggerated sotto voce): it tastes 100% better.

But it took awhile to get it right. At first, I was flummoxed. I paid only $4 bucks for the percolator but I didn't have the foggiest idea on how to use it. My camping buddy made the coffee daily, so while I was blissfully caffeinated I was also an utter doofus for failing to get the instructions on how to make it from him.

So I went on-line and found several forums and tutorials. There seems to be a huge debate from many coffee snobs who argue the merits of drip or even French pressed coffee over  percolated coffee.

However, for me, percolated coffee tastes better, is darker and stronger, and the equipment is much less expensive. There no filters to change or buy so I save the trees while making things easier on my wallet and the environment. Not only that,  but my co-workers also think it's better tasting than the company's coffee maker or the local multinational coffee chain store down the street.

I think the trick is I make it strong and the percolator dispenses it hot so like, who doesn't like strong hot coffee? Right?

This documentary was brought to you by the Coffee Brewers Institute and produced by Visions Associates. On one forum I read where this guy took a class from the institute back in the fifties when he claims he was the night manager at Hody's Restaurant in Hollywood.  He said that upon completion of instruction "We were awarded a 1/2 gold colored coffee cup and hung it over the entrance to the bar."

So when you get a moment, would you be so kind as to put down that cuppa joe and let me know your secret for the best method for making coffee? Cheers!


prolix July 12, 2011 at 2:04 AM  

Excellent coffee maker...
Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

Coffee Equipment

Roger Bortignon May 31, 2013 at 2:52 PM  

I just purchased and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a 1956/1957 Universal Coffeematic model 4460. Can't wait to try it!

WeWeyants July 28, 2013 at 9:11 AM  

Love my percolator! It isnt vintage, but it is awesome! We do use the non-bleached filters, though. A standard "coffee scoop" is 2tbsp. I keep a tbsp in my coffee jar, makes it easier for small pots. Folgers Classic is our "house blend". Standard rule of thumb, 1 heaping tbsp grounds per 2cups brewed. We get.nothing but praise for our perc! :)

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