When it comes to coffee I (like most Swedes) want it black as tar. As a matter of fact, the Nordic countries all consume three times the amount of caffeine per person compared to the US. But this blog post is not about my caffeine intake but more on how I make my coffee in the first place.
As I said, I like my coffee strong and the best way to prepare strong coffee is to percolate it. Yes, you read it – percolate – it sounds like something a Finnish person would yell when they slip on the bike pedal and hit their shin. If you didn’t already know it the word percolate means that something (most likely a fluid) runs slowly through something else (most likely a kind of fine sediment). In the case of coffee making the fluid would be water and the “something else” would be a somewhat coarse grind of coffee. The percolator machine will “burble” hot water up through the rise stem and then the water will percolate down through the coffee grind. When the coffee has reached a preset temperature the coffee maker will stop this process and a lamp will turn on. You will have to wait for 5-10 minutes for the (somewhat bitter tasting) coffee bean remains to settle and land on the bottom for the best coffee ever. The temperature of the finished coffee will be high and I always just pour myself a cup and let it cool for a couple of minutes before drinking it.
The best part I think is the high temperature because as a hunter and long traveler I always make myself coffee to go and store it in a thermos and a high starting temperature is a must if you want to bring hot coffee on a winter day. All thermoses have their “delta value” so there’s not much you can do about that except start at a high temperature.
So back to the coffee making business, as I mentioned before you will need a somewhat coarse grain for the percolator process and I always fill the 1:1+1 ratio when making coffee. The 1:1+1 ratio means that if I fill the can with 5 cups of water, then I add 5 spoons of coffee plus one extra spoon for the can. It’s a good method for my liking but many other only do the 1:1 ratio and it tastes just fine as well.
When coffee is made this way the water will run through the grained coffee beans multiple times which is not the case when making coffee more traditional ways. This means that the water will grab more taste from the beans and that together with the high temperature makes the coffee taste so much more.
Cleaning the can is not a big deal, I do it by filling the can to the max and put a disc washer tablet in the coffee grain container and let it boil until done. I then pour the cleaned water down the drain and put fresh water in the can (to the max). I let the process have its run once again and if I feel really picky I do the “just pure water”-process another round as well. For the cup indicator tube I put one or two Q-tips in the tube and press them through using a potato tester (can’t find a link where they are sold, but here’s a dedicated tool for cleaning). If any dirt is still left, which would be on the very top where the water will not find its way, I use S.O.S pads.
I clean the can about once every two months but make sure not to leave the percolator on for more than a couple of hours (at tops) since that will make the coffee burn into the boiler pot in the middle and might give the coffee a bitter taste.
Making coffee – the percolator way:
Make sure that the percolator is cleaned from last brew (to be sure that no bitter taste is added to the new brew). Fill the percolator with water (seen here with water up to 11 cups , between 10th and 12th mark).
The level indicator on the outside tells the number of cups as well.
Place the rise stem into the center.
Insert the stem into the hole of the coffee basket.
The type of grain is important. It cannot be too fine and I have found that the size should be about the same as regular grained sugar.
Add coffee (1:1+1 if you like it like me). Be careful not to let any coffee get into the stem, because this will sometimes make the percolator not brew correctly.
Once filled, shake it to make it spread evenly (we don’t want the water to find a shortcut).
Spreader cover on.
Lid on (here seen with an replacement top in metal).
I have a auto-off outlet timer (each click = +15 minutes countdown).
Let it brew. Once done the light will turn on.
Wait a bit for the bitter particles to fall to the bottom. I like to drink from these wrinkled cups.
Aaaah, love it! Especially with some chocolate.
Some like to add milk. NEVER add sugar *my opinion*.
Ready to drink.
More inspiration (links to sets to consider further down):