Kitchen Classics – Percolated Coffee

There are some things no amount of technology can improve upon. We’ve been thinking about that a lot lately as we’ve finished shooting video of grandmothers cooking with their families for Apron Strings. We’re editing those videos now and we’ll share them with you this Mother’s Day, May 8th. Until then, what are some kitchen classics for you? You know, the kind of thing that falls into the “they just don’t make ’em like they used to” category. Here we’ll present a few of our favourites, what are some of yours?

Before the Bodum boom, before Joltin’ Joe was hawking Mister Coffee, before Melita dripped her way into your dorm, there was the trusty percolator.

If you’re of a certain age, if you can name at least one star of My Favorite Martianyou probably had a percolator chugging and hissing up a fit in your kitchen while you listened to Gilmour’s Albums. Advocates of perked coffee swear that it tastes better; fuller, richer, more flavourful on account of the longer brewing time. And make no mistake; percolated coffee does take longer to brew-up to 15 minutes for a full pot. But if anticipation accounts for half of the pleasure, and taste accounts for the other half it is well worth the wait.

The aroma of coffee brewing for 10 minutes or more is a big part of the pleasure. The brewing process releases more of the character from the beans, and the coffee is always piping hot!  If you’re a coffee junkie, a lukewarm cup of joe resulting from hot water dribbling through a paper cone of room temperature ground beans pales in comparison.

The percolator we use everyday in our home is a Proctor Silex, manufactured in Picton in the sixties, and still going strong. Elegant in both design and simplicity, the metal basket and glass container are washed after every use, so there is never any calcium or lime build-up, or weird tastes from some nether regions that are seldom cleaned. Never any need for CLR, or a vinegar rinse.

Be sure to grind your coffee beans more coarsely than you would for drip coffee or espresso, otherwise you will end up with some degree of coffee mud in your cup. Actually, you probably will have a little in your cup anyway, but it is part of the experience. And you don’t have to worry about those damn filter papers, invariably running out of them, or coming home with the wrong size. Save a tree, do your crossword on line, brew your coffee.

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