Guide On How To Use Camp Coffee Percolator The Right Way

by Ally Mash | Last Updated:   March 31st, 2022
Guide On How To Use Camp Coffee Percolator The Right Way


A few of the nicest things about camping are the fresh scent of the air, the view of stars above, and having excellent company around a warm fire. However, there is nothing like having a hot cup of coffee to warm you up and get you moving on a cold, dreary morning.

Did you know that making coffee in a fresh cup is just as important as its taste when you drink it? It is. Besides, no one wants a camp coffee or an instant coffee if it is not a delicious one.

Many American families go camping every year. With an increasing number of individuals in the United States drinking coffee during their time in the woods, it’s safe to say that everyone loves a good coffee drinking experience. Even when you’re away from home, losing out on tasty coffee isn’t an option.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned camper spending some time on the side of a mountain or a camping group spending some time in a three-bedroom RV with a flat-screen TV; there are various options for making camp coffee while away from home. If you are interested in making coffee, one of the most popular brewing processes is to use a camping percolator.

This article will take a detailed look at using a camping percolator to make your favorite cup of coffee. You’ll learn several essential details about this gadget and how it can be useful to you.

Let’s begin!

What Is A Percolator?

How to use Camp Coffee Percolator

A coffee percolator is a device for brewing coffee that continuously cycles the boiling brew through the ground coffee until the appropriate strength and texture are attained. You can make different types of camp coffee in a percolator, including; instant coffee, camp coffee, cowboy coffee, etc.

As its name suggests, this device succeeds in making coffee by the percolation of ground coffee. Percolation is the filtering of a substance or liquid via a porous-surfaced region within a device. You only need two key materials for the percolation process. They are coffee beans and boiling water.

Before you use the percolator, make sure you have everything you need. That means you must have gotten all the three materials mentioned above. Now, let’s take a look at how to use a coffee percolator. It’s a fairly simple process that can be mastered quickly.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Coffee Percolator

To get the most out of your camp percolator, clean and rinse the device before using it. It’s preferable to use mild dish soap and warm water to clean the equipment thoroughly. It’s recommended that you submerge its different parts into the water to clean its internal components thoroughly. If you’re wondering how to get coffee sediments out of a percolator, wipe the insides with a clean cloth or sponge.

You should thoroughly grind your coffee beans to make them fine and smooth before being added to the camping coffee pot. However, do not over-grind the beans to avoid over-extraction. Overground coffee will leave a residue in your camp percolator.

How To Use A Percolator The Right Way

It’s safe to say that there is no specific formula for coffee brewing using a percolator. All that is required of you is to start a wood fire, wait until the wood has burnt to red-hot coals. Next, add coffee grounds and water into your percolator. Then, cover it, and set it over the coals to boil.

It’s time to get started. First, you will need to measure the ingredients, mostly coffee and water, depending on the number of individuals drinking the coffee or how many cups you intend to make. During cold weather, where everywhere is chilly outside and there’s nowhere to go, you’ll want to prepare more coffee. During that period, you can opt for a simple coffee pot.

But if you plan to spend some time in the woods on a camping trip, the percolator coffee is your best bet. These step by step procedures will teach you the brewing method of using your percolator pot to prepare hot coffee for you and your companions;

Make the fire

Arrange Your Firewood

Create a bundle of wood that you’ll be using for the fire. The “teepee” method of arranging firewood, which involves standing numerous smaller sticks upright and leaning them together so that they touch at the top, is the simplest way to construct a campfire. In the center of the teepee close to the base, scatter your tinder (fire-starting easily ignited items, such as dry grass, bark, or cotton balls). Then, allow a little opening in the center for oxygen to flow.

The best wood to burn is dry wood that has been chopped or split into small pieces. For this procedure, building a massive fire is unnecessary. To heat the percolator, all you need are three or four medium-sized logs (combined with lots of kindling).

Start the fire

Now, ignite the fuel near the wood’s base. Next, gently blow the tinder’s flame until the larger sticks are caught in the flame. Then, regularly add bits of kindling (smaller twigs, leaves, and other dry brush) to keep the fire stoked. You may start heaping on more wood as the fire gets hotter.

Build your fire in a safe, well-protected location – away from the wind and rain. Digging a shallow hole in the ground to store the firewood may be a great idea. Wet wood and fresh leaves should not be added to the fire. These materials are difficult to burn and will emit dense, suffocating smoke.

Allow the wood to smoke until it is reduced to glowing wood coals. When the fire has cooled down a little, it’s time to use the percolator. The percolator should be placed directly on the hot coals. Without any doubt, brewing coffee using a percolator is relatively easy.

The coals will produce a lot of heat without using a direct flame. As a result, coals are easier to cook with than an open fire. If you don’t intend to wait, you can start an open fire. All you have to do would be to place the percolator near the base or directly over the flames.

However, make sure the fire is built on level ground so the percolator may rest on a flat surface and keep all other equipment and supplies away from the percolator and the flames. Another alternative to using coals to heat your percolator is the use of a camping stove.

Pour Water Into The Percolator Pot

Next, freshwater should be added to the percolator. To do this, remove the brewing basket from the percolator and open it. Coldwater should be poured into the inner chamber. For each cup of camping coffee, you intend to prepare, use 6-8 ounces of freshwater. If you’re brewing a full pot, stop filling the percolator right below the upper area where the basket goes. This is frequently indicated within new percolator models with a line.

Overfilling the camping coffee pot might saturate the pre-ground coffee and make your beverage less enjoyable. Remember to pack a few water jugs if you’re not camping near a clean water source. This way, you can have a strong cup of percolator coffee at any time you wish.

Fill the basket with coffee

The next thing to do is to slowly pour your fresh ground coffee into the brewing basket. Here, you choose the type of coffee you prefer, such as cowboy coffee, instant coffee, etc. If you want your beverage to be strong, use about one full spoonful of coffee per cup. But if you prefer it soft, use a lesser quantity. If your percolator’s basket has a separate cover, put it on once you’ve poured the desired amount of coffee into it.

A coarse grind is an ideal consistency for brewing percolator coffee over an open fire (using the bigger, rougher pieces make it less likely that acids and other unappetizing compounds in the beans will begin to seep out once the temperature nears boiling). A finely ground coffee will work as well, as long as you closely keep an eye on it. Make sure never to use instant coffee mixes in the percolator. The beverage ends up coming out so badly.

Place the camping coffee maker on top of the basket. Next, place the basket in the percolator’s upper section. Make sure it’s in the right spot. At this point, the brewing basket should fit around the percolator’s inner tube construction, which contains the heated water. The bottom of the brewing basket is perforated to allow hot water to get to the fresh coarsely ground coffee.

Cover the with the lid. To make sure it doesn’t come loose, push, twist, or latch it—depending on the model that you have. The coffee and water are ready, and the percolator is set to go over the fire. If the percolator is flipped over, it is critical to ensure that the lid is securely fastened.

Brew the Coffee

By now, your coffee maker should already be over the fire source. Make sure to put it right in the middle. This way, the pot can be heated perfectly from all sides. Because most coffee percolators are made of heavy-gauge steel, you can leave them exposed to an open flame without fear of them being damaged.

Allow the percolator to absorb the fire’s heat. Hot water will be drawn up through the middle tube as the temperature rises, splashing over the coffee in the brew basket before flowing back down into the lower chamber. Water will absorb the natural essences of the regular ground coffee through this process, resulting in a fresh, excellent brew.

If possible, avoid letting the water in the percolator boil. According to most online sources, boiling camp coffee removes its nuanced tones and leaves it harsh and tasting burnt. Depending on the temperature of the heat source and the amount of coffee being brewed, brewing coffee over a campfire can take between 5 to 10 minutes.

Make sure to monitor the brewing closely. As the percolator heats up, keep an eye on it. The key to good campfire coffee is to maintain the temperature consistent and remove the percolator from the fire when the flavor is at its peak.

Closely watch the color of the camp coffee. If it looks pale, it probably hasn’t had enough time to brew. If it’s too dark, it may have overheated. Decide on the preferred color and consistency of your cup of coffee.

Remove the percolator from the heat source and let the hot beverage simmer for 5 minutes before serving. Using tongs or heat-resistant gloves, carefully remove the percolator from the flames.

Remove the percolator from the heat and set it aside to serve. It’s ready to do so when the coffee develops a rich dark color and begins to bubble against the dome. Allow the beverage to cool before pouring it into the cup.

While serving the freshly ground coffee, keep your gloves on. The percolator will stay hot for a long time after being withdrawn from the fire because it is mostly metal.

You may also watch this video for more tips on how to use a percolator pot:

What Is The Importance Of A Percolator Pot

Special old-school coffee brewing methods, such as the percolator, have weathered the test of time in a world dominated by drip coffee machines, single-serve coffee pods, and other fancy coffee-making gadgets.

The stovetop percolator has only become better over time. Due to the refinement and improvements to the percolator process, this tried-and-true brewing method yields a genuine fantastic cup of coffee.

The percolator, believe it or not, was the American hero of the coffee-brewing industry before the advent drip coffee maker. It was designed to create a rich coffee-drinking experience by developing a brewing procedure to provide great coffee “free of all grinds and contaminants.”

It’s important to remember that before the percolator, people made coffee by dropping ground coffee into boiling water. The stovetop percolator brought widespread changes by introducing a brewing technology that used gravity to cycle hot water through ground coffee continuously.

What’s more? This method not only gave coffee drinkers more control over the intensity of their beverage during camping trips but also allowed them to save money.

How To Choose The Right Camping Coffee Percolator

When you go online to hunt for a coffee percolator for your next camping trip, you will notice that there are a lot of brand names to choose from. They all claim to be the finest product, making it difficult to choose the best.

Here are some purchase tips on how to choose a percolator for your next camping trip:

Examine the feedback for that model

It would help if you were cautious when picking any product from the market. There are different qualities of camping coffee percolators. Fortunately, you can learn about their quality through customer feedback. Please take a close look at their features as you know everything about them based on those who have used them before.

Settle on the type of percolator that you want

It’s not enough to know how to use a camping percolator. You’ll still need to figure out which type of percolator is best for your needs. For example, if you prefer to brew coffee in an old-fashioned manner, the best coffee maker will be a model with a classic design. However, if you want to make instant coffee, you may need something else.

Take a look at the characteristics of the camping coffee percolator. Each manufacturer makes their coffee percolator to feature different parts. For instance, a model with a permanent filter in its spout will ensure no coffee particles in your cup. This advantage could be particularly good for you and prevent you from spitting out particles when drinking.

Click here to learn how to clean a percolator by yourself:

What Is The Best Size Of A Coffee Camping Percolator?

There are different sizes of camp percolators depending on the amount of coffee they can prepare. You’ll need enough coffee for everyone on your next camping trip, and you will need a pot that can keep up with such a quantity. Some percolators are designed for 30 ounces (0.9 liters), while others are for 50 ounces (1.5 liters). If you have a large family or camping group, you’ll do well to buy a large coffee pot. If you have only a few companies, buy a smaller camping coffee percolator.

How To Clean A Camping Coffee Percolator

Do you have any particular cleaning techniques for your percolator? If you treat your percolator well, it will serve you well for many trips. Treat it with care and clean it as soon as you’ve finished your cup of coffee. Disassemble it and thoroughly clean each component. If you’re going to wash it in a river, make sure you don’t drop anything.

Wash it promptly after each use, and don’t let the coffee inside dry out. Regular dish detergent (for the sink, not the dishwasher) should suffice for cleaning. If your percolator still smells like coffee after cleaning, it’s time for some deeper cleaning. It may take a few tries to get all the smell out, or you may need to use more dish soap during the cleaning process.

This is by far the simplest method of cleaning camping percolators. You need to go ahead and fill your coffee pot with water all the way to the top. It doesn’t matter if it’s been days or months since you’ve cleaned it; just follow these procedures to see it sparkle again:

  • The first step is to fill a measuring cup with about a quarter cup of baking soda, which should be standard store-bought baking soda.
  • You’ll take a cup and pour about a quarter cup of baking soda into it, which will fill up 1/4 of the cup. Then, remove the top part of the cup from the percolator, sprinkle some baking soda in there, and take it off. After that, you’ll pour the rest of it inside and put it back together.
  • Make sure you allow your machine to warm up before allowing the water to cool fully. Take care not to overheat it!
  • Scrub the saucepan with a dishcloth or other nonabrasive implements. If the stains are stubborn, you consider using a plastic scrubber. However, this should only be done in extreme cases as these instruments can scratch the insides of the percolator if it does not have a durable stainless steel surface.
  • Finish by thoroughly rinsing the camping coffee percolator.

And our next step of the entire procedure is cleaning up with a mixture of white vinegar and water. You can do this at home as you aren’t expected to bring a vinegar bottle on a mountain trail.

  • Fill the percolator with the vinegar and water solution and heat it with a stove burner. You’ll heat the percolator as if you were heating a regular pot of coffee.
  • After a short time, please turn off the heat. Let it cool for some time, then pour the used solution down the sink after the percolation
  • Don’t forget to replace the vinegar and water solution in the percolator and turn it back on. Turn it off again, wait for it to cool, and discard the used solution.
  • Fill your percolator with pure water for the third time and turn it on. Allow it to heat up. Turn it off for some time and wait for it to cool. Remove the water from the tank.
  • Once more, rinse with clear water to remove the vinegar taste and odor from your machine.

With these steps cleaning your percolator should be a piece of cake. If you don’t get it correctly the first time, don’t stress. You’ll get the hang of it after some time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you let coffee stay on a camping stove?

Well, this answer depends on how you want your coffee. Anything more than 10 minutes can burn the brew, making it bitter and dry. The ideal percolation time is 5-8 minutes, but this varies based on the percolation method you select and the quality of your coffee grounds. The amount of time isn’t as important as the level of prudence that you apply to the process.

What grind of coffee do you use for a percolator?

For a smooth percolator brew, coarse ground coffee is optimal. Slippery coffee grounds may prevent proper flavor extraction. Percolated coffee comes from an easy brewing technique and appeals to many traditionalists who don’t want to need any expensive equipment (or even electricity) to drink coffee.

What is the best way to keep coffee grounds out of the percolator?

The simplest way to keep coffee grounds out of the percolator is to use a filter. Pre-wetting the basket before adding the coffee grounds aids in preventing small grinds from passing through the holes. Another suggestion is to avoid quick boiling because the tasks will overflow from the basket.

What is the hidden ingredient in cowboy coffee?

Although some individuals swear that salt is the secret ingredient in cowboy coffee, some say you can experiment by replacing the salt with crushed eggshells. Then, you can choose which you prefer.

What is the best way to use a camping coffee percolator?

The construction of camping coffee percolators is simple. The outside looks like a standard coffee pot, and the inside has a basket for coffee grounds. Depending on the type of coffee, the beds are placed in a filter in the basket. The pot is filled with water, and the basket with the coffee is placed in the center. The coffee gradually blends with the water as the water boils.

Ally is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has spent most of his free time backpacking through South America, Iceland, Vietnam, and Europe. He loves sharing his experience through blogging. His mission is to get more people in the mindset of protecting our planet by sharing its beauty.