Can You Use Regular Ground Coffee in a Percolator?

A part of the coffee sub-culture is one-upping different brewing methods. Lately, it seems like the percolator is having its moment. You, too, can get one regardless of the type of coffee you have because you don’t need special coffee for a percolator.

You can use regular ground coffee in a percolator, but if you find its sieve to be too wide for the grounds, you can use a round paper filter or buy coarse coffee grounds. Generally, a percolator filters fine enough to keep medium grounds from falling into the coffee.

In this article, you will discover the different factors to consider and adjust when you brew percolated coffee. You will also find out the pros and cons of adding a filter to the percolator and how you can make your percolated coffee taste better. But first, let’s look at how the medium grounds affect percolated coffee.

How Do Regular Grounds Affect Percolated Coffee?

Regular grounds make stronger coffee in a percolator because the device is created to extract deeply. You should be aware of how a percolator works because the depth of its attraction will get you the perfect, flavorful coffee you’ll swear by, or it will get you bitter goo you will never touch. The key is to adjust the coffee ground size and the roast level.

By default, you should use coarse grounds and a medium roast to get a slightly deeper shot of brewed coffee. To make the dose stronger, you can go for medium grounds with a medium roast. For strength of caffeine, you can opt for a light roast. To maximize bitterness, you can use medium grounds with a light roast.

The only thing you need to remember is that you cannot use fine grounds with a percolator unless you use a filter. So the rule that the finer the coffee grounds, the deeper the extraction has to be stopped at regular grounds. After that, you need to rely on the rule that the lighter the roast, the more caffeine there is in the coffee.

Of course, a disk paper filter can help you use fine coffee grounds, but that defeats the purpose of using fine grounds anyway. The filter creates a double barrier, and the lack of pressure in the extraction can prevent the coffee extraction from resembling that of pulled espresso.

What to Do When There Are Grounds in Your Percolated Coffee?

As you might know by now, it is perfectly fine to use regular grounds with the average coffee percolator. Some percolators have wider holes that can let even medium-coarse grounds fall through.

You should use a well-fitting, round coffee filter to keep the grounds out if you find coffee grounds in your beverage. The coffee needs to sit longer to compensate for pressure-free filtration, so you must let it sit for at least two minutes.

I have found Melitta Disc Coffee Filters to be the lightest ones that still let enough flavor pass through. If your percolator has wide enough holes to let medium grounds pass through, you should buy a pack of paper filters like this one.

A paper filter not only keeps coffee grounds from falling into the coffee but also prevents bitter oils and acidic contents from getting injected into the beverage. But the longer you let the coffee sit in the percolator, the more these filtered contents pass through.

The paper filter can be used to make fine ground coffee feel like coarse ground coffee. It can also be used in other applications like extended-suspension methods like drip coffee. The circular disk can easily be shaped into a cone and fit in the funnel end for that.

Each filter can be used for one cup, so not only is this single-use, but it also forces you to brew one cup at a time. This can be a little time-consuming for those who make coffee for the whole family.

It seems like most buyers of the Melitta coffee filters are individual consumers, as the waiting time isn’t mentioned in any of its 2800+ reviews and ratings. Its average of 4.7 out of 5 stars is consistent with how I would rate this product.

Is Percolator Coffee Bitter?

The percolator coffee can range from medium-bitter to extremely bitter based on the kind of roast and grind size used. The temperature of the percolator is not as variable as the other factors. As a result, they can have a disproportionate effect on the resulting beverage.

Using light roasted coffee can introduce depth of coffee essence which makes the beverage bitter. Ironically, even the dark roasted coffee can be bitter, but this bitterness is more chocolatey and is introduced by the smokiness of the roast. Using medium-roasted grounds or opting for coarse grounds can make percolated coffee less bitter.

The advantage of using medium-roasted grounds is that they can be used in other brewing devices without altering the taste of coffee. Coarse grounds aren’t as consistent in different brewing methods.

When you use medium-roasted grounds, though, you might find the caffeine content of the coffee to still be quite significant. If you want sweeter coffee without the caffeine content of a medium roast, you’ll need the beans to be deep-roasted and coarse-ground.

Having coarse grounds is especially advantageous if you also enjoy cold coffee. These grounds can be left in a jar full of water in the fridge overnight and can be sieved out of the coffee in the morning.

If you are interested in getting “truly regular” coffee from a deep extracting method like a percolator, you can use medium-roasted and coarse ground coffee with a very short brewing period. You’ll get coffee that tastes as mellow as the coffee you get from medium grounds in a regular espresso maker. The percolator gives you many brewing options, so you should make the adjustments until you find the perfect ground size, roast level, and bean origin that gets you the coffee of your dreams.

Final Thoughts

Regular grounds don’t usually fall through a percolator, but if you try using medium grounds in a percolator and find them in the beverage, you can filter them out with a fine sieve or use a paper filter in the percolator to prevent them from getting in the coffee.

Tim S.

Tim loves roasting, brewing, and experimenting with coffee. After years of perfecting this craft, working as a barista, and owning a small coffee service in college, he has decided to share his knowledge with the world.

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