The stainless stovetop percolator has been a camping classic for years and can work just as well for boaters.
The trick is getting the water to come up to a boil so that it begins perking, then turning the heat down so that the basket with the grounds does not overflow with water and dump grounds into the coffee – and then letting it go just until it’s as strong as you like it.
With a bit of practice, and a timer, it’s not hard to do if you’re not distracted. But if you’re fixing the rest of your breakfast, listening to the net and so on, you may not like the results.
One way to improve your chances is to use a wrap filter designed for percolator baskets (or use basket filters or a paper towel and poke a hole in the center and fold the edges over and stick them on the perk tube, too), so that the grounds don’t escape – it also makes clean up less messy.
Also, a stovetop percolator is a little more dangerous than some of the other methods if the boat is moving much as the pot is on the stovetop (as opposed to being wedged into the sink) for a longer time – and forget about making coffee if it’s too rough to have a pan on the stove.The biggest problem may be the little glass dome that is prone to breaking – and without it, you can’t perk.
Pros: Can make 10 to 12 cups at a time (also lesser amounts), takes little space, no electricity, inexpensive
Cons: Takes attention to keep the pot perking but not so hard that grounds are getting in the coffee, little glass dome prone to breakage, need a separate Thermos to keep coffee hot, messy clean up
Keeping it hot: Need a separate Thermos
Cost: $20 to 30 for a good stainless percolator, plus the cost of a Thermos if desired
My choices for a stovetop percolator system from Amazon.com:
- 4 to 8-cup stainless percolator (makes 2 to 4 mugs)
- 12-cup stainless percolator (makes 6 mugs)
- Insulated mug that will fit in most drink holders
- Percolator wrap filters
- 34-ounce stainless Thermos (keeps almost 3 mugs hot for hours)
- 61-ounce stainless Thermos (keeps 5 mugs hot for hours)
I used a percolator for years on camping trips. It’s not a bad system unless you’re prone to distraction . . . which I am! Once I learned about how long it took to begin perking and set the timer on my watch to turn the fire down then, I had much better results.