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Jun 12, 2011 01:28 PM

Coffee percolator lovers needed:


I am new to this forum and am a product design major doing some research on a coffee making appliance that I wishing to redesign: the electric percolator.

I figured I'd go find cooking blogs/forums to find percolator lovers and ask for your help in my research. I just want to add that I am not looking for negative comments from non-percolator users about how supposedly "awful" the coffee made in a percolator is, because as a percolator user myself, I find the coffee to be the BEST EVER. To me, it's all about personal taste and I have already read negative comments before from percolator-dissers. The purpose of this is to find out from percolator users what they like about their percolators and what they don't like and would wish could be redesigned in percolators.

I decided for my senior project to take on a challenge with a lesser known coffee appliance that is in dire need of a makeover. The purpose of industrial design is to not only appeal to current users of percolators but to try to attract non-percolator users, but with the way they look now, few younger coffee drinkers (especially drip-brew lovers) would find any appeal in percolators and think of "grandma" when looking at them. Despite electric percolators still being manufactured to this day, I feel that they haven't put much thought into redesigning them or make them more updated or modern looking. I want to change that with my project. There are many areas that I myself would want to redesign, but I want to hear from you, what areas you would improve on (outer aesthetics as well as inner components, etc) and how you would think you can improve on them. No idea or suggestion is a bad one. I want to hear them all. Please help me with my project. Thanks in advance! :)

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  1. the best part about them is they keep the coffee very hot, almost indefinitely. drip pots cannot do this. they jsut can't. if anyone thinks they can they are wrong.

    because i am an old crank anymore, i don't think they need much in the way of updating. the only thing is they could have a brushed finish rather than a polished to match current appliances.

    michael ruhlman has a good blog post about percolators. you should google it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: j8715

      Thanks, j8715. I actually converted to percolators for this project BECAUSE OF Michael Ruhlman! :) I never thought of the brushed finish. Most are polished, true. But not GE's percolator sold at Walmart. I love it!! And it makes great bold strong coffee.. not the weak watery kind made in a drip brew. I am hooked. Go run out and buy it! and it works wonderfully. :) thanks for the input.

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        1. I love percolated coffee sometimes myself!!! But not all the time- it is certainly a "style" of coffee that is not found much anymore, tasting more "nutty" to me (in general) and it is VERY HOT. I have compared the taste of the same coffee in my auto drip and percolated (side by side when a friend came for brunch), and the percolated coffee tastes distinctly nuttier and has a much different smell.

          I use it more in the winter and on weekends. I think it lends itself to leisurely mornings, where it stays hot on your counter top for hours.

          I think that more people might be into using one these days as they are "playing" with coffee at home more ( I am thinking of all the new single -cup systems). I have an auto drip, french press and commercial espresso machine, along with the old percolator. I also like Turkish coffee (which is boiling the coffee and water together). There are many, many ways to make coffee! They are all very different- and I don't think you CAN compare them with each other in ANY meaningful way.

          It is mood dependent which one I use, however, I typically only use the auto drip on work days -where it is no muss, no fuss, quick........the same every time... predictable type of coffee, consumed quickly or put into a thermos cup right away. Choices and styles are a good thing and the other coffee making devices are used when I have time to play and enjoy them.

          I like the style of the percolator I have (old school chrome) but I think it might be nice to have a brushed metal one or a fun color. The sound and smell of fresh percolated coffee is unique and wonderful - it would be great to enhance those aspects.The ability to hold a hot temperature (without the need to re-heat or without being burned or getting concentrated) is a big positive feature, IMO and redesign would need to honor that or it wouldn't work out.

          Good Luck!

          1. Would a moka pot be considered a type of percolator? I find that I love my espresso from my moka pot. (I know, someone out there will say it is not espresso if you aren't using an espresso maker, but millions of Italian families would disagree).

            2 Replies
            1. re: RGC1982

              Actually, RGC1982, espresso pots, such a Moka, are not percolators, as the hot water goes through the grounds once upwards, but in reverse to a drip-brew. :) They just are similar in aesthetics to a percolator, hence the confusion. I have to try one of those Moka's. They are just beautiful to look at, and as a product design major, one of Italy's finest inventions!

              1. re: cjs33139

                i love percolated coffee. i remember my mother using her percolator all the time. i also did alot of catering and we used big commercial pots, and i loved the coffee that they yielded. biggest pains with percolators i can think of.
                1. the stupid filters. why can't someone make a gold one like in a drip?
                2. no external water level line, that would be convenient.
                3. they are either too big or too small. you need two pots depending on the crowd.
                4. shininess, which was already mentioned.
                5. they should come on an electric base like a tea water boiler, the cords on the electric ones are super antiquated.
                6. there always seemed to be a burn hazard.

                i can't think of anything else. i hope that helps. GO PERCS!!