As the kids get older their activities encroach upon the dinner hour more and more. As much as they enjoy what they’re doing, they (and I) need to come home to a calm, even zen, environment. They need to decompress, and I need to get dinner on the table quickly.
I don’t have long runs of counter space in my kitchen. Anything on my counter that I’m not actively preparing is clutter and in my way and looks like a mess. For a time I lived in a house that did have a lot of counters, and I bought a rather large drip coffee maker that made great coffee for nine years before its top cracked. In my smaller kitchen it just doesn’t work to have not-in-use appliances sitting out. The only place for anything to sit is too close to the stove. Anything close to the stove needs to be wiped down often. All of this adds up to a decidedly un-zen home-cooked meal experience.
As a first step toward de-cluttering I decided to dig out our old Farberware stovetop percolator instead of buying a new auto-drip. I want something easy to clean that can be put away. I was pretty skeptical about the percolator making good coffee though. I couldn’t even remember how coffee made in it tasted. It was missing the spring from its stem, and the plastic top looked super grody. It seemed too wasteful to consign it to the landfill without a try though. I found a Fitz-All glass top at the local hardware store, and good canned coffee and Melitta wraparound percolator filters at Fairway.
This thing makes really good coffee. Many people think percolator coffee is being boiled because it bubbles up. I think the bubbling is pressure as the water heats and expands. It’s not at a full boil – the lid just is really tight. The coffee does get cooked though. I think cooking it makes it richer the way cooking a roux takes away the raw taste of flour. I also think the wraparound filter helps keep the cafestol and grounds out of our coffee.
My kids get a kick out of seeing the coffee perk in the beautiful glass top in the morning. It also makes fun sounds and seems old-fashioned and homey to them. My son seems to be more content doing homework in the de-cluttered kitchen too.
Perfect “Perc” Coffee Method
1) Fill pot to desired number of cups.
2) Assemble basket and line with a wraparound filter (this makes a big difference).
3) Add 1 tablespoon coffee for each cup of water
4) Start pot on high on stovetop.
5) As soon as you see the water begin to perk, turn heat to medium and set timer for five minutes.
6) Turn off heat after the five minutes.