FTC Disclaimer - This page may contain special links to merchants which can result in compensation paid to the site owner.
How Strong Percolator Coffee Compares to Espresso

I enjoy homebrew coffee, we all do. Homebrew coffee is a great thing to have, as being able to make our own coffee at home is a rewarding experience. Since there are so many different ways to brew coffee at home, we can often get confused about what method to use.

For instance, many people wonder what percolator coffee has that makes it different from espresso.

More so than you may think, these two methods of coffee are quite different, but both of them still offer strong coffee. Here at Gamble Bay Coffee, we are dedicated to giving you the most accurate information on coffee that you can find.

Let’s look at how these methods make a difference shall we?

How are Strong Percolator Coffee and Espresso Different?

I’d like to go ahead and talk about what makes these two brewing methods different before we take a look at each of them individually.

  1. Percolator coffee runs through multiple cycles, whereas espresso coffee only runs through once. This allows you to get extremely strong coffee depending on how long you are willing to wait.
  2. Percolators are a bit touchier. Since the coffee is in the chamber with the water, the temperature has to be managed to ensure that you don’t burn the grinds, which will ruin the coffee.
  3. Espresso makers use pressure to make coffee, whereas a percolator just uses steam.

Overall, both of these coffees take a bit of time to prepare. Depending on the strength you prefer to have your coffee, the percolator method can require a bit more time than espresso, which requires patience to make it in the morning and, unless you have an espresso machine, like the Cuisinart EM-200, at home, you’ll have to go to a cafe to get your daily espresso.

Is Espresso Coffee Better than Strong Percolator Coffee?

For the most part, I would have to say yes, although some people may prefer percolator coffee over espresso.

Espresso doesn’t require nearly as much work and moderation as percolator coffee does. Espresso coffee can also vary slightly, depending on the barista making it or the extras added.

Espresso requires no specific roast level or bean blend, but some beans are a better choice than others: find the best ones here. Ever since the third wave of coffee, you can find many coffee shops all over that can make an espresso in many different ways to really tailor to your personal tastes.

One of the bonuses of making espresso vs percolator coffee is that espresso coffee does not use paper filters like the percolator does. Since it does not use a paper filter, much of the oils and such that make coffee so healthy are able to get through into the drink. So if you want something a bit healthier, espresso would be better.

I think for most people espresso will be the more favorable coffee, due to the time and attention it takes to make a cup of percolator coffee in the morning and how easily you can mess it up and waste several minutes.

Most of the time, it will be much easier to make espresso and there are alternatives to buying the expensive home machines. This makes it much better than using a percolator

Is Strong Percolator Coffee Better than Espresso Coffee?


The reason I say strong percolator coffee is that, because it runs through multiple cycles, varying on how you like it, your average cup of percolated coffee won’t be all that strong.

To the question, I would have to say no. Percolator coffee does get more usage out of coffee grinds, since it runs multiple cycles on the same grinds; however, it does not achieve the same effect espressos do. Yes, it gets strong coffee, but it lacks the oils and all that an espresso retains. The paper filters are the drawback to percolator coffee makers.

A percolator uses a series of chambers. One chamber holds a large body of water, which comes to a boil, and the steam from the boiling water comes through a small crevice and passes into the top of the percolator. When the steam starts to cool, the dew that comes down drips, or percolates, through the coffee grounds and back down into the boiling water to be reprocessed.

Now you might think that because of the way that this is done that the strength of the coffee would be uneven, but actually, the process is aided by a small plate in the pot called a spreading plate. The spreading plate ensures that an equal amount of water goes through the coarsely ground coffee beans. That way your coffee always has an even taste.

This process ensures you get the most value out of your coffee, although some people may not enjoy the sheer strength that percolator coffee tends to have. The caffeine content is roughly equal with that of espresso.

Earlier, I said it requires a bit of management. By this, I was referring to the temperature. The water in the percolator needs to be kept at a consistent temperature, just below boiling. The reason for this is because the beans and the water are kept in the same chamber. If the heat is too high, the beans get burned and, thus, will ruin the coffee. This is very easy to mess up if you are using a stovetop percolator, while electric percolators generally have a maximum temperature they can reach that is just right to avoid burning the beans or ground.

If you are interested in a percolator, even just to try it out, you can find some pretty inexpensive ones that work well. This Farberware Percolator is reasonably affordable and is well worth the cash for a stovetop type. If you’re looking for an electric percolator, the Hamilton Beach Percolator is one worth checking out.

So, if you enjoy really dark roasted coffee with a strong scent and stronger taste, you will likely love percolated coffee, though I firmly believe that it does not match the benefits of the espresso.

So Which is The Best?

Overall, I would say that if you have the funds to put toward it, you can do well with the option of getting a percolator, as it creates strong coffee, while not really overloading you. However, because espresso tends to keep the oils that coffee provides and there are good alternatives to obtain espresso if you can’t afford a home machine, I’d say you can’t really go wrong, either way.

Since espresso machines can be so costly, using something like a Moka Pot or an Aeropress would be a more affordable alternative. Comparatively, percolators are generally fairly inexpensive, though you do have to buy filters to be able to use them properly.