Looking for the best coffee percolator or mocha pot as they are often called? How very discerning of you. While a percolator may be a less fashionable method of making coffee, it is actually very convenient and pretty quick. Electric percolators have recently gone out of vogue so for this guide we’re concentrating on stove-top models. Just be aware that if you have an induction hob, make sure you get a stove-top percolator that's compatible – many aren't
Even in this age of Nespresso and other types of the best pod coffee machines, a percolator remains a compact and convenient coffee making device. These simple twin-chamber jugs create a head of steam in the bottom chamber that forces water through compacted coffee using science, and there's almost nothing that can go wrong with them. For our money, that makes them among the best coffee makers you can buy.
We’ve sourced a variety of stove-top models and alighted on this merry tranche of fine contenders for you to choose from.
The best stove-top coffee percolators we've tested
This small classic percolator is ideal for anyone who can’t go without a decent morning hit. It makes enough for two cups of very intense, espresso-esque coffee though you can, of course, add boiling water for a longer, Americano-style drink.
The Bialetti Brikka takes a few minutes to brew but it's well worth the wait because the coffee it produces is perhaps closest to an espresso in terms flavour and strength. It even produces a thin crema of sorts.
Be aware that this percolator is made from aluminium therefore it is not induction hob compatible. Nor is it dishwasher safe, though it is very easy to clean once you’ve mastered the art of tapping out the used, wet coffee grounds into the bin without it spilling everywhere.
Those requiring more coffee of a morning will find there are numerous Bialetti percolator size options to choose between (opens in new tab).
This John Lewis-branded model is quite large and can brew up to 6 cups in about 10 minutes. Simply fill the base with cold water, pop in the filter basket and top up the reservoir with your favourite blend of ground coffee. Now screw on the top half of the unit and and bung it on the induction, gas or ceramic hob. Be sure not to use too high a heat or the solution will boil and produce horribly bitter results. If using gas, make sure the pot is on the smallest ring because you don’t want flames licking over the edge or the stainless steel will tarnish.
If the whole family or your flatshare mates crave coffee first thing, this stainless steel percolator is a great device that will satisfy their lust with a powerful kick at any time of the day.
Designed by Sicilian architect Mario Trimarchi, this angular percolator is a great choice for someone who wants the same kind of results as the Bialetti Brikka, but with a more radical approach to styling. However, it isn’t induction compatible so use it only on gas, ceramic or a hot plate.
At just 17.5cm in height 12cm in width, this dinky 300ml model is small enough to take away with you and an ideal choice for soloists and couples because it can only produce enough liquid for three cups.
The Alessi Ossidiana works on the same simple principle as any moka pot so the results are pretty much the same. The only major difference here is the exterior styling which gives this model a slightly Dali-esque look.
This keenly-priced all stainless steel model works with any type of hob, including induction. In fact it is completely aluminium free which could be a boon for those who are concerned about drinking out of aluminium-clad vessels. It’s dishwasher safe, too, though you’d be advised to rinse its two interior sections under the tap in case there are any traces of detergent, rinse aid or salt. Also, many dishwashing sequences could damage the silicone gasket over time.
This model comes with a small 200ml water chamber and is good for up to four small cups of espresso-style coffee. It’s small enough for travel, very easy to use and it produces excellent results time after time.
If you often go camping, then you don’t have to forgo a decent cup of coffee of a morning, even when you’re in the great outdoors.
Any of the stovetop models here can fit the bill, but this stylish enamel percolator is more specifically designed to be used in the great outdoors. The enamel finish means it's (relatively) happy over fires, as well as on a gas or electric stove top. It comes in either blue or green speckled enamel and has a clear, heat resistant viewing knob so you can see when your coffee – up to six cups of it at a time – has been perfectly brewed.
How to buy the best stove-top coffee percolator
If you’re feeling really nostalgic, then a coffee percolator is where it’s at. A percolator creates a more intense flavour than a filter machine or cafetiére, but the results are not quite the same as espresso. Done right, it's delish, anyway.
To brew coffee in a percolator you need ground coffee beans – pre-ground is okay but freshly ground beans are better. To use, simply fill the lower chamber with water and load a few spoonfuls of ground coffee into the section above. As the water heats up it creates steam which forces the water through the coffee and filters it out again. You can use any type of coffee, although darker, espresso-type beans are better suited than lighter, artisan blends.
Stove top percolators like those reviewed above are the most authentic type and can be used both at home and when camping. They come in numerous sizes – generally measured by how many 'cups' (they mean smaller espresso-type cups rather than hulking, Starbuck-style vats) they rustle up. You can get very big stove-top percolators, but they do naturally tend to be a little slow, unless you use an induction hob (where compatible – do check) on a higher heat setting.