Best percolator coffee 2019: whole bean and ground coffees

Looking for the best percolator coffee for your machine or moka pot? They may have fallen out of favour in recent years, but with the right method and, most importantly of all, the right coffee, a percolator can make a brew that hits the spot

The best percolator coffee in mugs on a wooden worktop

Trying to find the best percolator coffee? We've researched ready-ground coffees (all coarse) and whole beans, which, if you have a coffee bean grinder at home, can be ground on demand for a fresher taste. 

Why choose coarse beans? Since the filters in percolators aren’t as fine as those in other coffee-prepping gadgets, you’ll want coarse coffee grounds with proper chunks of bean to avoid grainy bits getting through into the coffee, resulting in an unpleasantly silty sip. Read on to find out more about how we've chosen the best percolator coffee. 

Or if you are on the lookout for a new coffee machine, browse our pick of the very best coffee machines of all types.

What is the very best percolator coffee?

The best coffee for percolators, in our opinion, is the Pelican Rouge Barista Coffee Blend. It's strong, dark and spicy. Read our full review below.

Not got time to read the entire guide? We've listed our top three percolator coffees alongside their cheapest prices below. Or, if you're after another bargain, the best cheap coffee machine deals are right here. You're welcome.

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING PERCOLATOR COFFEE

Taste

Some connoisseurs recommend only medium roast beans for use in a percolator, saying that light roasts can lose their flavour and dark roasts can take on extra bitterness thanks to the brewing method. However, as everyone's coffee preferences are deeply personal, we’ve included a selection of light, medium and dark roasts. If you like your coffee strong, go for Pelican Rouge’s Barista Coffee Blend; if you like a smooth cup with no bitterness that won’t keep you up ‘til the wee hours, try Dallmayr Prodomo.

Match the amount of water you’re using to the amount of coffee so it’s not too weak or strong; don’t go overboard on the grounds (especially if using a dark roast; and heat the water slowly on a low to medium heat rather than on full blast. 

The science

A percolator forces hot water through a filter basket holding coffee grounds, activated by boiling or an internal pump (depending on the type of percolator you’re working with). This will usually be a moka pot that sits on the hob, or a jug design with its own hot plate.

If you want to go for whole beans instead of ready-ground, find the best coffee bean grinders in our buyer's guide.

THE BEST PERCOLATOR COFFEE

Best percolator coffee: Pelican Rouge Barista Coffee Blend

1. Pelican Rouge Barista Coffee Blend

Best percolator coffee: two types of beans for twice the coffee-shop flavour, this is our top pick of the best coffee for percolators

Specifications
Best for: Barista-quality coffee
Roast: Dark
Beans: Blend of Arabica and Robusta
Type: Whole bean
Reasons to buy
+Excellent, balanced blend+Nice and strong
Reasons to avoid
-May be a bit bitter for some

While Robusta beans have a little bit a of a rep for being used in lower-quality instant coffee, they can actually be used to great effect to impart a dark kick to a coffee that otherwise runs the risk of being unstructured. This Pelican Rouge coffee blends Arabica and Robusta into a sweet, dark roast with nutty and caramel notes from the former, and a powerful, spicy kick from the latter. Its strength makes it perfect for espressos, and reviewers have commented that it’s a lovely everyday roast.

Shop more Pelican Rouge coffee at Amazon

Best percolator coffee: Starbucks Espresso Blend Whole Coffee Beans

2. Starbucks Espresso Blend Whole Coffee Beans

Best rich percolator coffee: for those who like their coffee strong, dark and rich

Specifications
Best for: Rich, strong taste
Roast: Dark
Beans: Arabica
Type: Whole bean
Reasons to buy
+Rich, strong cup+Less bitter than many dark roasts
Reasons to avoid
-No guarantees it’ll taste the same as the chain

If you are a Starbucks addict, but only tend to treat yourself occasionally or on your commute, you might be delighted to hear that you can recapture a little bit of that barista magic in your own kitchen with these Starbucks coffee beans. Dark roasted for oodles of flavour, reviewers agreed these beans make a mean cup of coffee: deep, rich and strong but well-rounded with it, without the bitterness you can sometimes expect from a dark roast. 

Browse more Starbucks coffee at Amazon

Best smooth coffee for percolators: Dallmayr Prodomo Original German Roast Ground Coffee

3. Dallmayr Prodomo Original German Roast Ground Coffee

Best smooth coffee for percolators: straightforwardly smooth German coffee, with a lighter touch than you might expect

Specifications
Best for: Smooth taste
Roast: Medium
Beans: Arabica
Type: Coarse ground
Reasons to buy
+Good in an americano+Very economical
Reasons to avoid
- Not so much for espresso 

In the pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee, Germany might not be the first place you’d think to turn. However, Dallmayr Prodomo is here to make sure the country gets some kudos for its coffee capabilities. Roasted long and slow to a medium darkness, drinkers say it’s full-bodied yet smooth enough to be drunk black without a hit of bitterness. Many also found that they didn’t have to use much coffee to get a full-flavoured cup, making it more economical than most. In our opinion, this is the best coffee for percolators for those who like a smooth taste.

Find more Dallmayr coffee at Amazon

Best espresso coffee for percolators: Illy Medium Roast Whole Bean

4. Illy Medium Roast Whole Bean

Best espresso coffee for percolators: simply bellissima – or should that be b-illy-simma?

Specifications
Best for: Espresso
Roast: Medium
Beans: Arabica
Type: Whole bean
Reasons to buy
+Fresh-tasting+Great for espresso
Reasons to avoid
-Quite pricey 

Roasted to medium perfection in Italy, where they certainly know their way around a coffee bean, these Illy beans might be a bit on the pricier side, but they’re fantastic as a treat on a Sunday morning. Packed in nitrogen for longevity, tasters found they maintained that fresh taste longer than most pre-roasted beans, and that the full flavour they got from the freshly ground beans made them perfect for espresso-based drinks, whether straight, in a flat white or as part of a latte.

Shop more Illy coffee at Amazon

Best organic percolator coffee: Coffee Masters Triple Certified Organic

5. Coffee Masters Triple Certified Organic

Best organic percolator coffee: a beautiful balancing act of flavoursome and eco-conscious, this is the best coffee for percolators if you're after something organic

Specifications
Best for: Organic
Roast: Medium
Beans: Arabica
Type: Whole bean
Reasons to buy
+Organic and Fairtrade+Balanced taste
Reasons to avoid
- Needs quite a long brewing time

Fairtrade, organic, and Rainforest Alliance certified, these are the ultimate virtuous beans. Plus, reviewers rated them highly across the board: that’s what we call a win-win. Not weak and watery, but not so strong it’ll keep you up for days; not too acidic, and well-rounded. Drinkers loved that this organic coffee didn’t compromise on taste or affordability, and came out of the stovetop maker a good, rich colour.

See more Coffee Masters products at Amazon 

Best light flavour coffee for percolators: Kicking Horse Coffee Organic Fairtrade Ground Coffee Hola Light Roast

6. Kicking Horse Coffee Organic Fairtrade Ground Coffee Hola Light Roast

Best light flavour coffee for percolators: strong enough to stand up to the pressures of the pot, but with a lovely light taste

Specifications
Best for: Light flavour
Roast: Light
Beans: Arabica
Type: Coarse ground
Reasons to buy
+Very smooth+No bitter aftertaste
Reasons to avoid
-A little oily – may cause some buildup in grinder

Perhaps a bit of a misnomer, given its gentle nature, this light-roast ground coffee is an everyday favourite among reviewers. One mentioned that as Kicking Horse tend to be a little heavy-handed with their roasting, this tastes like something between a light and a medium roast, resulting in a full-flavoured and smooth cup without the bitterness that would be present after more time in the roaster. 

Shop more Kicking Horse Coffee blends at Amazon

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