If you're a tea enthusiast, but you don't have a teapot or equipment to brew tea, then the tea-making process can be a nuisance. Boiling water for one cup of tea at a time, especially if you enjoy several cups throughout the day, gets old very quickly.
Fortunately, there are other alternatives to making a soothing cup of tea, such as using a coffee percolator. To prevent you from experiencing further headache and irritation, we've put a list together of how to make tea in a coffee percolator in six steps, as well as important details and essential supplies you'll need.
Six Steps to Make Tea in a Percolator
Before giving you the six steps, it's important to note that a couple of these steps vary depending on whether you have a stovetop or electric percolator. Differences will be noted within each step.
Thoroughly Clean the Percolator
Thoroughly cleaning the percolator before use is critical, especially if you typically use the percolator to brew coffee. Cleaning the percolator will keep your tea tasting the way you want it to without any other influences.
To maintain your percolator's cleanliness, it should be thoroughly hand-washed and rinsed after every use, no matter whether you're brewing tea or coffee.
Fill the Percolator with Water and Assemble
Fill the percolator with cold water to your desired fill-line measurement. Depending on your percolator, you can have a maximum fill line of six cups, eight cups, twelve cups, and so on.
Never fill the percolator with hot water because it can cause damage to your percolator.
After filling with cold water, put in the percolator's basket and rod.
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Add Tea to the Percolator Basket
After the rod and basket are in place, place your tea leaves or tea bag in the basket. Remember to use a filter or paper towel with loose tea leaves.
Power/Heat the Percolator and Begin the Brewing Cycle
Once your tea is in the basket, you're ready to plug in the percolator and turn it on. If you're using a stovetop percolator, put it on a medium heat source, such as a stovetop burner or campfire.
Allow the percolator to run through one full cycle. The longer you let the percolator run, the stronger your tea's flavor will be. The average time required for a full cycle is around ten minutes.
If you ever notice steam emerging from your percolator, the temperature is too hot. Be sure to unplug it or remove it from its heat source if it's a stovetop percolator. Return to heat after a couple of minutes. Repeat this process if necessary.
Disassemble the Percolator
After the percolator finishes its cycle and the tea brews, remove the rod and the basket. Discard the tea bag or leaf remnants.
Re-attach the Percolator Lid and Pour Tea
Now that the rod and basket are out of the picture put the percolator's lid back on. At that point, the tea is nice and hot and is ready to be poured. Be patient and remember to give your tea the proper cooling time it needs for optimal flavor.
Enjoy your tea and don't forget to hand wash and rinse the percolator after you're done.
Supplies Needed for Making Tea in a Coffee Percolator
Fortunately, there's very little required for making tea in a coffee percolator. All you need is the following supplies:
- Coffee percolator
- Tea Bags or leaves
Note: If you're using tea leaves, you'll need to use a filter, much like you would making coffee. Using a filter with tea bags isn't necessary since the bag keeps the tea leaves contained. If you don't have filters, a paper towel will suffice.
The amount of tea you need is entirely based on your personal preference or the type of tea you use. The stronger the tea, the more tea you'll need, and vice versa. Certain brands or types of tea, such as green tea, may require experimentation when it comes to the amount of tea used.
Can a Percolator Be Used for Tea?
We gave you the steps to brew tea in a percolator, but is it ideal? Depending on your preferences for tea flavor, using a percolator is an ideal alternative.
Keep in mind, the primary difference between using a percolator to brew coffee vs. tea is that coffee is more of a “one size fits all” when it comes to brewing temperatures. In contrast, tea is more finicky and requires adjustments in temperature based on the type of tea you're brewing.
Since the percolator doesn't have an adjustable temperature range, you can monitor your tea's temperature with a thermometer during and after the percolating process. Cooling time is also essential for a flavorful cup of tea. Here are ideal temperature ranges and cooling times for different varieties of tea:
|Type of Tea||Temperature Range||Cooling Times|
|Green and yellow teas||170-185 degrees Fahrenheit||5-6 minutes|
|Oolong tea||180-190 degrees Fahrenheit||3.5-5 minutes|
|Black and herbal teas||208-212 degrees Fahrenheit||3.5 minutes or less|
|White tea||176-194 degrees Fahrenheit||6-7 minutes|
Provided you use this temperature and cooling chart as a reference and follow the proper steps, using a percolator for tea is a fairly straightforward process.
The Best and Worst Teas to Brew in a Coffee Percolator
Not all teas are created equal when using the coffee percolator. The chart with temperature range and cooling times above also applies to the quality of each tea using the percolator.
The worst teas to brew in the coffee percolator are teas with more fragile leaves. Not to say that you couldn’t use the percolator for these; you’d just have to cut the cycle short to make sure you aren’t destroying the tea’s flavor:
- Green tea
Conversely, these tea leaves can withstand higher temperatures without compromising the integrity of the tea’s flavor and are the best for using the percolator:
- Black tea
- Herbal teas
Twist: Brew Coffee and Tea at the Same Time
Who says you have to choose between the two? You can make a delicious coffee-tea hybrid drink with your percolator in just a few steps:
- First, place four bags of black tea in the percolator and get it going. Brew them for 8 minutes.
- Pour the black tea into another container and set it aside
- Next, refill the percolator with coffee and brew as normal
- Combine the black tea and coffee in a cup, proportioned to taste
- Add condensed milk to taste and stir in. Start with 3 ounces, then go from there.
- If you want it cold, just combine the tea and coffee, then chill and pour over ice with condensed milk
How to Get the Taste of Coffee Out of the Percolator
The number one thing that could ruin your percolator tea is the gross taste of old coffee seeping into it from a dirty percolator. Even if you clean it very well by hand, well-loved percolators have a deep-set coffee smell and taste to them that could harm the taste of your tea.
If you’re experiencing a lot of residue or build-up that’s causing an off taste, here are the steps to deep cleaning a percolator:
- Load the percolator to the fill line with water.
- Mix three tablespoons of baking soda into the water.
- Turn the percolator on for a full cycle.
- Wait for the water to cool down, then use a brush to vigorously clean the inside.
- Dump out the water and thoroughly rinse.
- Refill the percolator with a 50/50 concoction of white vinegar and water. Let the percolator run another full cycle, then dump the water/vinegar mixture.
- Run one or more cycles of just water to rinse out any vinegar or residual grounds.
Tea in a Coffee Percolator
Making tea using a coffee percolator is an excellent alternative to boiling one cup of water at a time. Tweaking the process for specific brands and types of tea may take a little trial and error.
Otherwise, using the percolator takes a majority of the hassle out of the tea brewing process!