Our Low-Waste Morning Coffee

by Tammy Taylor

* includes affiliate link

Coffee makers have certainly gotten bigger, more expensive and much more complicated over the years.  Many people really love their specialized coffee makers with all those push-button bells & whistles, single-cup brew options, multiple brew settings and timers to have the coffee start  brewing all by itself. And of course there’s nothing wrong with that!

But RancherMan & I enjoy the more simple brewing offered by our vintage percolator.  We think it offers an exceptional cup of coffee.  And there are several reasons why we prefer it over the fancy-schmancy newfangled ones of today:

We think our vintage percolator offers an exceptional cup of coffee. There are many reasons we prefer it over the newfangled ones of today #TexasHomesteader

We Love Our Vintage Percolator

Although you can still buy a high-quality *coffee percolator today, our vintage Celebrity percolator was manufactured many years ago.  A time when quality appliances were the norm, built to last. And also to be repaired instead of thrown away & repurchased over & over again.

This particular percolator originally belonged to my grandmother, an avid coffee drinker all her life.  So I guess it’s a little sentimental for me to brew our coffee in the same unit that used to supply her and my grandfather their morning joe for all those years.

Our percolator seems to brew our coffee a little bit hotter than any of our drip coffee makers did.  Now both RancherMan & I are die-hard coffee drinkers, not much caring for flavored or sweetened coffees.  We have only two requirements – we want it black, and we want it hot.  Our percolator delivers both with delicious results.

Less Coffee-Brewing Waste

And here’s a huge issue for me – brewing coffee these days seems to create more & more waste. Something I simply cannot tolerate. A lower environmental footprint is one of the places where our percolator really shines. All it needs is ground coffee beans & water.  No mountains of disposable plastic tubs for me.

One of the drawbacks to our percolated coffee is the grounds that end up at the bottom of our mug.  We’ve reduced the amount of grounds that typically ended up in our coffee cups with a * Re-useable insert that we put inside the percolator’s coffee-ground holder.  This keeps most of the grounds from ending up in our coffee. (although we’ve learned you STILL don’t dare drink that last sip of the mug unless you’re looking for a pinch between your cheek & gum!)

The only ‘waste‘ created by our coffee maker is the used grounds, which I happily toss into my *tumbling composter to reuse via compost in my veggie garden.

We think our vintage percolator offers an exceptional cup of coffee. There are many reasons we prefer it over the newfangled ones of today #TexasHomesteader

Less Electricity Usage

Another environmental plus is the fact that this coffee pot only uses electricity while it’s actually being used.  Most conventional coffee makers with their timers and clocks are electricity vampires, quietly sneaking electricity every minute of every day to run the clock and keep the timers current.  But our coffee maker is only plugged in while it’s being used.

And I also love that our percolator has a much smaller physical footprint than the mammoth coffee makers typical these days.  I don’t like the look of appliances cluttering my counter top, so when RancherMan & I have had our fill for the day we simply unplug it & slide it into our appliance cabinet where it stands ready to do duty again tomorrow.

Easier To Repair

With our percolator there are less parts to go wrong than with the flimsy plastic units. And when something does need replacing it’s easy to do.  RancherMan has so far only had to replace the thermostat and the cord on our percolator.  The repairs cost pennies and RancherMan looked up videos online detailing how to replace the thermostat.  Repairs were done easily, inexpensively & in minutes.  Our good-as-new percolator is now ready & willing to continue providing that steaming hot coffee that we both crave.

Originally our percolator came with a black knob on the lid. But that lid got lots of daily abuse. After a while the knob broke off.  A quick search of the internet found a place where we could buy replacement parts. So we replaced that knob, although the cost of shipping was more than the knob itself.  We replaced that plastic knob several times before RancherMan decided enough was enough.

I’ve always loved the look of the glass percolator lid knobs where you could see the coffee percolating through the glass.  Those glass knobs were a dime a dozen at any hardware store. But our percolator top only accepted a thin black knob.  RancherMan took the percolator lid into his shop and drilled a hole exactly the size to accept one of those cool glass knobs. Now I have the look I love without having to replace a flimsier black plastic handle several times a year.  That RancherMan’s one smart cookie!

I know there are lots of folks who really, REALLY love their conventional coffee makers for various reasons that are important to them.  But our little percolator fits our lifestyle perfectly.  And hey – isn’t that what it’s all about?

~TxH~

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73 thoughts on “Our Low-Waste Morning Coffee

  1. Michelle

    Oh my word we have one almost just like that, but it’s a different make and we still love using her, I think it’s a her 😉 I’ll have to try getting some of those re-usable inserts. That would make life so much easier and you can enjoy the very last delicious sip. Thank you so much for sharing at Sweet Inspiration and I’m really sorry to here about #334. Sending hugs

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks Michelle, I needed those hugs. It’s hard to lose one especially when you’ve gone all out to assure you won’t. But we’re comforted in the knowledge that we gave her a good life here… And regarding the re-usable insert – give it a try. It makes a pretty big difference in the grounds that escape the coffee basket. ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Marie

    We’ve only used a percolator when camping but I’ve always hated it because of the grounds in your coffee. I’m very much a drink-it-til-the-last-drop chick so I end up with a mouth full of grounds (bleck!). I would probably be more open to it if I could train myself to refrain from the last bit of it. Lol. Thanks for sharing your coffee savings (and the wonderful backstory) with us at Merry Monday this week!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Since we drink percolator coffee daily we are always aware not to drink the last sip in the bottom of the cup. But the reusable insert we place in the coffee basket makes a pretty drastic difference in reducing the amount of grounds that end up in the coffee. ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Grandmas House DIY

    Just like my grandma used to make coffee 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us at the To Grandma’s house we go link party – pinned – you will be featured on Wednesday when the next party starts!

    Reply
  4. Vanessa

    This is awesome post. I have a coffee marker that only makes one cup at a time. It’s perfect for us since I am no only that drinks coffee. I even keep the grounds and toss them in my dirt. I enjoyed looking around your blog. I learn so much. I would love it if you would share this post at a link party I am co-hosting. I hope to see you there. Have a great week.

    Reply
    1. Vanessa

      You shared at Dishing it and Digging it. I love it. I always learn so much when I stop by here. Thank you for sharing at the link party. Have a great week.

      Reply
    2. Vanessa

      I don’t know how I missed your link at Dishing it and Digging it. but I love that you shared. I always learn so much when I stop by here. Thank you for sharing at the link party. Have a great week.

      Reply
  5. Elaine

    I remember a pot like that from my youth! I don’t drink coffee but I can relate to the percolator! Thanks for sharing on My 2 favorite Things on Thursday – link Party! Hope to see you again this week! Pinned!

    Reply
  6. Karen

    Just saw reviews on America’s Test Kitchen featuring French Press makers. I my self drink coffee all day long and love my Bun coffee maker.

    Reply
  7. daisy

    I’m not a fan of those single-use coffee makers. It just bugs me to know that every day, those little plastic cups are getting tossed into the trash. I am still looking for my perfect CorningWare percolator. I know it’s out there and it will be my forever coffee pot. Keep it simple and life gets easier. Enjoy your treasure!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I have to agree with you about all the trash typically generated from the single-cup coffee makers. I looked for the CorningWare coffee makers as well Daisy. We ended up with an old vintage stove-top stainless steel model for times when our burners or cast-iron fireplace is going. But for summertime use this percolator is perfect.

      Reply
  8. Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom

    I love my percolator! 🙂 Not vintage and doesn’t have a good story like yours, but still so much better than a standard unit! What clinched the deal for me was thinking of all that hot water, simmering in… plastic. *YUCK*

    All of the waste involved in keurigs etc bothers me too. 🙁 I’ve heard that the inventor of Keurig has said that he regrets it, due to that factor… might be an urban legend tho.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We sure love ours too Sarah. To me it makes a superior cup of coffee and the low waste is icing on the cake for me. I’ve heard the same thing as you about the inventor of the Keurig having regrets…

      Reply
  9. Jamie @ Medium Sized Family

    My folks really enjoy their percolator, too. I use a newer model, but you are right that they just don’t seem to last more than a year or two! I do try to remember to unplug it when we aren’t using it so it doesn’t draw more electric.

    Reply
  10. Wanda

    Link to Amazon for a new camping coffee pot: http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-14-Cup-Enamelware-Coffee-Percolator/dp/B0009PUQI2/ref=sr_1_11?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1424306273&sr=1-11&keywords=camping+coffee+maker
    We bought ours at a garage sale a long time ago for 10 dollars. The coffee pot on the link is larger than the one I have currently. Enjoyed your blog and I also like “vintage” items – which usually are things I grew up with as a little girl in the country.

    Reply
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  12. Kathy

    While I have a 4 cup drip maker, if we want more we just add another scoop or two of coffee on top of the already used grounds. I can’t tell the difference. My husband has a percolator that you put on the stove. We are all electric except the stove which uses the small gas pit propane tanks to operate. We tried the larger, stand up thin tanks but these are actually cheaper. The best thing I remember about percolators is waking up as a child and hearing it perk and smelling the aroma flowing through the house. You don’t really hear the drip makers and the flavored coffees just make the house smell like vanilla or whatever the scent of the day is.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We finally obtained a 1940’s Revereware percolator and we love it too! And for brewing a new pot of coffee we do the same as y’all, adding a new scoop of coffee to already-brewed grounds. I can’t tell the difference either and it saves us lots on coffee. ~TMR~

      Reply
  13. Margy

    I had a percolator very much like yours years ago. Where I live off the grid, we really limit our use of electricity. We use an even older fashioned enamelware percolator on the gas stove, and keep it warm on the woodstove until it’s done. I think it make much better coffee than any fancy pot I’ve used. – Margy

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We’d been on the hunt for a percolator that uses no electricity too Margy. Although we were hoping for an old vintage one we were even willing to get a camping pot, but no luck. Then a good friend found us a RevereWare pot and we were SO EXCITED. We love it too. ~TMR~

      Reply
  14. Misty Nicole Roberts

    I love, love, love this! And don’t listen to all of the French press confessors! As someone who lived in France, I can tell you, very few use it there, and in fact a percolator is a preferred method! Thanks for linking this up this week at Merry Monday’s!

    Reply
  15. Linda Nelson

    I have a vintage percolator and a french press. Wouldn’t trade them for the world. Italian flip pots are fun to use, too. I have a collection of them in various sizes.

    Reply
  16. Janet Garman

    Hi I love vintage and coffee! Your post was one of the top fabulous five on this week’s Simple Saturdays Blog hop. Thanks for linking up and your post will be pinned to our Simple Saturdays Blog Hop board on Pinterest!

    Reply
  17. Amanda @ The Kolb Corner

    While I’ve never personally used a Percolator, I distinctly remember my Mom using one when we would go camping. My husband and I love our french press. All you have to do is boil some water, pour it over the grounds, steep 4 minutes, and bam–coffee. And it’s delicious coffee too. Much better than anything you can get from a drip, or kcup. You also don’t get grounds in your cup either, and when you are finished, just dump the grounds into the compost bucket!

    Reply
  18. Holly

    I’ll put in one more plug for the french press :).

    In my home, I’m the only coffee drinker so I just have a single serving press.

    They do make larger ones, though. I’ve seen some that hold as much as 12 cups. Of course, I guess it all depends on what is a “single serving” for you. 🙂

    Love your vintage percolator. My parents have one very much like that, and swear by it.

    Reply
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  22. Maren

    I love that you use your grandmother’s coffee maker. My husband and I also use a simpler coffee maker without the bells and whistles. We really like our French press and are able to put it away when not in use. Great post!

    Reply
  23. Deb Harris

    Just a thought if your looking for a stovetop percolator try the camping dept. We bought one years ago for camping. We’ve also used it if power’s out. We have to use on porch on propane camping stove or grill. If you are lucky enough to have a wood stove that would be perfect. You can probably find at some yard sales, I’ve seen camping equipment many times. I’ve always thought the coffee we had camping was the best. Probably partly the pot & just relaxing outside in a beautiful place!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Deb, RancherMan & searched the camping section at WallyWorld and were very surprised they weren’t there! We do see them from time to time in thrift stores & yard sales so we’ll keep a watch for them. We do have a wood-burning stove and that’s one of the main reasons we’re looking for a non-electric one. ‘twould be great! ~TMR~

      Reply
  24. Joybee

    I like your style Tammy. My husband and I use a french press and it similarly causes less waste. It only a bit more hassle because to make hot coffee you have to boil water then pour it into the french press with the grounds. However we live in Hawaii and it’s warm year round here so we drink more iced coffee and for that I cold brew it. Just put grounds and water in the press and let it sit for about 24 I pour out the coffee and store it in the fridge. Just add ice and milk/cream and you can take it on the go. Sometimes I sweeten it with chocolate syrup or simple syrup. It’s just nice to not have to worry about coffee filters.

    Reply
  25. Dave @ OurHappyAcres

    My parents used a percolator when I was growing up, but I don’t know what happened to it. I like my coffee black and hot too, and I’ve experimented with several ways to make it. I tried the Toddy system a few years back. My neighbor makes it all the time but I thought the coffee made with it needed a bit more oomph. Then my wife and I went to Australia a couple of years ago and we were served French Press coffee everywhere we went. I fell in love with that, and got a Bodum press. That makes a lovely cup of coffee, once you figure out how much coffee to use. And the grounds still wind up on the compost pile too!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m very interested in a french press Dave. I occasionally see them at garage sales, etc. which would be great for me since I always try first to buy used. I’ve passed by them in the past when I’ve found them at garage sales because it looks like you have to heat the water separately first and then allow it to ‘brew’ in the french press and it appears to make a single cup at a time, but everyone seems to rave. It’s on my acquire list now! ~TMR~

      Reply
  26. Cathy J

    We use a Toddy Cold Brew coffee maker. I make coffee once a week. It is basically coffee concentrate that we add coffee and hot water to the cup and you have coffee. No electricity required at least in the winter time I just put the tea kettle on the wood stove and you can have hot coffee any time. The only frills is what type of coffee you buy, organic, fair trade, etc. We aren’t much for the flavors either, we do like it black and hot. Amazon sells the Toddy Cold Brew.
    Cathy

    Reply
  27. victoria witte

    I use an old percolator that you just sit on the stove and light the burner to get it perking away. Really good coffee—-good and strong. The one I have was a used one and the little flat part that sits on top of the basket with the grounds was missing so we do get grounds sometimes when it really gets going and boils up. We just use a small stainer set on top of our cups to catch any grounds that might sneak in. The used coffee grounds go into the compost pile here as well. The only drawback is that if you don’t get around to the second or third cup fairly quickly you may have to reheat it in the microwave.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Victoria, we’re looking for a stove-top model right now, it’s actually been quite a challenge – the retailers are really pushing the bells-n-whistles types. We’re thinking that we can get a stove top coffee pot & use the propane burners to brew the coffee on the stove and then place the coffee pot on our wood-burning stove to keep it hot while we go through the pot of coffee. If we can find one we’ll be using that one through the winter months when the extra heat in the house would be desirable. ~TMR~

      Reply
  28. Angi

    I love your low waste method of having coffee in the morning. I personally use a french press, which ends up being very similar in the waste category- just dump the grounds in my compost bucket and rinse the french press maker. No fancy flavors for me or my husband either, but I do like a bit of cream. 🙂 Love the way your percolator has memories for you too!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve been eyeballing the french press units for years Angie – I’ve seen them at garage sales (an important aspect for me with regard to low-waste) I’m not familiar with them or their use, do they basically make a single cup of coffee at a time? I think even if it was one-at-at-time brewing I could really get on board with one of these. ~TMR~

      Reply
      1. Hobart Chic

        French press are a less complicated version of a percolator. They come in all sorts of cup sizes, so you can make as little as one cup or more depending on the size. I use a stainless steel one most of the time, but they are usually glass.

        To use, boil water, place coffee in french press, pour over boiled water, let sit for 2-3 minutes, press down the press and pour into a cup/cups. A bit of a pain to clean and I prefer a percolator for slightly better coffee and parties of three or more.

        Reply
        1. Texas Homesteader Post author

          I’ve been interested in the french press but RancherMan & I drink a lot of coffee. The models I’ve seen were pretty small plus RancherMan became impatient waiting for the water to boil to just pour into the press and then wait for the coffee to brew. LOL I love the simplicity of them though…

          Reply
  29. Patricia

    I love your percolator.
    We had one a few years back and it quite. I was quite disappointed. Yes! it made the coffee nice and piping hot. I liked that it didn’t use filters… though, I do recycle our grounds and filters in the winter to make fire starters (java logs) for the fire place.
    It’s so good to the next to last drop… I’d forgotten about the pinch between the gums.
    🙂

    Reply
  30. Melody

    I agree so much with your post and I love your percolator! I have a french press coffee maker, it is made of glass and I heat my water to boiling using my electric stainless kettle! What is nice about the press is you very rarely get grounds in your cup 🙂 I like my coffee hot and black as well…No fancy stuff here.

    Reply
  31. Bonnie

    We just use our kettle to boil the water and then use a ceramic pour-over that I got on amazon, with a homemade reusable filter. Really easy, you can make a little or a lot, and no grounds in the cup. Plus, it’s not dependent on electricity…

    Reply
  32. ColleenB.

    you’re like us’ something plain and simple; black and hot. Not a big fan of all those flavored coffees either.
    I think we both grew up making due with what we had.
    They do sell coffee filters for the percolator pots or you can just use regular coffee filters and insert in the basket ; add your coffee and perk away.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yeah Colleen, we still have the paper filters from back in “the day” when we had an auto-drip coffee maker. I’ve been using them for various tasks such as straining yogurt into cheese, putting in the bottom of a potted plant to keep the dirt from leaking out, etc. LOL ~TMR~

      Reply
      1. ColleenB.

        The filters are also great for cleaning mirrors and windows, or even eye glasses. Cleaning TV screens and com0puter monitors.Putting between your good china dishes to keep from chipping. Put under bacon, fries, fried chicken etc. to soak up excess grease; cheaper than using paper towels.
        Also good for using as ‘snack’ bowls like for party mix, popcorn etc.
        I could go on and on but won’t bore you. Let’s just say; I go through A lot of coffee filters for one thing or another.

        Reply

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