GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator Review: Brewing + More

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Rating and Summary

The GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Coffee Percolator was a disappointment. It’s not user-friendly at all, and there was pretty heavy rusting and chipping after some light usage.

Perhaps I just got a lemon, but based on all my testing, I won’t be able to recommend this coffee percolator.

Brewing coffee outdoors in the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator.
Brewing coffee outdoors in the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator.
7.5
Brew Time
7
Capacity
6.5
Ease of Use
9
Clean Up
5.5
Quality
Overall Score 6.7 / 10
Pros: Lifetime warranty from GSI Outdoors
Cons: Boils over easily, not user-friendly at all, rusting and chipping
Price: I paid US$25 for this GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator.

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Product Details

Here’s what we’ll discuss here:

  • Unboxing
  • In the Box
  • Price
  • Specifications
  • Instructions
  • How to Use

Unboxing

My GSI Outdoors Enamelware Percolator came in a nice Amazon box with a few other items, but the GSI Outdoors packaging itself was not great; it was just some plastic and thin foam. Here’s what it looked like:

Unboxing the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator.
Unboxing the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator.

In the Box + Price

In the box, you get the GSI Enamel coffee pot, a spreader, filter basket, stem, perking knob and some instructions.

I paid about $25 U.S. dollars for it, but for the updated price, you can check out these places: Amazon and REI Co-Op.

Specifications

Here are my personal measurements of the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator.

  • Length from handle to spout, about 8 inches or 20 cm.
  • Diameter of lid, about 4 inches or 10 cm.
  • Diameter of base, 6 inches or 15 cm.
  • Height from base to perking knob, 9 inches or 23 cm.
  • Weight, 587 grams or 20.7 ounces.
  • Made in: Mexico.

Official Instructions

To use the percolator, fill the coffee pot with water, always keeping the water level below the filter basket. For me, the maximum amount of water that I could fill it with was about 40 ounces. The basket sits very low on the stem and goes quite deep into the coffee pot, so that reduces maximum capacity.

The inner percolator of the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator inside the coffee pot.
The inner percolator of the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator inside the coffee pot.

GSI Outdoors then recommends heating at the highest setting, and perking for no more than 3 minutes.

I tried this, but my coffee tasted a bit burnt, and I did not like it.

How I Use It

So, if you’re interested, here’s how I make my own percolator coffee. For me, I use 6 ounces of water for 1 cup of coffee. I grind my medium roast coffee into a coarse grind, I use 10 or 11 grams of grounds for 1 cup of coffee, and I pour it into the filter basket.

Next, I place the stem, filter basket, and spreader into the coffee pot, close the lid, and place the GSI Enamelware Percolator on the stove. My personal preference is to bring the water to a boil on medium heat, and when it starts boiling, you can see the water perking in the transparent PercView knob at the top of the percolator.

Brewing coffee outdoors in the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator on a Coleman Portable Butane Stove.
Brewing coffee outdoors in the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator on a Coleman Portable Butane Stove.

After, I usually lower the heat slightly to medium low heat, and wait about 7 minutes, before turning off the heat entirely.

Then, I let the GSI Enamelware Percolator sit for a few extra minutes to allow the water in the filter basket to drain out and the grounds in the coffee to settle at the bottom, before pouring it out to drink.

Testing and Performance

Here’s how I tested the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Coffee Percolator:

  • Brew Time
  • Capacity
  • Ease of Use
  • Ease of Clean Up
  • Quality

You can also find all the test results in this section.

Brew Time

For brew time, I looked at the time to first perk, which is the amount of time it takes for the water to start boiling.

At a 3-cup capacity, or 18 ounces, it took 4 minutes and 45 seconds for the water to boil.  

At a 5-cup capacity, or 30 ounces, it took about 7 minutes.

And at a 6-cup capacity, or 36 ounces, it took 8 minutes.

Timing how long it takes for water in the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator to boil.
Timing how long it takes for water in the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator to boil.

Bear in mind that these are estimates and can change depending on different factors like the temperature of your water, the surrounding temperature, the amount of heat you use, and stuff like that. I used tap water at room temperature, and brought it to a boil on medium heat.  

After the water started boiling, I let the coffee percolate for about 7 minutes on medium-low heat.

Capacity

This GSI Enamel Percolator is marketed as an 8-cup coffee percolator, but when I filled it with 36 ounces or 6 cups, it started boiling over at about 4 and a half minutes of percolation on medium low heat.

Filling the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator with 36 ounces of water.
Filling the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator with 36 ounces of water.

The GSI Enamel Percolator worked perfectly when I brewed 5 cups of coffee, or 30 ounces. When I brewed 4 cups, or 24 ounces, the coffee did not taste as strong, but it was still not too bad.

When I tried brewing just 3 cups of coffee or 18 ounces, my “brew” looked like tea instead of coffee. This is because there wasn’t enough water to go up the stem and spread over the grounds. My 32 grams of coffee grounds were not fully used.

So, basically, the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator is only good for brewing a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 5 cups of coffee.

When I packed the filter basket to the brim, it could hold 82 grams of coffee, which is more than enough for the maximum of 5 cups of coffee.

Filling the filter basket of the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator to the brim.
Filling the filter basket of the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator to the brim.

If you prefer a bigger percolator, the GSI Enamelware Percolator also comes in a 12-cup capacity.

Ease of Use

The GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator does not have any scale or cup level markings on the inside or outside of the pot. And the worst part about it is that I can’t even use the holes of the spout as a gauge, because when I filled it with water way below the spout holes, it still boiled over.

The GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator boiling over.
The GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator boiling over.

The handle is made of the same material as the pot, so it gets really hot after percolation, and I needed to use a cloth around the handle. I also needed the hold the lid when pouring, because the lid is super loose.

Using a cloth over the handle of the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator.
Using a cloth over the handle of the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator.

It does come with a transparent perking knob though, so you can tell when the water starts boiling, and also the color of your coffee.

The PercView knob of the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator.
The PercView knob of the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator.

The GSI Outdoors Enamelware Percolator also has a wide base so it’s pretty stable on the stove.

And because I used a coarse grind, only a minimal amount of grounds got into my last cup of coffee. If you find grounds in your coffee, you can either wet the filter basket or use coffee filter paper to line the basket.

Clean Up

To clean up, just toss the grounds and run water through all the components of the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator. They can be taken apart easily for a good washing. I found that percolating water is more effective at getting rid of the coffee bean oils.

Quality

The entire GSI Outdoors Enamelware coffee pot, including the handle, is made from heavy-gauge steel with an enamel finish.

The coffee pot and handle of the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator has an enamel finish.
The coffee pot and handle of the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator has an enamel finish.

The stem, filter basket, and spreader are made of aluminum and feel a bit flimsy. The perking knob is made of resin.

The stem, filter basket and spreader (inner percolator) of the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator.
The stem, filter basket and spreader (inner percolator) of the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator.

After some light usage, I noticed rust forming on the rim of the lid, and also on the handle.

Rust forming on the rim of the lid of the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator.
Rust forming on the rim of the lid of the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator.

Out of the box, I also noticed that some enamel had chipped off. This aluminum hinge that connects the lid to the handle is super flimsy, comes off easily, and can be easily bent. It probably won’t last too long.

The aluminum hinge attaching the lid to the handle of the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator is flimsy.
The aluminum hinge attaching the lid to the handle of the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator is flimsy.

It’s also difficult to find a good fit for the knob, no matter how much I try to screw it in. Also, the filter basket and stem don’t sit firmly inside the pot, and it rattles about when I shake it gently.

The overall quality is disappointing, but GSI Outdoors does offer a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Pros and Cons

For pros, you get a lifetime warranty from a trusted brand, which is GSI Outdoors. And I’m sorry but I could not think of anything else that was good about this.

As for cons:

  • The capacity is extremely limited, and I could boil only 4 or 5 cups of coffee, 1 cup being 6 ounces.
  • There are no scale or markings, and it’s not user-friendly at all because I couldn’t even use the spout holes as a gauge, and the handle gets extremely hot.
  • And overall, quality is pretty disappointing with the chipping and the rust.

Recommendation

Would I recommend the GSI Outdoors 8-Cup Enamelware Percolator?

Well, for this percolator, the cons clearly outweigh the pros, so there’s no way that I can recommend this as a good camping percolator, let alone the best one on the market.

I placed the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator on a table outdoors.
I placed the GSI Outdoors Enamelware 8-Cup Percolator on a table outdoors.

It’s not too expensive, but even so I think it’s difficult to justify this purchase.

GSI Outdoors actually has another stovetop camping percolator, made of stainless steel instead of enamel, and you can find the review of this right here.

Or, to find out which camping coffee percolator I actually recommend, you can click here: The 9 Best Camping Percolators: I Bought & Tested Them All (complete with YouTube video).