Coffee Blooming

Coffee blooming is a term you've probably heard before, but you may wonder what exactly that means. You've probably even noticed your coffee blooming before but didn't realize what you were looking at.

If you're one who likes to load the coffee maker the night before and wake up to a perfect morning coffee, the process of coffee blooming may be new to you. If, on the other hand, you've been known to experiment with coffee-brewing techniques, you're probably familiar with the procedure of pre-wetting pour-over coffee grinds and allowing them to settle for a few moments before pouring the remaining water. It's crucial for anyone who wants to make a better cup of pour-over coffee.

Coffee Blooming at Sonny's Donuts and Coffee

What does it mean when coffee blooms?

To understand what a coffee bloom is, you first need to understand what happens when a coffee bean is roasted.  Coffee roasting, like any other process that includes browning foods, is a highly complex procedure. The reaction during roasting is a series of chemical events where proteins and sugars react, interact, and reunite to generate a considerable influx of unique flavors and aromas allowing the roasted foods to take on different and progressively delightful qualities.

Newly roasted coffee emits carbon dioxide for roughly two weeks after roasting. This process is called degassing as the carbon dioxide continues to leak from the beans.

The rate at which carbon dioxide is emitted increases dramatically when coffee beans are processed. When you grind and brew a newly roasted ground coffee, the carbon dioxide interacts with the heat from the hot water. Water speeds up the emission of Carbon dioxide, and the gas rising when water initially hits freshly roasted coffee grounds create little bubbles. This is known as "blooming," and it happens during the first stages of brewing. Blooming signals that the coffee is fresh.

Pour Over Coffee Blooming Sonny's Coffee and Donuts

What does a coffee bloom appear like, and what does it tell you about the coffee?

Since only fresh coffee blooms, knowing what a coffee bloom looks like can assist you in determining whether your coffee is fresh or stale. The blooming phase takes place in the first 20-30 seconds that grounds are exposed to boiling water. You will notice a thick coating of light brown foam appear almost instantaneously. You could also see a lot of tiny bubbles that can become up to a half-inch thick at times. These bubbles will combine, growing lesser in number, and ultimately conclude when there are no new bubbles generated.

We Bloom Our Coffee for a Reason.

So, why bloom your coffee? Does it significantly boost the flavor? The answer is yes! Here is why:

  • Carbon dioxide has a sour flavor. While that flavor profile is delightful in a glass of carbonated water, it isn't one we desire in our coffee.
  • Carbon dioxide prevents water from fully interacting with the coffee. The water cannot retrieve all of the wonderful components required for your brew until the gas has dissipated.

As a result, adding a few extra seconds to your brewing time is recommended to allow the gas to escape. With fresh roasted and ground coffee, regardless of your brewing technique, we assure you'll experience a refined taste in your cup if you use an easy coffee blooming approach.

How do you bloom your coffee?

Try stuff out in your own home so you can genuinely see the bloom and know the outcome while brewing coffee. It's not difficult to get your coffee to emit gas:

  • Fill your preferred pour-over coffee machine with freshly ground coffee.
  • Heat twice as much water as you normally would to your desired temperature.
  • Once your water has reached the desired temperature, a portion of the water over the coffee and wait 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the remaining water and brew as usual.
  • When you bloom, a variety of factors influence how much gas is emitted.

Because roasting emits CO2, the darker your roast, the more bubbles you'll observe when you bloom.

Is Blooming required?

You can’t go wrong by adding a bloom to any brewing process because it provides a more even extraction of the coffee flavors when your coffee is fresh.  The staler your coffee is, the less gas it contains, and the less impact blooming will have on the taste. This stands to reason because coffee that hasn't bloomed is most likely old.

Allow your beans to bloom the next occasion you brew freshly roasted coffee at home so you can get all of the coffee's subtle nuances without the sour taste that carbon dioxide causes.

Blooming the coffee before brewing is indeed a great way to improve the flavor, but it's not the end of the world if you miss doing so. You can now include coffee bloom to your list of coffee facts. Sit back and enjoy the science behind your favorite flavors the next time you brew a pour-over coffee.

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