You can find a lot of know-it-all coffee experts who can’t explain what is coffee bloom, because they don’t understand it either. But it’s not as complicated as you think either.
Today, let’s talk about coffee blooming. After you read through, make sure to show off your newfound coffee knowledge in front of your avid coffee drinker friends.
Coffee blooming is the process of gasses being released from the coffee particles. This process occurs when hot water comes in contact with coffee grounds.
When soaked and dampened in hot water, the coffee grounds release carbon dioxide, which causes bubbles in the water. Dampening the coffee grounds in warm water provokes coffee blooming.
Coffee blooming doesn’t only occur when in contact with hot water. Roasting the coffee beans can also cause the coffee to bloom.
Beans continue to release natural gasses, and this process is also known as “degassing.” This process can take place over the next 14 days since the beans are roasted. But this process is relatively slow, as you can tell from a long time.
When you add hot water to coffee grinds, this process gets sped up, and your coffee grounds can bloom in as little time as 30 seconds. The blooming process begins when the first water drop hits the ground coffee beans.
When the CO2 is escaping the water at a faster pace, it tries to push the water away, which causes bubbles. This process is also known as turbulence.
If you bloom the coffee beforehand, the water inside the brewer has more time and opportunity to stay in contact with the coffee beans to ensure the highest rate of coffee extraction.
This technique can apply to any standard coffee brewing method.
Start pouring water slowly at the center of your coffee bed, and slowly work to the sides. The amount of water you pour in should be double the coffee grounds you used for the coffee bed.
Once the water is poured, wait till 30 seconds for the coffee to “bloom” entirely and release all the trapped CO2. Make sure that the coffee grounds are soaked but not dripping wet cause then it’ll start brewing coffee instead of blooming.
There are certain times when you won’t see any release of carbon dioxide in your coffee. This can happen due to several reasons.
- The coffee is already degassed
- The roasted coffee isn’t as fresh as you think
- The coffee bag wasn’t sealed the right way, which caused the beans to oxidize
- In case the beans are pre-roasted, the beans might have been over-roasted
Blooming takes a lot of experimenting with different roasts and techniques, just like everything else related to coffee brewing.
Carbon dioxide acts as a preservative to preserve the coffee beans’ natural flavor profile and offer you a fresh cup of coffee.
While CO2 can save your coffee from spoiling, it can also spoil the brewed coffee if it gets mixed in.
You can understand how fresh your coffee is from the blooming method. A few flavors and aromas are stuck inside the coffee beans that get released during the brewing process.
If you can find your coffee blooming, it means the coffee is still fresh, and all the gasses that give the coffee its unique aroma are still stuck in the beans.
Having fun Nomies? Check out our piece on what is fermented coffee.
Though we’ve already discussed the basic blooming technique, it can differ depending on the brewing methods.
Let’s look at the 5 most used blooming methods for 5 different brewing styles.
For blooming during pour-over methods, pour 40-80 grams of water over the coffee grounds. Remember not to use boiling water, as it can start extraction instead of blooming.
As the usual technique, make sure the grounds are only soaked, not fully wet. Allow the grounds to sit for about a minute to finish blooming to get a fine cup of pour-over coffee.
Take coarse grounds that you need to use in the French press, and soak them in hot water. Once the blooming starts, you can notice the bloom happening since you can see foam on top of the water.
Let the bloom happen for 15-20 seconds, and then stir the coffee grind in a circular motion to make sure it all gets appropriately bloomed. Coarse grounds need a bit more time and effort to bloom properly.
You’ll need to place the coffee grounds in the coffee maker’s basket. After you’ve added in the coffee grounds and pour hot water over to bloom, let the grinds settle by waiting around 45-90 seconds.
Once all the grounds settle down, and the blooming is complete, you can brew coffee as usual.
Though the entire brewing process of cold brew requires soaking fresh coffee grounds for hours, coffee grounds used for cold brew still need to be run through the blooming process.
Before putting the coffee grounds in the container for creating a cold brew, run hot water through the coffee grounds for 30-45 seconds. Once the grounds have bloomed properly, pour cold water over the grounds and continue the cold brew process.
Method #5: Manual Espresso Machine
You may find the idea surprising, but a manual Espresso machine can still benefit from the blooming method. Although, of course, it’s not exactly blooming since the main goal here is to soak all the grounds for proper extraction.
When you add water to the grounds in the coffee filter, the coffee swells up and maximizes surface contact with the hot water. Doing so leads to a rich Espresso.
Now, to bloom (or pre-infuse) with a standard lever Espresso machine, lift the lever till it sets into position, and then wait 15 seconds before filling the filter basket with hot water. After 15 seconds, pull the lever back once it has traveled halfway.
Once you’ve done a 15-second pull, lift the lever again and do a complete 30-second pull. This completes the pre-infusion process.
Here, you can learn more about manual espresso machine.
Check our piece on drip coffee maker vs espresso machine.
Blooming with any brewing methods won’t negatively affect the coffee cup, but immersion methods don’t receive any benefits from the blooming process as well as pour-over methods.
Pour-over methods allow you to contact the coffee bean grounds with water for the shortest amount of time. However, if the beans soak in the water for too long, they complete blooming and start extracting.
The only exception to the blooming process is the cold brew. Blooming the ground beans for cold brew gives the final cup a more clarified flavor.
If you’re trying to get the best out of blooming, a gooseneck kettle can help you out.
How to stop blooming
Though blooming can help you get better coffee, premature blooming can ruin the coffee quality. So here are a few tips to ensure that the chances of coffee blooming before you start the brewing are less. Some of you still have questions, right?
As we mentioned earlier, coffee grounds start degassing and blooming as soon as they are roasted and ground, and this process carries on for almost the next two weeks.
The more surface area exposed to oxygen, the faster the degassing process takes place. It’s better to work with coffee that you’ve freshly roasted and ground.
When you’re roasting and grinding your beans yourself, you can make sure you have the most control over blooming.
Package and storage affect how much the beans get exposed to open air. Therefore, the most basic way to maintain the integrity of the coffee is to store it in an airtight container.
Another way is to use a container with a one-way pressure relief valve. Using this valve can help you release the extra air from inside the container while stopping anything from getting into the container itself, making the container a big vacuum.
Notice the amount of temperature of your storage. In higher temperatures, coffee beans start losing more gas, resulting in losing flavors.
Humidity levels of the storage can also affect the pacing of the blooming. For example, the degassing process can speed up when you store beans in a dry container with no humidity.
But higher humidity can cause mold and fungus inside the storage area. So it’s best to research and find a middle ground.
If the coffee beans are roasted too much, the degassing process takes place at a quicker rate. In addition, highly roasted beans grow softer, making it easier for the gasses to pass through the bean layers. A good example is various Italian roasts.
Harder beans trap the gasses inside the layers, which slows down the degassing process. Some coffee regions produce either relatively softer or harder coffee, which creates differences in degassing levels.
Having fun reading? You’ll love to read our piece on what is geisha coffee.
Now that you’re the coffee expert who knows about blooming, time to flex your knowledge. But before flexing over your coffee-lover friends, make sure that you’re blooming coffee the right way, depending on your brewing methods. Remember, the blooming process is the true dictator of coffee freshness in your cup.
Have a happy coffee blooming experience, and enjoy your coffee full of delicious flavor and aroma.
If the coffee hasn’t bloomed before brewing, the extra gasses and organic material stuck in the coffee beans can make your cups of coffee sour or odd. Degassing coffee via the blooming method can resolve this issue.
Carbon Dioxide is used to preserve coffee for a longer time. When the beans lose all the preservative gas, the coffee beans start to go stale.
As soon as coffee beans or grounds come into contact with open air, they start losing gas. But the bloom in coffee brewing happens when you pour hot water over the beans. The heat speeds up the blooming process.
If your coffee isn’t blooming even after following the instructions, it means that your coffee has already been degassed, or your beans aren’t as fresh as you think they are.
Depending on different brewing methods, you need to let the coffee bloom for at least 30 seconds.