Coffee bloom is a term that you may have heard of before but is unsure of what it refers to. I certainly didn’t until I started drinking coffee.
Chances are you’ve previously noticed your coffee growing at times but didn’t realize exactly what you were looking at. Let me help you out.
What is coffee bloom?
Coffee bloom refers to the foam ground coffee generates when it touches boiling water. If you utilize pour-over or French press, then you’ve already seen this.
The same happens while making Turkish coffee, and it’s also part of the reason crema happens on an espresso.
Coffee is always supposed to flourish. So if your ground coffee does not bloom, or delivers a lackluster performance, then it’s a hint it might be stale and produce a weak cup.
Why does coffee bloom?
Coffee blooms because the natural gasses within the beans are easier to release after the roasting process – thus from green coffee to roasted coffee.
Some of them are released when the coffee is ground, but the majority are released when hot water is added to them.
This occurs because the CO2 held within the ground coffee escapes much faster when the beans expand in temperature.
Why does coffee need to bloom before you prepare a cup?
Allow your coffee to bloom before preparing your cup of coffee. Then, once the coffee has developed foam, allow it to settle for about a half minute before continuing to brew.
This is due to the CO2 in the bloom imparting a sour, acidic flavor to your cup of coffee, which no one likes.
As opposed to automatic or semi-automated coffee preparation methods, manual ways of preparing coffee (pour-over, Turkish, French press) are more convenient because you can pause the process at any point during the process.
I’ll explain how to do this in a few paragraphs. Until then, rest assured that not allowing your coffee to bloom will have no negative consequences.
It will still be drinkable, and if you add milk, sugar, and other flavorings to your coffee, you won’t notice the minor acidity.
When using a Moka pot, when you are unable to pause the process and allow the coffee to bloom as it should, this is usually always what happens.
Should you be flowering your coffee or not?
This depends on who you are.
As in, if you normally flavor your coffee with milk and sugar, as I do, you may not mind if the coffee has been allowed to rest after blooming.
But if you drink black coffee and just black coffee, and are a huge admirer of the myriad of flavors Arabica varietals may deliver, then absolutely.
However, you should be blooming your coffee and only brewing when it’s taken its rest. Anyone else might not perceive a clear difference.
How a coffee bloom appears and what it reveals about the coffee
Okay, let’s talk about what a coffee bloom looks like. It will assist you in determining whether your coffee is fresh or stale.
In the circumstances where you forget to let the coffee bloom, it’ll be easy to tell out whether it flowered or not. At least with drip coffee makers.
So once you’ve added the ground coffee to the boiling water, you should notice it rapidly generate a thick coating of foam, a light brown.
Although not as rich and substantial as espresso crema, there are several tiny bubbles. It can grow up to half an inch in thickness at times.
If you’re preparing Turkish coffee, this is what you’ll see, and you’ll also realize it’s coming directly at you. But, first, you’ll need to peel the fabric off the heat.
Back to blossoming, you’ll notice the bubbles combining, becoming fewer in number, and no longer creating new ones. This occurs after the first 20-30 seconds, and it marks the end of the blooming process.
Give it a few more seconds, and it’ll be completely calm. After that, you’ll be able to brew your coffee.
Pre-ground coffee blooms more than freshly ground coffee.
To blossom, the coffee must be fresh, or at least not completely stale. And by fresh, I mean that the natural gasses trapped within the coffee bean must still be present in the ground coffee.
Otherwise, there won’t be anything to bloom.
Roast coffee emits gasses over time, which isn’t good for you. As a result, it affects the taste of your coffee and thus becomes stale.
Incomplete bean form, coffee can stay fresh for a few weeks after roasting (typically 2-3 weeks), but ground coffee is a different story.
By grinding the coffee, you help the beans release a significant amount of their gasses. As a result, the strong fragrance. As a result, buying pre-ground coffee will give you less than fresh brew.
The ideal way to do things is to grind your coffee, with a blade or burr grinder, at home before brewing.
Try making your coffee blossom at home.
To see how the bloom develops and what to expect while brewing coffee, try things out in the comfort of your own home.
To bloom coffee, you’ll need:
- You should use hot water (about 93 C/200 F) so that you do not scorch the coffee with boiling water.
- Try different types of ground coffee, both fresh and stale, to see the difference.
- something to bloom in, such a small pot or saucepan
- Paper or permanent filter
- Use a thermometer to help you through the process of heating your water up to the specified temperature.
If you prefer to take risks, skip the thermometer and instead watch the water as it boils. You’re done when it starts forming bubbles on the side of the pot, tiny air bubbles that don’t rise to the surface. Remove from the heat.
Or, bring it to a boil, turn the heat off, and let it settle for two complete minutes.
Whichever way you take, you should have hot water by now. First, add your ground coffee to an empty saucepan. Then, add a bit of boiling water over the ground coffee.
You’ll notice it frothing up like crazy for about a half minute before subsiding completely after that. Remember that as coffee blooms, it practically triples in size due to the foam, so do this in a saucepan with tall-ish sides.
After the coffee’s flowered, try adding a bit more water. If it generates more foam, it has more gas to release and let it do so. This suggests your coffee was really fresh, or you didn’t put enough water on your initial try.
The plant will be acceptable if it doesn’t bloom on the second try.
However, if it doesn’t bloom at all, or only slightly, it means your coffee has gone stale and you’ll need to make a new batch.
If you own a drip coffee maker/filter
If you wish to do this with a drip filter, you’ll need some more steps. I say this because blossoming in a pot or a French press is easy.
In contrast, a drip filter requires you to be more cautious because it can be readily stopped and seen what you’re doing.
Still, hot water is required; however, it will be added over the coffee grounds that have already been placed in a filter inside the filter basket.
If your filter basket is removable, as mine is, you’ll find it simple to add some water and let the coffee bloom.
When the coffee is finished blooming, you’ll need to gently press on the nub under the filter basket to release the brewed coffee into the pot it’s in.
After that, slip the filter basket back into the coffee maker and proceed with the brewing process as usual.
It is not recommended to drain the brewed coffee via the filter basket in the coffee maker. You run the risk of splattering coffee all over your machine.
Instead, use your fingers to push the coffee pot under the nub, being careful not to cover any of the holes with your fingers while doing so.
Some observations on the process of coffee blooming.
Coffee must be allowed to bloom before it can be brewed properly; otherwise, it will not taste as delicious. Some things to keep in mind, however, include the following:
Flowers have faded from stale beans, which results in a poor cup of coffee. There are a variety of reasons why this might occur.
First and foremost, the amount of time that has elapsed since the beans were roasted or ground can have an impact on the amount of natural gas that has been released by the coffee beans themselves.
The hardness of the bean is regulated by a variety of factors including heat, humidity, air exposure, and other environmental factors.
Keeping coffee beans in heated environments causes more gas to be released.
A humid climate will suck out the gasses much more quickly, and air exposure will cause beans to lose their flavor the fastest. Harder beans, such as Robusta, release gas at the slowest rate, and therefore are the most expensive.
A comprehensive guide to storing coffee and coffee beans is available, and following it will ensure that you always have fresh, blooming coffee.
You’ll notice the remains of bloom if you neglect to bloom the coffee before brewing if you’re using paper filters if you forget to bloom the coffee before brewing.
A scattering of shiny, flat, and big bubbles near the top will characterize the coffee’s appearance. This is most frequently seen in drip filters.
If you’re brewing in a French press or another transparent vessel, you’ll be able to see the progress of your brewing. Natural coffee blooming is a process that espresso machines rely on and work in conjunction with.
In other words, the crema that forms on top of your espresso is the consequence of carbon dioxide being released from the ground coffee.
However, because of the speed with which the hot water is poured onto the coffee, the bloom is forced into the metal filter, where the very, very small holes transform the bloom into a rich, deep foam.
Due to the addition of natural coffee oils and proteins, it retains its shape and lasts for a longer period of time than a standard bloom.
It’s also the reason why the crema tastes so sour if you’ve ever had a chance to sample it alone. So even though I didn’t care for the flavor, I can respect it as a sign that the espresso is good and fresh.
Moka pots, like espresso machines, use the blooming process; however, they do not operate at the same speed as an espresso machine.
This is why, while using a Moka pot to make coffee, you may notice that your coffee has a thin layer of crema on top of it at times.
Despite the fact that the coffee does not have time to settle after blooming, there is nothing wrong with it because the flavor will be different from that of a French press or a pour-over.
Preparing the coffee for brewing by allowing it to bloom is something that will greatly improve the flavor. However, if you happen to forget to do so at any point, it is not the end of the world.
I’ve been drinking this type of coffee from my drip filter for years with no problems. Granted, I do add some milk and sugar to my coffee, which may help to mask any sour flavor that may have crept into my cup.
For those who prefer black coffee, blooming your beans before brewing will make a significant change in the flavor of your cup.