Knowing how to bloom your coffee is the next step to taking your morning cup o’ joe to the next level, in terms of its flavor and texture. Blooming coffee is one step that no aficionado will ever skip given how easy it is to do, and the benefits it results in.
It does not matter what method you use to make your coffee. Whether it’s pour-over, French press, or automatic drips, blooming your coffee will enhance the flavor of the beans and give you a more satisfying cup to enjoy. But how does one do this ‘blooming’? All you have to do is add hot water to your beans after grinding. On the face of it, this seems like it’s as easy as they come. However, getting your bloom right can depend on several factors that can have varying effects on the taste of your coffee. Thankfully, we’ll go over everything you need to know about coffee bloom in this article. From the science behind the process, to how to prepare bloomed coffee, and why anyone should bother with this, we have it all covered below.
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So, How Can I Bloom My Coffee?
The entire process of preparing coffee depends on the interplay of one key element during roasting, grinding, brewing, etc. This element is carbon dioxide (CO2), and it is important to understand its role in the preparation of coffee better before learning to bloom coffee. Each coffee bean has a certain amount of carbon dioxide stored within it. This gas starts permeating through the beans once they are roasted, and this process, called degassing, continues for fairly long over time. The more the bean is roasted, the more carbon dioxide is emitted from the beans.
The Role of Carbon Dioxide
CO2 can be both a bane and a boon, depending on the scenario. It keeps coffee fresh and preserves the natural flavors of the beans. However, they have a sour taste, and they prevent water from extracting the bean sugars effectively while brewing. One needs to make sure that carbon dioxide is released just prior to brewing and drinking your coffee. This is where blooming comes in.
Blooming Your Coffee the Right Way
Coffee can be bloomed regardless of what method you use to prepare your coffee. If you’re using a pour-over vessel with a conical filter, be careful to not grind the coffee too finely, or too delicately. This is important to how much carbon dioxide is released by the process.
The former will cause the gas to escape at a quicker rate, and the CO2 may take the coffee’s flavors with it. The latter results in less water being able to permeate the beans to bring out its sugars. However, if you grind them just fine, that allows enough gas to escape for water to be able to penetrate the coffee beans. Remember, CO2 repels water! That becomes important in this step. Do also make sure that the coffee grinds are uniform.
Before pouring the water on your beans, make sure that it’s at the right temperature. This can have a significant difference in the taste of your coffee. The ideal range is somewhere between 195-206º Fahrenheit, or 90-96º Celsius.
Bloom the Right Way
To enhance the filtration process, rinse your filter with warm water beforehand to eliminate the taste of paper. To do this, simply place the filter as you normally would and pour small amounts of water spiraling outwards from the base of the cone to wet the filter thoroughly. Ensure you have enough water for the blooming process as well. Get double the weight of water compared to that of the coffee. So if you have 20 grams of coffee, have 40 grams of warm water to go with it. However, estimates can vary widely, with some recommendations suggesting using up to 18 grams of water for every gram of coffee. You can try out various combinations to see which fits your palate best.
Final Steps to Blooming
Once you’ve poured the ground coffee beans over the filter, pour about half of your water initially and watch as the carbon dioxide rushes to the surface. This gives rise to what is called ‘blooming’ in coffee lingo. Wait for around half a minute before pouring the rest of your water. You’ll be able to observe the grounds expanding as they come in contact with the hot water.
Some coffeemakers stir the coffee and water mixture, which is another thing for you to try out while making coffee. But you can skip this step and enjoy your bloomed coffee once it’s done brewing. In case you find that your coffee hasn’t bloomed, this could be an indicator that your beans had gone stale, so be sure that they’re fresh before roasting.
But What If I Don’t Pour-Over My Coffee?
Don’t worry, we’re not going to leave that out. If you’re using a French Press, simply remove the plunger once you’ve used it to grind your coffee. Add the warm water to the base holding the coffee/other ingredients, and stir for a few seconds. As with the pour-over, wait for around half a minute, and your bloomed coffee should be good to go. The same procedure also applies to the AeroPress.
For Automatic Drip Coffee Makers, add just enough water to soak the beans. Let it rest for around 90 seconds and let the machine do its work. Some have claimed that blooming coffee in this way does not provide the same flavor as other methods, but you might disagree, and there is only one way to find out.
If you were to give a blind tester two cups of coffee, one bloomed, and another un-bloomed, there is a good chance that they will be able to tell the difference. This is because bloomed coffee is richer, and extracts more of the flavors present in the beans. This noticeable difference is marked, but those who prefer a flatter, stronger roasted coffee might not care for this extra step as much. However, if you really want to appreciate the unique processes that led to making the coffee in your hands, blooming them is the best way to do it.
The procedure is relatively simple, and with a little practice, you will have improved your daily coffee forever! So grab your gooseneck kettle, and start practicing!