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The Science Behind the Coffee Bloom


Few foods or drinks are more popular or more hip than coffee. Even though coffee has been immensely popular for a very long time, it has experienced a mega revival of sorts in the last decade, as new passion and techniques for brewing coffee have rapidly grown, giving rise to tens of thousands of new coffee shops, and a boom in popularity among younger generations. Gone are the days of simple coffee machines and Bialettis as staples: now french presses, pour-over cups, and upper-echelon coffee makers adorn most people's homes.

The most important revelation during this time has been that of the coffee "bloom," which has become an extremely popular part of a perfect cup, whether it's at a coffee shop, or your own home. But what is the bloom, and what's the proper technique? Why bloom? Here are the answers to those questions, so that you can better understand how to transform your good at-home brew into a great-tasting cup of coffee.

What is the bloom?

During the coffee roasting process, beans collect a large amount of CO2. When the beans meet hot water, they expel the gas so that they can absorb the liquid. The expelled gasses can be released so quickly that they create resistance against the water, which creates an effect where your coffee mixture expands briefly, like a balloon with air being breathed into it, or like a flower blooming. This only happens when the coffee beans are introduced to a minimal amount of water; if you pour a large amount of water in all at once, the weight of the water overpowers the CO2, and keeps a large amount of it from emerging.

Why bloom?

Though blooming doesn't sound intuitive, the reasoning behind it is extremely simple. The flavor of coffee is stored in the beans. The more CO2 that is in the beans, the less water that can permeate the beans. The less water that permeates the beans, the weaker (and more one-dimensional) the flavor of your coffee. By blooming, you allow the gas to be released so that the beans can absorb the water fully; this allows the water to extract as much flavor as possible out of the bean, giving your cup not only a stronger taste, but a greater depth of flavor.

How do you bloom?

The process is remarkably easy. You simply want to introduce a small amount of water to the beans before brewing. Use hot, but not boiling water for this process, and pour in a circular motion so as to cover the maximum amount of surface area. For pour-overs, coffee pots, or french presses, simply pour a small amount of water into your beans, and let it sit for 15-90 seconds (depending on how many cups you're making). You'll see it bloom, and eventually rest, then you can continue with your normal brewing process.

What impacts a bloom?

Not all coffees will bloom the same, regardless of your technique. The quality of the beans has an impact on the CO2 level, which is part of why it's so important to use gourmet coffee blends and single origin coffee beans. Also, preground coffee has a hard time blooming, as once the bean is ruptured it naturally degases (while the purpose of blooming is to replace CO2 with water, you want to the CO2 to remain in the bean until the brewing process).

Blooming your coffee will immediately make it far less bitter, as the bitter notes come out when water simply brushes by the beans, instead of soaking through them. For the ultimate cup of coffee, try blooming: it's easy, scientifically fun, and delicious.

No matter what your brew technique of preference may be, the overall quality and taste of your coffee depends on choosing the right gourmet coffee blends and beans. Shop the best selection around by getting all your single origin coffees and gourmet blends from Fortunes Gourmet Coffee. Through hours of sampling, roasting and taste testing, the team at Fortunes Gourmet Coffee provides their loyal customers with the best selection of single origin coffee beans and gourmet blends around. Taste the difference with every sip and shop at Fortunes Gourmet Coffee today!

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