How to Bloom Coffee for a Better Cup of Joe
It’s 6:00 am and you need your morning coffee. You grab the beans, water, and coffee filter for a cup of joe to kick start your day. But wait. Should you bloom the coffee? How does that process work? What does it mean? It seems like a simple question with an easy answer.
And it is not difficult, really. But knowing why coffee blooming helps create a better experience will encourage all of us coffee lovers to take that additional 30 to 45 seconds and let the blooming process occur. Even at 6:00 a.m.
Simply stated, allowing coffee to bloom means that the grounds are pre-wet with a small amount of hot water, then allowed to bloom, or de-gas, before the remaining water is added to the brewing process. It is most often used with the pour over and French press methods of coffee brewing, but can be used for others as well. The blooming process allows the the rich, full flavor of the bean to be experienced. And that’s what we’re looking for as coffee lovers.
So even though the day might be young, it is always worth the time to make coffee in the way that will let the coffee bean shine! Let’s learn more about how to bloom coffee, shall we?
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What does it mean to bloom coffee?
When coffee beans are roasted, the trapped CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas creates a natural protective layer that keeps moisture and other substances from entering. As soon as the whole beans are ground, the protective layer is weakened. At that point, the beans will start to lose their flavor and aroma. It is a slow, natural degassing process that happens over a period of time, and eventually the roasted coffee will become stale.
When you bloom coffee, it releases some of the natural gas that is trapped inside roasted coffee grounds and creates better flavor. The freshest beans will contain more of the CO2, so that is why the flavor is enhanced. Keep in mind that blooming your coffee also helps release the flavor of beans that aren’t as fresh, so if your coffee beans have been sitting on the shelf for more than a couple of weeks, letting those freshly ground beans bloom will still give you a better experience. Just remember that they have been quietly degassing as they sit, so the blooming process will not be very dramatic.
So let’s back up a second and talk about those whole coffee beans. You are grinding fresh coffee beans, right? That, my friend, is the best way to brew your java. Once you experience a cup of coffee brewed with freshly ground beans, you’ll never want to go back to that pouch of pre ground coffee sitting in the pantry.
If grinding your coffee beans is a new consideration, here are a few quick tips:
- Ideally, it is best to grind just the amount of coffee needed for a single brew, as soon as you are ready to make your coffee.
- If you want to grind the coffee beans ahead of time, use a quality burr grinder to grind the whole beans, then pour them into an airtight container away from light or heat (if you have a pantry it’s a good spot for them) for up to two weeks. Doing so should help maintain the best flavor and aroma of the coffee so it will be at its peak flavor when you brew it.
- If you purchase your coffee beans from a local shop, you can also ask the roaster what their guidelines are for storing roasted beans after they have been ground and packaged. They will be able to give instructions on how long coffee should stay fresh in a container so that it is at its best when brewed.
Burr grinders are affordable for most, and are the preferred type of coffee grinder because of the way the blades cut up the whole coffee beans. They result in a more uniform grind and ultimately a better tasting cup of java.
If you’re considering a burr coffee grinder, here are several highly rated, budget friendly options:
What does the coffee blooming process look like?
The blooming of coffee isn’t like fireworks exploding, there is no noise or hoopla involved, so if you’re not paying attention you might not notice what’s happening in that coffee dripper or French press.
But if you are watching, and the coffee is fresh, this is what you’ll see:
- The coffee grounds bubble and expand when they come into contact with hot water
- You’ll see the grounds swirling and steam rising, they puff up as the out-gassing process occurs
- After about 30 seconds the blooming process has taken place, the CO2 has been released
- Continue with the brewing process
What type of coffee is best for blooming?
The bottom line is this, my friend. Whole been coffee that has been freshly ground just prior to brewing is best. So when it comes to how to bloom coffee and love the result, always go for the whole bean!
As far as the actual roast and brand of coffee to use, that is a personal preference, and is not a black and white “use this for the best bloom” response.
Just remember to use fresh, whole bean coffee that has been ground specifically for your particular brewing method, just prior to the actual brew. I prefer a dark roast coffee and have tried a variety of roasts and brands to find my favorites. And, I’m always up for giving a different brand the opportunity to make it to the top of my list!
How to Bloom Coffee
The simple process of blooming coffee during brewing is well worth the short amount of time it takes. If you can pour a small amount of water slowly, wait patiently (hum a tune or count backwards) for about 30 seconds up to 90 seconds, depending on the brewing process, you can learn how to bloom coffee.
How to bloom coffee using the Pour Over Method:
With your freshly ground coffee evenly distributed in the paper filter that is nestled into the coffee dripper, slowly pour a small amount of heated water (it should be heated to a temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit) to completely cover the grounds. An electric gooseneck kettle does a great job!
Wait for the magic to happen. Watch as the grounds bubble and a light foam appears, about 35 seconds or so. Then continue pouring the water over the grounds as usual, in a circular motion, to complete the pour over process.
Here is a simple step-by-step method for brewing coffee with a pour over dripper. You don’t need a scale for this, either.
Blooming coffee with the French Press Method:
Your freshly ground coffee will be in the French press, and you’ll pour just enough of the heated water into the press to cover the coffee grounds.
You’ll see a foam start to form almost immediately, and that is the magic starting to happen!
Wait about 25 seconds, give the grounds a little stir to make sure that all of the grounds have come into contact with the water, then pour in the rest of the heated water and continue on with the brewing of the coffee.
Here is a simple guide to brewing a tasty cup of French Press Coffee:
How to Make French Press Coffee
How to bloom your ground coffee using a drip coffee maker
You can bloom your freshly ground coffee in a drip coffee maker, too. It’s not quite the same as a pour over or French press, but it will give you the opportunity for a better tasting cup of coffee!
Add a small amount of hot water to the grounds that are in the filter, just enough so that they’re covered. Wait about 90 seconds, then continue on with the brewing process.
What happens if coffee is not allowed to bloom?
Well, the coffee bloom police won’t come knocking on your door, thankfully, and if you’ve never taken the time to let your coffee bloom, you might not notice the difference. That’s because you don’t know what you’re missing.
At it’s worst, coffee that is not given the opportunity to bloom may taste more acidic and possibly bitter, because it hasn’t been given the opportunity to let the CO2 gas escape, which is what is needed for your java to taste delicious!
What does it mean to bloom coffee?
When coffee beans are roasted, the trapped CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas creates a natural protective layer that keeps moisture and other substances from entering. When you bloom coffee, it releases some of the natural gas that is trapped inside roasted coffee grounds and creates better flavor.
How long does it take for coffee to bloom?
The time needed for coffee to go through the blooming process can vary depending upon the brewing method, but for most methods it takes about 30 to 40 seconds.
How much water do you use for blooming coffee?
Use just enough heated water to cover the coffee grounds. After the blooming is finished, the remaining water is used to complete the brewing process.
Why is my coffee not blooming?
The two main reasons for a lack of “the bloom” are water that is not heated to the proper temperature for the brewing method, or there is an issue with the ground coffee. If it is pre-ground (freshly ground is best!), or stale, it will affect the bloom.
Candi Randolph is a coffee lover, blogger, and content creator who loves to share her knowledge with the coffee-drinking world. You’ll often find her tending to her coffee bar at home, deciding which method to use to brew her next cup of java. Life is full of important decisions. ☕