The Bloom

So. Lately I’ve been doing something wrong, and I haven’t really told anybody but its about time I fessed up because I’d like to hear what you all think. It’s about the bloom, or indeed, the lack thereof.

Recently I decided to prioritise temperature stability and do away with the blooming stage of my filter brewing. The reason was that I felt I could de-gas the coffee sufficiently by stirring a few times at the start and avoid the inevitable temperature loss associated with leaving the coffee to a 30second bloom.

My routine now consists of; Wet grounds slowly, stir after 80g of water has been added, leave the Uber to drip at the same slow rate over 2mins 30 seconds, stir once more towards the end and serve (30g/500g/3min/1.3%/19%)

The (brewing) temperature would therefore be more stable and I could also deliver the drink in a more timely manner. The results have been staggering insofar as they are exactly the same.

All my brews are as consistent (if slightly more so) than they were before and the taste results have always been good enough to serve. I can’t say for sure that its any better than when I did bloom but it definitely isn’t any worse and it certainly is less faffy.

I’m well aware that there is more than one way to brew a tasty cup and you probably need a new method like a hole in the head, but I would like to know if there is any reason why I should start to bloom again?

Col

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15 thoughts on “The Bloom

  1. Nathanael May says:

    I’m going to run some experiments with this idea this afternoon – I’m all about trying something different/new/old!

  2. Karl says:

    Fascinating once again, Colin.

    Given you have not yet recognised a significant change in quality, might I suggest that your ‘bloom’ may now only serve as a tangible / visual marker of freshness / quality. However, this marker is probably less relevant in a retail environment (with consistently fresh coffee at hand) and more practical for the uber-less home brewer.

    Nonetheless, seconds saved in a retail setting = €’s and I’m all for that.

  3. Simon says:

    As a matter of interest, do you get these results with every bean? I’ve been a fan of the no-faff, slow steady circular pour and finer grind for most (Machacamarca, Finca Loayza, Badger Yirg), but some noticably improved with a coarser grind, a damp, a faff and a stir (Cherry Red Yirg, Esmerelda).

  4. Anthony says:

    Have you measured the differences in temperature throughout your brews (old way vs. new way?).

  5. Dont bloom!

    If your happy with your method forge ahead look forward to tasting one day

  6. Tumi Ferrer says:

    Good post Colin, and about time!

    There isn’t a doubt in my mind that the bloom is only one of many approaches to de-gas the coffee and as long as there is a logical thought behind every step of the method, you’re pretty safe. What I think is interesting though is the fact that you put so much emphasis on temp stability (are you thinking about stable temp of the water or the coffee bed?) when “stirring” can be interpreted variously: back and forth? small circles? And how do you define “slow rate” on the Uber? According to the post It’d be around 170 grams per minute. How about the time it takes the water to go through the coffee after you’ve finished pouring?

    In order for a method to gain repeatability, all the parameters need to be defined more accurately (like weighing the coffee in the portafilter and then again in the cup); the end result simply isnt enough to prove that a method is working if the method isn’t transparent.

    I’m no scientist though; I just know how easy it is to misinterpret words. You certainly made me think again about the importance of blooming; I’m going to try this next time I’m brewing :D

    – Tumi

  7. Jesse says:

    I’d like to see MoJo data between bloomed/non-bloomed. Generally, it helps promote extraction. The same time of extraction garnered by stirring. Might even itself out, though I don’t like introducing manual agitation as it’s harder to repeat.

  8. Collin says:

    I’ve yet to try this, but I was talking to my brother last week on the phone and he was doing the same thing with a very slow pour yielding a much rounder cup that with a bloom, unfortunately no hard numbers but interesting nonetheless.
    Funny how things like the bloom are such sacred cows that we all feel trepidation in voicing concerns!

  9. Branden says:

    Just tried this and was blown away! Honestly, it was the first “good” cup I’ve brewed since I started pourovers a few months ago. Mine finished in 2:30, so maybe I’ll grind a bit finer next time, but the sweetness was there and it didn’t taste over or under extracted like previous attempts with the bloom. Thanks for the post!

  10. Chris Tellez says:

    We are doing the same thing here with our pour overs. Less water though. Only around 30g for a 25g dry coffee input. We found this reduces sediment in the cup, as we are using the Kone, more sediment comes through. Fun how people can reach the same conclusions at the same time and not even know it.

  11. Branden says:

    Chris- did you mean 300g?

  12. paul says:

    I’m mad into french press, have tried it both with a blooming and no bloom at all. Tastewise the no bloom was consistently less bitter, but only slighlty …….Don’t intend to use blooming stage again, is there really a need to degas a properly rested coffee?
    Filling a french press with 50mls or filling it with 330mls, won’t it degas anyway no matter the volume of water added??

    No matter what, french press rocks!

  13. John says:

    Out of curiosity did you end up with about 440g of coffee in the end?

  14. pandakawe says:

    In my opinion blooming is very important during brewing very fresh coffee especially when we grind finer than chemex. Foam which appears on coffee bed after pouring first 30-50 ml cant be beat by stiring it needs to disapear naturaly, because in secound stage coffee will still digasing but much less intense.Foam will stop the bubbles from coming out of the coffee. Blooming from my resarch leeds to better balance and much more body in the brew.

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