Warning: this article is ‘bout to get nerdy.
Have you ever seen the “bloom” when you brew coffee? It is a very good indicator as to whether your coffee is fresh or not.
When coffee is freshly roasted it is constantly giving off the gas CO2, carbon dioxide. This is due to the breaking down of the cell structure in the bean during the roasting process. Because of this degassing of CO2, many coffee companies have to include a small plastic one-way valve in the bag that their coffee is sold in to allow the CO2 to escape and keep oxygen out. Most of these bags are heat sealed and if they did not have this special one-way valve to help release the CO2, the bags will explode. This actually happens. Eventually, after time, the CO2 fully dissipates and degasses from roasted coffee. This is when coffee is no longer considered fresh; it is stale.
What does this information have anything to do with the coffee that you are brewing?
If you can watch coffee as it is being brewed, you will see a dramatic difference between fresh coffee and no-so-fresh coffee. When 200ºF water comes in contact with freshly grounded coffee that has been freshly roasted, CO2 gas is rapidly released out of the grounds causing a “bloom” effect in the wet slurry of the coffee bed; as if it was rising. You will not see this bloom in not-so-fresh coffee you purchase on most the grocery store shelves.
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Know that every time you brew coffee and you see the bloom of the coffee bed, then you are brewing freshly roasted coffee.
It is very important, in order to pull a fully and properly extracted coffee, that you allow the bloom to “breath” for approximately 30 seconds before continuing the brewing process and adding more water to the coffee bed. For those who use a standard automatic coffee dripper, there is not much you can do to tell your machine to wait for 30 seconds. However, if you brew coffee using a French Press or a manual pourover device (such as a Hario V60), you can control your water application and allow the bloom to release CO2.
What is happening with the brewing process while CO2 is being release?
For best coffee extraction, it is important that your water comes if full contact with the coffee ground particles. As the CO2 gases are being released, the gas is pushing away water molecules, making it difficult for the water to adhere and make full contact with the coffee ground particles; in turn, not getting the best coffee extraction, therefore mediocre tasting coffee.
Even if you have a regular automatic drip coffee maker, take a peak at the coffee bed when the water first hits the dry coffee grounds. If you see those grounds froth or bloom, then you know you are brewing freshly roasted coffee.
Every bag that Storibord sends to your door is roasted to order. Each bag is as fresh as you can get it. There is a roast date written on the back of each Storibord coffee bag. This lets you know how fresh your coffee is. Visit the Storibord shop and try some inspiration.