The Bloom

What is fresh coffee?

During roasting, volatile oils are released from the coffee bean, giving rise to the bean’s distinct aroma and natural flavors. As coffee is roasted more and more darkly, those oils release to the outside of the bean, giving it an oily sheen. The oils oxidize as they interact with atmospheric oxygen and steadily degrade, leaving stale, tasteless coffee behind with no aroma.

Oxygen is not a friend to your coffee! That is why our 12 oz. coffee bags come with a one-way valve built-in. This valve allows you to evacuate the air remaining inside the bag after closing, keeping your coffee fresher, longer. We also recommend keeping your coffee beans whole until you are ready to brew. Whole bean coffee will stay fresh for 3 to 4 weeks after roasting. Ground coffee will only remain fresh for around one week. Espresso-fine grounds will stay fresh for only a few minutes – less than one minute for the most flavorful shots. Our personal philosophy is to buy only enough coffee to last about two weeks. This reduces waste and ensures our consumers receive fresh product. Our roasted-to-order method delivers a higher quality product than any supermarket First-In/First-Out system can match.

How will you know the coffee you are making is fresh?

The Bloom (or lack of) will tell.

When fresh coffee meets water around 200°F a beautiful bit of chemistry begins. Gases produced inside the bean during roasting are released and become trapped in the solution of ground coffee and water. At the same time, a layer of coffee grounds form as they float on top of the water. As the gasses move through that layer it swells, cracks, and grows. A strong bloom lets you know your coffee is fresh and flavorful.

Often the bloom is observed during an initial wetting of the ground coffee (a technique to be discussed another time) early in the extraction. Manual techniques, such as the pour-over method, are most accommodating to the bloom. Automatic processes, such as drip-machines, can require extra attention when brewing fresh coffee. When the extraction process begins, the bloom increases the volume of the grounds and water to the point that some machines will overflow if the user is unfamiliar with the capacity of the filter basket. This is a problem typically encountered by brewers when they begin using fresh product. Store-bought coffee is often too stale to produce a bloom; so many seasoned coffee drinkers are unaccustomed to this fragrant phenomenon.

If your coffee does not bloom, the magic is gone, never to return. We only roast coffee when we receive an order or prepare for an event. There is no Strongbrew inventory hanging around a warehouse growing old, waiting to be sold. Fresh coffee is the only kind worth drinking, so it’s all we’re going to sell!

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