Showing posts with label coffee bloom test. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee bloom test. Show all posts

Friday, May 14, 2010

Is Your Coffee Fresh? The Coffee Bloom Test by Cleo Coyle

So there you are, sitting at your restaurant table. You've had a delightful meal. The ingredients in your entrée were fresh, the flowers on your table are fresh (the waiter might even be fresh), but what about the coffee he brings you?


You walk into a take-out place and the counter person hands you a paper cup of joe. Was the coffee made fresh? Or has it been sitting around since the Carter Administration?

Let me be clear about this: As a paying customer, you deserve a fresh cup of coffee -- every time. You can certainly tell if coffee is stale by sipping it, but if you want to spare your taste buds the pain of stale brew, here's a visual way of telling...

Cleo Coyle's
Coffee Bloom Test

When coffee is fresh, cream or milk poured into the cup will "bloom" to the top very quickly and remain at the top of the cup without dissipating much. A small amount of cream or milk will turn the coffee a palatable shade of nut brown.

Click the arrow below to watch half-and-half ("half cream")
added to a cup of fresh drip-brewed coffee.

Watch for the very fast "bloom" of the cream.

As coffee ages, oils in the beverage float to the top. These oils create a filmy barrier, so when you pour in the cream, the bloom is no longer instant. It will take silightly longer to surface, and when that cream rises to the top of your cup, the oily film will break up the pretty bloom, pushing it back down and dissipating it into murky swirls in the process.

In addtion, the same amount of cream that you used in a fresh cup will not lighten the beverage to the same palatable shade. (You'll find yourself pouring more and more milk or cream into the cup just to get it to same shade of lightness that you're used to getting in a fresh cup.)


Click the arrow below to watch half-and-half ("half cream")
added to a cup of drip-brewed coffee that's been on the burner
for 30 minutes.
Note the bloom takes longer to reach the top
and the oils on the top surface break up the bloom,
pusing it back down and making the mixture murkier...

If a restaurant, café, or fast food chain serves you a cup of coffee
that is not fresh, hand it back and politely ask for a freshly made cup.
Just tell them Cleo told you to do it :-)

A good bartender shouldn't be handing you a flat beer, right?
And a self-respecting chef wouldn't serve you a salad with rotting tomatoes.
Fresh coffee is your right as a consumer.
And anyone in the food service business would and should agree.

Click below to see a faster replay.
Fresh vs. 30 Minutes Old

Now let's look at
the freeze frames...

To the left is fresh coffee, ten seconds after cream has been poured in.

To the right is old coffee, ten seconds after cream has been added.

As you can see, the oils in the coffee to the right have created a filmy barrier, which is fighting the cream's ability to lighten the top surface of the coffee. A good barista or restaurateur would never want you to be served coffee like this. Politely ask for a fresh cup and...

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.