Coffee Science – Blooming Espressos & Maxing Extraction

Blooming espressos are all the rage...

right now thanks to the outspoken coffee consultant Scott Rao and his involvement with the Decent Espresso machine.  Since that machine has near endless controllability (for better or worse)  he's found a way to max out extraction while also incorporating the use of Aeropress filters.  So I decided to swap in my Flair Signature Pro to try my hand at this blooming espresso method.  I'm using the Flair because unlike the Linea Mini I have complete control of the pressure, pre-infusion, and brew time.

After some trial and error I found a method that seemed to work best for maxing out the extraction on the Flair.  Following Scott's brew profile and techniques I completed five (5) separate pulls and tested each one.  I averaged them out and came to a total dissolved solid (TDS) percentage of 8.70.  For a shot using 18 grams of coffee and 54 grams of yield the extraction percentage landed at 26.10% which is pretty high based on the standard within the specialty coffee industry of 20-22%.

So it would appear that blooming espresso really does work, on top of other techniques, to max out your extraction potential.  Yet, the real question is about taste.  In my mind there has to be a point of diminishing returns, where the extraction is so high that things start to taste bad.  The fact is more is not always better.  There are a lot of negative flavors in coffee, and even if you can extract them, should you? It's fun to play with this and experiment, but blooming espressos themselves aren't amazing.  It was surprisingly mild.  There were no flavors of over extraction, which is surprising considering water is in contact with the puck for nearly four minutes.  It's not a pretty shot of espresso either, the crema dissipated to leave a lot of oils on the surface.

That being said, check out the video above and don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more coffee content.

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