For some people, fresh coffee may seem like a thing of the past. It’s simple to see why those pod-based coffee makers are so popular: Put a pod in, push a button, and you’re done. It’s simple, fast and convenient. But it does have something missing. That magic that comes with turbo shot as freshly ground coffee, well, it’s gone.

Many of us, on the other hand, favour the opposite end of the effort spectrum: Choose a roaster, select beans, select a brewing technique, select a grind, select a water temperature, select a water-to-bean ratio, select a brewing duration, and; is that all there is to it? With so many variables to consider, getting it right on a continuous basis may be difficult.

Capsule or Specialty Coffee?

For espresso lovers, things may now become much more complicated. It seems like the world is beginning to turn upside down, after a new method of making espresso is taken over the planet. But first, let’s talk about what an espresso really is and where it came from.

The history of espresso coffee

There has been some debate regarding when and where espresso was invented, so we’re here to clear the air. Because coffee was imported to Italy during the Renaissance, it was already well-liked by a large number of Italians.

espresso shot photography

In the early twentieth century, espresso was created in Venice, Italy. Luigi Bezzera, a businessman, devised the drink while experimenting with coffee to see how he could make his brew go quicker.

He ran a manufacturing company in 1903, and it irritated him that brewing a cup of coffee would take so long. After some trial and error, he realized that increasing steam pressure to the machine not only reduced the brewing time but also made it considerably stronger.

The first espresso coffee machine
Photo credits: Bezzera Company

Bezzera promptly dubbed the equipment “Fast Coffee Machine” since the new procedure took out all of the greatest aspects of the coffee beans. The name of the brew comes from the original machine, which was named after the Italian word ‘espresso’, which means ‘rapid’.

Unfortunately for Bezzera, while his invention of the “Fast Coffee Machine” was brilliant and ahead of its time, his marketing skills were not as effective.

In 1905, shortly after his creation, he met Desiderio Pavoni, who bought a portion of the machine’s rights from Bezzera and subsequently patented it. In 1910, Pavoni produced the steam-pressure coffee maker. After that, Pavoni’s name became synonymous with espresso almost immediately.

la pavoni espresso coffee maker
Photo credits: Francesco Ceccarelli

Despite the fact that Bezzera was the original originator of the now-famous brew, it was Pavoni’s marketing acumen that altered the way we consume coffee. You could say that in a sense, he stole his invention. This is what many people think actually.

After Bezzera’s invention, he collaborated with Pavoni to enhance the espresso machine. They constructed the “Ideale” coffee machine after two years, which debuted at the 1906 Milan Fair.

bezzera coffee shop
Photo credits: Bezzera Company

Pavoni gained control of the company after this release and went alone. The machine was later renamed “Espresso” and touted as being capable of producing 1,000 cups of coffee per hour. While the machine worked well, it wasn’t flawless, and rivals saw a chance to enhance it.

first coffee machine
Photo credits: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Collections

Fast forward to 1938, and we can see how the espresso drink that we know and love today came to be. Another brilliant mind was involved in making espresso such a popular drink all around the globe. An inventor named Achille Gaggia invented a mechanism that could boost steam pressure from 1.5-2 atmospheres to 8-10 atmospheres.

Giovanni Achille Gaggia
Photo credits: Comunicaffè

To boost the pressure of the water in the boiler even further, the machine employed a spring-piston lever. The barista would activate the process by pressing down on the spring-piston lever, increasing the force of the water inside the cylinder. The machine would next start pouring espresso, which would be free of the burned, bitter flavour that plagued prior models.

What is espresso?

Espresso isn’t merely a powerful, black cup of fresh coffee. Real espresso, which is essential for preparing Tiramisù, is rich, creamy, and full-bodied, with a taste that is incredibly deep. It all starts with selecting the appropriate coffee beans and roasting them properly.

espresso coffee knowledge

But from what type of bean is it made? Espresso is often produced with a carefully chosen blend of arabica coffee beans from various areas (arabica and robusta are the only two varieties of the coffee bean).

To achieve the correct combination of acidity and bitterness, the beans are roasted in machines that heat them to increasingly higher temperatures (typically no more than 450oF). Many people believe that true espresso roast is harsh and darkly roasted. On the coffee roasting spectrum, it barely rates medium to dark—French roasts are substantially darker.

While choosing the proper coffee is essential, choosing the appropriate grind and brewing procedure is equally crucial. You can’t skip those if you’re looking for the perfect taste. Espresso is usually manufactured with a machine that warms the water to a particular temperature and presses it through the beans, which are finely crushed and tamped to prevent water from going too rapidly through them. From start to end, the entire operation takes approximately 25 to 30 seconds.

espresso machine process

Now how is that different from the turbo shot? Let’s talk about the recipe a bit.

It is a twist on the classic shot. It’s the same size as the original but brewed differently. You’ll see how in a minute.

The turbo shot is designed to be a more efficient and consistent way of obtaining a tasty espresso. Basically, you won’t have to deal with different intensities or different flavours.

An extremely fine grind, 9 bars of pressure, and a thick, slow-flowing espresso are all required for traditional espresso. When this method succeeds, not only does it taste fantastic, but it also looks amazing. Traditional espresso is fussy; if done incorrectly, you risk an uneven extraction.

espresso shots

They discovered that coarser grinds, lower pressure, and a slightly longer ratio would result in a better extraction yield using mathematical models and experimentation. It appears to be paradoxical at first, but after you think about it, it makes complete sense.

coarse grind coffee

If you achieve a 25% extraction yield with a 16-gram dosage, the strength (TDS) is the same as if you get a 20% yield with a 20-gram dose.

Turbo shot recipe

turbo shot recipe

  1. Make the grind rougher.
  2. Reduce your dosages from 20gr to 15gr.
  3. Reduce the pressure to 6 bars, which will help you maintain consistency.

In 15 seconds, you may lose 40 grams.

In comparison to ordinary shots, turbo shots have less texture in the cup. They have greater sweetness and clarity, on the other hand. They’re also more constant, which will aid in cost-cutting in the workplace.

espresso cup

But what about this new, groundbreaking study?

According to the data collected, the traditional process for manufacturing espresso is problematically inconsistent, and some of the aforementioned elements should be reviewed from the ground up. It seems like there’s not a very high chance to get the same result every single time. Well, it wasn’t a high chance, until now. Stick with us and we’ll tell you all about it.

Turbo shot discovery

A global team of researchers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and Switzerland concluded in the study called “Systematically Improving Espresso: Insights from Mathematical Modeling and Experiment”, recently published in the journal Matter, that the key to consistent results—with less cost and waste—might be to make espresso with fewer beans and a coarser grind.

Perhaps that doesn’t sound quite right to you but let’s keep reading.

less coffee beans

In a release, co-senior author Christopher Hendon, a computational chemist at the University of Oregon, noted that “Most individuals in the coffee business are utilizing fine-grind settings and quantities of fresh coffee beans to create a blend of bitterness and sour acidity that is unexpected and irreproducible. It may seem odd, but studies and models show that using less coffee and grinding it coarsely might result in efficient, repeatable shots”.

Christopher Hendon's Uni

So a first glance, it seems that mister Hendon has it all figured out.

In essence, the present espresso-making procedure is a gamble. No, you won’t completely pass out because you’ll still get a drinking beverage. However, Hendon emphasized that traditional brewing involves enough inherent unpredictability that the flavour of your shot will not be the same every time.

Fine grinds tend to clump together in the bed, and because water takes the path of least resistance through them, certain grinds extract more efficiently than others. As a result, espresso shots are often an average of considerable variety rather than a unified whole.

fine grind coffee

It’s not simple to achieve consistent outcomes out of millions of fresh coffee grinds. “To accurately solve the physics and transport equations of brewing on a geometry as intricate as a coffee bed, you’d need more computing power than Google has”, co-senior author Jamie M. Foster, a mathematician at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, added in the study’s announcement.

Fortunately for the ten-person research team, they were able to quantitatively examine the brewing process—aided by electrochemistry—and then compare their models to the real outcomes. They discovered the ideal approach to attain that previously elusive consistency after tweaking thousands of shots. “One technique to improve extraction and create repeatability is to grind coarser and use a bit less water, while another is to simply lower the bulk of coffee”, Hendon explained.

Portsmouth, England

What, after all, do a bunch of “mathematicians, physicists, and materials specialists” (as the press release claims) know about good coffee? Hendon said that a few of the group’s members are also coffee specialists, but that’s beside the point. His persuasive argument was: “Let’s start by making the espresso brewing process uniform, and then make taste modifications from there. Baristas are currently metaphorically tossing darts at a shifting board; and even if you enjoy the flavour, there’s no assurance it will be the same next time”. Hendon appeared optimistic that by using his team’s technique, baristas would be able to work their way back to the taste profile they prefer—and then replicate it more frequently.

Making coffee

Charles Babinski, co-founder of the Los Angeles-based coffee firm “Go Get Em Tiger“, didn’t necessarily disagree. He stated the following: “I follow the adage to be sceptical of any coffee scientific paper that makes its way into popular media. I have nothing but admiration and respect for Hendon, and my layman’s assessment of his (clearly technical) research is that it generally confirms my own observations. I’ve seen smaller dosages and coarser grinding produce comparable/better extractions than injections performed according to industry best procedures”.

Babinski, on the other hand, had a bone to pick: “In my experience, the faster shots described by Hendon and co. are simply not as expressive or exemplary as a ‘well-extracted’ long shot”, he explains. “The paper deals with this in considerable detail. I also don’t think anything they mentioned in the research contradicts my present position because the focus is on efficiency and repeatability rather than quality, thus I believe this data might be utilized to advance toward new coffee extraction methods”.

Meanwhile, all of this debate about flavour ignores the study’s other major benefit: Using fewer beans saves money and reduces waste, which improves sustainability. According to the study, a small café might save thousands of dollars, while the whole coffee business in the United States could save $1.1 billion.

Coffee shop in LA

But, in the end, Hendon stated that he agrees that taste is king and that he is not attempting to change that. “We’re explaining the factors that people need to consider if they want to better navigate the parameter space of brewing espresso”, he explained. Unless you enjoy playing craps, of course. As long as you can withstand the lows, the highs may be fantastic.


So is the turbo shot worth it? Well, if you ask us, so many scientists couldn’t have gotten it wrong. Maybe it’s the future, and in no time, people from all around the world will use this method to constantly pull identical espressos every single time.

espresso shots

Our thoughts on the matter? Just try it first, and then make sure to let us know what you think about it in the comment section below.

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