Light roasted espresso confusion: turbo shots, fine grind, extraction pressure

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by chef_de_partie »

Hey all,

I'm just getting into exploring very fruit/citrus-forward SO espressos, and I've seen two different recommendations to chasing that fruity acidity:
1) traditionally, people here recommend grinding finer, using a longer ratio, and brewing hotter
2) some roasters (including Onyx) have recommended espresso recipes of ~1:2.5 pulling in 22-24 seconds (which lends itself to coarser grinds, higher flow, and lower pressures)

In my personal experience, I've found that there are some light roasted SO espresso shots I liked the best at 1:3 in ~20s

My main question is what is the difference between these two types of approaches?
I understand the "traditional" turbo shot can also yield high extraction, so are these just two different ways of reaching high extraction? Is this just because lower pressures reduce uneven extraction? Why are longer ratios typically recommended when fruit flavors are extracted earlier?

Sorry if any of this is confusing, I feel like my brain hurts from trying to think about all the variables that go into espresso flavor :?

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#2: Post by Jake_G »

Hey Kevin,

Welcome to HB!

The short answer is "Do what you like."

The long answer is "It depends."

But basically there are lots and lots of ways to explore the extraction space. Finer grinds require better puck prep and/or other means to prevent channeling (puck filters, CNC baskets, long preinfusion, etc...) and turbo shots achieve high extraction by flooding the puck with fresh solvent. Both approaches work.

I personally prefer tighter shots than Turbos really allow, so I tend to do a tight ratio between 1:1 and 1:2 in 30-60s and manage acidity with brew temperature. Brew time, ratio and temperature really interact in a way that needs to be fine tuned for each coffee to give me what I want, but in general, I'm able to get delicious thick shots that are sweet and tart and very high TDS with a heavy mouthfeel and lingering finish. If temperature brings bitterness before the acidity mellows out, I will grind finer and let the shot run longer.

The important thing to me is that I play around and enjoy pretty much every shot I pull, even if i make changes to subsequent shots based on sensory feedback. To me, the joy is in the journey and I appreciate the variety.

Some folks just want the same thing every time, and for that... I cant help you :P


- Jake
LMWDP #704

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#3: Post by mrgnomer »

I agree it's a matter of preference.

Some light roasts I've tried are hard not to turbo with grinds coarser than ristretto fine. Maybe it's my grinder but grinding fine enough for a 1:1 gets a thin flow that tastes more concentrated but doesn't have much more crema than a faster flow. The faster flows tend to capture more fruit acidity and stretch the SO character out. Grinding for 1:3 extractions with a light touch on first crack roast tend to give me a fast turbo type flow that with a dark classic roast would make me think there's some channeling going on. The puck doesn't show channeling, though, and while the extraction tends to look muddy the flavour is really good if you like acidic and fruity.
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professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love


#4: Post by lessthanjoey »

I far prefer turbo shots (with my P100). They're repeatable, forgiving, and very high flavor clarity. The tradeoff is that they're lower body.

I find the traditional way leads to less clarity, they're more muted, but they can be thicker particularly if used with long contact time at low ratios.

Basically experiment, figure out what you like, and do that. There are no dogmatic rules, and many people (including myself) enjoy very non-traditional espresso shots.

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#5: Post by Jake_G »

I completely agree with Joe.

I just prefer body over clarity :P
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#6: Post by kinum47 »

Light roasts are very dense, harder to extract. Water is a solvent, using a higher ratio helps extract more. Using a low ratio with a light roast is more likely to give a sour result.


#7: Post by erik82 »

And don't forget that everyone recommending it here has a 98mm burr grinder which is what you need for turbo shots to work well. With normal grinders like yours it's a different game.


#8: Post by zefkir replying to erik82 »

I've pulled outstanding turboshots (Pullman baskets, paper filtered) with both a Kingrinder K6 ($99 conical handgrinder) and a P100. Both very aromatic, very sweet and balanced, with the K6 surprisingly slightly pulling ahead in texture and the P100 in clarity.

The P100 does push a fair ahead in terms of extraction numbers, but even a K6 does 23.5% EY with little effort thanks to the ratio and the added edge extraction granted by paper filters. And as I've said before, the shots taste fantastic.


#9: Post by erik82 »

Ofcourse that it can be done but the whole idea behind it is that it's done with high extraction grinders. It can also work with "lesser" grinders but we do need to give TS all of the information he needs to get the total picture.


#10: Post by zefkir replying to erik82 »

I don't mean it "can work with lesser grinder", I mean it also works fantastically well with lower gear.