UA Alumnus brings Turbo Coffee to Tuscaloosa

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UA Alumnus brings Turbo Coffee to Tuscaloosa

CW/ Jacob Arthur

CW/ Jacob Arthur

CW/ Jacob Arthur

CW/ Jacob Arthur

Kendal Aldridge, Contributing Writer

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Walking through the doors of Turbo Coffee, customers enter a comfortable, minimalistic space filled with people sitting and sipping coffee.

“Turbo is a good environment to study and get stuff done,” said Jazzy Cooper, a freshman majoring in marketing and advertising. “I usually go to the coffee shop at Church of the Highlands, but I’ve started coming to Turbo because it has a whole different feel.”

Cooper describes the atmosphere of Turbo as comfortable and safe. With its dim lighting and variety of seating, Turbo creates a relaxing environment conducive for studying and visiting with friends.

“I am from Florence where the first location is, and when I heard they were coming to Tuscaloosa I was really excited,” said Madison Tidwell, a junior majoring in public relations.

Turbo Coffee was started in Florence, Alabama by UA Alumnus Reese Shirey. Shirey was an entrepreneurship major through New College.

“I went to school here from 2009-2013,” said Shirey. “During that time I tinkered with the ideas of ice cream or coffee.”

Shirey pursued his idea of a coffee business and started Turbo Coffee in Florence alongside his brother’s business, the Greasy Hands Barber Shop. In both locations, the barbershop is attached to the coffee shop storefront.   

“We opened one here because we wanted to come back and be a part of the community,” Shirey said.

According to Tidwell, the main difference between the Florence location and Tuscaloosa location is the size. The one in Tuscaloosa is bigger and has more room for studying.

“I like coming here to study because I feel comfortable and safe and everyone is focused,” Cooper said.

Located off of 8th Street, Turbo sits in the midst of the hot spot for coffee shops in downtown Tuscaloosa. Close by Turbo are places like Monarch Espresso Bar, O’Henry’s, Five Java and Heritage House.

“Tuscaloosa does not have enough coffee shops,” Shirey said. “I worked in Auburn a year after I graduated and they have half the number of students, yet they have 5 coffee shops downtown. Tuscaloosa could use about 4 more coffee shops.”

Turbo’s menu is what makes it different than other shops in the area. In addition to selling coffee, Turbo offers healthy food options ranging from acai bowls to avocado toast. It also offers a variety of superfood smoothies.

In the near future, Turbo plans to begin roasting its coffee on site. It currently only roasts at its Florence location.

Turbo Coffee is open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday. Turbo is not open on Sunday.