What is a Ristretto Shot?

Espresso remains the engine of most coffee drinks, even at your favorite Starbucks coffee shop. By adjusting the number of ristretto shots in your coffee, or choosing the decaf option, you can always find the best rhythm and taste. It all starts with an understanding of the difference between the traditional espresso shot and a ristretto shot.

Ristretto means “restricted” in Italian. In the context of coffee, a ristretto shot refers to a short (restricted) shot of espresso, meaning the barista pulls only the first portion of a full-length espresso shot. It implies that the barista only brews and pulls the initial portion of the full-length espresso shot. This results in a more concentrated coffee serving with a richer and sweeter flavor. Coffee lovers should try this exquisite type of drink.

What Differentiates a Ristretto Shot From a Regular Espresso Shot?

difference between ristretto and regular espresso shots

The main difference between ristretto and regular espresso shots is the amount of coffee grounds used and the extraction time. A ristretto shot contains only half the amount of water and coffee grounds that are found in a regular espresso. In other words, it has less water with more concentrated coffee. This results in a ristretto shot that is noticeably sweeter and richer than espresso making it the ideal choice for people sensitive to caffeine effects.

Pro tip

Making ristretto shots requires skill because it’s very easy to over-extract the shot. The extraction time should be shorter than a regular espresso shot. Ideally, ristretto shots should come out in 15 to 20 seconds while an espresso shot should take between 25 and 30 seconds.

If you are looking for a ristretto experience that is intense and flavorful, go for the ristretto shot!

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