What is Ristretto? Ristretto vs Long Shot Key Differences

What is Ristretto?

Ristretto coffee is a type of espresso with a unique flavor that has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Derived from the Italian ristretto, meaning “restricted” or “shortened”, ristretto shots are made by using half the water compared to an ordinary espresso. 

Ristretto coffee is an espresso-style drink that packs a punch. It’s made with the same amount of ground coffee beans as the traditional long shot, but only half the water is used. This reduces the total liquid volume and creates a concentrated cup of caffeine.

Unlike a regular espresso or long shot, ristretto coffee has a full-bodied flavor that’s bold and intense. It’s also less bitter than regular espresso, so it’s great for those who find long shots too acidic or overpowering. Plus, ristretto coffee is much smoother on the palate.

But ristretto isn’t just about flavor; it also packs an extra punch of caffeine. Because ristretto is more concentrated than regular espresso, a single shot contains up to 40% more caffeine. This makes ristretto the perfect choice for those seeking an extra boost of energy in the morning or afternoon.

How to Make Ristretto Coffee at Home

how to make ristretto at home - best recipe

Ristretto Recipe

How to make ristretto Coffee at home
Course Drinks
Cuisine Italian
Keyword how to make a ristretto, ristretto coffe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 1
Calories 2.4kcal


  • 1 Espresso machine


  • 2 Table spoon ground coffee beans
  • 1 Cup cold filtered water


  • Heat your water until it's just before boiling point.
    2. Grind the coffee beans to a medium-fine grind (a bit coarser than espresso).
    3. Place the ground coffee in your espresso machine's portafilter and evenly distribute it.
    4. Tamp the grounds down with a tamper and place the portafilter into your espresso machine.
    5. Pull the ristretto shot by running only half the amount of water as you would normally use for an espresso shot. This should take around 15-25 seconds.
    6. Pour your ristretto shot into a cup and enjoy!



Whether you're looking for a full-flavored, intense coffee drink or an extra energy boost, ristretto is a perfect choice. With its bold flavor and concentrated caffeine content, ristretto packs a punch like no other espresso-style drink.

How to Make Ristretto With Espresso Machine

using an espresso machine to make ristretto

Making ristretto with an espresso machine requires a long-shot brewing method, which means that the same amount of ground coffee is used, but the duration of extraction is reduced. This results in a ristretto containing less liquid than an ordinary espresso shot and more concentrated flavors. The ristretto also contains higher levels of caffeine due to its shorter brew time. Ristretto has a bold, slightly bitter taste and a creamy texture. Many baristas prefer a ristretto over an ordinary espresso shot as it can bring out more sweetness and balance in the cup. The ristretto also has a higher crema due to its thicker consistency.

However, ristretto can be difficult to make corrections as it traditionally requires a more experienced barista. If brewed too long, the ristretto can be too bitter and acidic while if brewed too short, the ristretto can be watery and weak.

Best Tips to Make Ristretto Coffee

Best Tips to Make Ristretto

  1. Use fresh coffee beans for the best flavor.
  2. The ristretto should be a deep golden brown in color. Darker shades mean it is over-extracted and lighter shades mean it’s under-extracted.
  3. Experiment with different grinds to find the best balance between taste and caffeine content.
  4. Don’t forget to clean and maintain your espresso machine regularly.
  5. Enjoy ristretto coffee with a little milk, cream, or sugar if desired.

Ristretto with Milk: A Perfect Combination

Ristretto with Milk

Ristretto and milk are a perfect combination. A ristretto shot has a more concentrated flavor, making it the ideal choice for drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos. Milk softens and balances the strong flavors of ristretto to make a creamy, smooth cup of coffee.

Ristretto and milk is a great way to get your caffeine fix in the morning, as ristretto shots have higher concentrations of caffeine than an ordinary long shot. For an even stronger kick, you can add some espresso shots to your ristretto-milk combination. The result? A smooth and creamy latte with an intense caffeine boost.

Long shot vs. Ristretto

Two of the most popular espresso styles are often confused as being one and the same. In reality, however, the key differences between these brewing methods can create vastly different tastes and textures in your morning cup.

Long-shot coffee is a process that involves pouring water over finely ground coffee beans for longer than ristretto shots do. This process results in a full-bodied cup of coffee, that is both sweet and smooth. It also has less body than ristretto shots, as the flavor molecules have more time to extract from the beans. It typically has more crema (the foam on top of espresso) than ristretto.

Ristretto Coffee vs long shot coffee

Ristretto, on the other hand, is a process that involves pouring water over finely ground coffee beans for less time than long-shot shots do. This results in a much stronger and more intense cup of espresso. It also has more body to it, as the flavor molecules have less time to extract from the beans. A ristretto typically has less crema than a long shot.

Another key difference between long-shot and ristretto is the type of coffee beans used. Long shots typically use lighter roasts as they have more sweetness, whereas ristretto shots usually use darker roasts because they are bolder in flavor.

Which is better Ristretto or Long Shot?

The decision is ultimately up to you, as everyone’s individual taste preferences vary. One thing is for certain though: tasting both styles side-by-side can help you decide which one suits your palate better!

Ristretto vs. Espresso

Ristretto vs Espresso differences

What’s the Difference?

Though ristretto and espresso are both espresso-style drinks, there are a few key differences. As mentioned above, ristretto shots use half the water of a regular long shot. This creates a more concentrated flavor with more caffeine kick than regular espresso. Additionally, ristretto shots are less acidic, making them a great choice for those who find long shots to be overpowering.


Ristretto coffee is a great alternative to regular espresso for those who want an extra boost of caffeine without the intense bitterness of a long shot. With its bold flavor and concentrated caffeine content, ristretto is the perfect choice for those seeking a unique coffee experience.

Ristretto coffee is an intense, full-bodied drink that delivers a punch of caffeine. It’s smooth and less acidic than regular espresso, making it the perfect choice for those seeking an extra energy boost. With its concentrated flavor and caffeine content, ristretto is sure to give you a much-needed pick-me-up. 

Next time you’re in the mood for an espresso, why not give ristretto a try? You won’t be disappointed!


Is ristretto stronger than espresso?

Yes, ristretto shots are more concentrated than espresso, meaning they contain up to 40% more caffeine.

Is ristretto healthier than espresso?

Both ristretto and espresso contain similar amounts of calories and nutrients. However, ristretto has a smoother flavor due to its lower acidity, which may make it preferable for those with sensitive stomachs.

Is the ristretto stronger than the long shot?

Yes, ristretto shots are more concentrated than long shots since they contain higher levels of caffeine.

Are ristretto shots less in caffeine?

No, ristretto shots have up to 40% more caffeine than long shots. However, ristretto is smoother and less acidic than regular espresso so it may be preferable for those sensitive to caffeine.

Ristretto Recipe

Easy recipe for making ristretto coffee

Best and an easy ristretto coffee recipe for coffee lovers.

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