What You Wanted to Know About Ristretto Coffee

Ristretto Coffee

Isn’t ordering more coffee better? If you cannot leave a coffee shop without having enough coffee, you may be wondering why someone would just order less coffee. There is a reason why you see some people ordering less. They love ristretto.

So, what the heck is ristretto?


Ristretto means “restricted” in Italian and is a short shot of espresso that is made with less water and finely ground beans. By ordering a ristretto shot, a barista limits the number of espresso shots in your coffee to one full-length espresso shot. The result is a smaller, more concentrated, and sweeter brew. 

Ristretto is not bitter because of the short extraction time. It is also known as Corto in Italy. In other parts of the words, you may hear people referring to it as a short black coffee. Compared to espresso, ristretto has more caffeine, hence stronger.


Lungo is another type of espresso shot. Many coffee lovers will tell you it is a larger espresso because of the double amount of the used water. More water is passed through the espresso machine resulting in a less strong brew than espresso. If you add water after brewing, you will not drink lungo, so be careful. Only add water when brewing, not after.

So, what is the difference between espresso, ristretto, and lungo?

The difference between the three is clear. Ristretto is condensed or smaller espresso, while lungo is a larger espresso. Less amount of water used makes ristretto smaller, and more water used to brew lungo makes it a larger espresso.

Among the three, a ristretto is stronger brew, while lungo is less strong. 

What makes ristretto different?


  • The pressure on coffee beans in portafilter is harder
  • The coffee beans are ground more finely
  • The process of extraction is significantly reduced

How to make ristretto coffee: Two most common ristretto recipes

Depending on the equipment you have, you can make coffee in different ways. For now, let’s go through the two common methods.

First method

This method requires brewing 30ml of coffee and maintaining the pour time of a standard cup of espresso.


  • Adjust your grind as fine as the machine allows. Finer grind reduces the extraction time.
  • Measure around 14g of coffee and tamp. Once you get started, make sure to pay special attention to the timing of the extraction. In about 30 seconds, your ristretto will be ready.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

Second method

Even though this method does not provide a perfect taste of coffee as the first method, it is still a great way to prepare your brew. This method is convenient when trying to make ristretto on an espresso machine based on the pressurized filters.


  • Adjust your grind as fine as the machine allows and tamp.
  • Once you get started, wait until you get 30ml coffee or a double ristretto.
  • Enjoy your drink.

As you can see, you wait until you get double ristretto. This is means you get espresso that is half-way stopped. In other words, the final drink will not be as syrupy and dense as the taste and texture of a real ristretto. It is for that reason this method is not really recommended.

Why drink a ristretto?


Drinking ristretto has been associated with a lot of health benefits, including boosting our immune system and reducing stress. Just remember not to go overboard as that can provoke some side effects.

Tasting and serving ristretto coffee

Today you can enjoy many variants of ristretto, including vanilla, hazelnuts, Bianco, and other flavors. So, don’t be surprised when you taste a different flavor next time you order a ristretto.

You can enjoy ristretto with a bitter, fruity, and intense espresso aroma or add milk or water. Undiluted ristretto is commonly known as straight ristretto.

If you dilute your ristretto with water, you get Americano. On the other hand, adding milk gives you a cappuccino or a latte.

Serve ristretto hot. You can perfectly combine it with some biscuits or vanilla ice cream.

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