Is Ristretto Stronger Than Espresso?

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If you are in love with all types of coffee, you may have heard and known about ristretto. While the regular espresso is a high-intensity 30 ml shot of coffee with a full-body, a ristretto shot can be quite similar but has a different taste (more concentrated and much sweeter).

The similarity and slight difference between these two drinks may make many people wonder “Is Ristretto Stronger Than Espresso?”. The short answer is yes in terms of taste and no in terms of caffeine content. You can find more details about the difference between ristretto and espresso in the article below.

Ristretto Vs Espresso, Is Ristretto Stronger Than Espresso? How Much Caffeine Content?

Espresso is the most common type of coffee. The principle for espresso is simple. Place the fine coffee grounds with high-pressure and hot water for around 30 seconds and you can have a regular shot of espresso. 

Ristretto is one of the most popular types of espresso shots, for this drink is essentially espresso made with less water. Ristretto uses the same finely grounded coffee beans and follows the same preparation process as espresso. Yet, the brewing process is stopped right before the coffee grounds release bitterness. Since the coffee grounds come in contact with less hot water in a shorter time period, the coffee extraction happens much more quickly, resulting in a more concentrated coffee shot with a richer and sweeter flavor compared to the taste of espresso.  

Ristretto is usually called a shorter espresso shot because a shot of ristretto is only 15 to 25 ml compared to the regular 30 ml espresso shot. Hence, ristretto is usually served as a double-shot drink in most coffee houses.

In terms of flavor profile, ristretto tastes much stronger, bolder, and sweeter than espresso. This is because the drink is much more concentrated due to its amount of water. If the bitterness in espresso discourages you from trying out coffee, ristretto is a great way to start. The sweetness can be so distinct that you barely notice the slight bitterness of this coffee.

However, in terms of caffeine content, since the coffee extraction of a ristretto is much faster than that of espresso, a shot ristretto has less caffeine than a shot of espresso. If you wonder about how much caffeine is in ristretto, the good news is that the caffeine content is only slightly different than that of espresso. The difference is small so both drinks may satisfy your daily need for caffeine.

Read more: Can You Make Regular Coffee With Espresso Beans

How To Make A Ristretto Coffee?

Ristretto means “restricted” in Italian. The name is interesting because it can be interpreted as a coffee with a shorter and more restricted brewing time compared to espresso. It can also mean that the brewing method of ristretto restricts the bitterness of this type of coffee and results in a sweet taste. 

If you are in love with this drink and want to make it at home to cut your daily coffee cost, here is how you can make a ristretto. Before we start, you will need an espresso machine to make this drink. Yet, if you are a coffee lover, we recommend getting an espresso machine because it is a great investment. After getting your espresso machine ready, let’s get into the steps to make ristretto.

  • Select the beans: You can choose from Robusta beans and Arabica beans. Robusta will give you a much stronger ristretto while Abrica beans offer a milder taste. Hence, you should choose the beans based on your preference.
  • Grind your beans: We recommend you grind it finer than when you grind your beans for your espresso. Finer grounds will give you less bitter-tasting coffee, which is a foolproof way to make this drink at home. The time control can be tricky at first. Also, get your espresso cup ready as well. The final result will be a smaller amount of coffee in your espresso cup. So, using the regular espresso cup is useful to check whether your ristretto is brewing the right way.
  • Make a ristretto: Get your espresso machine ready by filling cold water into the reservoir, letting the water warm up, and put 14 grams of coffee grounds into the filter. Tamp the grounds as you usually tamp it. Brew the coffee for 15 to 20 seconds. You can adjust the time based on the taste of your final result. Don’t let the brewing last for longer or else you may end up with a different type of espresso.
  • Customize your homemade ristretto: The fun of making your homemade ristretto is that you get to make your own version of the drink. If you want to replicate the store-bought ristretto, pull another shot of ristretto from your espresso machine. You can also add milk, flavored syrups, creamer, or sweeteners to your homemade ristretto. The possibilities are endless so you can try out different ristretto-based drinks until you find your favorite.


Which one is better, long shot or ristretto?

Ristretto is a shorter espresso shot and the longer espresso shot is called lungo. It is entirely up to you to decide which one is better. With that being said, here are some differences between the two drinks to help you decide. While ristretto is brewed in a shorter time to avoid bitterness, a longer shot of espresso with a longer brewing time might taste bitter. Yet, a lungo has a distinctive dark tone and strong taste that many people have come to love. Thus, lungo also has much more to offer when it comes to caffeine content. 

Hence, if you like the dark taste and more caffeine in your coffee, lungo or a longer espresso shot is the way to go. If you prefer sweeter-tasting coffee, ristretto is the most ideal option.

You need to know: Ristretto Vs Long Shot

What is a ristretto Starbucks Coffee?

Starbuck ristretto is also quite popular among coffee lovers. According to the brand website, although the Starbuck way of making ristretto is not different from the traditional way, you can customize your ristretto and use the ristretto shot as a base for other coffee-based drinks. Hence, if you want a sweeter coffee-based drink like Caramel Macchiato, Latte, or Americano, you can ask the barista to replace the regular shot of espresso in these drinks with ristretto.

Nespresso ristretto vs espresso, which one is better?

Nespresso ristretto is the kind of ristretto designed for your Nespresso machine, allowing you to make this drink at home conveniently and easily. Hence, the Nespresso ristretto tastes different from espresso-like how the regular ristretto is different from espresso. Again, it is entirely up to your preference to decide which drink is better. Yet, the comparison between the two drinks above can help you decide much better.

You need to know: What Is Gran Lungo?


Now you have had the answer to the question “Is ristretto stronger than espresso?”. Ristretto is much stronger than espresso due to the shorter coffee extraction period and the flavor profile of ristretto is also much more interesting because it has a distinct sweetness. Yet, ristretto has slightly less caffeine than espresso. Therefore, the answer is that ristretto tastes stronger than espresso but milder than espresso in terms of caffeine content.

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