Ristretto Vs Long Shot: How Are They Different?

Ristretto Vs Long Shot: How Are They Different?

Coffee is confusing, right? You start to learn the differences between a latte and a cappuccino and think you’ve got a hang of this whole caffeine thing. Then suddenly, you find out that there are multiple variations of the espresso used to make your favorite drinks! If you’re struggling to figure out the differences between the espresso types, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll tell you everything that you need to know about ristretto Vs long shot coffee so that you can start creating and ordering the coffee of your dreams.

So, shall we get started?

Below is a table summarising the similarities and differences between ristretto and long shot coffee:

Ristretto Long Shot
Main Ingredients Coffee Beans, Water Coffee Beans, Water
Serving Temperature 90-96 °C 90-96 °C
Place of Origin Italy Italy
Caffeine per Serving (mg): ~63mg per single shot ~75mg per single shot

What is a Ristretto Coffee?

What is Ristretto coffee

A ristretto is a variation of a standard espresso. However, it uses less water and a shorter extraction time than a regular espresso.

The result is stunning. The deceased water content, coupled with a shorter extraction time, makes for an incredibly intense flavor that you simply won’t find in other drinks. For some people, this concentrated and intense flavor will be too overpowering. However, if you enjoy the bitterness and complexity of espresso, you’ll probably adore a ristretto.

In Italian, “ristretto” literally means restriction. This exemplifies the strength and intensity of the drink and refers to the process of making the beverage, such as the reduced extraction time and water content.

A ristretto coffee is perfect for anyone who loves to sip on espresso and is looking for something even stronger. However, if you’re more of a sweet coffee drinker, this one might just blow your head off, so you’ll want to avoid it!

What is a Long Shot Coffee?

What is a Long Shot Coffee

A long shot might sound pretty confusing, but it’s actually very simple. A long shot is basically just an espresso, made with double the amount of water. This makes a long shot substantially larger in volume than an espresso and changes the flavor profile significantly.

In terms of taste, a long shot carries the strength and potency of an espresso. However, the increased water content makes the intense flavor a little smoother and more palatable.

Think of a long shot coffee as a middle ground between a straight espresso and a black Americano. If you find an espresso too strong, yet a black Americano a little too watery, a long shot might just become your new favorite drink.

Different nations and cafes call a long shot different names, including lungo, caffe lungo, and café allongé. So, if you’re looking for a long shot at a cafe, keep a look out for these names too (as if coffee isn’t confusing enough already)!

Similarities Between Ristretto and Long Shot

These two drinks do share a few traits, including:

  • Coffee grounds content: A ristretto and long shot are actually made with the same amount of coffee grounds. The differences come instead from the extraction time and water content used.
  • Coffee type: While very different in taste, both ristretto and long shot are variations of an espresso. So, they do share the same flavor profile, albeit in differing intensities.
  • Coffee grind: You’ll want to use a fine grind of coffee for a ristretto and a coarser setting for a long shot. This will give you an optimal flavor.
  • Country of origin: Both of these coffees originated from Italy, which is widely regarded as one of the best countries for coffee in the world.

Differences Between Ristretto and Long Shot Coffee

Differences Between Ristretto and Long Shot

However, three are also several differences between a ristretto and a long shot:

  • Pull time: A ristretto is generally pulled after 15 seconds. On the other hand, a long shot is pulled after about one minute.
  • Volume: A long shot is far larger than a ristretto, thanks to its higher water content.
  • Caffeine content: As a ristretto is a more concentrated drink, it has more caffeine than a long shot by volume. However, per cup, a long shot will have more caffeine because it has a longer extraction time, allowing for more water to pass over the coffee beans.
  • Type of bean: Baristas generally use a darker bean when making a ristretto. This is because the extraction process requires a strong flavor, and a lighter roast can be too weak, which is exactly what you don’t want when drinking a ristretto! A long shot, on the other hand, can be made with any type of roast, thanks to its longer extraction process. That being said, you’ll commonly see long shot’s being made with medium/light roasts.
  • Flavor: Perhaps the biggest, and most significant, difference between these two drinks is the flavor. The ristretto has an incredibly intense flavor and is even more powerful than an espresso. A long shot, by contrast, is weaker than an espresso and carries a much more mellow and less intense flavor.

Ristretto Vs Long Shot, Which Coffee Should I Order?

So, you’ve figured out what a ristretto and long shot are. You know their similarities and differences. You even know their country of origin. But, do you know which drink to order?

If you regularly drink espresso but are starting to find it a little weak, we recommend you try a ristretto. The higher concentration will satisfy your caffeine craving, and give you a whole new level of intensity and bitterness to comprehend.

However, a ristretto is certainly not for everyone. If you’re more of a latte drinker, you’ll probably find a ristretto far too bitter. The tiny volume of the drink also makes it hard for some people to sit down and enjoy this beverage.

A long shot, on the other hand, is a great transition drink for people looking to start drinking more intense coffee. It’s basically a stronger, smaller Americano, so if you’re starting to find your Americanos a little too weak, and want to mix things up, a long shot is a great drink to go for. Thanks to its higher volume, a long shot is also a great choice if you’re looking for a coffee that you can sit down with and sip in a social setting.

If you’re looking to start trying espresso-only drinks, it’s a good idea to start by drinking a long shot, as it’s the most diluted. Once you’ve got used to the flavors, consider trying espresso, which will give you an even more intense flavor. Finally, when espresso just doesn’t cut it anymore, order a ristretto.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a ristretto stronger than a long shot?

A ristretto shot is made using the same amount of coffee grounds as a long shot. However, a ristretto is made with less water, meaning that the coffee flavor is more intense and ultimately stronger than a long shot.

Do ristretto shots taste better?

The answer to this question is all subject to your opinion! If you prefer stronger coffee, you’ll probably favor a ristretto, as it’s more concentrated than a long shot, as has a much more intense flavor. However, if you prefer a weaker taste, you’ll prefer a long shot.

Why do people drink ristretto?

Lots of people prefer ristretto over espresso as the extraction process leads to a more full-bodied and rounded taste than espresso, which is fully extracted. So, if you love coffee, but aren’t a fan of the bitterness that comes with an espresso, a ristretto might just be for you.

Do you add milk to a ristretto?

Ristretto is generally served on its own, much like an espresso. However, you can add milk to a ristretto to cut through the intense flavor and make the beverage more palatable. A ristretto with around 20ml of steamed milk is known as a piccolo latte, and it’s a great option to go for if you want to slightly dilute the intense flavor of a ristretto.

How do you ask for ristretto shots?

Espresso is the standard coffee shot used in most cafes. However, many chains will also offer ristretto, so just ask your barista for your drink to be made with a ristretto shot rather than an espresso shot.

Final Thoughts

So, that’s everything that you need to know about ristretto vs long shot. Ultimately, these two drinks look pretty similar at first glance. However, despite the similarities in the brewing process and grind, these two beverages are a world apart in terms of flavor. If you’re an espresso addict, order yourself a ristretto the next time you’re at a coffee shop- you won’t regret it. Whereas, if you’re finding a regular Americano a little too weak, but can’t quite stomach straight espresso, give a long shot a try. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to broaden your coffee horizons – you might just find that one of these drinks becomes your new favorite!