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What is a Ristretto Shot?

A ristretto shot is a concentrated shot of espresso. It uses half the amount of water but the same amount of ground espresso. The Italian translation of ristretto is “concentrated” or “limited.” Properly pulled ristretto shots will have a layer of crema, just like a regular espresso.

Key Takeaways:

  • A ristretto is made using half the amount of water but the same amount of ground espresso as a regular shot.
  • Ristretto and espresso shots have almost equal caffeine.
  • Ristretto shots can be either caffeinated or decaf.
  • Like espresso shots, Ristretto shots are served in a demitasse cup with a sugar cube and a spoon.
  • Ristretto shots have a layer of sweet crema on top.
Ristretto Shot 101: What Is It and How Is It Different from Other Espresso Drinks?

Taste & Flavor:

Flavor-wise, a ristretto shot is more intense yet slightly sweeter than a shot of espresso. This is due to the smaller amount of water used to pull the ristretto shotβ€”less water = more concentrated flavor.

Uses for Ristretto Shots:

A ristretto shot is classically served in an espresso cup with a sugar cube on the side. They’re also used in various drinks such as lattes, mochas, americanos, flat whites, white chocolate mochas, etc.

And if a ristretto shot is added to an espresso beverage, the intense flavor will be offset by the amount of milk and/or chocolate in the drink.

Do ristretto shots Have Less Caffeine than Espresso Shots?

There is only a 1mg difference between espresso shots and ristretto shots. One shot of espresso has 64mg of caffeine, and a ristretto shot has 63mg of caffeine.

Ristretto vs. Espresso

A single espresso shot is 1.5 fluid ounces. A ristretto shot is .5 fluid ounces. Also known as a “short shot,” ristretto uses less water but the same amount of ground coffee as an espresso shot (a jigger).

Ristretto vs. Lungo

The Lungo espresso is a shot that is pulled for about 60 seconds. It is twice the volume of regular espresso, at 3 ounces, and is generally milder in flavor. In Italian, lungo means “long.” A ristretto shot is the opposite of a long shot. It’s pulled in about 20-30 seconds, is only .5 ounces, and has a very robust flavor.

Ristretto vs. Cortado

A cortado is two shots of espresso with equal parts steamed milk. A cortado tends to be around 4.5 ounces. A ristretto is .5 ounces of a concentrated espresso.

Comparison Table

TypeNo. of ShotsOuncesCaffeine
Cortado2 (default)4.5136mg
Ristretto vs. Espresso vs. Cortado vs. Lungo Comparison Table

Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
Kelsey may not know everything about coffee, but after two decades as a barista in Seattle and Santa Barbara, he knows a thing or two. When he's not obsessing over the perfect cup, you can find him hanging out with his wife and daughter or sharing his java gems on this here blog.

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