Ristretto Vs Espresso | (All You Wanna Know!)

In the world of intense coffee flavors, Ristretto and Espresso shots stand as bold contenders.

A ristretto shot contains less water than a traditional espresso. This concentrates the coffee’s flavors and results in a more intense and syrupy profile. An espresso shot has more water passed through the grounds, producing a drink with well-balanced and rich flavors.

Ristretto Vs Espresso

What is Ristretto Shot

Ristretto is essentially a shorter cousin of Espresso!

Ristretto means “restricted” in Italian. It is made with the same 7-9 grams of coffee grounds as a standard Espresso shot, but the volume is smaller, at 20mL instead of 30mL.

Think of it like an Espresso on steroids – it’s stronger, thicker, and has a unique sweetness that you won’t find in any other coffee.

If you’re ready to take your coffee game to the next level, give Ristretto a try. I am sure you’ll like it!

What is Espresso

Espresso is a 30 mL coffee shot made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure of 9-10 bars. This results in a rich and concentrated coffee with a thick layer of crema.


Espresso is also a versatile drink – it can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base for a wide range of coffee-based drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and more. It’s no wonder why Espresso is a staple in cafes worldwide and a favorite of coffee lovers everywhere.

Read about 30 different types of Espresso drinks

Difference Between Ristretto And Espresso

Now you know What is a Ristretto shot and what is an Espresso shot. Now, let’s dive into the world of Ristretto vs Espresso and see how they compare!

Espresso vs Ristretto

The Taste

Both coffee types have a bold and intense flavor, but Ristretto is known for its sweeter and more concentrated taste.

This is because Ristretto is made with the same coffee grounds as Espresso but with half the amount of water.

People drink Ristretto to enjoy a richer mouthfeel and avoid bitter flavors.

On the other hand, Espresso also has a robust and bolder taste but with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

The Caffeine Content

The caffeine content in both the Espresso and Ristretto shots is more or less the same.

This is because the caffeine in coffee is extracted early in the brewing process, and both Ristretto and Espresso use the same amount of coffee grounds.

A serving of espresso has around 60-72 mg of caffeine, while a serving of ristretto has around 50-60 mg.

However, because Ristretto is a smaller and more concentrated shot, it might feel like it has more caffeine.

The Extraction Time

The Brewing technique for both the Ristretto and Espresso shots is exactly the same. The grind size of Coffee grounds is the same, tamping is the same, but there is a difference in the extraction time.

Typically the best Espresso shots are pulled in the range of 25 – 30 seconds. And for the Ristretto shots, the extraction time is restricted to 15 – 20 seconds.

During the extraction of coffee beans, fruity and citrus flavors are extracted first, then smooth and mellow flavors, and finally the bitter and chocolaty flavors.

Since the Ristretto shot is not fully extracted, its taste is sweet and acidic with no bitterness.

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The Volume

Ristretto is a shorter shot, typically 0.7-0.8 ounces, while Espresso is a bit longer, usually between 1-1.2 ounces for a solo shot and 2-2.25 oz for a doppio shot.

So, if you prefer a smaller, more concentrated coffee shot, Ristretto is the way to go. But if you’re looking for a more traditional and extended coffee shot, Espresso will be the better choice for you.

What makes better milk milk-based drinks?

Regarding milk-based drinks, both Ristretto and Espresso can make excellent bases. Still, it all depends on your personal taste preferences.

Espresso might be the better choice for milk-based drinks if you prefer a stronger and bolder taste. The bitter flavors of Espresso can cut through the milk, resulting in a more balanced taste profile.

On the other hand, if you prefer a sweeter and more full-bodied taste, then Ristretto might be the better choice. The sweeter taste of Ristretto can complement the milk, resulting in a more velvety and smooth taste profile.

The Piccolo Coffee is a rising star in the specialty coffee scene. It is a shorter cousin of the Latte, made with Ristretto shots instead of full Espresso shots.

Milk Based Coffee drinks

Final Thoughts | So What’s Better

And there you have it – all the key differences between ristretto shots and standard espresso.

While ristretto fans love the syrupy and concentrated flavors, I’m still partial to a classic espresso. I find that the standard pull perfectly balances the natural acidity and bitterness of the beans in a really nice way.

But I’d love to hear your thoughts! Which do you prefer when it comes to ristretto vs espresso? Let me know in the comments!


Can you order a ristretto at Starbucks?

Yes, you can order a ristretto shot at Starbucks.
While ristretto shots aren’t listed specifically on Starbucks’ menu, you can customize any espresso-based drink and ask for it made with ristretto shots instead of regular espresso shots.

Is a flat white made with ristretto?

While some coffee shops prepare Flat white is Ristretto shots, a traditional flat white is made with regular espresso shots.
The defining features of a flat white are the use of microfoam milk and a thin layer of foam on top.

Also Read Other Espresso Comparisons

Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.