Ristretto vs Long Shot (Lungo) All you need to know!

Not an espresso person? Or like it’s less or much dense concentration?

You can customize your espresso shot with simple methods to make it more accurate for your taste with Ristretto and Lungo Shots.  

Lungo or “Long shot” as the name suggests is a longer version of Espresso with more volume (110mL) and brewing time is extended from 30 seconds to a minute. Ristretto shot, on the other hand, is a smaller version of espresso with a serving size of 20 ml compared to 30 ml of a standard Espresso shot.

If you don’t get the distinct nature of ristretto and lungo, you are going to have an ultimate chain of differences and recipes to make the best shot for you.  

So, Chill and Hook up!

Ristretto vs Long Shot

What is Ristretto?  

Ristretto is an Italian word that means narrow or restricted. So essentially it is a restricted version of Espresso.

A ristretto shot is usually pulled with half the amount of water and for less time than a regular espresso shot, which is why the ristretto shot contains more coffee and has a more intense taste.

With a thick crema layer, a ristretto is stronger in flavor and has fewer bitter notes.

ristretto espresso shot

Ristretto vs single-shot Espresso 

Ristretto is prepared with the same procedure as of regular espresso but the brewing time, ratio and coffee grounds make it different from the solo espresso shot.   

The coffee-to-water ratio in traditional Espresso shots is 1:2, with a typical serving size of 30-35 mL, while in Ristretto shots the ratio is 1:1, with a typical serving size of 15-20 mL.

The single shot Espresso has a distinct robust taste and flavors. Ristretto is a sweeter version of espresso. The coffee beans are brewed for less time in ristretto therefore, it has a less bitter flavor. 

Also Read: Single vs Double Espresso shot

What is Long Shot or Lungo?   

The lungo espresso shot, also known as a “long shot,” is made by passing more water through the coffee grounds than a standard espresso shot so it is essentially a less concentrated form of Espresso.

Lungo shots are typically made with the same amount of coffee grounds as a regular espresso, but with twice as much water, producing a shot that is around 4 ounces in volume.

Lungo shots are enjoyed by those who love traditionally brewed coffee but with a touch of Espresso. Lungo shots have a milder taste similar to drip coffee and have a very thin layer of crema.

lungo coffee shot

Lungo vs double shot Espresso 

The double shot or doppio espresso is no different from the solo espresso shot, Both shots have the same flavor and taste, with the only difference being the quantity.  

Double espresso shots use twice as much water as solo shots, and the amount of coffee grounds is also doubled. So the taste remains the same.

In Lungo shots, the amount of coffee grounds remains the same as in a solo shot, but the amount of water and the brewing time is increased. So it has a much milder taste.

Also read: What is Gran Lungo Coffee?

Difference Between Ristretto and Long shot

Now that you know what a lungo shot is and what a ristretto shot is, now let’s discuss their differences and qualities.

Ristretto vs Lungo shot coffee

Taste and Flavor Profiles 

A ristretto shot usually has a more intense and full-bodied flavor than a regular espresso shot, and is sweeter and has a thicker crema layer.

You will love it if you like the intensity of Espresso shots but hate the bitterness.

Lungo is a lite version of espresso. It has a more bitter taste with a slightly sour or acidic aftertaste due to the extended brewing time. In comparison to a standard espresso shot, the crema layer on top of a lungo shot is usually thinner and lighter in color, and the coffee itself may also be thinner.

The Lungo shots are perfect for you if you enjoy milder drip coffee or Americano over concentrated espresso shots.

The bitterness of lungo shots has never been appealing to me, so I prefer Americano over lungo. Whenever I feel like a thicker shot, I love Ristretto, but I don’t do it regularly.

The Grind size 

The perfect grind size for both the Lungo and Ristretto shots is fine the same as Espresso.

However, for ristretto shots, inclining the grind size towards a little more fine is preferred. The extraction process needs to be more efficient in ristretto shots because of less water and a shorter brewing time.

And for the lungo shots, since they are made with more water and pulled for a longer period of time, inclining the grind size towards medium will prevent over-extraction and bitterness in the coffee.

Coffee to Water Ratio 

The coffee-to-water ratio for making lungo and the ristretto shots can vary depending on personal taste preferences and the type of coffee beans being used.

In general, for the ristretto shots, the coffee beans are the same as the regular espresso (7-10 gm) while the water will be half of the regular shot (around 12-15 grams).

The best coffee-to-water ratio for Ristretto shots is 1:1-1.5 (that means 1 gram of coffee for every gram of water)

For the Lungo shots, ideally, 12-16 grams of coffee grounds are used while the water is almost three to four times more than the solo shot (110 mL).

 The best coffee-to-water ratio for lungo shots is 1:3-4 (that means 1 gram of coffee for every 4 grams of water).

Which has more caffeine 

Despite having a more concentrated flavor, a ristretto shot contains less caffeine than a lungo shot. This is because a ristretto shot uses fewer coffee grounds and has a smaller brewing time.

As a result of the short brewing time, some of the caffeine remains unextracted. The average caffeine content in a ristretto is 40-50 mg. 

Since most of the caffeine is extracted from the coffee grounds during the long brewing process, Lungo shots have almost double the caffeine content of Ristretto shots. A single shot of lungo contains 70-80 mg. 

The thing to be noted here is Ristretto shot is only 20 ml and the Lungo shot is almost 100 mL (almost 7 times bigger). So if we talk on the mL basis a ristretto shot obviously has more caffeine.

However, it’s worth noting that the actual caffeine content can vary largely depending on the type of coffee beans used.

Here’s a detailed guide on coffee caffeine content.

Adding milk to lungo vs Ristretto 

While some people prefer to drink espresso straight, the concentrated flavors of espresso are not for everyone. Many people prefer to use Espresso as a base for other delicious drinks such as Latte, Cappuccino, or Americano to name a few.

You can add milk or water to a Ristretto shot to make Ristretto Latte or Ristretto Americano but I am sure you’ll not like it. As a ristretto is already very small in size, any addition will overwhelm the coffee flavors and make the drink tasteless.

So, I would always recommend drinking a sweet and robust ristretto shot on its own.

Lungo shots can be used to make lungo lattes or lungo macchiato, both of which are very flavorful drinks as the milk overpowers the bitter taste of lungo.

How to Pull a perfect a Ristretto Shot 

You can pull your perfect ristretto shot in these easy steps. Just find out the right coffee beans for your taste and Go on! 

Step 1: Grind the beans 

  •  Take 7 to 10 grams of Freshly roasted coffee beans
  • Grind them to Fine settings
  • Fill in the portafilter   

Tip: Make sure to grind the beans to extremely fine settings with a powdery texture. It will make the extraction process better and you will get a thick ristretto shot. 

Step 2: Tamp and Fix 

  • Level of the surface of the coffee grounds in the portafilter
  • Tamp the grounds by applying a little pressure with a tamper

Tip: Tamping is the most integral part and you have to do it right if you want to pull a perfect shot.

Step 3: Brew!

  • The water will be half as compared to the espresso (20mL)
  • You need to brew the coffee for up to 15-17 seconds  

Enjoy the Ristretto! 

Best beans and coffee grounds for Ristretto 

Dark-roasted coffee beans are perfect for brewing ristretto shots.

If you use light or medium roast coffee beans, the ristretto shot will have a weaker flavor because of the short brew time.

Blends of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans also work well for a Ristretto shot.

My personal favorite is Lifeboost Dark roasted beans

Check out our detailed guide on the best Espresso beans

How to Pull a perfect a Lungo Shot 

A perfect shot of lungo can make your coffee drinks more flavorful! 

To pull a perfect lungo shot follow these steps;

Step 1: Grind Coffee Beans 

  • Use Medium-roasted coffee beans
  • Take 14-16 gm of coffee for 60-80 ml of water 
  • Fill the coffee ground in the portafilter

Tips: Coffee beans must be ground from medium to coarse texture 

Step 2: Tamp and Fix portafilter  

  • Tamp the grounds in the portafilter to balance the grounds 
  • Fix the portafilter into the machine 

Step 3: Brew the Shot!

  • Brew the coffee for 35-45 seconds

Enjoy it simply or add it to frothed milk! 

Best beans and coffee grounds for Lungo

For Lungo Shots Medium roasted coffee beans work the best.

Never use dark roasted beans and never use the blend of Robusta beans as it will make your shot overly bitter.

My favorite Coffee both for the Espresso and Lungo shots is Illy Classico.

Final Thoughts on Ristretto vs Lungo

If you are tired of regular Espresso shots then you must try Ristretto and Lungo shots to diversify your taste.

If you find regular Espresso shots bitter then sweet and robust ristretto shots will surely please you!

If you are always annoyed with the small serving size of espresso shot and want something bigger that tastes like Espresso go with the Lungo shot.

Whatever you choose you will surely enjoy it because coffee can’t go bad!


Are Ristretto Shots Stronger Than Long Shots?

Yes, Ristretto shots are certainly more stronger and robust than long shots. On the other hand, Lungo shots have a milder taste much similar to traditional drip coffee.

Can You Make Ristretto And Lungo Shots In Any Espresso Machine?

While some espresso machines can make ristretto and lungo shots, the quality of the shots may vary depending on their features.
However, most Espresso machines don’t give the flexibility to adjust the coffee-to-water ratio as required by Ristretto and lungo.
If you want to brew Lungo and Ristretto shots make sure to look for a high-end machine with customizable features and programmable settings.

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.