Ristretto versus Espresso

Most people know what an espresso is – around 30ml (1 ounce) poured through ground coffee in around 30 seconds to produce a crema rich coffee that is has a little natural sweetness. This is also the base in most of the milk coffees – cafe latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and piccolo latte. But what, you may ask, is a Ristretto?

A Ristretto (ristricted in Italian) is the first part of the espresso shot. Usually around half the volume of a typical espresso, the Ristretto is richer, sweeter and has fewer of the harsh flavour compounds that come through in the later stage of the espresso pour.

Next time you’re at your favourite Espresso Bar, ask for a Double Ristretto – around the same volume as a standard espresso, but with twice the flavour! It also makes a more flavoursome base to cafe latte’s and cappuccinos.

5 Responses to “Ristretto versus Espresso”

  1. Good post. Personally, I prefer ristretto-like style, therefore my home espresso is always a little bit shorter than 25-30ml.

  2. Ristrettos it is, very nice. All my espressos turn out ristretto style, much more enjoyable.

    Good posting on the Silvia and the temperatures. I own a Silvia 2009 and is currently working on the consistency in the shots. I will not install a pid (yet) but is trying to work with the temp surf as much as possible.

    Have you changed your OPV anything on your Silvia? I’ve read about measuring the flow from the OPV with a blind filter, but havent got that much more info on that. And running it with the blind filter in for 30 secs or so doesnt sound that great for the pump.

    Input appreciated.

  3. Thanks Charlie,
    I was looking for a simple version of definition for Restretto. and in fact, your description simply the best. Thank you so much

  4. Excellent post. Told me exactly what I wanted to know about both the expresso and ristretto. Now I’m going to have to give it a try.

  5. LondonVisitor Says:

    I prefer Ristretto over Espresso for its full flavour, less acidity and natural sweetness instead of bitterness. I like it both as Piccolo or Macchiato.

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