Espresso Smackdown: Ristretto Vs Long Shot – Who Will Win?

You may have heard about the Ristretto and Long Shot if you’re a coffee lover. These two terms are commonly used in the coffee world when making espresso shots. But what exactly are Ristretto and Long Shot, and how do they differ?

A Ristretto is a small, intense espresso shot that uses less water than a regular espresso. The term “Ristretto” comes from the Italian word meaning “restricted” or “limited,” referring to the limited amount of water used to make this shot. On the other hand, a Long Shot, as the name implies, is a larger shot of espresso made using more water than a standard espresso.

This article will explore the differences between these two espresso shots – Ristretto vs Long Shot – and help you understand which would be best for your taste buds.

What is a Long Shot?

What Is A Long Shot?

A Long Shot (Lungo) is an espresso shot that is pulled longer than usual. It is sometimes referred to as a “long pour” or “long pull.” Generally, a Long Shot espresso has more body, sweetness, and lower acidity than a regular espresso shot.

Long Shot espresso has become increasingly popular in the last few years. It is the perfect espresso for those who want the complexity and sweetness of espresso without the overwhelming bitterness.

The Long Shot espresso will have a deeper, more robust flavor than a regular espresso. The taste will be more balanced and less bitter, with a smooth, creamy texture. It will also have a richer, sweeter finish.

The key to making a great Long Shot espresso is the grind size. For a Long Shot espresso, the grind should be slightly finer than what you would use for a regular espresso. You’ll also want to use slightly more coffee than you would for a regular espresso shot.

Finally, adjust your espresso machine’s settings to accommodate the longer extraction time. This will ensure that the espresso is extracted properly and that the flavor is as complex and sweet as possible.

What is a Ristretto?

What Is A Ristretto?

Ristretto is an Italian word that means “restricted” or “shortened.” It’s a type of espresso made with less water than a typical espresso shot. The result is a more concentrated and intense cup of espresso.

The barista uses the same amount of coffee grounds as a regular espresso to make a ristretto, but they use less water. This means the coffee is extracted more quickly, producing a more condensed flavor. The taste of a ristretto is usually more intense than a regular espresso, with a thicker and creamier texture.

Ristrettos are becoming increasingly popular as coffee drinkers seek a more intense coffee experience. It’s a great way to get extra caffeine without using too much coffee.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try making your own ristretto home. All you need is an espresso machine and some freshly ground coffee beans. Start grinding your coffee as finely as possible and then pack it into the portafilter. After that, fill the portafilter with about half the water you would like for a regular espresso shot.

The result will be a concentrated, creamy shot of espresso with a strong flavor.

Ristretto vs Long Shot: The Differences

When it comes to espresso, there are different variations to choose from, including ristretto and long shots. Ristretto is also known as a short shot, as it uses less water and has a shorter extraction time than regular espresso. On the other hand, a long shot uses more water and has a longer extraction time, resulting in a less concentrated flavor. Both variations have their benefits, depending on personal preference. For those who enjoy a stronger, more intense flavor, ristretto is the way to go. However, a long shot may be better for those who prefer a milder flavor with a larger volume.

Type of Bean

While both drinks use the same type of bean, how they are roasted can influence their flavor and strength. Ristretto shots typically feature medium to dark roasted beans, while long shots often use lighter roasted beans. This can affect the flavor profile of the coffee, with ristrettos offering a sweeter, more complex taste and long shots having a more bitter, acidic flavor.

Long Shot vs Ristretto: Caffeine Content

When it comes to coffee, the caffeine content can be a big consideration for many people. A long shot is made with a prolonged extraction time, resulting in slightly more caffeine than a regular shot of espresso and marginally more than a ristretto shot. On the other hand, a ristretto shot uses less water than a regular shot, resulting in a more concentrated coffee with a full flavor but slightly less caffeine.

However, the amount of caffeine can vary depending on the coffee bean type and the brewing method. So, whether one prefers a longer or shorter extraction time, it’s good to know that the long shot and ristretto can pack a tasty and satisfying punch.

Ristretto Vs. Long Shot: Brewing Process

Ristretto, also known as a short shot, uses less water and has a shorter extraction time, resulting in a darker and more concentrated shot of espresso. On the other hand, long shots use more water and are brewed for a longer period, resulting in a milder taste but a greater volume of espresso.

Taste and Aroma

A long shot typically has a milder taste and smoother mouthfeel owing to its higher water content during brewing. Alternatively, a ristretto offers a more intense, concentrated flavor profile with a fruity-sweet taste that derives from its higher acidity.

Grind Size

When it comes to coffee, grind size plays a crucial role in determining the flavor and strength of the end product. The grind size can significantly impact the resulting coffee when comparing long shots to ristrettos. A ristretto shot can be made using a finer grind and a shorter brew time, resulting in a more concentrated and intense flavor. On the other hand, a long shot requires a coarser grind to accommodate the larger amount of water used in the brewing process, resulting in a milder flavor profile.

How Many Espressos Should Be Used When Making Each Drink?

How Many Espressos Should Be Used When Making Each Drink

The answer to this question depends on the type of espresso used and the desired taste. Generally speaking, a Ristretto should use one-third of an ounce of espresso, while a Long Shot should use two-thirds.

Water-Espresso Ratio

A ristretto uses a ratio of 1:1, while a long shot uses a ratio of 1:3. This means that a ristretto has a much higher concentration of espresso than a long shot, resulting in a bolder, more intense flavor.


Long shots tend to have less acidity compared to ristrettos, making them a good choice for those who prefer milder coffee. On the other hand, ristrettos are known for their fruity-sweet taste due to their higher acidity content.

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Why Do Coffee Connoisseurs Tend To Prefer Ristrettos Over Long Shots?

Because of their concentrated flavor profile, coffee connoisseurs gravitate towards ristrettos over long shots. Unlike traditional espresso shots, ristrettos are made with the same amount of coffee but use less water, resulting in a more robust and sweeter taste. Additionally, the coffee bean used to make ristrettos typically uses a darker roast, bringing out even more unique flavors and aromas.

How to Make a Ristretto

Here’s everything you need to know about how to make the perfect Ristretto.


The first step to making a Ristretto is ensuring you have the right ingredients. You’ll need nine grams (for a single shot) or 18 grams (for a double shot) of an espresso roast coffee. Make sure you grind the beans to a very fine consistency.


Once you have the right ingredients, you’re ready to make your Ristretto. Start by filling and tamping your portafilter with finely ground coffee. When you’re ready, pull one or two shots of Ristretto. Instead of pulling a regular espresso shot, you’ll want to use a scale to weigh the amount of coffee extracted. Aim for 15-20 ml.

Serve and Drink Immediately

Once you’ve extracted the right amount of coffee, it’s time to serve and drink your Ristretto. Since it’s a concentrated espresso shot, you’ll want to drink it immediately to get the full flavor profile.

How To Pull A Long Shot

To pull a long shot of espresso, you’ll need the following ingredients:



  1. Start by grinding your espresso beans. The grind should be fine; ideally, you should use a burr grinder for the best results. Make sure to grind the beans just before brewing to ensure the freshest cup of espresso.
  2. Warm up your espresso machine. This is an important step for getting the perfect shot of espresso. The espresso won’t pull correctly if the machine isn’t heated properly.
  3. Pull the shot. Put the ground espresso into the portafilter, and use a tamper to press down firmly. Insert the portafilter into the machine and press the start button. The espresso should pull in about 25-30 seconds.
  4. Pour the espresso into a preheated demitasse cup. Add some steamed milk to make a latte or cappuccino if you’d like.

And that’s it! With just a few simple steps, you can pull a delicious long-shot espresso every time. So, what are you waiting for? Get to brewing and enjoy your perfect cup of espresso!

FAQs About Ristretto Vs Long Shot

Is Ristretto Stronger Than The Long Shot?

Is Ristretto Stronger Than The Long Shot

According to factual data, ristrettos are typically stronger than long shots due to their concentrated nature. They use less water and a higher temperature during extraction, resulting in a more intense flavor.

Which Is Harder To Brew? A Ristretto Or A Long Shot?

With the right espresso machine and technique, both shots can be brewed correctly. However, brewing a successful ristretto requires more skill and attention to detail. On the other hand, a long shot is easier to brew and generally requires less manual effort.

Does The Temperature At Which An Espresso-Based Beverage Is Served Affect Its Taste Or Strength?

When it comes to espresso-based beverages, the temperature at which they are served can affect their taste and strength. Higher temperatures intensify and bring out bitter flavors, while lower temperatures can bring out more nuanced and subtle flavors. However, finding the perfect temperature can be tricky, as it can vary depending on factors such as the type of bean used and the brewing method.

Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to experiment and find the temperature that brings out the most flavors you enjoy. So go ahead and try a few different temperatures and see which one brings out the best in your espresso-based beverages!

Does The Grind Size Affect The Taste And Strength Of A Ristretto Versus A Long Shot Espresso?

The grind size can significantly affect the taste and strength of a ristretto versus a long-shot espresso. For a ristretto, a finer grind size is required to prevent too much water from passing through the grounds. This leads to a more concentrated coffee with a bolder and more intense flavor. On the other hand, a long-shot espresso requires a coarser grind size to allow extra water to pass through. This results in a more subtle flavor but a higher coffee volume.

Why Are Ristretto Shots Shorter In Extraction Time Compared To Long Shots?

Why Are Ristretto Shots Shorter In Extraction Time Compared To Long Shots?

Well, it all comes down to the amount of water used in the process. A ristretto shot requires less water and a finer grind for a slower extraction, resulting in a shorter brewing time of around 10-15 seconds. This reduced water and shorter extraction time give the ristretto a stronger and more mellow flavor profile than a long shot.

Final Thoughts

So which one should you choose? That all depends on your particular tastes. A Ristretto is probably your best bet if you want something intense and complex. If you’re looking for something mild and smooth, a Long Shot is the way to go.

Regardless of your choice, both drinks will surely give you an amazing coffee experience. So why not try both and see which one you prefer? After all, there’s no wrong answer when it comes to coffee.

I hope this was helpful! If you have any other questions about Ristretto vs Long shot, please leave them in the comments below.


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