Last Updated on October 12, 2022 by Timothy Byron Smith
Coffee is about so much more than just the beans, the grinding, and the brands. A good cup of espresso also depends on how you consume it and how much you drink. As a coffee lover, you must know that ristretto and long shots are all the rage. But what is a ristretto? What makes you choose ristretto vs long shot or vice versa?
This coffee-licious journey will take you through everything there is to know about ristretto vs long shot. What do they taste like and how do you make them, no coffee bean will be left unturned!
What is a Ristretto?
A ristretto is an espresso except more pronounced and much bolder. The name comes from the Italian word meaning short or restrict. Wondering what is short about this espresso shot? Short is the brewing and extraction time of ristretto. Plus, restricted is the water content in this drink (won’t call it short but you get the point).
The ristretto is made the same way as any other espresso. However, the lower water content and the extremely fine coffee used to make it amplify its flavors and concentration. You’ll taste super mellow and intense flavor coupled with a thick richness.
If you are looking for precision then let us tell you that every 7 grams of espresso beans use only 15mm of water. Yep, that’s how concentrated it is! Nothing like your usual espresso shot. In fact, its intensity is such that some coffee shops call a double espresso a ristretto.
How Can You Make a Ristretto?
There are a couple of ways baristas and coffee fanatics make ristretto. There’s nothing complex about it, it’s just different restriction techniques to get the best ristretto shot.
One way people make ristretto is by stopping the espresso machine halfway to achieve the 15 second brewing time. This yields a ristretto shot of about 20g.
Another way of making it is to grind the coffee beans super fine. This creates restriction and resistance for the water. As such, a perfect 20 grams ristretto is pulled in the standard thirty seconds.
There is but one rule to making a ristretto. The ratio must always be either 1:1 or 1:1.5 compared to the espresso ratio of 1:2. This means if you put 18 grams of beans into your espresso machine, you’ll extract 18 to 27 grams of ristretto.
What is a Long Shot?
The long-shot is taller relative to the ristretto. If you’re a true coffee drinker you’ll immediately have guessed the Italian name for it. That’s right! The lungo.
The long-shot is the next level to consuming the greatest amount of espresso in the hierarchy. Where the ristretto has a ratio of 1:1 and the espresso a ratio of 1:2 the long shot boasts the largest ratio of 1:3. Do you know what that means? It means 54 grams of espresso for 18 grams of coffee beans!
You double the water quantity and enjoy the same espresso except it lasts you much longer. A divine thing for a coffee lover.
How to Pull a Long Espresso Shot?
There is no specific recipe for brewing the long shot espresso. While some resort to coarser coffee grounds with the standard brew time of 30 seconds. Others prefer using the usual grind size and increasing the brew time up 10 seconds to a total of 40 seconds.
This is not a bummer! It just gives you more control over how you brew your long shot. Try it either way and figure out which type you like best. Either way, you’ll get a decent long shot espresso.
The only thing to remember is to double the water content and keep the ratio to 1:3.
Ristretto VS Long Shot: What is the difference?
The ristretto and long shot do not only differ in their names but over a range of others factors. From the aroma to the flavors to the content, there is much to consider before you place an order for either of the espresso shots.
The Difference in Taste:
Due to its short extraction time and lesser water content, the ristretto has concentrated flavors and a bold texture. It has little bitterness and fails to include the chocolatey taste however you’ll notice herbal and floral notes. The one-touch factor is the thinner crema of the ristretto.
Many people think the lungo shot tastes kind of like drip coffee. It’s bitter, acidic, and has darker flavors. The larger extraction time gives the long shot smokey notes and almost a burnt flavor profile.
The Smell of the Aroma
The ristretto will definitely win you over with its fragrant and enchanting aroma. This concentrated drink has a fruity and sweet aroma that makes you want to inhale not sip the drink.
On the contrary, the long shot features a smoky depth to its aromas. This is due to its intense and dark flavor profile. This intriguing aroma captivates many noses.
The Amount of Caffeine
In the caffeine department, the long-shot takes the lead. Although the ristretto is much more concentrated and boasts bolder flavors, its shorter extraction time means a lesser caffeine content.
On the other hand, the long shot, with its elaborate extraction time has more caffeine than espresso. It basically depends on how long you brew it.
Strength of the Shot
The restricted beverage we know as espresso features a lesser caffeine content. Despite the lower water level, the extraction time results in a quickly created espresso shot with less caffeine. Whereas the long shot is brewed for greater than 30 seconds.
As a result, the long shot, as with its height, is stronger than the ristretto. This is because of the higher caffeine level and a greater quantity of soluble compounds.
The Difference in the Brewing Process
There are several differences when it comes to the brewing process of the ristretto vs long shot.
- Water: The ristretto requires lesser water whereas the long shot is made using a double quantity of water
- Rato: The ratio for a ristretto is 1:1 while a long shot is made following a ratio of 1:3
- Grind Size: In a ristretto, the beans are very finely ground. However, for a long shot, either the beans have a standard grind size or they are coarser.
- Time: The brewing time for a ristretto is typically short, about 15 seconds. On the other hand, the brewing time for a long shot is larger, up to 40 seconds.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is ristretto stronger than long shot?
A ristretto has a shorter brewing time which makes for less caffeine content. The long-shot has a more elaborate brewing time and a higher caffeine content. It is, therefore, stronger than the ristretto.
2. Is long shot harder to brew than ristretto?
The long-shot requires more time, more water, and often a coarser grind size for the beans. Whereas, the ristretto requires less water, finely ground beans, and less brew time. Apart from these differences, the beverages are not very complex to brew.
3. What makes ristretto shots sweeter?
The lower water content and shorter extraction time for ristretto make the drink sweeter. It is pulled before the bitter and dark flavors are extracted from the beans. Plus, less water means that less soluble compounds are present in the drink.
The ristretto vs long shot may have several differences. However, they do have one thing in common as well. They both keep you caffeinated and the coffee lover inside you happy!. Since neither of the drinks is complex and both have the magic to make you happy, you can enjoy them right at home too!
So, get your preferences sorted and happy caffeinating!
Tim is the author and webmaster of this blog. He is a coffee aficionado who has always strived to succeed by simplifying the many facets of the coffee business into engaging and informative writing. In addition to helping readers discover their next brew, he intends to educate them about espresso and coffee.