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Ristretto vs. Espresso, What’s the Difference?

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Ristretto vs. espresso types of coffee drinks

If you’re a coffee drinker, you’ve probably heard the terms espresso and ristretto quite a few times. But do you know the difference between these two coffees and which one is right for you?

In our article today, you will find the answers to all your questions about ristretto and espresso. After reading this article, you will learn the difference between these two coffees and how to make them.

What is ristretto?


A ristretto is a short shot of espresso made with finely roasted beans and less water. You may wonder why anyone would order less coffee. Isn’t it always better to order more coffee? In most cases, yes, but ristretto always prefers quality rather than quantity.

When less hot water is forced with finely ground coffee beans, the result is a more concentrated aroma. The coffee tastes sweeter and less bitter as the brewing time is shorter. You can simply say that ristretto means “limited”.

If you want to make ristretto at home, you need to find an espresso machine and the best coffee beans. First, grind your coffee beans into a fine powder. Press the water with the beans for about 5 seconds or so. This process should result in an intense coffee extract that can lead to sweetness.

Over time, you may want to experiment with your own unique proportions of coffee grinder fineness, type of hot water, pressure, and type of coffee. 

Ristretto vs. Espresso

What is espresso?


Espresso is a completely flavored and concentrated form of coffee that is served in small shots. Espresso is the basis of many coffee drinks such as americano, cappuccino, and latte. Moreover, we make espresso from the same beans as ristretto, but it is thicker, stronger, and contains more caffeine. The difference is actually in the method of preparation. We can even describe espresso as a method of making coffee.

Is ristretto better or worst than espresso?


In my opinion, ristretto coffee is a suitable drink for those who want to enjoy a strong taste of espresso with less caffeine.

The following explains why it’s good:

Taste: ristretto is usually sweeter and more intense in taste than espresso.

Concentration: ristretto is slightly more concentrated than espresso because it is 15-20 ml whereas espresso is usually 30 ml.

Strengths: ristretto is stronger than espresso.

Cream texture: ristretto has less cream than espresso, but the cream will be thicker and less abundant.

Ingredients ratio: for espresso, the ratio of water to coffee should be 1:2 – 1:25. With Ristretto, the ratio of water to coffee should be between 1:1 and 1:1.5.

Time required for drainage: The ristretto extraction process lasts 5 seconds, while espresso is usually ready in 7-10 seconds.

Risk of under-extraction: Under-extracted restoration often occurs due to preparation techniques. This results in a bitter, sour, and generally unpleasant taste.

Does a ristretto have less or more caffeine?


Ristretto has less caffeine than espresso. Ristretto serving size averages 20ml (0.67 oz) and contains about 33 mg of caffeine, while the espresso 1oz serving contains 64 mg of caffeine. Less extraction time produces less bitter and less caffeinated liquids per ounce.

Ristretto is a concentrated variant of espresso or more generally, it is an abbreviated version of espresso. The average caffeine intake is about 165 mg per day. One shot of ristretto contains slightly less caffeine than a regular shot of espresso because it is smaller. For most healthy adults, up to 400 mg of caffeine, a day is safe. However, a person’s sensitivity to caffeine varies. If you experience headaches, anxiety, or restlessness after drinking a cup of coffee, you may want to look into your caffeine intake and possibly consult a specialist.

Bottom Line


In the world of coffee, the best drink comes down to your personal taste. If you’re looking for an easy-to-drink form of espresso, ristretto is a great option. You can appreciate the sweetness and intensity pronounced in a small size with a small amount of caffeine. On the other hand, an espresso can offer you more complex cups with the slightest hint of bitterness. Check out my Coffee Flavor Wheel to taste coffee like never before.


Welcome to my blog! My name is Damian, I live in Chicago since 2015. I love to share my experience and knowledge on 3 subjects Photography, Coffee and Travel! Let me tell your story and capture memories with beautiful photography! Honorable Mention Award from “MIFA” – Moscow International Foto Awards.

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