Restricted, short, strong and sweet – Say hello to the ristretto!
Whether you're a well-seasoned barista or just starting in the wonderful world of coffee brewing, there's no denying that the ristretto is rapidly becoming one of the most popular espresso shots.
But what exactly is a ristretto shot? How do you make one? And how does it compare to other espresso drinks like espressos, doppios, and lungos? Read on for all you need to know about ristrettos!
What Is A Ristretto Shot?
A ristretto is an espresso shot made with half the amount of water and twice the amount of coffee as a regular espresso. Because more coffee is compressed into less water, it results in a more concentrated, intense flavor that packs more of a punch than a standard espresso.
It has less bitterness because fewer beans are extracted in a shorter period. A traditional ristretto should be around 15ml or 0.5oz in size - that's roughly half the size of an average espresso shot (30ml/ 1oz).
Now we've got our heads around what goes into making a perfect ristretto shot let's take a look at how it compares to other types of espresso drinks.
1. Ristretto vs Espresso
The main difference between these two shots lies in their respective amounts of water used in extraction.
An espresso uses more water than a ristretto resulting in less intensity; however, it can still pack just as much flavor if done correctly!
A regular ristretto is around 15ml or 0.5oz in size - that's half the size of an average espresso shot (30ml/ 1oz).
Additionally, espressos tend to have greater crema (the creamy foam on top) while ristretto tends to be more concentrated and bitter due to their lack of crema.
2. Ristretto vs Doppio
Doppio and lungo are both types of espresso shots, yet, doppios have double the caffeine content compared to espressos due to containing twice as many coffee grounds. If you’re looking for something extra strong then this could be the option for you!
A regular doppio is around 60ml/ 2oz in size - that's double the size of an average espresso shot (30ml/ 1oz), and 4 times the size of a ristretto shot (15ml/ 0.5oz).
Risetto shots are similar but different since they are made with half the amount of water, resulting in a more concentrated and intense flavor.
3. Ristretto vs Lungo
Lungo is the opposite of a ristretto shot; it is extracted using more water and less coffee, making it smoother and less intense in flavor.
A regular lungo is around 45ml/ 1.5oz in size - that's one and a half times the size of an average espresso shot (30ml/ 1oz), and 3 times the size of a ristretto shot (15ml/ 0.5oz).
How To Make A Ristretto Shot
Making an excellent ristretto shot is simple, it just requires precision and attention to detail. As with any other kind of espresso shot, start with freshly ground coffee beans and make sure your espresso machine is clean before brewing.
- Start by grinding 12g of coffee beans to a fine, even consistency.
- Pack it firmly into the portafilter and tamp it until they are compressed evenly into the portafilter basket.
- Place the portafilter onto your espresso machine.
- Adjust the amount of water used in your extraction process so that you only use half the amount as you would do for an espresso shot.
- Lock your portafilter into place and set your machine up for extraction (generally 9 bars).
- If you're using an automatic machine, this will require adjusting settings such as grind size and pre-infusion time according to your preferences.
- Start the extraction process. Aim for a 15ml golden extraction over 25-30 seconds.
- Voila! Your delicious caffeinated drink awaits. Enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- The key to making a delicious ristretto shot is all in the timing. Aim for around 25-30 seconds; any longer and you may end up with a sour shot, any shorter and it will taste too weak.
- It's important to keep track of how much water you use during extraction - otherwise, you won't get that intense flavor that makes ristrettos so popular!
- You can also adjust your grind size to control the intensity of your shot.
- If you find your shot is too bitter, try using a finer grind size next time.
- If you're looking for something extra special, add a few drops of flavoring syrup to your ristretto shot.
- If you're feeling adventurous, add a little steamed milk and make it into a cortado!
- If you're using a manual machine, consider pre-infusing your grounds with hot water to maximize flavor extraction.
That concludes our crash course on all things related to ristrettos! Remembers – less water = more intensity = deliciousness galore!
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With some practice and patience though, anyone can master making this delicious Italian classic at home! Start brewing up some delicious ristrettos today!