Is Ristretto Stronger Than Espresso?

Ordering espresso in cafes is a regular practice for coffee drinkers. However, this is not the only coffee offered; there are many other options, such as ristretto. While it may not be as well-known as espresso, ristretto may surpass it in terms of strength. So, is ristretto stronger than espresso?

Is Ristretto Stronger Than Espresso?

Yes, ristretto is stronger than espresso when it comes to the flavor profile. This is because less water is used in the brewing of the ristretto. Ristretto is also slightly sweeter than espresso.

Overall, the variations between these beverages are only slight, however, they may make all the difference for you in terms of beverage choice.

How to Make a Ristretto

Ristretto is an Italian word that means “shortened” and has been rendered as “narrow” by some. It is created with finely ground coffee beans and dispensed from an espresso machine using the shorter lever pull.

A cup of Ristretto

However, this only works with a manual espresso machine that requires the barista to pull the lever, which decides the type of brew you would get based on how long or short the pull is.

Similarly, you could opt to brew some ristretto at home once you have an espresso machine at your disposal.

Select Your Coffee Beans

While there are various types of coffee beans available, ristretto is best made using Arabica or Robusta beans. The latter provides a more concentrated drink with a milder ristretto flavor than the former. So, pick the one that works best for you.

Grind to Fine Powder

I recommend grinding your coffee beans finer than the required grind for espresso to achieve the perfect ristretto. This will make your ristretto less bitter, which is the specialty of this drink. Make sure your espresso cup has a reduced amount of finely ground coffee beans so you can see if your ristretto is brewed properly.

Make the Beverage

To prepare your ristretto:

  1. Fill the espresso machine reservoir halfway with cold water.
  2. Add the finely ground coffee beans to the filter when the water has warmed up, around 63 mg or 14 g should suffice. To get the best results, make sure you tamp your coffee grinds.
  3. After that, continue to brew the coffee for another 20 seconds. Reduce the brewing time to 15 seconds if the taste becomes bitter after this time.

The general rule is not to leave the coffee too steep for too long, as this will introduce bitterness and result in an espresso rather than a ristretto.

An image of a cup of espresso

What Determines Caffeine Content in Ristretto and Espresso?

A number of factors including the number of coffee beans used, the type of coffee beans used, as well as how much water goes through the finely ground coffee all play a role in determining the concentration of these beverages.

A ristretto shot has less caffeine than an espresso shot since the extraction of coffee for a ristretto is a speedier process than for espresso. Caffeine concentrations differ somewhat, with a ristretto carrying 63 mg of caffeine and an espresso containing 68 mg.

Ristretto employs the same amount of finely ground coffee beans and goes through the same preparation process as espresso. However, the brewing process, on the other hand, is a substantial distinction. In contrast to espresso, the brewing process for the ristretto finishes before the coffee gets bitter.

Related Questions

What Is a Ristretto Shot’s Volume?

A ristretto shot has a capacity of 15 mL. A double ristretto, on the other hand, has a volume of 30 mL. Two single-shot ristrettos must be used to make the double shots. It is not possible to make it all at once. This is the distinction between a double ristretto and an espresso.

How Do You Drink a Ristretto Correctly?

The way to drink a ristretto correctly is from a porcelain cup commonly called a demitasse. A ristretto also does not require any milk or creamer. It is drunk in the same state as it appears after brewing. However, if black coffee is not your thing and a ristretto supports any sweetness or cream you choose to add, you might prefer to use creamers or sugar in your coffee.

What Is a Starbucks Ristretto Coffee?

A popular sort of ristretto shot is Starbucks coffee. It allows you to personalize your ristretto by allowing you to use coffee as a base for your beverages. For example, if you want a latte, the Starbucks method allows you to make it with a ristretto instead of espresso.


A ristretto has a stronger flavor and a sweeter taste than espresso, so order or make one if you want a strong-tasting beverage that is sweet to the taste. If you want coffee with a more bitter taste and less caffeine, espresso is the beverage for you.