Making Barista-Quality Ristretto At Home

A ristretto is a short shot of espresso and contains less water than a standard espresso shot. Due to its short extraction time, the drink is also smaller in size. Hence, making it more concentrated, richer, and slightly sweeter. This is the way gourmet espresso lovers seem to prefer ristretto over espresso. Keep in mind that most coffee shops pull double shots of ristretto instead of single, simply because it’s a single shot that is too little, 15-20ml (0.5–0.7 fl. oz.) of coffee to be precise.

For our aspiring home baristas, ristretto shots are easy to pull compared to a regular espresso shot. We’ll prove it to you later in this article!

What Exactly Is A Ristretto?

“Ristretto” is an Italian word that translates into “restricted” or “shortened”. This is why it has a short extraction time, restricting the amount of water that’d run through the espresso grind.

For espresso grounds, when they come in contact with hot water, it releases the coffee’s sweet and acidic flavors first, and bitter compounds later. Since ristretto extraction ends earlier, the brew only ends up with acidic and sweet notes in the cup.

A ristretto shot will look much darker when compared to a regular espresso or a lungo shot. Because the dark brown coloring of the grinds comes out early during the extraction.

Is Ristretto The Same As Espresso?

Ristretto and espresso are made with the same espresso grinds. They both have the same brewing procedure. The difference is in their extraction time. An espresso shot needs 30-40 seconds. A Ristretto shot only needs 20-25 seconds.

A single shot of espresso equals 30 ml of drink, whereas a ristretto’s single shot has around 15-20 ml of drink.


  • An espresso machine. It’s a must! The only alternative is a Nespresso machine, where you’d have to use a Ristretto pod
  • A coffee grinder (in case the espresso machine doesn’t have one)
  • An espresso glass or a cup

Total preparation time: 3-4 minutes

Drink size: around 0.5 oz (smaller shot than a single shot of espresso)


  • Freshly ground coffee
  • Filtered water

Step-by-Step Instructions For Making Ristretto

Coffee Grinding

Clean the water from the portafilter and dry it before grinding. Perform regular espresso grinding

Tip: Since ristretto is already an intense drink, use light-roasted coffee beans as they are less bitter than the usual dark-roasted beans used for your espresso shots.

Tamp And Brew The Grind

Tap the grind-filled portafilter and evenly distribute it over the portafilter before tamping it

Now install the portafilter firmly into the group head. Before you start brewing, place your cup under the spout.

Short Extraction

Press the espresso brew button. The coffee will start to pour down after 7-8 seconds. Let it flow for another 15–18 seconds and then stop the brewing. Thus, you’ll be cutting short the extraction

As a result, your coffee will be intensely flavorful. The extraction flow should have a warm honey color. In the cup, your ristretto should have a pure black body color and a rich layer of crema on top of it.

Now serve and enjoy!

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