Ristretto Vs Long Shot : Which One Should Fill Out Your Espresso Craving?

Coffee plays a weighty part in our daily life. Many of us like to have it first thing in the morning every day. Some of us grab it on the way to our workplace. Maybe we like to sip it leisurely at our favorite café in the afternoons or evenings. Coffee gives us a good kick-up, fuels us, and most of all, it’s freaking delicious. 

If you want to add a new caffeinated beverage to your favorite list, you first have to know the most popular types of espressos. Also, among those which types are the talk of the town! By the way, we want to fill this one for you, they are Ristretto and Long Shot, also known as Lungo.


What Is A Ristretto

The Italian word Ristretto basically means restricted. So, it is defined as a drink of very concentrated, strong espresso. It is liquid in a small quantity and it is very concentrated.

The ristretto shots are similar to an espresso. However, it is only half of a single shot, preferably 0.5oz or 15mL of an espresso shot. While it uses the same quantity of grounds as an espresso, it’s pulled in half of the time. So, it results in a less bitter taste beverage.

The nature of how a Ristretto is brewed avoids all of the negative qualities of the coffee offers with longer brewing methods. When you extract coffee using pressure and quickly, all of the good traits of the coffee are the first to come out. The longer your extraction process lasts, the more negative flavors, oils, and qualities are released.


What Is A Lungo/ Long Shot Of Espresso?

The long shots, another sub-type of Americano espresso. Also known as the Lungo. It is an Italian process by using an espresso machine to prepare this coffee. This process uses a certain amount of water to extract the coffee from the ground beans. Which results in getting an increased shot that is larger in volume. Thus the name lungo, Italian for long.

For bringing out the long shots, typically the quantity of water utilized is double in amount than that is used for a regular shot of espresso. The use of extra water results in an espresso that has more caffeine. Also, it features unique darker notes in the taste. The longer period of extraction also breaks down the higher notes of the coffee. In the aftermath, you will end up with a more bitter taste than the casual espresso shot. A long shot of espresso in volume is about 1.5 oz or 45 ml.

In French, a long shot of espresso is called cafe Allonge.


How To Prepare Ristretto

Part – 1: Preparing The Ristretto

  • Select your coffee beans. Such as Robusta or an Arabica bean.
  • You should grind your coffee beans finer than an espresso grind. A finer grind will make sure less water to go through the beans. Resulting in a less bitter taste.
  • An espresso machine is required to make a ristretto.
  • Ready an espresso cup. Most ristrettos are offered in espresso cups. So make sure that you have one too!

Part – 2: Pulling The Ristretto

  • Fill up the espresso machine’s reservoir with filtered, cold water. Unfiltered water will not taste good and distilled water can harm the machine. Hard water can pile up lime inside your machine.
  • Let your water warm up. Most espresso machines will have a light signal that gets turn on from red to green to signify that the water is heated to the required level.
  • In the filter, place 14 grams of the ground coffee. It will make a single-serve of strong ristretto.
  • In the filter, tamp the coffee.
  • Return the filter to the espresso machine. Put the filter back into the machine. Now you are ready to brew!
  • Brew coffee for 15 seconds. You should end up with approximately 15mL or 0.5oz of coffee.

The Shortcut Method

We are including this process not because it will produce you a true ristretto but because of certain espresso machines or super-automatics equipped with pressurized filters. You will most likely have not sufficient control to perform the method we’ve described above. So, word of caution: Avoid this method if you can! But it will take you partly to your likely outcome. Below we tell you how it is done.

  • Get your grind as fine as you can possibly achieve for the espresso machine you are using.
  • Perform the Tamping as usual.
  • Start your coffee extraction. Allow it to run until you have coffee of 30mls for a double Ristretto.

This way of preparing is generally going to offer you an espresso that has been halted through the halfway. So it will not be as thick or syrupy as a real ristretto. But if that’s all your coffee machine will offer, it’s better than having nothing!

How To Make Lungo

Lungo shots are a different version to the Americano. It is a shot of espresso topped up with warm water. The lungo is a full long cup extraction through the grounded coffee. It contains lots of caffeine and can taste quite bitter.

Here are the steps and tips on making a quality lungo shot.

  • Use 7 to 10 grams of grounded coffee for each shot.
  • You are allowed to grind the coffee at maximum to Medium level.
  • Extraction method begins with hot water under medium pressure. The key here is to mirror a brewed coffee. With a long extraction time and lots of water.
  • Duration of extraction for 5 to 7 ounces per shot has to happen relatively slow. Around 60 seconds on most machines or around 10 bar pressure.
  • Crema should be very heavy as well as light brown colored. But remember, it will also give a slightly sour taste. The produced shot will have has much more caffeine compared to the other shots.
  • Serve it in a regular cup. You can add a dash of milk to your acquired taste. This coffee can taste somewhere between sour and bitter.

Difference Between Ristretto & Lungo

Those who at first glance can’t pick between classic espressos, ristretto, and lungo should try to get a closer view. It is mainly the level of grinding. The roasting and blending process makes the difference between the methods of preparation.

While the lungo, having a rather coarsen ground is ideally equipped for a prolonged processing time. On the other hand, the ristretto with a highly fragrant aroma flows into the cup within a few moments. And it performs so with substantially less liquid.

The ristretto needs the least coffee into the cup while the lungo needs the most. This also spells out why many coffee connoisseurs admit the ristretto to be the most sophisticated of all coffees.

Ristretto a highly concentrated coffee. A lungo, in comparison, is the milder and less concentrated version of preparation. Both have their advantages on aromatic notes.


Wrapping Up

Coffee in itself is a beverage that can be consumed and savored in so many different ways. If you are searching for something to offer you the perfect caffeine kick as well as like simple things in life, then the ideal choice is to go all out for pure shots of ristretto. However, if something that is so concentrated does not meet your craving or palate and yet you need a simple drink of coffee, then your safe bet is with the long shot of espresso or also known as Lungo in Italian.

Enjoy Your Coffee!

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