Ristretto vs Long Shot Espresso: The Difference

Ristretto vs Long Shot Espresso from Dash of Vigor

Have you ever heard of Ristretto? If yes, do you know the difference between a ristretto vs long shot?

For many of us, coffee is a vital component of our daily routine. It can jolt us up and give us the energy to begin a new day. As a result, coffee comes in a broad range of flavors to delight any coffee enthusiast. With so many different types of coffee to pick from, it’s only natural that we’d want to choose the one that best matches our taste buds out of all the options.

If you assume that just someones who desire sophisticated coffee beverages have trouble with substitutes and modifications, you’re wrong. There are many different ways to make even a “plain” espresso. Each has its own name and brewing method. So, it comes to mind to ask you: Do you know what a ristretto or a long shot is?

I am here to help you understand the distinctions between ristretto vs. long shot. Which drink will be your next favorite?

Let’s find out.


  1. What Is A Ristretto?
  2. How To Make A Ristretto At Home?
  3. What Is A Long Shot?
  4. How To Make Long Shot (Lungo) At Home?
  5. What Is Ristretto Vs. Long Shot?
  6. Ristretto Vs Long Shot: The Difference

What Is A Ristretto?

The espresso called a “ristretto” is made with finer grinds and less water than a standard espresso. The extraction process usually takes around 15 seconds. Many bitter components of the ground beans do not have time to permeate the drink when there is less time for the water to settle on the grounds. Because of that, the beverage’s taste is quite mellow and pleasant. Making a ristretto has the added benefit of allowing to make a sweeter, more dessert-like café latte, cappuccino, or flat white.

You may also create a ristretto using a lesser brand of coffee, such as a very dark roast. That is because the short extraction period prevents you from tasting the whole spectrum of bitterness in the beans. You can make a great cup of coffee as long as the beans are ground very finely.

Although many people mistakenly believe that short shots equal a higher caffeinated beverage, ristretto contains less caffeine because of its faster draw through the water.

Because the extraction time is so brief in a ristretto, the roast type of the coffee isn’t as significant. You won’t be able to taste the whole spectrum of bitterness in the beans if they’re cheap, dark roast. In fact, ristretto is the café drink of choice for individuals who want a sweet but not overpowering cup of coffee. However, suppose you are using an automated espresso maker at home. In that case, you must use the finest grind of coffee you can find.

How To Make A Ristretto At Home?

You’ll need an espresso machine to prepare this drink. The device will allow you to experiment with different coffee options and brew your favorite drink at home. Take a look at my instructions below.

  • 7g ground ristretto beans
  • 15ml of filtered water
  • 12-15 sec extraction

STEP №1 – Prepare your coffee beans.

Because the brewing time is significantly shorter, you should ground the ristretto beans finer than espresso beans to get the best coffee extraction. As a result, finer grinds provide a less bitter flavor and allow you to suspend the bitterness in your ristretto more rapidly.

STEP №2 – Prepare your espresso machine.

Fill the water reservoir with cold filtered water and let it heat up, just as you would with any other espresso machine. Then, to prepare the coffee for the device, add coffee grounds on the filter and tamp the coffee.

STEP №3 – Brew your ristretto.

Let 15 seconds for your ristretto to brew. After that, you will have 15 ml of ristretto in your cup. You may repeat the technique to obtain a double shot, commonly served by baristas at coffee shops. Aside from that, you may make your ristretto in any way you like. After all, one of the best things about preparing coffee at home is that you can put anything in it.

What Beans Are Good For Ristretto Coffee?

I’d be negligent if I didn’t provide you with my recommendations and ideas on what coffee beans to use and what roasting degree works best with this brewing technique. I also want to share any grind considerations to produce an outstanding ristretto.

Type of Beans

Like any espresso-based drink, whether it’s a macchiato or a lungo, Sumatran, Brazilian, or even Nicaraguan coffee beans work well in most espresso-based beverages. However, you shouldn’t restrict yourself to just those three. Single-origin coffee beans from Central America and Indonesia will work just as well in a ristretto.


Given the virtually identical character as espresso, ristrettos tend to choose medium-dark to dark roasts. Both roast degrees tend to bring out the best in whatever bean you’re using, and the espresso brewing process just enhances the bean’s brightness, fragrance, body, and taste attributes.

Grind Size

The grind size is the last item to consider when brewing a ristretto. Ristrettos, like espressos, are made with finely ground coffee beans and brewed with pressured hot water forcing through the grounds. If you ground them too finely, you’ll wind up with bitter, over-extracted coffee, which is never a good thing.

What Is A Long Shot (Lungo)?

Have you ever thought about ordering a Lungo because the person in front of you did? So, now let’s see whether it’s worthwhile to test it out.

Another way of extracting coffee from ground beans using an espresso machine is the long shot, often known as Lungo (Italian for short). It tastes similar to a typical espresso shot but more significantly.
It entails altering the amount of water used in regular espresso preparation.

For the same amount of grounds as with Espresso, you need to double the water. The brew ratio is 1:4 (twice the water that is used for Espresso). In contrast, the brew ratio for Espresso is 1:2. The extra water results in a more prominent shot of coffee, more caffeine, and distinct, deeper notes of the coffee’s full taste. The flavor of it will be more potent than standard Espresso. 

Lungo, like ristretto, isn’t very popular because many people don’t know how to make it.

How To Pull A Long Shot

As with the Ristretto, there are no precise specifications for a Lungo. For their long shot, some baristas prefer to grind coarser. There is enough time left to do the 54-gram extraction.

Others prefer to grind their coffee as they would for an espresso shot, resulting in a long one that takes closer to 40 seconds. When it comes to the long shot, there are no absolutes. But, well, that’s part of the appeal of coffee. 

What I can say here is that is Lungo is much bigger than Espresso. And while the extraction time for Espresso is around 20-30 seconds, for Lungo is between 35-40 seconds. And of course, you can follow the brew ration coffee to water for Lungo 1:3 to 1:4.

Try long shot vs. ristretto and see which one you like!

Long Shot Flavor Profile

There are tastes in a long shot that you won’t find in a ristretto or an espresso shot. However, the flavors of ristretto shot vs. long shot are significantly diluted because we use so much water.

Despite having a milder flavor than a ristretto, a long shot contains more caffeine due to a greater extraction. Some coffees work particularly well as a long shot, bringing out the delicate flowery overtones in the cup. Ideally, we’ll end up with a long shot that’s less murky and intense than the ristretto’s shorter sister. A lengthy coffee shot allows you to properly taste the original qualities of your beans.  

How To Make Long Shot (Lungo) At Home?

Do you want to try your hand at making a lungo shot at home? It’s simple to accomplish if you have all the needed equipment.

Equipment for Lungo

  • Espresso Machine

You can not prepare the authentic Lungo without an Espresso Machine. As a backup, you could use a Nespresso machine. The taste of the Lungo coffee from it will be close to the original.

  • Coffee grinder

If your Espresso Machine has such an option, then you will be fine. But if it is not, then you will have to invest in a coffee grinder.

  • Whole Coffee Beans

Do not rush to grind coffee beans after you buy them. Use the coffee grinder or Option that is part of your Espresso machine just before you make a lungo. You can use whatever coffee you like but keep it fresh for the best end result. 

If you are not sure, well, the espresso roast is a very good choice for a lungo. It’s critical to use espresso roast to achieve the correct dark, bitter flavor in an espresso shot.

  • Filtered Water

Water is always the main ingredient for every cup of coffee. So, use only good quality water to make your coffee.

Step-by-step preparation of Lungo

Making a lungo is simple once you have an espresso machine and the correct coffee. All you have to do is:

  1. Set your espresso machine to manual mode and draw the shot for 35 to 40 seconds.
  2. Grind coffee: To make the coffee, grind 9 grams of espresso roast coffee for a single lungo shot and 18 grams for a double lung shot. Grind the coffee to an excellent powder. Your machine will require a varied grind for different roasts and brands of beans.
  3. Pack and tamp the coffee grounds. Fill the espresso basket (portafilter) with coffee grounds until it’s slightly heaping over the top. Press the grinds evenly into the portafilter with the tamper, forcefully pushing until thoroughly crushed. Before tamping, place the portafilter on a folded towel, or use a knock box to tamp and remove discarded grinds. The coffee grinds should be as even and straight as possible to produce the perfect lungo shot.
  4. Draw the shot using manual mode. Place the portafilter in the espresso machine and push the coffee shot button. For a double lungo, make sure it lasts 35 to 40 seconds, resulting in 3 ounces of coffee (compared to 25 to 30 seconds for a standard espresso double shot).

What Is Ristretto Vs Long Shot?

The degree of grinding distinguishes the long shot vs ristretto. Your preparation technique’s roasting and blending processes will differ, resulting in diverse tastes.

You will also use less hot water with the ristretto. As a result, less water will move through the soils. Consequently, you receive a more miniature, more concentrated, sweeter, and richer-tasting drink.

Ristretto shots preserve more tasty ingredients that would otherwise be lost in other coffees. As a result, ristretto has a richer flavor and is less bitter than espresso that has been fully extracted.

While ristretto will bring you a smaller coffee and a long shot more coffee, most coffee experts consider it a sophisticated coffee. Many think it to be the most refined espresso drink.

And the last difference between ristretto shot vs. long shot is that lungo is a coffee that is less intense or softer. On the other hand, ristretto is a highly concentrated variation of espresso preparation.

Ristretto Vs Long Shot: The Difference

Ristretto15ml7gFine12-15 secondsConcentrated, bolder flavor with sweet finish, more crema33 mg
Long Shot60ml9gMedium30-40 secondsSubtle flavors more evident, more palem thinner crema70-80 mg
Ristretto Vs Long Shot: The Difference

Let’s see the main differences between ristretto shot vs long shot. After that, you will quickly decide which one is better for you.

Overall Flavour

The ristretto’s shorter extraction period includes more fast-evaporating coffee components per volume. This increases the acidity, resulting in milder, flowery, and fruity flavors. They’re ideal for coffee drinkers who want a soft roast.

Lungo shots are filled with rich, single-note flavors like burned caramel and smokey overtones. They have more of the slow-soluble coffee flavors in a single coffee shot. Some people find the taste to be overly harsh or burned. This choice is preferable for people who love coffee with a robust and dark roast.


When making ristretto, we use less water. This means the concentrated dose you get is more flavorful and saturated. Furthermore, the coffee will have a sweeter flavor profile with less bitterness because of the shorter extraction period.


Because of the excellent grind used in ristretto, many people believe it will be creamier than a long shot, but this is not the case. Because the extraction period is so brief (less than 30 seconds), not enough water is sent through the mechanism to generate much more than a thin crema layer. On the other hand, an excellent double shot would frequently have a grainy, smooth layer.


Acidity is the foundation of excellent coffee. I realize this is a bold statement. But consider this: the world’s most excellent coffee is revered not only for its flavor but also for its refined acidity.

While an espresso requires acidity to be enjoyable, a ristretto does not. All of that deliciousness is in a ristretto. It’s challenging to feel like it’s missing in taste since it’s so flavorful. Under-extracted ristretto may be pretty sour.

Brew techniques

Long shot vs ristretto compares the two ends of the espresso spectrum. It takes a different kind of grind and two different kinds of brewing to make two different tastes. Concern the details of each to choose the one that best suits your preferences.

The brewing process and coffee-to-water ratio are the main differences between these two beverages. The long-shot employs a 1:3 ratio, which means you’ll get three times the amount of brewed espresso from the same amount of ground coffee.

Water Volume

The amount of water used in pressure-brewed coffee is one of its distinguishing features. Pull times, which beans and roasts generate the most refined tastes, and even what sort of grind to employ are determined by this.

It takes about half as much water to make a ristretto as it does to make a single shot of espresso or approximately 15 milliliters. On the other hand, long shots utilize nearly three times as much water as a ristretto or 45 ml. Long shot coffees contain a higher volume and generally serve in giant glasses.

Extraction Time

The extraction time for ristretto is usually shorter. It takes half the time to extract than an espresso, at 15 seconds. On the other hand, long shots take 30 to 45 seconds to fully extract. This, however, varies depending on the beans, the roast, and personal preference.

Caffeine Content

Because ristretto coffee is in contact with water less than lungo, it has less caffeine per shot. Because of the extended extraction time, a long shot has slightly more caffeine than espresso, although the difference isn’t significant. It’s a slight contrast that you would overlook if you were sipping the coffee.


Is a lungo the same as an Americano? 

A Longo coffee is an espresso shot in which the water runs through for a longer time (between 30-40 seconds). An Americano is a mix of an espresso shot and hot water added additionally to the cup.

Is ristretto stronger than long shot?

Ristretto has less caffeine (around 30mg) than Long Shot (around 70mg). This makes the Ristretto weaker than the long.

Is ristretto stronger than espresso?

Espresso has twice as much caffeine as Ristretto, which makes it stronger than Ristretto. The amount of caffeine in espresso is 64mg, while in Ristretto is 33mg.

Final Words

Do you have a strong desire for an espresso right now? Which espresso style do you prefer? Is it better to have a sweet ristretto or a long one? It’s all a question of personal preference. If you’re a coffee fan and still haven’t made up your mind, here’s what I’d suggest. Order ristretto shot vs. long shot at your favorite coffee shop and compare the two to see which one provides you the most caffeine spike. And who knows, maybe the barista may even explain how they make both beverages to you.

Alternatively, if you have an espresso machine, brew each variation separately to compare. Experiment with different espresso mixes to see what you can come up with. You’ll see that the coffee long shot vs. ristretto duel is an epic struggle, as I’ve been talking about.

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