What is a ristretto shot?
A Ristretto shot is still an espresso shot, but it uses half the amount of water during extraction by using a finer grind. Therefore, the coffee has a more concentrated flavour.
How to make a Ristretto shot
What is the brew ratio?
This is a question of brew ratio, which is the ratio between the weight of ground coffee going into a shot of espresso compared to the weight of liquid coffee in the finished espresso shot.
The ratio for a Ristretto shot is 1:2, whereas a traditional Espresso shot would be 1:3.
For the standard recommended UK weight of ground coffee going into an espresso, which is 18 grams, a 1:2 ratio produces 36 grams (or ml) of liquid coffee. A 1:3 brew ratio produces 54 grams (or ml) of liquid coffee.
The Ristretto shot is smaller than a regular espresso but it is more concentrated. In today’s specialty coffee market, the tendency is to favour a 1:2 ratio in any case, simply because it produces a sweeter and more satisfying shot. This is especially true when using lighter roasted, more inherently complex and distinctive coffee beans.
Who drinks it and where is it popular?
Learn more about the origins of the ristretto shot
Ristretto means ‘shorter’ or ‘restricted’ in Italian and many believe it is the ‘perfect espresso’. It has become more popular with those who enjoy a bolder, less bitter taste than a traditional espresso.
You will find ristretto shots at most high street coffee shops, with some choosing to pour them over a traditional espresso. Ristretto shots are the base of Starbuck’s Flat White and you can request a ristretto shot in any of their espresso-based drinks. Costa has nicknamed it the ‘Danny DeVito of coffee’, as it is short yet powerful.
Why not try one next time you order your favourite drink?