Ristretto vs Long shot

Ristretto vs Long Shot: 5+ Major Differences to Know

Henry Muller

Imagine it's a lazy Sunday morning, and you're craving a perfect cup of coffee to kick-start your day.

But as you come across your brewing station, you get confused between a Ristretto or a Long Shot.

Well! Choosing between these two wholesome drinks is surely challenging. But don't worry! I am here to help you out.

In this article, we will discuss Ristretto vs Long shot.

So let's head forward.

Ristretto Overview

What is Ristretto coffee?

Ristretto is famous among coffee lovers as a cut-down espresso shot.

Best known for its intense flavor and aroma. It is a more concentrated espresso shot made using less amount of water in comparison to regular espresso.

As it's made of a comparatively small amount of water, it takes a shorter extraction time and yields a richer, stronger coffee.

Its history

Ristretto belongs to Italy, where espresso culture came into the picture in the early 20th century.

As espresso machines developed with time, baristas began experimenting with different brewing methods to get the perfect espresso shot.

Ristretto won coffee hearts as a variation appreciated for its bold and concentrated flavor.

Today, Ristretto has gained popularity in the coffee world for its deep flavors and versatility. It is served at coffee shops all around the world.

How to make a ristretto?

Step 1: Begin by grinding your favorite coffee beans

Take a grinder and start grinding your coffee beans. Take around 7-10 grams of coffee. Keep the consistency fine enough just like table salt. You can use a manual or automatic grinder that matches your preferences.

Step 2: Make your espresso machine ready

Preheat your espresso machine and make sure it's calibrated well for Ristretto extraction.

Step 3: Tamp your coffee grounds

Distribute and tamp your coffee grounds evenly into the portafilter.

Step 4: Pull the shot

Brew a shot of Ristretto by adding half the amount of water to the coffee grounds as you would for a traditional espresso shot. 

You can take here the ratio of 1:1 which is 7 ml of water in this case. Make sure you turn off the water pressure of the espresso machine after 15 seconds.

Take a mug and serve it immediately. Enjoy the rich, intense flavors of your freshly brewed Ristretto.

Long Shot Overview

What is a Long Shot?

The long shot is a longer espresso shot, which is well depicted, from its name itself.

Italians recognize it as Lungo. You can consider it the exact opposite of Ristretto.

It is brewed by using a less concentrated shot of espresso. In its preparation, more water is added to coffee than a standard espresso shot.

It gives a light taste to your coffee with bright acidity. A long shot takes longer intervals which is a longer extraction time for an equal amount of coffee as espresso.

Its history

Long Shot belongs to the Italian coffee culture. Since the 20th century, it has been cherished by coffee lovers worldwide.

Most people love to consume it in the morning. It's believed that Long Shot gained recognition as an alternative to traditional espresso for coffee enthusiasts who prefer lighter roasts.

From baristas to homebrewers, coffee lovers like it for its smooth and mild taste.

How to make a long shot?

Step 1: Begin by grinding your coffee beans

Take a grinder and grind your coffee beans. Here I am using around 8-10 grams of coffee. Keep the consistency slightly coarser than for a Ristretto. You can go for a texture similar to raw sugar.

Step 2: Prepare your espresso machine

Make sure your espresso machine is heated well and calibrated for long-shot extraction.

Step 3: Tamp your coffee grounds

Distribute your coffee grounds evenly and tamp the coffee grounds into the portafilter. Apply a little less pressure than you would for Ristretto.

Step 4: Pull a shot

Pull the Long Shot and run more water through the coffee grounds than you would for a traditional espresso shot. It would take a longer extraction time around 30-45 seconds and will yield a larger volume of coffee.

Serve it immediately and sip the smooth, mild flavors of your freshly brewed Long Shot.

Ristretto vs Long Shot: Differences Explained In-depth

The main difference between a ristretto and a long shot is that a ristretto is a concentrated shot of espresso made with less water, resulting in a more intense flavor. On the other hand, a long black is made by pouring a double shot of espresso over hot water, creating a drink that is slightly less intense than a ristretto but still bold and flavorful.

1) Coffee ground size

Ristretto generally requires a finer grind size. While Long Shot prefers a coarser grind. The use of a coarser grind for Long Shot prevents over-extraction.

2) Serving size

Ristretto is used in smaller quantities, something around 0.5 to 1 ounce. In contrast, Long Shot are comparatively larger, ranging from 2 to 4 ounces.

3) Extraction time

For coffee lovers looking for a concentrated flavor punch, Ristretto is best, extracted in just 15-20 seconds. This short extraction time gives a smaller, yet concentrated flavorful shot.

On the other hand, the long shot requires a longer extraction time, typically between 25-30 seconds. This extended brewing process yields a larger and milder cup, best known for its smooth and full-bodied taste.

4) Crema

Ristretto has a thicker and more concentrated crema layer. While Long Shot has a thinner crema.

5) Caffeine content

Ristretto contains more caffeine per ounce due to the less amount of water used. While Long Shot due to its more diluted extraction method has comparatively less caffeine.

6) Flavor profile

Ristretto has an intense and bold flavor profile. On the other hand, Long Shot has a milder and smoother taste with subtle fruity notes.

Long shot or Ristretto: Which one should you go for?

The choice between Long Shot and Ristretto narrows down to your flavor preferences.

If you want your coffee to have bold, intense flavors with a rich crema and higher caffeine content go for Ristretto. On the other hand, if you have a sweet tooth and like a smoother, milder brew that has a balanced flavor, Long Shot might be ideal for you.

Wrapping up

That's all for this article. I hope now you know what differentiates these two espresso-based drinks.

So whether you like the robust intensity of Ristretto or prefer the smooth Long Shot, understanding these distinct coffee drinks can make your brews better.

Now that you have insights about their origins, brewing instructions, and flavor profiles, you can confidently select between them based on your preferences.


1) Can you customize the flavor of ristretto and long-shot coffee?

Yes, you can customize the flavor of your coffee by making changes in brewing factors such as bean selection, grind size, brewing time, and water temperature for both Ristretto and Long Shot.

2) Can you use the same coffee beans for ristretto and long shot?

Yes, you can use the same coffee beans for both drinks. However, you might have to make slight changes in grind size and extraction time to optimize the flavor profile of each brew.


Henry Muller

Team TAB
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I am a barista by profession hailing from NC. My journey began in my late teens when I started working as a barista in a local coffee shop. My passion for coffee quickly became evident as I immersed myself in the art of espresso extraction, latte art ...