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Ristretto vs Long Shot: Here’s The Difference

Throughout our daily lives, coffee is a significant component. It’s something that many of us enjoy having every morning first thing. Perhaps in the afternoons or evenings, we enjoy sipping it slowly at our preferred cafe. In addition to giving us a great energy boost and providing us with fuel, coffee is also quite tasty.

While the phrase “espresso” may be well-known to many, its variations, such as “Ristretto” and “long shot” may not be and they may be difficult for beginners to tell between. Today we are going to talk all about the distinction between a Ristretto and a long shot. Let’s dig in!

Ristretto vs Long Shot

Ristretto: What Is It?

It is incredibly concentrated and very slightly liquid.
It is incredibly concentrated and very slightly liquid.

Ristretto, an Italian term, essentially means “limited”. As a result, it is described as an extremely potent, strong espresso drink. It is incredibly concentrated and very slightly liquid.

The ristretto shots resemble espresso. It is only half of a single shot, ideally 0.5 oz or 15 mL of espresso. It is drawn in half the time while using the same amount of grounds as an espresso. Consequently, the beverage has a less bitter taste.

The way a Ristretto is brewed minimizes all of the drawbacks that longer brewing methods have on the coffee. All of the coffee’s positive qualities come out first when it is extracted swiftly and under pressure. The more undesirable tastes, oils, and characteristics are released during extraction, the longer the procedure lasts.

Quick Fact: A double shot of espresso is sometimes referred to as a ristretto in coffee shops simply because it is thought of as being similar to traditional Italian espresso. The two drinks do differ significantly from one another, though.

Long Shot/Lungo: What Is It?

Lungo, which means long in Italian, became the name.
Lungo, which means long in Italian, became the name.

Another variation of Americano espresso coffee is long shots which are also known as the Lungo or Caffe Lungo. Using an espresso machine to make this coffee is an Italian method. To extract the coffee from the ground beans, a specified volume of water is used in this procedure.

It results in a shot that is more powerful and has a higher volume. Lungo, which means long in Italian, became the name.

Usually, twice as much water is used to prepare long shots of espresso as it is for a regular shot. An espresso beverage has more caffeine when more water is used. Additionally, the flavor has distinct deeper overtones.

The stronger notes of the coffee are also broken down by the lengthier extraction time. You will experience a more bitter aftertaste than a simple espresso shot. About 1.5 ounces, or 45 milliliters, make up a long shot of espresso. Unquestionably, the end product is still an espresso, although one that is softer and has more volume.

Would you like to know the French name for “long shot”? It’s known as cafe Allonge. Yes! You heard that right.

Ristretto vs. Long Shot: What Is The Difference?

Ristretto and the long shot are espresso variations with various shot lengths.
The ristretto and the long shot are espresso variations with various shot lengths.

Both the ristretto and the long shot are espresso variations with various shot lengths. Ristretto is a very potent coffee. The preparation’s milder and less potent variant is a long shot in contrast. To learn exactly what separates them from one another, let’s investigate every aspect in further detail.


The most important distinction between the ristretto and the long shot might be flavor. The most important distinction between the ristretto and the long shot might be flavor. A ristretto has a richer, fuller, and smoother flavor that is less bitter.

A long shot, on the other hand, is often described as being more flavorful and bitter, with floral undertones and other notes that would not be present in a ristretto or an espresso.

Amount of Water

There is twice as much water in a long shot
There is twice as much water in a long shot

A Ristretto is essentially a typical espresso variation. The emphasis is on the fact that a Ristretto is produced with approximately half less water than a regular espresso shot.
The fundamental distinction between a long shot and a ristretto is that a long shot is overly reliant on the volume of water that passes through its coffee bed.

There is twice as much water in a long shot as there is in a regular espresso shot. An espresso maker can be used to make both.

Espresso Extraction

Espresso is the name of an Italian coffee preparation technique that involves forcing hot water through coffee beans under pressure in an espresso machine. The coffee chemicals that contribute to the distinctive espresso kick can be extracted and concentrated using this method.

Instead of doing a full espresso extraction, a partial extraction is used for the ristretto. The only compounds that are pressed out of the grinds during this procedure are the first ones, which are sweet, acidic, and fragrant. As a result, you avoid having to remove the bitter components, which are typically at the end.

Quick Fact: Ristretto is therefore stronger since it is more concentrated, but it is less bitter because it hasn’t gone through the extraction process for the bitter components. A cup that is overly sour or acidic to your taste may result from under-extraction.

On the other hand, for a long shot, it’s like a longer espresso extraction. More of the components in the coffee is forced out, which increases the amount of caffeine extracted and increases the bitterness of the coffee. But you would also experience other distinct flavors that could only come from the very last coffee ingredients.

It produces a level of intricacy that many experts would find pleasing. Additionally, more water has been added to dilute it. it is less effective.

Grinding Size

To make a ristretto, espresso grounds that are finer than normal can be utilized. A more concentrated flavor results from less water passing through more refined grinds.

However, uneven or overly fine grinding could cause particles to pass past the filter and combine with the beverage, giving it a gritty texture and flavor. If using finer grinds, you can use the typical espresso pull time.

On the other hand, a long shot is made using the same procedure and amount of water but with coarser coffee grounds. Greater water flows through coarser grains extracts and dilutes more tastes.


The amount of coffee grounds you would need for each cup is referred to as the coffee dosage. All espresso variations use the same quantity of grounds, which is typically 7 g, or 0.015 lb, for a single shot, or 15 g, or 0.033 lb for a double shot. The main variables are pull times and water volumes.

Espresso and its variations are typically served as double shots. A typical espresso would therefore be about 60 mL or 2.0 oz and include 14-18 g, or 0.031-0.040 pounds, of coffee.

The same amount of coffee would be used in a double ristretto, but only 30 mL that is 1.0 oz would be used. Consequently, a long shot would typically be 130 to 170 mL or 4.4 oz to 5.7 oz.

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that baristas have a variety of recipes and may change the amount of water, coffee doses, and grind sizes, among other things. The ratios and notions are, nonetheless, mostly maintained.

Pull Time

Ristretto and espresso have a shorter pull time than lengthy shots
Ristretto and espresso have a shorter pull time than lengthy shots

Baristas used to pull levers on vintage espresso machines, hence the expressions “pulling a shot” and “pull time”. An electric pump is now used by modern equipment The length of time it takes to make espresso is therefore referred to as the “pull time”.

Ristretto and espresso have a shorter pull time than lengthy shots. Due to the prolonged brewing time, more coffee tastes and components, including caffeine, can be extracted than in the other two shot varieties. As a result, distinct floral undertones that you might not find in a ristretto are there.

Ristretto requires a shorter pull time because it is smaller and needs to be more concentrated. Less water is driven through the soils by shortening the draw time.
Some baristas utilize the typical espresso method, water volume, and grounds, but the processing time is halved.

In this method, a minimal amount of water is utilized even when the usual amount is added.


When it comes to aroma, discussions may get very heated. Because of the quick extraction time, the Ristretto process results in more intense aromatic qualities. The Ristretto method is more concerned with developing fragrant tones than it is with producing espresso with a lot of caffeine.

However, the long shot technique results in even stronger aromatic flavors. In addition, because of the prolonged extraction time, most if not all of the coffee’s harsh, heightened overtones will be completely diluted.

Earthy Note VS Smokey Note

The flavor notes of Long Shot vs. Ristretto are present The crema of a ristretto is generally thinner than that of an espresso. Little earthy aromas and diminished chocolate tastes. The earthy, chocolaty flavors are swapped out for floral and fragrant undertones. Less crema is a long shot.

The long shot may seem to have been burned due to the notes’ very intense creation. Many people prefer this sophisticated flavor to paler ones, though.

How to Prepare Ristretto?

Choose the coffee beans of your choice when starting. More finely ground than an espresso grind is the proper setting for coffee. Less water will pass through the beans with the finer ground. It makes the taste less bitter.

To make a ristretto, you need an espresso machine. Prepare a cup of espresso, Ristretto is typically served in espresso glasses. Therefore, be sure to have one as well!

How to Prepare Long shot?

An alternative to the Americano is long shots. It is an espresso shot that has warm water added to it. Long shots are full-length cups that are extracted using ground coffee. It can taste extremely harsh and has a lot of caffeine.

To make a good long shot follow these procedures:

  • For each shot, use 7 to 10 grams of ground coffee.
  • You may grind the coffee to a maximum a medium setting.
  • Hot water under moderate pressure is used to start the extraction process. The secret is to mimic freshly brewed coffee. Use a lengthy extraction period and a lot of water.
  • 5 to 7 ounces of each shot require a relatively long extraction time. On most machines. 60 seconds or 10 bar of pressure.
  • Crema should be light brown and quite heavy. But keep in mind that it will also leave a little sour flavor. When compared to the previous shots, the created shot will have a lot more caffeine.
  • Dispense it in a typical cup. You can enhance your acquired taste by adding a little milk. The flavor of this coffee can range from sour to bitter.

Which is Stronger? Ristretto vS Long Shot

Indeed, ristretto is a lot stronger than espresso. Compared to espresso or long shots, ristretto has a richer body and a syrupy consistency. It is said to have a stronger flavor and be more concentrated and sweet than espresso. In terms of caffeine content, a very little amount of caffeine may be lost during preparation.

Due to increased extraction, long shots will be a little bit more watery, have a more muted flavor, and contain a little bit more caffeine than ristretto.

Does Extraction Need to Be Done?

Due to the water reduction that baristas utilized to brew the coffee, the final shot is somewhat shorter and typically slightly denser. The most fundamental differences between ristretto and espresso, however, cannot be seen.

The fact that variable amounts of the various chemical components of the coffee extract are present is what makes the ristretto so special. A ristretto has its unique identity because of this. The fruitiness and sweetness-inducing soluble flavorings dissolve more quickly into the water that is forced through the coffee.

This implies that while a ristretto might not be able to demonstrate the overall balance of a well-made espresso, drinking a long shot might be a particularly sweet and fruity experience. If you enjoy the idea of a strong, quick cup of coffee, a ristretto might be for you.


There is a huge diversity of coffee available worldwide, and we are only now beginning to explore them. While ordering a standard espresso may be quick and easy, you lose out on the opportunity to discover the many variations available.

Give the ristretto or long chance a go, therefore, if you’re in the mood to try something new.

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About Denise Opi

Hi, my name is Denise and I hail from Lille, France. I am a teacher by day, and a coffee lover by night! My family owns a coffee farm, and I am excited to share my journey with everyone!