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What is a ristretto ?

Ristretto history
Composition and proportions of ristretto coffee
How to make a ristretto
Best espresso machines to brew ristretto
Best coffee grinders

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ristretto, what is ristretto, ristretto infographics
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What is a ristretto ?

Ristretto is a machine-brewed black coffee. It is made in the same way as espresso, but the extraction time is 12-15 (sometimes up to 20) seconds.

Peculiarities of ristretto coffee. When brewing a classic espresso up to the 16-17th second, most of the essential oils and compounds that form the richness of the drink's flavor: sourness, chocolate, citrus, and floral hues are washed out of the ground coffee. Very little caffeine enters the cup at this time.
From the 17th second on, caffeine, tannins which make the drink bitter, and chlorogenic acid decomposition products are released from the coffee grounds extensively. It is not known who first decided to conduct the experiment and see what would happen if the extraction process was stopped before the bitterness poured into the cup, but the result surpassed all expectations. The beverage prepared in this way has an unusual, rich flavor: almost all the essential oils intended for an espresso portion of 25-28 ml are dissolved in a much smaller amount of water.

Ristretto history

There is no single approach to the ristretto, and there is no standard for it. It's a topic of debate and discussion among baristas, and visitors to coffee shops sometimes accuse establishments of serving espresso instead of ristretto.
David Schomer
(pictured)
Ristretto came into vogue in the 1980s. One of the drink's ardent adherents is a renowned American expert David Schomer, owner of Espresso Vivace café in Seattle. According to Schomer, a properly prepared ristretto is "the best of coffee extracts. The coffee is the most flavorful part of espresso, thick as honey and fitting in a single sip."

The problem, however, is that there is still no standard ristretto recipe. Every café brews it in its own way, and there are at least two fundamentally different ways of making the drink.
David Schomer
Barista Hustle
In the Barista Hustle educational course, there is a short paragraph explaining why ristretto's are so popular. Industrial roasters often work with low quality commercial coffees. Such coffees are roasted darkly to hide defects, which makes them bitter. To get rid of excessive bitterness in the cup you can either reduce the volume of the drink, add milk, or do both. Baristas in the early days of spezelti-coffees worked with dark-roasted beans and smoothed out the bitterness in the ristretto. That's how the ristretto became popular.
What is a ristretto ?

Caffeine content in ristretto

Because of the higher concentration of essential oils, ristretto seems stronger than espresso. This impression is deceptive: in fact, ristretto has less caffeine.
Because the extraction stops before the caffeine is released from the grounds, the ristretto has much less caffeine than half an espresso.
Exactly how much caffeine is in a ristretto depends on the degree of grinding of the beans. The finer the grinding, the longer the extraction time and the more caffeine is washed out of the coffee grounds. But in any case two shots of ristretto have less caffeine than one shot of espresso. Those who can't drink strong coffee should opt for a ristretto brewed according to a classic recipe.

Ingredients for the ristretto

We canThe taste of the ristretto, like no other type of coffee, depends on the type of beans. Good quality beans do make an amazingly tasty ristretto. But if you choose the wrong blend, you end up with a tar-like, foul-smelling blend.
When choosing a coffee blend for a ristretto, you should keep in mind that no flaws in taste and smell can be hidden in this drink. The best ristretto comes from the highest quality 100% Arabica. Thanks to the cooking method, the taste of expensive monosorts is revealed to the fullest extent.
If the ristretto is going to be made with the classical technology, when the extraction time takes no more than 15 seconds, a fine espresso or a slightly coarser grind (but finer than average) will do.
But there is another recipe, according to which the beans are ground thinner than for espresso. This increases the total surface area of the ground coffee beans washed with water. Water passes slowly through the grounds, and to get 15 ml of coffee the extraction time is increased to 18-20 seconds.
Ristretto is brewed in Northern Italy from medium roasted coffee beans. In the South, dark roast is preferred: such coffee has almost no acidity, but chocolate tones are well perceived.
Ristretto requires bottled water with mineralization of 75-250 mg/l. Chlorinated tap water can significantly spoil the taste of the drink.
What is a ristretto ?

Proportions of ristretto, espresso and lungo

About coffee strength TDS

TDS stands for total dissolved solids, is the % of substances dissolved in the drink of its total weight.
Coffee beans consist of 50% cellulose, which is not soluble at all. The soluble substances are only 36%, which is the maximum that can be extracted under laboratory conditions. When coffee is brewed with water, the acids are extracted first, then the sugars, and finally the bitter substances. Coffee tastes good when these substances are in balance with each other.
TDS is primarily influenced by two main factors: Ratio, which is the ratio of coffee to water: the more coffee, the higher the TDS and vice versa. Grind: The finer the grind, the higher the TDS.


What is a ristretto ?

How to brew ristretto

Ristretto requires an espresso machine. The beverage cannot be brewed in a turkey, pour-over,
French press or any other alternative method.
Classic ristretto recipe
8 gm fine espresso coffee or slightly coarser grind; 15 ml water.

Grind coffee into the portafilter basket and press it with a tamper.
Lock your portafilter in the coffee machine. Place a cup with warmed bottom into the drip tray.
The brewing time is 12-15 seconds.
Alternative ristretto recipe
8 gm of coffee finer than for the classic espresso;
15 ml of water.

In this method, the extraction takes 15-18 seconds, sometimes up to 20 seconds, until 15 ml of coffee collects in the cup. This way you can make a ristretto stronger than in the classic version. But it is important to make sure that the filters of the coffee maker do not clog.

Double Ristretto
The drink is prepared from 14 - 18 gm of ground coffee and 30 ml of water.

The extraction time is the same as in the basic recipe.

How to serve and drink a ristretto

Ristretto is served in porcelain or ceramic coffee cups or in small glass glasses without handles. Along with coffee the guest is always offered a glass of water at room temperature. A spoon and sugar are not needed: the drink is not sweetened and not stirred.
Ristretto is drunk only after meals. Before you drink your coffee, take a sip of water to cleanse your receptors.
What is a ristretto ?

Best espresso machines to brew ristretto

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel

  • 15 bar Italian pump
  • Purge Function: Automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature
  • Stainless steel conical burr grinder with 1/2 pounds sealed bean hopper
  • 1600 watt thermo coil heating system
  • 67 fluid ounce (2 Liter) removable water tank with handle

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine, Solid

The Gaggia Classic Pro is improved by one of the best semi-automatic espresso machines available at the entry level. Texture milk with the latest commercial steam wand for a velvety microfoam suitable for latte painting. Brew specialist espresso with the commercial 58 mm portafilter style and the commercial single and double shot baskets included. Or, with the pressurized basket, get the most out of pre-ground or ESE pods. A new look is provided by the revised design, with improved pump mounts for quieter brewing.

  • Commercial Components
  • Cafe Quality Espresso
  • Improved Design

Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine, Solid

DeLonghi EC685R Dedica Deluxe 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine

In four colors, the De'Longhi Dedica DeLuxe Pump Espresso Machine offers the high-quality coffee brewing capacity you expect in an ultraslim 6-inch size from De'Longhi. In just 35 seconds, the Thermoblock Heating System provides ideal beverages.

You can also prepare several delicious cups in a row by using the Rapid Cappuccino Method to preserve the perfect temperature. With little or no effort, the Premium Customizable Frother enables you to change the foam and steam levels to customize a selection of delicious espresso-based beverages, such as flat white, latte macchiato and more.

For lattes or larger-sized drinks, the double drip tray may handle taller glasses. A cup warmer, standby energy-saving mode, descaling warning, removable 35-oz provide additional features. A tank of water and an anti-drip system. With the De'Longhi Dedica DeLuxe, bring the coffeehouse experience home. It's fast and easy, in no time you'll be sipping.

DeLonghi EC685R Dedica Deluxe 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine

What is a ristretto ?

Best coffee grinders for espresso machines to brew ristretto

Breville BCG820BSS Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder, Brushed Stainless Steel

Stainless steel conical burrs designed to reduce grinding heat and protect the coffee bean essential oils From the finest Espresso to the coarsest French Press Grind, 60 exact grinding settings. Tension: 110 120 Volt. Capacity: 165 Watts
Precision Electronic Timer allows users to change grind time every time in increments of 0.2 seconds and consistent dose 18 ounce coffee bean volume with a locking system for fast bean hopper removal, storage and transfer Grind directly into the portafilter, grind jar, filter basket for gold tone or filter paper Tiny portafilter cradle 50 54 mm; 58 mm wide portafilter cradle

Breville BCG820BSS Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder, Brushed Stainless Steel

Delonghi Stainless Steel Dedica Coffee Grinder KG521M

The Gaggia Classic Pro is improved by one of the best semi-automatic espresso machines available at the entry level. Texture milk with the latest commercial steam wand for a velvety microfoam suitable for latte painting. Brew specialist espresso with the commercial 58 mm portafilter style and the commercial single and double shot baskets included. Or, with the pressurized basket, get the most out of pre-ground or ESE pods. A new look is provided by the revised design, with improved pump mounts for quieter brewing.

  • Commercial Components
  • Cafe Quality Espresso
  • Improved Design

Delonghi Stainless Steel Dedica Coffee Grinder KG521M

Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Digital Timer Display

SPECIALTY COFFEE ASSOCIATION AWARD WINNING GRINDERS - Baratza grinders are favoured and endorsed by Baratza's world-class support from coffee professionals.
DIGITAL TIMER and BACKLIT GROUNDS BIN - a digital timer of 40 seconds, adjustable to a tenth of a second, and an LED backlit ground bin to reliably and regularly dose ground coffee.
40 GRIND SETTINGS - To help you discover a wide variety of brewing methods with enhanced commercial-grade conical burrs (espresso, Aeropress, Hario V60, Chemex, French Press, and automatic brewers).
STYLISH - A top and base of sculpted metal offer the Virtuoso+ a modern picture that highlights your coffee corner.

Baratza Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Digital Timer Display

Frequently Asked Questions about ristretto

Is Ristretto stronger than espresso?
I love the fact that coffee comes in so many variations that I can fit my morning brew's flavor and intensity to my mood. Ristretto is a rarely-spoken-of coffee. While ristretto is not as well-known as espresso or other types of coffee, that does not mean that it is not as delicious as its most popular equivalents. But is it more powerful than espresso? If you have asked this specific question and have not received a response, then your search is over!

Stronger than espresso, is Ristretto? Yes, ristretto is also much better than espresso in terms of flavor profile. It is described as sweeter and more concentrated than espresso, giving it a bolder flavor. As for caffeine content, a negligible amount of caffeine may be lost due to the preparation technique.
What does ristretto taste like ?
A ristretto is usually described as bolder, more aromatic, and has a tone that is sweeter than espresso. Yet it is noticeably less bitter as well.

The drop in bitterness is due to the extraction process using less water than espresso. In coffee, there are a number of significant chemical compounds which dissolve at different rates. Even the water temperature has an effect on the brew.
With ristretto, thus, using less water at a particular temperature, the brewing process stops before the bitterness comes through.
How many ristretto shots are in the Starbucks flat white?
An espresso drink made with two ristretto shots, paired with a thin layer of velvety steamed whole milk and finished with a latte art dot, is the Starbucks® Flat White. A shot of ristretto offers a sweeter, more powerful coffee taste
Why drink a ristretto?
A lot of health benefits, including improving our immune system and reducing stress, have been linked with drinking ristretto. Only try not to go overboard, as certain side effects can be induced.
what is ristretto at starbucks?
Ristretto is designed for complete espresso shots with the same Starbucks ® Espresso Roast used, however less hot water is forced through the field. With a sweeter, richer taste, the effect is a smaller, more concentrated serving.
tds for ristretto?
The TDS for ristretto from 12%
TDS stands for total dissolved solids, is the % of substances dissolved in the drink of its total weight
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