What Is the Difference Between Espresso & Ristretto?
Feb 24, 2020
If you spend any time in restaurants or coffeehouses, you will likely hear customers ordering espresso. After all, espresso has become popular both to order on the go and make at home.
What you might not be as familiar with is ristretto. This coffee drink has all the hallmarks of becoming a must-try hot beverage for anyone who enjoys a coffee bean brew.
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What Is Espresso?
Before diving into what makes a ristretto, you should first get a better understanding of espresso. Baristas make espresso by forcing very hot water through a precise measure of dry coffee. The result is an eye-opening drink that contains a maximum amount of flavor and body.
Many coffee shop patrons swear that a two-ounce cup of espresso has more caffeine than a regular cup of joe. Espresso is intense, but a single espresso shot actually has less caffeine than most 12-ounce cups of coffee.
Espresso has a reputation for being a tad on the bitter side. This fact is why some coffee lovers have moved to ristretto.
What Is Ristretto?
Ristretto starts exactly like espresso, with hot water and coffee grounds mingled together under significant force. In fact, ristretto can be made in any espresso machine. The difference between espresso vs. ristretto is the amount of water pressed into the grounds and through the filter. Ristretto uses about half to three-quarters the amount of water, making the ristretto "shorter" than the espresso.
Some ristretto lovers swear that the drink has a sweeter flavor than espresso. Due to its small brew amount, ristretto is typically ordered as a double shot.
How to Make Ristretto
Want to explore the excitement of making ristretto in your own home? You will need an espresso machine and the best coffee beans you can find. First, grind your coffee beans to a fine powder. Then, use less water than you would and only press the water through the beans for about 15 seconds or so. This process should elicit an intense coffee extraction that may be on the sweeter side.
Over time, you may want to experiment with your own unique ratios of coffee grind fineness, hot water type, pressure, and coffee type. Remember that every coffee roast you choose will add exciting attributes to your ristretto.
How to Make Espresso
Want to make some espresso and ristretto to conduct an at-home taste test? Follow your espresso machine directions for a basic two-ounce cup. Instead of forcing the water quickly like you did for the ristretto, allow the water to have more opportunity to pick up the bitter overtones of the brew. Once your cups are finished, you can try out espresso and ristretto and decide which one you prefer.
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