The most delicious and concentrated form of coffee: a ristretto. But what is a ristretto? And how do you make this coffee?

I’ve been drinking coffee for quite a while now, and I absolutely love the flavors of this coffee.

Quick Answer: What is a ristretto coffee?

A ristretto is a small amount of coffee made using an espresso machine. It’s made the same way as you would an espresso, but with half the amount of water.

In this article, I’ll answer all the most commonly asked questions about this coffee.

However, this is not all. I’ll also tell you how to brew some of this amazing coffee yourself without using an espresso machine.

What Is a Ristretto? and 9 More Ristretto Questions Answered

Does that sound like something you’re interested in? Then grab yourself a good cup of coffee and start reading away!

What is a ristretto?

As I’ve mentioned above, a ristretto is a small amount of coffee made using an espresso machine, and it’s made with half the amount of water compared to an espresso.

The coffee has a very distinct flavor that you cannot get anywhere else.

The coffee is made by pulling a “shot” out of the espresso machine and is served as is or can be used to make various coffee recipes.

It’s made with the same amount of coffee but with less water. I’ll talk about the differences a bit further down. Let me first tell you what a “shot” is:

What is a ristretto shot?

A ristretto shot is a small amount of coffee that is pulled out of an espresso machine.

The “shot” is actually just the coffee that comes out of the machine. It’s called a shot because it is such a small amount of coffee compared to regular cups of coffee.

Both ristretto and espresso are served in shots. If you’d like to order either of the coffees in a coffee bar, you can always order it by asking for a shot.

"Shot of ristretto."

However, the most common way to ask your barista is just to order the coffee of choice by name. Either way, they’ll get the gist of it.

Are ristretto shots stronger?

Ristretto shots are stronger in flavor compared to an espresso. Both coffees use the same amount of coffee beans.

But by using a lesser amount of water to make a ristretto, the coffee that is served tastes a lot stronger.

If you don’t have an espresso machine at home, you can always order it at your favorite coffee bar or brew some yourself.

If you want to learn how to do so, you can read along and find out all about it!

How to make a ristretto at home

The best way to make this coffee at home is by using an espresso machine.

However, most people don’t have an espresso machine at home, so I’ll tell you how to make a ristretto coffee using different brewing techniques.

To start this off, let me tell you which coffee brewers can produce the best ristretto:

  • AeroPress
  • Moka pot

I have been giving these coffee brewers a good try for quite a while now. The best part about them is the price point. They are far less expensive than an espresso machine.

However, I must point out that you cannot compare the coffee produced using one of these techniques to coffee made using an espresso machine.

You simply don’t have enough bars to produce the same coffee.

These small coffee brewers use pressure to push water through a coffee bed but use far fewer bars.

It also cannot produce the well-known crema. But this doesn’t stop it from tasting great.

How to brew a ristretto using an AeroPress

To produce this amazing coffee using the AeroPress, start by grinding 17 grams of coffee beans to a fine/ medium grind size. The grind size that I like to use looks like this:

"Grind size used to brew AeroPress coffee."

Now, let’s get started on the brewing guide. There will not be many steps to follow, and I’ll guide you through all of them step-by-step. Hang tight and start from the top:

  1. Start by boiling a cup’s worth of water.
  2. Fill the AeroPress cylinder with your freshly ground coffee beans. Place the cylinder on a coffee cup. The coffee cup will catch all that delicious coffee.
  3. After your water has come to a boil, pour 25 grams of water into the coffee-filled cylinder. It is best to use a scale to measure the amount of water. This will result in the best coffee possible.
  4. Make sure to wet all the coffee grounds and stir the coffee for 10 seconds using the stirring wand of the AeroPress.
  5. Grab the second cylinder, place it on top of the other, and then slowly start pressing down.
  6. Once you hear a slight hissing sound, stop pressing and remove the cylinders from your cup.
  7. You have now made some delicious coffee! Make sure to clean your AeroPress and enjoy your coffee as is, or use it to make a coffee recipe.

As you can see from the brewing guide listed above, the making of coffee using an AeroPress is not that hard to do.

By adding the same amount of ground coffee you’d usually use and using less water, a different coffee is created. Amazing, right?

If you haven’t yet made coffee using the AeroPress before, you can check out this beginner’s guide to making AeroPress coffee.

In this article, I’ll go over everything you need to know to brew some amazing coffee!

Now, let me show you how to brew this coffee using the Moka pot. Any Moka pot will suffice.

I’m using this induction version of the Moka pot as I use induction at home, but if you have a gas stove, you can use the regular version of the Moka pot.

How to brew a ristretto using a Moka pot

Out of the two brewing guides, this is the easiest to follow and brew Your Dream Coffee along the way.

You have to go through fewer steps to make amazing coffee compared to using the AeroPress.

Start by grinding 35 grams of coffee into a fine coffee grind. This amount of coffee will fill up the Moka filter cup.

Using this amount of coffee, the water that runs through will have a setup to the best extraction possible. Let’s get started:

  1. Boil a cup’s worth of water and grind your coffee beans if you haven’t done so already.
  2. Add your ground coffee beans into the filter bucket and slightly press them down into the filter, creating a flat coffee bed. This will, again, help with the best extraction of your coffee.
  3. Fill the Moka pot’s bottom compartment with the boiled water and set the coffee-filled filter on top.
  4. Twist the top part onto the Moka pot and place it on your stove on medium heat.
  5. You can leave the cover of the Moka pot open so you can see what you’re doing.
  6. The steam forming inside the bottom compartment will push water through the filter and leave you with an amazing full-bodied coffee.
  7. For the essential step, you have to watch that there is not too much water coming through the filter.
  8. Remove the Moka pot from your stovetop when about 1/4 of the water has run through. This is the most important step to creating a ristretto instead of an espresso.
  9. You have to use more water to get the steam building up in the bottom compartment; otherwise, you’ll have to wait a long time to start enjoying your coffee.
  10. After you’ve removed the Moka pot from the heat, pour the coffee into your favorite cup(s) and enjoy! Don’t forget to clean it for its next use.

Although this brewing guide is much easier to follow and fewer steps are involved, you do have to watch your coffee being brewed to make sure you’re brewing the right amount of coffee.

However, once you have your Moka pot on the stove, your coffee will be done in no time, and I must say that looking at fresh coffee pouring out of the little spout is really fun.

If you have yet to try brewing coffee using the Moka pot at home, I suggest reading through this beginner’s guide for the Moka pot.

It will teach you how to brew the best coffee possible.

This technique will take a bit more practice to enjoy your coffee to the fullest, but when you have brewed that amazing cup of coffee, you don’t want to drink other coffees ever again!

Does a ristretto have less caffeine?

Ristretto has almost the same amount of caffeine compared to espresso, between 60 and 80 mg.

Using the same amount of ground coffee and less water to extract the coffee, you get a far different flavor, but the caffeine in the coffee will not change.

The amount of caffeine in coffee is measured in the number of coffee beans used when brewing the coffee.

The amount of caffeine extracted from the coffee beans depends on how long the hot water will run through the coffee.

"Medium roasted coffee beans you can use to brew amazing ristretto at home."

It uses less water to produce a cup of coffee and will be finished in less time.

So, the caffeine content will stay about the same, give or take, because of the ground coffee used.

Is ristretto stronger than espresso?

Ristretto tastes stronger than espresso because of the lesser amount of liquid produced in the coffee making.

Both coffees use the same amount of ground coffee, but a ristretto uses less water, which results in a stronger-tasting cup of coffee.

By using less water to brew the shots of coffee, you get the feeling that you’re drinking a stronger cup of coffee. The amount of coffee that comes out plays a big role.

When you order an espresso, you can drink it in 2-3 slurps. On the other hand, a ristretto can be drunk in about two slurps of coffee or even one.

I recommend drinking your coffee slowly to enjoy all the flavors that the coffee has to offer.

I’ve been drinking both coffees for some time now, and I really like their flavor; however, there is definitely a difference between them. Read along to find out what it is:

What is the difference between a ristretto and an espresso?

The difference between a ristretto and an espresso is the amount of water used to brew both cups of coffee.

You’ll get 25ml of coffee when ordering a ristretto and 30ml of coffee when ordering an espresso.

Down below, you can see the difference in coffee. A ristretto on the left and an espresso on the right:

"Ristretto and espresso next to each other for comparison."

Because of the lesser amount of water that has run through the coffee machine, you’ll get a more concentrated coffee.

When comparing the coffees, the water is the only factor that makes these coffees so different.

The same amount of coffee is used to brew these coffees, so you can see how much difference it can make to brew coffee with additional water.

Related article: Ristretto vs. Espresso: Everything You Need to Know in 2024

How to drink a ristretto?

Ristretto is commonly drunk from a small coffee cup and is served with a glass of water (either flat or sparkling).

To drink, stir the crema through the coffee, pick up the cup, and take a sip of the coffee.

Set the cup back down after the first sip of coffee. Most commonly, there are only about two sips of coffee in the cup.

This is because of the amount of water used to brew the coffee.

It is best to wait for a minute after the shots of coffee have been pulled. Giving the coffee a bit of rest before drinking is to make sure you get the fullest flavor possible.

When coffee cools down slightly, you get to taste more flavors. By drinking such a concentrated form of coffee, you’ll want to enjoy it to the fullest.

You can also drink this coffee by incorporating it into some delicious coffee recipes as well. You can read all about it down below:

How do you use a ristretto?

Ristretto is most commonly used as the basis for coffee recipes. But you can also order and drink it as is.

To use it in a coffee recipe, simply add it to your drink and stir until combined.

There are so many ways to incorporate it into your day; it’s amazing. For example, if you feel like making some coffee drinks like:

"Making Proffee using ristretto shots as the coffee basis."

You can swap out the espresso and use a ristretto instead. Because ristretto has less coffee overall, feel free to trade the espresso for two shots of ristretto.

This way, you get a much more pronounced coffee flavor to your recipe and also more caffeine!

The flavor profile of the coffee recipe(s) will change drastically, and you’ll be finding all sorts of coffee flavors that you haven’t tasted before.

What does ristretto taste like?

Ristretto tastes full-bodied and has more floral and sweeter notes to it. There are fewer bitter notes to be found because of the lowered extraction time of the coffee.

The sweeter coffee notes that you can find in the coffee can also be described as floral.

Sometimes, I also feel that the robust and bitter flavors like rubber, dark chocolate, and burnt caramel are nowhere to be found.

I really like drinking it for this reason. The flavor profile is so different from espresso. It is a fantastic coffee to drink.

If you haven’t tried this concentrated coffee before, I can highly recommend it.


It is so interesting to know all about the different types of coffee produced around the globe. Ristretto is the most concentrated form of coffee used and tastes amazing.

If you haven’t tried this coffee before, I highly recommend trying it out.

If you worry about not liking the taste of this coffee, make sure to order another coffee drink along with it.

If you don’t like the coffee’s taste, you can pour it into the other coffee drink and enjoy it like that. You’ll get a highly caffeinated cup of coffee that will get you through the day!

If you want to learn more about some cool coffee facts and comparisons, I’ve written a few articles that might be of interest to you. You can check them out below.

Will you try this concentrated form of coffee soon? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. If you have any other questions regarding coffee, you can also contact me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!

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