Ristretto vs Long Shot

Ristretto vs Long Shot

Espresso drinks are an art. Espresso shots are not new, but the interest in making an espresso drink has grown in popularity. 

Ristretto and long shots are the two kinds of espresso coffee shots we are comparing. Keep reading to understand the difference between Ristretto Vs Long Shot.

Espresso Shots Caffeine - Effect of Length of Espresso Shots

What Is A Ristretto?

The word ristretto comes from an Italian word that means restricting. A ristretto coffee shot gets this name because the water used is restricted when making a ristretto. The barista only pulls the first portion of a full-length espresso shot when making this drink. 

Less water goes through the dark espresso roast finely ground coffee beans in a ristretto compared to the standard espresso shot. The resulting beverage is smaller and more concentrated. It has a sweet, richer flavor than a shot that endures the whole pull. A ristretto shot is less bitter than a fully extracted long shot because they contain more flavor compounds that dissolve first in the ground coffee. 

A ristretto shot uses the same kind of coffee and amount of grounds as a regular or long shot of espresso. Dark espresso roast is the coffee grind of choice for an espresso drink. Espresso can be mixed with milk or other ingredients to create delicious coffee beverages.

Ristretto Shot

What Is A Lungo (Long Shot)?

Lungo is an Italian word that means long. In the coffee world, this word means a fully extracted espresso shot. The hot water is allowed to fully get all of the flavors of the coffee ground beans into the espresso shot.

A lungo uses twice as much water as a regular shot. A single regular shot of espresso uses about 30 milliliters of water and takes 18 to 30 seconds to pull. A lungo uses double the water and may take up to a minute to pull. 

Be careful to understand the difference between double espresso or doppio and long-shot coffee. While a double shot of espresso has twice the amount of finer grind-size coffee, the lungo has double the amount of water, keeping the amount of ground coffee the same as that in a normal single espresso shot.

A lungo is a good espresso shot to use if you are making a large drink. It is not as concentrated as a ristretto shot but has its benefits.

Ristretto Vs Long Shot – The Main Differences

One of the differences between a ristretto and a long shot is the type of bean that is usually used. Ideally, you should use a darker roast for ristrettos; otherwise, it will taste too weak. For long shots, we have the opposite situation. A light or medium roast is the way to go unless you enjoy really bitter coffee.

We explained what a ristretto shot and a long shot are. Now let’s look at the differences between them in detail.


These espresso shots are made from the same ingredients but have unique smells and tastes.

A ristretto shot has a shorter pull time, resulting in a lighter espresso shot. The aroma of a ristretto is light, fruity, and sweet. A ristretto shot has less water and is pulled through the espresso ground faster than a lungo shot, so there isn’t as much time to extract the deep flavors.

An espresso shot takes about 30 seconds to pull, while a lungo shot takes up to a minute. This longer pull time gives a lungo shot a deep aroma, including chocolate, nuts, and caramel.

Tasting Notes

Some espresso shots are best for taking a plain, while others are great for mixing drinks. The art of coffee making has produced some delicious-tasting espresso shots you do not want to miss. A ristretto shot, a regular espresso shot, and a lungo shot all have different tasting notes.

A ristretto shot is more pleasant to drink as a shot. It is lighter in flavor and has sweet and fruity notes. This small, light espresso shot is a great way to get a quick and delicious caffeine boost in the morning or afternoon.

A large amount of water makes a lungo espresso shot not as strong as a regular shot, but its longer pull time makes it more bitter. A lungo is a good shot for large espresso drinks with milk and syrup.

Caffeine Content

A ristretto shot and a lungo shot use the same espresso roast coffee. The only difference is the amount of water and time of pull of the espresso shot. While the base is the same, this difference in water and time results in differing caffeine content. 

The shorter amount of time on the pull for a ristretto shot results in lower caffeine content. The water does not have as long to extract the caffeine from the coffee grinds. A ristretto shot contains about 63 mg of caffeine. This is just under the amount of caffeine for a regular espresso shot. 

The longer pull time of a lungo shot allows the water to absorb more caffeine from the coffee grinds. A lungo shot has 77-89 mg of caffeine per shot. This is a relatively high amount of caffeine for an espresso shot. 

Grounds to Water content

The ingredients used in a ristretto shot and a lungo shot are the same. The only things needed are coffee grounds, water, and an espresso machine. The difference between the two is the number of grounds to water and the time of pull.

A ristretto uses a 1:1 ratio of coffee grounds to extraction. Seven to eight grams of ground coffee begin the process of making a ristretto. The espresso shot is extracted until 15 grams of coffee comes out. This is a small espresso shot.

A lungo shot has a ratio between 1:3 and 1:4 for coffee grinds to coffee extracted. The exact ratio differs between baristas’ or home brewers’ personal preferences. You might think that this ratio results in a weaker espresso shot, but the longer pull time gives a lungo shot a more bitter taste without being as concentrated. 

Different Shot Lengths of Espresso

Earthy Note Vs. Smokey Note

Each espresso shot has something different to bring to the table. Whether they are used to make a drink or taken as a shot, their flavors bring a different essence to every coffee drinker. 

A ristretto has more earthy notes. The short pull time allows for the light, fruity side of the coffee bean to shine through. Most coffee does not display this trait because it is brewed for longer, and the bitter side of coffee takes over. 

A lungo shot displays a smokey note. The longer pull time brings out the deep flavors the coffee bean has to offer. Smokey, dark chocolate flavors shine through and are great for flavoring espresso drinks. 

Which Is Stronger – Ristretto or Lungo?

A ristretto shot and a lungo shot have different properties in aroma, taste, and caffeine content. The different water content and pull time give each shot its unique properties. To know whether a ristretto or a lungo is stronger depends on your definition of strong.

A ristretto is a more concentrated espresso shot than a lungo shot. It has more coffee extracts relative to the amount of water. The small amount of water going through the same amount of grinds as a lungo shot makes it more concentrated. The shorter pull time makes it have less caffeine, however.

A lungo shot is less concentrated than a ristretto shot. It uses the same amount of coffee grinds but almost four times as much water. A lungo shot has a longer pull time, which makes it more bitter and has a larger caffeine content.

Why Are Ristretto Shots, Sweeter?

Ristretto shots are known for exhibiting a sweet aroma and flavor. These sweet, fruity espresso shots put a nail in the side of the thought that coffee is a bitter drink. Ristretto shots show a side of coffee that has been hidden in long brewing times for years!

Ristretto shots are sweet because the shot is pulled quickly, so the water does not have enough time to extract the bitter flavor from the coffee grounds. The quick pull only has enough time to extract the delicate flavors of coffee that quickly dissolve into the water.


Ristretto shots and lungo shots are similar espresso shots that use the same ingredients. A ristretto shot has a 1:2 ratio of coffee grounds to extracted coffee, while a lungo shot has a 1:4 ratio of coffee grounds to extracted coffee. Ristretto shots are light, fruity espresso shots, while lungo shots have a deep, bitter flavor. The two espresso shots have unique properties, and each has its own place and uses in the coffee world.

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