Long Shot vs Ristretto: Key Difference Between a Ristretto & Long Shot (Lungo)

Coffee shot anyone? There are so many coffee types out there that sometimes it can be confusing to know what you’re ordering, let alone what the difference is between two seemingly similar drinks. So, today we’re here to help clear up any confusion by explaining long shot vs ristretto.
Simon Vaughan
long shot vs ristretto

Long Shot vs Ristretto: Coffee Drinks Explained

Both long shot and ristretto are espresso-based drinks. A standard espresso shot is a very strong coffee that is made by forcing hot water through tightly packed, finely ground coffee beans. This process produces a small amount of coffee with a lot of flavor. So, knowing this, we can deduce that both Long Shot and Ristretto will be strong, flavorful coffees.

Now that we know a little bit about espresso, let’s get into the long shot vs ristretto debate.

What Is Long Shot Coffee?

Before we will discuss long shot vs ristretto, let’s explain what each coffee is. A long shot coffee, also known as lungo in Italian, is a type of espresso that is made using more water than a regular espresso. The result is a coffee that is weaker and less concentrated. 

While the long shot brewing method was developed as a way to create a more dilute espresso, it can also be used to reduce the intensity of an espresso that is too strong. To make a long shot, baristas will use more water than they would for a regular espresso. This results in a longer brewing time and a coffee that is less concentrated. Long shots are often served in large cups, as the weaker flavor is more palatable for some coffee drinkers. However, if you’re looking for a less strong coffee, a long shot is the perfect choice.

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What Is Ristretto?

A ristretto coffee is a type of espresso coffee that is made using less water than a regular espresso. The result is a coffee that is stronger and more concentrated. Ristretto coffees originated in Italy, and the name comes from the Italian word for “restricted.” 

The ristretto brewing method was developed as a way to create a more intense espresso without making the coffee bitter. To make a ristretto, baristas will use less water than they would for a regular espresso. In consequence, you’ll get a shorter brewing time and the coffee will be more concentrated. Typically, people drink ristrettos in small cups, as the strong flavor can be too intense for some coffee drinkers.

The Key Difference Between a Ristretto and a Long Shot

Long shot vs ristretto – so what is the key difference? The main difference between long shot coffee and Ristretto is the amount of water used in the brewing process. Long shots are made with more water, resulting in a weaker and less concentrated coffee. Ristrettos are made with less water, resulting in a stronger and more concentrated coffee. So, if you’re looking for a strong coffee, a Ristretto is an even stronger variation of espresso. Long shot coffee, on the other hand, is the opposite.

Double Espresso vs Long Shot

Many people confuse double espresso and a long shot. A double espresso uses twice the amount of coffee grounds. This results in a double shot that is much more concentrated and strong. A long shot, on the other hand, is made with more water and less coffee grounds. This results in a weaker and less concentrated coffee.

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Long Shot vs Ristretto – The Amount of Caffeine

Ristretto vs long shot – which coffee contains more caffeine? Ristrettos have a full coffee flavor, but because they are shorter, they contain less caffeine than espressos. Long shots usually have more caffeine than espresso does; however, this can differ based on how long the shot is pulled.

How to Make a Ristretto?

A Ristretto shot is a concentrated form of espresso that is brewed under pressure for less time than regular shots. You’ll also use less coffee grounds in proportion to water. The ideal ratio is 15 ml, or half of a single shot, worth of grounds to the same amount of water.

It’s important to watch the time while brewing your espresso. If you pull it too early, your shot will be sour. If you pull it too late, it will be bitter.

  1. Only use cold, filtered water in the espresso machine’s reservoir. Otherwise, distilled or hard water could destroy your brewer.
  2. The water needs to be heated to the ideal temperature; most espresso machines have a light that goes from red, signifying it’s too hot, to green, meaning it’s perfect.
  3. Try using 14 grams of coffee and tamping them down firmly.
  4. Place the prepared filter in the machine.
  5. For a ristretto, brew the coffee for 15 seconds and aim to produce 15 ml or half an ounce.

How to Brew Long Shot Coffee

A Long Shot is brewed under pressure for longer than a regular shot of espresso and uses more water in proportion to coffee grounds. The ideal ratio is 45 ml, or one and a half ounces, worth of grounds to the same amount of water.

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Long shots should be pulled over the course of 30 to 40 seconds. Shorter pull times can work well with coarser grinds or beans that you know are quite bitter. Time these pulls carefully so as not to over extract the coffee.

The method of brewing is similar, but there are three main differences:

  1. You can choose to use less finely ground coffee.
  2. Depending on your desired taste, extracted coffee should sit for 40 seconds maximum.
  3. You’ll end up with 45 ml or 1.5 ounces of a long shot.

So, long shot vs ristretto – which is better? It all comes down to personal preference. If you want a strong coffee, go for a ristretto (ristretto uses less water). If you prefer a weaker coffee, long shot is the way to go. Enjoy your cup of coffee folks!

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