Espresso or Ristretto, what is different?


I noticed that many coffee-shops in Europe – including some famous ones – offer shots of ‘Espresso’ that are in fact ‘Ristretto’ shots. A Ristretto shot has approximately half of the size of an Espresso shot. These coffee-shops should correct their menu to avoid misunderstandings between the baristas and their customers. After all, who wants disappointed customers?

Espresso rules:

  • Brewing time for a standard 30ml (1.01 ounce) cup of Espresso should be 25 to 30 seconds.
  • Water temperature should be 90-95 degrees Celsius.
  • The freshly grinded coffee beans should be used within 10 minutes.
cup with espresso
Cup with espresso. Italy

Ristretto rules:

  • Brewing time up to 20 seconds for a standard 18 to 20ml (minimum 15ml) cup of Ristretto.

These are the rules for an Italian style Espresso.

Many Italians use the term Espresso only as an official or technical name. In everyday life, the term Caffè is used by most Italians.

Nowadays, when you order an Espresso, many European coffee-shops, will offer you a 20ml – 23ml coffee shot, made from 14-22g of coffee beans, with a double-portafilter that is used for two Espresso drinks. The shot takes 25-36 seconds. This drink is not a real Espresso! It’s a new drink, which does not have it’s own name yet. Based on its preparation procedure, it should be rather called a Ristretto or double Ristretto.

Nine one coffee estate
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