Anyone who has ever wandered into their local coffee shop and ordered a ristretto for the first time may have been alarmed by what they received. Okay, they may not be alarmed, per se, by what they received—but they most definitely might be confused by the amount of the coffee drink that the barista has given them. That’s because this drink is a coffee that is served as a very short shot of espresso.
This might prompt some people to ask: “Why would I pay the same amount of money (or in some cases, more) for a short shot of espresso when I could order a regular size coffee shot?” We would probably answer that question by telling them that when they order a ristretto, they are ordering a high-quality and more potent version of an espresso. Therefore, they’re paying for quality instead of quantity.
We do understand that there’s a bit of confusion over this drink, and that’s why we’ve decided to write this article on the subject. First and foremost, the main purpose of this article is to explain to all of our readers what constitutes a ristretto. We want to give our readers a basic textbook definition of this drink. The second reason for this article is to explain to our readers how they can make the best ristretto at home. Now that we have some objectives clearly in mind, let’s get this article started and find out a little bit more about this short but potent drink.
What Is Ristretto?
Let’s start this guide by addressing its original question: What is a ristretto? Some of our readers may think that we’ve already addressed this question in the above section, but that’s not the case. That’s because there’s more to this drink than it being a ½ to ¾ ounce of espresso. There’s a lot more.
The ristretto is a short drink, but it’s an extremely powerful one. That’s because although less water is used to make the shot, the same amount of coffee grounds are still used. With less water being forced through the same amount of coffee grounds, the drink undergoes a shorter brewing time. And with shorter brewing times, there are some remarkable differences in the brew quality.
One of the main differences that set ristretto apart from ordinary espresso drinks, or other coffee drinks for that matter, is the fact that it achieves more of a full-bodied flavor. It has a better coffee taste, and it achieves this enhanced coffee taste without the bitterness that can be found in many coffee drinks. This makes it a smooth rich drink that many coffee aficionados are going to enjoy.
Oh, and for all of those of you who are wondering why this drink is called a ristretto, it’s because that’s the Italian word for “restricted.” A name that doesn’t delve into the minutia of this drink and doesn’t convey just how good this drink tastes. If you went by the name of this drink only, you would think you were being cheated, when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. A true ristretto is a treat, and that’s why we’re going to take the time to tell you how you can make one at home in the next section of this article.
How To Make A Ristretto
As promised, we’re going to tell you and all of our other readers how they can make arguably one of the best coffee drinks available. If you’ve made espresso at home before, then you probably have all of the equipment you need to make a ristretto, but if you haven’t, then you may have to order some accessories. Let’s start this section off by talking about some of the equipment and ingredients you’re going to need to start brewing.
- Filtered Water
- 14-grams Of Arabica Or Robusta Coffee Beans
Step One: Start With Great Coffee Beans
The first step to making the best ristretto possible is to start with high-quality coffee beans. Our two favorite varieties that we love to use for this coffee drink is a good Arabic bean or a good Robusta coffee bean. Arabica beans have a higher acid content and a fruity taste, while Robusta beans tend to have more caffeine and a nuttier taste. Choose the one that you like and give it a try. Oh, by the way, for best results, be sure to start with whole beans and grind them.
Step Two: Give Your Beans A Fine Grind
Using the best burr grinder available, make sure that you grind your beans finely. And when we say fine, we do mean fine. It should be finer than what you would normally grind for espresso. Why? It’s because the fine grind will help to give the end brew a smoother taste.
Step Three: Prime Your Espresso Machine
The next thing that you’re going to want to do is to primer your espresso machine. This can easily be done by allowing the water in the machine to fully heat up and then pulling a few “empty” shots with just water and no coffee. Although this step is optional, you may want to do it to “warm-up” vital components. After all, the ristretto brewing time is very short, so you want to make sure that the machine is warm and ready to go.
Step Four: Get The Espresso Machine Ready
The next step is to get the espresso machine ready. At this point, this means adding 14-grams of coffee grounds to the filter. Once you’ve done that, tamp down the coffee in the filter the same way you would for an espresso. This will eliminate air spaces between the coffee grounds and result in a more even brew. After tamping, place the filter into the machine and get ready to brew.
Step Five: Brew Your Ristretto
According to your espresso machine’s direction, pull water through the coffee grounds for approximately 15-seconds. Congratulations, you have just pulled your first ristretto—a drink that we know you’re going to want to make again and again.