Doppio vs Ristretto

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Two glasses of doppio coffee on a black background.
Table of Contents
Two glasses of doppio coffee on a black background.

Are you baffled by the barista jargon on your local café menu? You’re not alone – terms like ‘doppio’ and ‘ristretto’ can be confusing, even for avid coffee lovers. In this article, we’ll help demystify these espresso variants, shedding light on their origins, brewing process, and flavor profiles.

Stay tuned to discover which intense Italian brew could be your new favorite caffeine fix.

Doppio vs Ristretto

The difference between Doppio and Ristretto centers around volume and intensity. A Doppio is simply a double shot of espresso, effectively giving you twice the amount of coffee. It’s perfect for those who want a more substantial serving without compromising on the traditional espresso flavor profile.

Conversely, a Ristretto is a “restricted” espresso shot, extracted with less water to concentrate the flavors, resulting in a bolder, more intense taste in a smaller volume. Although both drinks start with the same coffee grounds, the Ristretto’s unique extraction process makes it distinctly different in flavor.

When deciding between a Doppio and a Ristretto, consider your preference for volume versus intensity. Opt for a Doppio for a larger serving with classic espresso taste, or a Ristretto for a punchy, robust flavor in a compact shot.

Key Takeaways

  • Doppio is a double shot of espresso that has twice as much ground coffee as a regular espresso shot, making it strong and full of flavor.
  • Ristretto is a more concentrated and limited extraction of espresso with a shorter brew time, resulting in a richer and sweeter flavor profile.
  • Doppio has more caffeine than a standard single shot of espresso, while ristretto has less caffeine due to its shorter extraction time.
  • Doppio is often used in popular drinks like lattes and Americanos, while ristretto is commonly found in espresso-based beverages like flat whites.


Doppio is a term used in the coffee world to refer to a double shot of espresso, while ristretto refers to a more concentrated and limited extraction of espresso.

Doppio Definition

Doppio is a term you might hear at a coffee shop. It’s Italian for double. In the coffee world, it means a double shot of espresso. This drink has twice as much ground coffee as a regular espresso shot.

The doppio is strong and full of flavor. You’ll get around 140-165 mg of caffeine from it. Many other drinks use doppio as their base. If you love the rich taste of espresso, try ordering a doppio next time!

Ristretto Definition

Ristretto is a strong and bold kind of espresso. It’s made using less water than a usual espresso shot. The term “ristretto” comes from Italian words that mean “short” or “narrow”.

This is because the brew time for ristretto is shorter than other coffee types.

The flavor of ristretto is richer and sweeter than other coffees. It has fewer bitter flavors, thanks to its lower water content. It also packs more coffee tastes in one small cup.

So, if you like your coffee strong and full of flavor, you might love ristretto!

Historical Origins

Doppio began to gain popularity in Italy during the 20th century, while ristretto has been enjoyed since the early days of espresso in the 19th century.

Doppio Origins

Doppio started in Italy. It became a hit in the 1980s. The word “doppio” means “double” in Italian. This name fits as doppio is a double shot of espresso. Just like ristretto, it falls under the group of espresso drinks.

To make a doppio, you use very fine coffee grounds just like for espresso. You also need to brew two shots instead of one. The brewing time is the same as with regular espresso which takes around 25-30 seconds.

So, Doppio packs more punch than a single shot of espresso!

Ristretto Origins

The ristretto has its origins in Italy during the early days of espresso. When espresso machines were first introduced, baristas discovered that brewing a shorter shot produced a highly concentrated and intense coffee experience.

By using less water but the same amount of finely ground coffee, they created the ristretto. This black coffee shot became popular for its pure and robust flavor without any additional flavors or additions.

The ristretto continues to be enjoyed today as a specialty drink for those seeking a strong and concentrated espresso experience.

Brewing Process

The brewing process for doppio and ristretto involves a specific water and coffee ratio, extraction time, and pressure and temperature.

Water and Coffee Ratio

The water and coffee ratio is an important factor when brewing both a doppio and a ristretto. For a doppio, which is the same as a double espresso, it uses the same ratio as a regular espresso, which is commonly accepted in specialty coffee as 1 part coffee to 2 parts water.

This means that for every gram of coffee used, you would use two grams of water. On the other hand, a ristretto has a different ratio where it uses half the amount of water compared to a regular espresso shot.

This means that for every gram of coffee used in making a ristretto, you would only use one gram of water. The difference in ratios affects the taste and intensity of the resulting shots.

Extraction Time

The extraction time is an essential element in the brewing process of espresso. For all types of espresso, including doppio and ristretto, the extraction time usually falls between 23 to 45 seconds.

However, when it comes to ristretto, the brewing process is quicker as compared to a regular shot because it involves using less coffee and has a shorter extraction time of about 15 to 20 seconds.

By limiting the brewing time for ristretto, only the initial part of coffee extraction is obtained, resulting in a concentrated and intense flavor profile. So remember, whether you prefer a longer or shorter extraction time will greatly impact the flavor and intensity of your coffee shot.

Pressure and Temperature

The pressure and temperature are crucial factors in brewing both doppio and ristretto. The water temperature for brewing espresso can vary depending on the coffee roast, with medium roast requiring temperatures between +91 to +93 °C and dark roast needing temperatures between +88 to +91 °C.

The brewing time typically ranges from 30 to 40 seconds. The extraction temperature plays a significant role in the taste of the coffee, as slight temperature differences can affect the flavor profile.

Brewing espresso at home requires attention to detail and precision, including factors like high-pressure levels, water temperature, extraction time, and grind size of the coffee beans used.

Flavor and Aroma Differences

The flavor of a doppio is bold and intense, with strong notes of bitterness and a rich aroma. On the other hand, a ristretto has a more concentrated and syrupy flavor profile, with less bitterness and a sweeter aroma.


Doppio is a type of espresso that is made with a double shot. It offers a fuller taste experience compared to regular espresso because it contains twice as much coffee. Doppio coffee is popular among coffee lovers who want a stronger and bolder flavor.

Despite the double shot, doppio still has a milder flavor compared to another type of espresso called ristretto. Both doppio and regular espresso come from the same bean and have similar flavors, but doppio provides an extra kick for those who enjoy a more robust cup of joe.


A ristretto is a concentrated form of espresso that has a more intense flavor compared to regular espresso. It is made by using the same amount of coffee grounds as an espresso shot, but with less water and a shorter extraction time.

This brewing process results in a smaller volume of coffee, usually around 25-30 ml. Despite its small size, ristrettos contain over a thousand different aroma compounds, giving them a rich and flavorful taste.

They are known for their strong and bold flavors, making them the preferred choice for those who enjoy intense coffee experiences. Additionally, ristrettos have less caffeine than regular espressos due to the reduced water content during brewing.

Caffeine Content

Doppio espresso contains more caffeine than a standard single shot, while ristretto has less caffeine due to its shorter extraction time.

Doppio Caffeine Content

A doppio espresso is known for its higher caffeine content compared to a regular single shot of espresso. With twice the amount of coffee grounds, a doppio contains around 120-140 mg of caffeine.

The exact amount can vary depending on factors such as the type of beans used and the brewing process. For example, a doppio from Starbucks typically has 150-170 milligrams of caffeine.

This higher caffeine content can provide an extra kick if you’re in need of a stronger pick-me-up in your coffee.

The caffeine content in a doppio espresso can range from 100-135 mg on average. This is due to its larger serving size and double shot compared to a single shot. The specific amount will depend on various factors such as the grind size, extraction time, and water-to-coffee ratio used during preparation.

Ristretto Caffeine Content

A ristretto shot has less caffeine compared to a normale espresso. It contains around 20 ml of coffee and typically has approximately 33 mg of caffeine. The lower caffeine levels in ristretto are due to the smaller amount of water used during preparation.

Ristretto extracts fewer flavor compounds from the coffee beans, resulting in lower caffeine levels. So if you’re looking for a milder pick-me-up, ristretto might be the way to go!

Uses in Popular Drinks

The doppio is often used in popular drinks such as lattes and Americanos, while the ristretto is commonly found in espresso-based beverages like flat whites.

Doppio in Popular Drinks

Doppio, or double espresso, is a versatile coffee that is used in various popular drinks. Here are some ways you can enjoy doppio as part of your favorite coffee beverages:

  1. Doppio Macchiato: A classic macchiato made with a double shot of doppio on top of a small amount of steamed milk.
  2. Doppio Latte: This drink combines the strength of doppio with the creamy texture of steamed milk. It’s perfect for those who prefer a milder coffee flavor.
  3. Doppio Cappuccino: Similar to the doppio latte, but with equal parts doppio, steamed milk, and foam. It creates a balanced and velvety drink.
  4. Doppio Americano: If you enjoy black coffee with a bold flavor, an Americano made with doppio is a great choice. It involves adding hot water to the double shot of espresso.
  5. Doppio Mocha: For chocolate lovers, adding cocoa powder or chocolate syrup to your doppio creates a rich and indulgent mocha experience.
  6. Doppio Flat White: This Australian favorite consists of a double shot of doppio mixed with velvety microfoam, creating a smooth and well-balanced drink.
  7. Doppio Affogato: A simple yet decadent dessert drink that combines dipped scoops of vanilla ice cream with a shot (or two!)

Ristretto in Popular Drinks

Ristretto is a popular espresso variation that is used in various coffee drinks. Here are some examples of how ristretto is used:

  • Ristretto Latte: A latte made with a shot of ristretto instead of regular espresso. It has a bolder flavor and a stronger caffeine kick.
  • Ristretto Macchiato: Similar to a regular macchiato, but with a shot of ristretto instead. It has a rich and intense taste.
  • Ristretto Americano: An americano made with ristretto shots instead of regular espresso. It provides a concentrated coffee flavor.
  • Ristretto Flat White: A flat white made with ristretto shots. It has a strong espresso taste and velvety milk texture.
  • Ristretto Mocha: A mocha made with ristretto shots, chocolate, and steamed milk. The ristretto adds an extra punch to the chocolatey goodness.

Choosing Between Doppio and Ristretto

When deciding between Doppio and Ristretto, consider your personal preferences and the appropriate occasion for each distinct coffee experience.

Considering personal preferences

When it comes to choosing between doppio and ristretto, your personal preferences play a big role. Some people enjoy the bold and intense flavor of espresso, which makes the doppio a good choice.

It’s a double shot of espresso that delivers a strong caffeine kick. On the other hand, if you prefer a milder taste with less bitterness, ristretto might be more up your alley. Ristretto is made by using less water to extract flavors from the coffee beans, resulting in a shorter extraction time and a sweeter profile.

Your taste preferences, desired caffeine content, and brewing time are all important factors to consider when making this decision.

Determine the appropriate occasion

To determine the appropriate occasion for doppio or ristretto, you need to consider your personal preferences and desired coffee intensity. If you’re in the mood for a stronger and more intense coffee experience, then choosing a doppio might be suitable.

If you prefer a sweeter flavor profile with less bitterness, ristretto is the way to go. Keep in mind that both options are popular among coffee enthusiasts, so it ultimately comes down to what you enjoy most.


Doppio and Ristretto are two variations of espresso with distinct differences. Doppio is a double shot of espresso, resulting in a larger drink volume. Ristretto, on the other hand, is a smaller and more concentrated version of espresso.

The choice between the two depends on personal taste preferences and desired flavor intensity. So whether you prefer a stronger and sweeter profile or a larger serving size, both options offer unique experiences for coffee lovers to enjoy.


What is the difference between Doppio and Ristretto?

Doppio and Ristretto are types of coffee made with espresso beans. The difference between them comes from the amount of water and how they use a portafilter.

How do I make a Doppio at home?

To make a doppio, you need to tamp two shots of espresso into your portafilter basket. Then let 60 ml of water run through it under high pressure.

What does “Ristretto” mean?

Coming from Italian, ristretto means ‘short’. It’s like an espresso but uses less water, resulting in a stronger taste without bitter compounds.

Is there more caffeine in Doppio or Ristretto?

Both drinks have similar levels of caffeine because they both start with two shots of espresso coffee.

Can I also use an Aeropress, Moka pot, or French press for making these coffees?

Yes! You can try using an Aeropress, Moka Pot or French Press to make your own tasty drinks at home if you’re looking for different ways to drink espresso.

How does the barista ensure that the coffee isn’t too sour or too bitter?

Baristas adjust factors like how hard they tamp down on the coffee in the portafilter and how much water they allow through it so that neither acidity nor bitterness overpowers.

About the Author:
Emily Thompson is an enthusiastic guide in the world of coffee, sharing her expertise in flavors, brewing techniques, and cultural significance. Her journey, fueled by a deep love for coffee, involves educating coffee enthusiasts of all levels to enhance their coffee experiences. Emily's content spans from brewing guides to the cultural importance of coffee, emphasizing ethical sourcing and sustainability.