How Do You Make Ristretto on Nespresso?

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A Nespresso machine is pouring a cup of ristretto coffee.
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A Nespresso machine is pouring a cup of ristretto coffee.


Have you ever wondered how to craft a perfect ristretto shot using your Nespresso machine? If so, this is an art that not every coffee aficionado has mastered. In this enlightening blog post, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of brewing a rich and flavorful ristretto on any Nespresso model.

Continue reading to elevate your at-home barista skills beyond gaining just another caffeine fix!

Key Takeaways

  • Ristretto is a strong and concentrated coffee shot that uses less water than espresso, resulting in an intense flavor.
  • To make a ristretto on your Nespresso machine, choose the right capsules labeled as “ristretto” or with high intensity levels for a stronger taste.
  • Adjust the amount of water by programming the size of your ristretto shot using the small or large cup button on your machine to achieve the desired flavor.
  • Preheat your machine before brewing to ensure optimal temperature for flavor extraction.

Understanding Ristretto and Nespresso

A Ristretto is a concentrated and intense coffee shot, different from an Espresso or Lungo. Nespresso machines have specific features for brewing a ristretto shot.

What is a Ristretto?

A Ristretto is a type of coffee. It uses less water than other types like espresso. This makes it taste strong and rich. The word “ristretto” means “limited” or “restricted” in Italian.

So, this kind of coffee has less water but the same amount of coffee grounds as an espresso shot. This is why its taste can be intense and full of flavor.

Differences between Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo

Understanding the differences between a Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo can help you better appreciate the unique flavors and characteristics of each coffee shot. Here’s a simple comparison to help you distinguish between these three coffee variations:

Type of Coffee ShotAmount of CoffeeAmount of WaterFlavor ProfileCaffeine Content
Ristretto7-9 grams25 mlIntense flavor, less bitterLower than espresso due to less water pulled through the coffee grounds
EspressoTypically 9 grams30 mlStrong, rich and balancedHigher due to more water extracted
LungoTypically 7 grams110 mlMilder flavor, can taste more bitterHighest due to the most amount of water extracted

Each of these coffee shots provides a different coffee experience, with the ristretto being known for its concentrated taste and the lungo offering a more diluted, less concentrated flavor. The espresso, meanwhile, strikes a balance between intensity and volume, offering a rich, robust flavor.

Nespresso machines that can make Ristretto

Some Nespresso machines that can make Ristretto include:

  • Nespresso Vertuo
  • Nespresso Delonghi
  • Nespresso Pixie
  • Nespresso Citiz machine
  • Nespresso Essenza Mini

Steps to Make Ristretto with Nespresso

Choose the right Nespresso capsules, adjust the amount of water, preheat the machine, and brew the Ristretto shot.

Choosing the right Nespresso capsules

To make a delicious ristretto on your Nespresso machine, it’s important to choose the right capsules. Different Nespresso capsules have varying flavors and intensities, so you can select one that suits your taste preferences.

Look for capsules labeled as “ristretto” or those with high intensity levels for a stronger and more concentrated flavor. You can also try different flavored capsules to add variety to your ristretto shots.

Experiment with different options until you find the perfect Nespresso capsule that gives you the rich and intense taste you desire in your ristretto shot.

Adjusting the amount of water

To adjust the amount of water when making a ristretto on a Nespresso machine, you can program the size of your ristretto shot by pressing and holding either the small or large cup button.

Release the button once you’ve reached your desired amount, which is typically around 25 ml. This will ensure that you get the concentrated and intense flavor of a ristretto shot. By controlling the amount of water used, you can customize your ristretto to suit your taste preferences.

Remember to start with a smaller quantity and gradually increase it until you find your perfect balance between strength and flavor. And if you have an espresso machine, simply insert the capsule and press and hold the beverage button until 25 ml is reached for a delicious ristretto shot.

Preheating the machine

Before making a ristretto with your Nespresso machine, it’s important to preheat the machine. This step helps ensure that your coffee brews at the right temperature for optimal flavor extraction.

To preheat the machine, simply turn it on and let it run for about 30 seconds to a minute before using it. This allows the water inside the machine to heat up properly, resulting in a better-tasting ristretto shot.

So, remember to give your Nespresso machine some time to warm up before brewing your delicious ristretto.

Brewing the Ristretto shot

To brew a ristretto shot on your Nespresso machine, start by choosing the right espresso capsule. Insert it into the machine and press and hold either the small or large cup button to program the ristretto size.

Release the button when you’ve reached around 25 ml of coffee. Remember to grind your beans slightly finer than for an espresso to slow down extraction. Dose 7-9 grams of ground coffee for a single ristretto shot.

The resulting ristretto will have a concentrated taste and intense flavor, perfect for enjoying on its own or as a base for other coffee drinks like lattes or cappuccinos.

Tips for Making a Perfect Ristretto

Grind the coffee finer for a stronger flavor and adjust the extraction time to achieve the perfect ristretto shot.

Grinding the coffee finer

For a perfect ristretto shot with your Nespresso machine, it’s important to grind the coffee beans slightly finer than you would for an espresso. This helps slow down the extraction process and allows for more flavor concentration.

Aim for a fine grind size that resembles table salt. By grinding the coffee finer, you can achieve a stronger and richer taste in your ristretto shot.

To get the best results, use 7-9 grams of ground coffee for a single ristretto shot. The finer grind will ensure that water flows through the grounds at a slower rate, allowing for optimal flavor extraction.

Remember to adjust your grinder accordingly to achieve this fine consistency.

Using fresh, high-quality coffee

To make a delicious ristretto on your Nespresso machine, it’s important to use fresh, high-quality coffee. This can significantly impact the flavor and intensity of your ristretto shot.

Fresh coffee beans or ground coffee will have more vibrant flavors compared to stale ones. Using high-quality coffee ensures that you get the best possible taste from your ristretto.

So, when making your ristretto with Nespresso, choose freshly roasted beans or high-quality pre-packaged capsules for an exceptional cup of coffee.

Adjusting the extraction time

To achieve the perfect ristretto with your Nespresso machine, you can adjust the extraction time. The extraction time refers to how long it takes for water to pass through the coffee grounds and into your cup.

For a traditional ristretto shot, aim for a shorter extraction time of around 15-20 seconds. This will result in a more concentrated flavor and aroma. If you prefer a slightly milder taste, you can increase the extraction time by 5-10 seconds.

Experimenting with different extraction times allows you to customize your ristretto according to your personal preference.

Experimenting with different water temperature

You can also experiment with different water temperatures when making ristretto on your Nespresso machine. The temperature of the water can affect the extraction process and the flavor of the coffee.

Higher temperatures generally result in more extraction and a fuller-bodied taste, while lower temperatures may bring out different nuances in the coffee. You can try adjusting the temperature settings on your Nespresso machine to find what works best for you.

It’s important to note that each Nespresso model may have different temperature options available, so refer to your machine’s manual for guidance.

Adding milk or other flavors (optional)

If you like your ristretto with milk or other flavors, you can add them to enhance the taste. Milk options include steamed milk, frothed milk, or even a dollop of whipped cream. You can also experiment with adding different syrups like vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut to create unique flavor combinations.

Just remember that adding these extras is optional and may alter the intensity of the ristretto shot. It’s always good to start with a small amount and adjust according to your preference.

Whether you enjoy it plain or customized, adding milk or other flavors is a personal choice that can elevate your ristretto experience.


Making ristretto on a Nespresso machine is easy and convenient. By choosing the right capsules, adjusting the water amount, and following the brewing steps, you can enjoy a delicious and intense ristretto shot in no time.

Don’t forget to experiment with different grinding settings and extraction times to find your perfect flavor. Cheers to enjoying a rich and concentrated cup of coffee with your Nespresso machine!


What is the ristretto recipe using a Nespresso coffee machine?

To make ristretto on Nespresso, use finer grounds in a coffee capsule and follow the brewing technique specific to this intense flavor.

Are there steps to brew a ristretto with my Nespresso machine?

Yes, there are steps for brewing ristretto with your Nespresso Citiz machine or other types of equipment that you must follow to get the strong coffee strength associated with this drink.

How does making ristretto differ from regular espresso on my Nespresso?

The main difference in making Ristretto vs Espresso lies in the extraction procedure. Ristretto uses lesser water resulting in an extract carrying more intensity than espresso.

Do I need any special tools like milk frothing for crafting perfect Ristretto on my Nespresso?

No, milk frothing isn’t required while preparing your intense shot of Ristretto. All you need is your preferred type of nespresso pods and less hot water than you’d use for espresso.

About the Author:
Sophia Lewis, a travel blogger with a focus on global coffee cultures, explores coffee traditions from Colombia to Turkey. Her expertise lies in understanding the cultivation, brewing, and enjoyment of coffee in different cultures. Through articles, travel vlogs, and tastings, Sophia brings a global perspective to coffee, emphasizing ethical and sustainable practices, and invites readers to join her community of global coffee enthusiasts.