Which is Stronger Ristretto or Long Shot?

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Comparison of strength between Ristretto and Long Shot coffees.
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Comparison of strength between Ristretto and Long Shot coffees.


Ever found yourself lost in the dizzying array of espresso options available at your favorite coffee shop? You might have noticed two intriguing terms: ristretto and long shot, stirring up questions about strength and flavor.

This blog dives into the world of these espresso shots providing comparisons on brew methods, taste profiles, caffeine levels and more to answer our headlining question — ‘which is stronger; ristretto or long shot?’ Don’t let coffee jargon intimidate you anymore, read on for a flavorful discovery!

Key Takeaways

  • Ristretto is a stronger and more concentrated espresso shot than a long shot.
  • Ristretto has a bolder and sweeter taste, while a long shot is milder and smoother.
  • Ristretto uses less water, has a shorter extraction time, and has a higher coffee-to-water ratio compared to a long shot.
  • The strength of an espresso shot can also be influenced by factors like grind size and coffee dose.

Which is Stronger Ristretto or Long Shot?

The strength of a coffee shot, whether it’s a ristretto or a long shot, is determined by the concentration of coffee solids and the amount of caffeine extracted during the brewing process.

So, in terms of strength and concentration, a ristretto is typically stronger than a long shot. The strength of a coffee shot is also influenced by factors such as the type of coffee beans used, the grind size, and the brewing method.

Definition and Origin of Ristretto and Long Shot

Ristretto is a concentrated espresso shot that originated in Italy, while a long shot is a mellow and smooth espresso shot.

Ristretto: A Concentrated Espresso Shot

Ristretto is a bold shot of espresso. It has more taste and is sweeter than other shots. To make it, we use less water and short time. This brings out a rich flavor that sets it apart.

The result is a small, intense drink with little water but much coffee taste. Ristretto’s power comes from its fullness and strong nature. It may be tiny in size but packs a big punch!

Long Shot: A Mellow and Smooth Espresso Shot

A long shot is a type of espresso shot that has a mellow and smooth taste. It is known for its fuller flavor and less intense bitterness compared to ristretto. The long shot uses a larger amount of water during the brewing process, resulting in a lighter extraction than ristretto.

This allows for more complex flavors to develop, giving the long shot a pleasant and balanced taste. While it may be considered weaker in terms of intensity, the long shot still maintains its own unique characteristics that many coffee lovers enjoy.

Differences Between Ristretto and Long Shot

Ristretto and Long Shot differ in terms of their brewing process, flavor profile and intensity, strength and caffeine content, as well as grind size and coffee dose.

Brewing Process

Ristretto and long shot have different brewing processes. Here are the key points:


  • Uses less water in the extraction process.
  • Has a shorter extraction time compared to long shot.
  • Creates a more concentrated espresso shot.
  • Uses a higher coffee-to-water ratio.

Long Shot:

  • Uses more water in the extraction process.
  • Takes longer to extract compared to ristretto.
  • Produces a milder and smoother espresso shot.
  • Has a lower coffee-to-water ratio than ristretto.

Flavor Profile and Intensity

Ristretto and long shot have different flavor profiles and intensities. Ristretto is stronger with a more intense and bitter taste, while a long shot has a milder, more complex, and slightly bitter taste.

The concentrated nature of ristretto creates a sweeter and stronger flavor compared to the weaker tasting long shot. Ristretto uses less water and has a higher coffee-to-water ratio, resulting in a fuller taste.

On the other hand, the longer extraction time of a long shot adds additional flavor but makes it less intense than ristretto.

Strength and Caffeine Content

Ristretto and Long Shot vary significantly in their strength and caffeine content, driven primarily by the extraction process and coffee-to-water ratio. Here’s a detailed comparison of the two:

Type of Espresso ShotStrengthCaffeine Content
RistrettoKnown for its concentrated nature and intensity, Ristretto shots are typically stronger compared to other espresso shots. The high coffee-to-water ratio amplifies the strength of the drink.The caffeine content in Ristretto can vary but it’s generally lesser than a long shot due to the shorter extraction time and less water used.
Long ShotLong shots result in a milder, more complex taste, generally considered to be weaker compared to a Ristretto. The longer extraction time brings additional flavor but dilutes the intensity of the drink.Long shots usually contain more caffeine due to the longer extraction time, but the strength is diluted due to the higher water content.

While Ristretto shots are stronger and more flavorful, long shots, on the other hand, contain more caffeine but are less intense due to the higher water content and longer extraction time. It’s essential to note that the strength of an espresso shot can also be influenced by other factors such as the grind size and coffee dose.

Grind Size and Coffee Dose

Grind size and coffee dose are important factors that contribute to the differences between ristretto and long shot espresso:

Grind Size:

  • Ristretto: Uses a finer grind size compared to a long shot.
  • Long Shot: Requires a coarser grind size.

Coffee Dose:

  • Ristretto: Typically uses a higher coffee dose, resulting in a more concentrated flavor.
  • Long Shot: Requires a lower coffee dose, resulting in a milder taste.

Choosing Between Ristretto and Long Shot

Consider your personal taste preferences and the recommended drinks for each type of espresso shot. The choice ultimately depends on your desired intensity and flavor profile. Read on to discover which option suits you best!

Personal Preference

When it comes to choosing between ristretto and long shot, personal preference plays a key role. Some people prefer the intense and concentrated flavor of a ristretto, which is stronger in taste and has a higher caffeine content.

On the other hand, others may enjoy the milder and smoother taste of a long shot, which is less bitter but still flavorful. It ultimately depends on your taste buds and what kind of coffee experience you’re looking for.

Whether you like your espresso bold or more balanced, there’s no right or wrong choice – it’s all about what satisfies your palate best.

Recommended Drinks for Each


  • Espresso con Panna (espresso with whipped cream)
  • Espresso Macchiato (espresso with a small amount of milk)
  • Cortado (equal parts espresso and steamed milk)
  • Americano (espresso diluted with hot water)

Long Shot:

  • Caffè Latte (espresso with steamed milk and a small layer of foam)
  • Flat White (similar to caffè latte but with less foam)
  • Cappuccino (equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam)
  • Mocha (espresso with chocolate syrup and steamed milk)

Considerations for Brewing

When brewing ristretto or long shot, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Water-to-coffee ratio: Adjust the amount of water used depending on whether you want a concentrated ristretto or a milder long shot.
  2. Grind size: For ristretto, use a finer grind size to increase extraction and create a stronger flavor. For long shot, use a coarser grind for a smoother taste.
  3. Extraction time: Ristretto requires a shorter extraction time due to its concentrated nature. Long shot needs more time to extract additional flavors.
  4. Coffee dose: Adjust the amount of coffee used based on your preference for strength and intensity. More coffee will result in a stronger shot.
  5. Crema and aroma: Pay attention to the crema (the golden foam on top) and aroma when brewing both types of shots. These factors can indicate the quality and freshness of your espresso.


When it comes to strength, ristretto takes the lead over the long shot. Ristretto is known for its intense flavor and concentrated nature, making it a strong choice for those who prefer a bolder coffee experience.

However, the preference between ristretto and long shot ultimately depends on personal taste and desired intensity. So whether you enjoy the strong punch of ristretto or the milder complexity of a long shot, both options offer unique flavors to satisfy your coffee cravings.


What is a ristretto shot and a long shot?

A ristretto shot is a very short coffee roast, while a long shot is a larger amount of coffee roast.

Which one of the two -ristretto or long shot, comes out as stronger?

As per taste and flavor, the ristretto roast comes out as stronger compared to the long-shot.

Does the size of the coffee shot affect its taste?

Yes! Shot size does impact taste since it changes how much water runs through the roast.

Can I pick either in any situation?

Sure! But people who seek strong flavors often go for lesser volume shots like Ristrettos; whereas if you enjoy longer sips with mellow tastes then Long Shots are great choices.

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.