Ristretto vs Long Shot

By Brooke Davis •  Updated: 02/15/22 •  7 min read

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A well-made cup of coffee is probably the best thing to brighten your morning. Not only does coffee taste delicious, but it also boosts energy. You can also drink this great beverage in the evening or afternoon.

You must be familiar with your favorite type of coffee that you can find from a coffee shop. But do you know what Ristretto and Long Shot are?

Let’s discuss these coffee types in detail.

Ristretto vs Long Shot

What is a Ristretto Shot?

What is a Ristretto Shot
What is a Ristretto Shot?

A Ristretto is a variation of espresso, and it’s a short shot of Italian espresso coffee. The Italian word “Ristretto” literally translates to narrow or short, and in some coffee shops, you’ll find it as a “double shot of espresso.”

Making a Ristretto espresso shot is pretty similar to the traditional espresso. It also uses pretty much the same amount of coffee ground. However, it uses half the water and is made with a finer grind.

Because of half the amount of water and finer grind takes less time to prepare ristretto than a traditional espresso. The reduced water and shorter extraction time provide ristretto with more mallow flavors. 

The coffee grounds are saturated because of less hot water, and ristretto allows you to enjoy a bolder taste.

While ristretto is easier to drink, it sometimes doesn’t feel as balanced as a regular espresso.

A typical Ristretto recipe includes 8 grams of finely ground coffee and 15 milliliters of hot water, and it offers 12 milliliters of concentrated coffee.

What is a Long Shot?

Long Shot Espresso
Long Shot Espresso

Long short, also known as “Lungo,” is another type of coffee extracted using an espresso machine from ground coffee beans. This variation offers tastes similar to a regular shot of espresso, but you get to enjoy it in a substantial quantity.

You need to change the amount of hot water that’s used to make a typical cup of espresso. Doubling the amount of hot water with the same coffee grounds will give you the Long Shot. 

The extra water provides the coffee with deeper concentrated flavor notes, richer caffeine, and a larger shot of coffee.

The extraction time of this coffee is longer than the regular espresso, which also offers a more intense flavor. If you don’t like flavors that are obtained with short extractions times, you’ll love Lungo, and it’ll also provide you with the maximum caffeine kick.

Lungo is also an Italian word, and it translates to long, and it’s less common than ristretto. Eight grams of coffee grains and 55 milliliters of hot water offer 50 milliliters of Lungo coffee.

Differences Between Ristretto and Long Shot

Ristretto vs Long Shot
Ristretto vs Long Shot

It’s essential to understand the differences between Lungo and Ristretto if you can’t decide which one to pick. The grinding and the blending and roasting processes make the two types differ from each other.

The Lungo uses a coarser grind, and it’s usually made by a long processing time.

On the other hand, the ristretto is brewed within a few moments and offers a strong aroma that flows into your cup of coffee.

The Lungo needs the most coffee in the cup, while the ristretto needs the least. It’s one of the reasons why ristretto is considered one of the most sophisticated types of coffee. 

Let’s discuss the differences between Lungo and Ristretto in detail.

Ristretto vs Long Shot Taste Profile

The flavors of Lungo are akin to smoky and roasted tones. The Lungo or Long Shot is pretty linear in terms of the flavor profile. 

On the other hand, the espresso formula of ristretto offers strong floral and earth-like aromatic notes. That’s because of its less tough and short extractions time and high pressure.

Water Amount

In a nutshell, the ristretto is a variant of the regular espresso shot and is made by limiting the amount of water. Compared to traditional espresso, almost half the amount of water is used in ristretto.

The critical difference between the Long Shot and Ristretto is the amount of water. The Long Shot depends on water as it uses almost twice as much water as regular espresso shots.

You can make both of these coffees using an espresso machine.


Traditionally, Lungo is made with 55 milliliters of water and 8 grams of coffee grounds, producing 50 milliliters of coffee shot.

The traditional 12 milliliters of Ristretto shot is made with 15 milliliters of water and 8 grams of coffee grounds. 

Ristretto vs Long Shot Caffeine Content

Doubling the amount of water while making Lungo or Long Shot reduced the caffeine content significantly. That’s why Lungo offers not only less caffeine content per milliliter than ristretto but also the regular espresso.

However, it’s important to note that you’ll consume more caffeine overall because of the high water intake. While ristretto contains more caffeine content than Lungo per milliliter, it offers less caffeine overall.


When it comes to aroma, the “Ristretto vs Long Shot” debate gets a little bit heated. Because of its short extraction time, the ristretto offers heightened aromatic flavors.

The process of making Lungo produces even more robust aromatic flavors. However, the heightened notes of the Long Shot are diluted because of its prolonged extraction time.


What Is the Strongest Shot at Starbucks?

Iced Shaken Espresso is the most potent espresso-based drink at Starbucks, and it offers 375 milligrams of caffeine. Previously, it was known as the Double-shout on Ice, and it’s also the strongest Starbucks cold drink. In addition, Venti True North Blonde Roast coffee is the strongest drink that offers 475 milligrams of coffee. 

Is Ristretto Stronger Than Espresso?

Ristretto is stronger and more concentrated than espresso. It’s about 20 to 22 milliliters, whereas espresso is about 30 milliliters. The flavor of a ristretto is also more intense and sweeter than espresso.

Are Ristretto Shots Better?

It depends upon your personal preferences. Ristretto will suit you better if you like a concentrated drink with a more intense and sweeter taste. Overall, it’s a great drink, and you should try it if you haven’t already.

Ristretto vs Long Shot: Which is Stronger?

Long Shot/Lungo is a long espresso that’s made with a long extraction time (more than 30 seconds), and the Ristretto espresso drink is usually made within a few moments. 

Typically, Ristretto and Long Shot use the same coffee grounds but different amounts of water. Ristretto feels sweeter than Lungo but contains less caffeine content.

Why Do Ristretto Shots Feel Sweeter?

As mentioned, ristretto is made within a few seconds and uses less water. So, when less water flows through the ground coffee, it offers a less bitter taste. So, Ristretto shots feel sweeter because of their short extraction time.

What Do Lungo and Ristretto Mean?

Both Lungo and Ristretto are Italian words. Lungo translates to Long, and ristretto translates to narrow or short.

Is a Ristretto Shot Stronger Than a Long Shot?

Ristretto feels more intense than a long shot, and it contains more caffeine per milligram because it’s more concentrated. On the other hand, a long shot is more soluble and contains more caffeine than ristretto because of higher extraction. 

Final Words

If you like easy-to-drink Italian-style coffee that offers a sweeter taste and less caffeine content, then ristretto will be a better choice.

On the other hand, if you appreciate slight traces of bitterness and need more caffeine content, you should go with a cup of Long Shots or Lungo.

Brooke Davis

Hi everyone, my name is Brooke and I’m a Barista and freelance writer. I love brewing coffee and my favorite coffee drink is without doubt an Americano (espresso with added hot water). When I’m not busy making or writing about coffee you’ll find me hanging out at the beach with friends in California where I am currently residing. Follow me on: Linkedin

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