What is a ristretto shot?

Simply put, a ristretto, Italian for “restricted”, “narrow”, “limited” etc., is the first half of an espresso shot. As in, about 15 ml of drink as opposed to 30 ml brewed over the first thirty seconds: a restricted espresso.

Because it only utilizes half the water, it totally changes the flavor profile of the drink.  Ristretto tends to be less acidic, and many claim that a ristretto shot is often better than an espresso.

How do you brew a ristretto?

Ever wondered how to make a ristretto shot? We already answered the question, “what is a cafe ristretto?” Now, let’s learn how to brew one using these simple steps below:


1. Begin brewing an espresso shot with the usual requisite amount of grounds, but make them slightly finer than you’d use if making espresso.

2. Brew as you’d normally brew a shot of espresso, but remember to decrease the amount of water in your shot to 15 ml.(Starbucks recommends a 25-30 second extraction time, and some of our readers have suggested extraction as long as 40 seconds.  Each person’s flavor preferences are different, so our recommendation is that you experiment, varying your extraction time within this band (25-40 seconds) until you find your flavor “sweet spot.”)

3. Done!

What is a Ristretto Bianco?

As always, specific types of coffee are given a million and one names by different brewers, drinkers, and companies. It turns out Ristretto Bianco is essentially Starbucks’ special name for a flat white: a drink with a little more coffee than a latte and smooth microfoam throughout.

So, what makes a flat white, a flat white?


While some consider it to be a simple small latte, others believe it to be an entirely different drink.

At its most basic, a flat white usually contains a higher ratio of coffee to milk than a latte due to an additional shot which gives it an extra bit of a kick.

The microfoam of the milk is folded into the drink as it is free-poured from the pitcher and does not sit on top stiffly as it might in a cappuccino. And, as might be expected, it is often smaller than a standard latte.

How to make a Ristretto with Nespresso Machines?


Luckily, in this age of convenience and efficiency, Nespresso Ristretto capsules are clearly labelled. Though if you’re a coffee purist, there might be a slight taste sacrifice there.

However, this has small start-up and brewing times. If you’re someone who’s more interested in a quick caffeine fix in the morning while you’re running late, a coffee pod machine might do well to you.

In any case, ristrettos are no more challenging than espressos to brew. Especially if the machine has a pre-programmed option for a short brew like the Ristretto Nespresso. This includes how to make ristretto with Nespresso Inissia, Citiz, and Pixies. Even if you make the wrong selection, you can always cut the brew time short by pushing the stop button. Just pop in a pod and brew.

Sadly, most coffee pods are not biodegradable. However, if that’s going to bother you, it might be best to stick with a conventional espresso machine, though it may be more time-consuming. Either way, brewing a ristretto should be stress-free and simple, no matter what route you go.


  1. Suggest you check your facts.
    A ristretto is NOT simply just cutting the shot short, at 15 seconds: this will result in a chronically underextracted espresso = very sour and undrinkable. Try it.
    A ristretto needs around 30-40 seconds to produce less liquid than an espresso (generally half), meaning less flow rate is required, meaning a much finer grind.

    1. Consumer Files says:

      Ben, we goofed and we’re making a correction. Thanks for setting us straight! 😊

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