Espresso, Ristretto, Espresso, Ristretto.


So this may be kind of an old conversation for the folk in the States but I have been dragged into this conversation many times since I have been back in Australia. Particularly when I order an espresso and I see the staff member write on the docket “Riz” so here is my opinion on the matter when asked, “why don’t you like Ristrettos”.

1. The Barista should spend a good amount of time in the morning dialing in his espresso so that hopefully it is articulate, balanced, sweet and has a smooth finish. When someone then comes in and asks for a Ristretto, they are essentially  asking the barista to pull his/ her shot out of spec, negating all the time he/she has put into tasting and dialing in the coffee in the first place.

2. Baristas who serve this beverage seem to ignore how the beverage finishes, when I drink espresso I don’t want to have an involuntary physical reaction to the experience. Please do me a favor next time you serve a Ristretto have a look at what the customers jaw does, I kid you not you will most likely see them clench and grimace as their saliva glans fire in vein to combat the soury shot. That is the perfect sign that the coffee is not balanced and what you have served is not nice.

3. The beverage itself is so compact that it loses articulation and becomes muddled, as a result it is hard to discern any real flavors or nuance, all I end up becoming focused on is the extraction, not the beverage. Tasting notes on a Ristretto might read, salty, soury, dry and pinched.

I will leave you with a quote from the asteamed Charles Babinski of Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea;

“When you have something to hide in your blend then pull a Ristretto”.

Rings true to me.

That’s all



  1. Trish says, “THANK YOU! PERFECT! AWESOME!”

  2. have you experienced this much outside of Aus? I’ve only really had similar short ristretto style coffees in Australia and NYC, no where else I’ve been recently.

    • Not the “Riz” phenomenon really, it might happen in Canada as well though. It’s pretty interesting ordering a espresso and watching the server write ristretto down, essentially ignoring my request…

  3. 4 out of 5 high end coffee places in Melbourne will pour you a ristretto when you order an espresso. Shits me to tears. So what about a double ristretto (ie 30ml from 18g or 21g)? Markedly greater balance than a 15ml ristretto, but more flavour intensity?

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