Ristretto Rant

My coffee drink of choice for the past few years has been the straight espresso shot. All my other coffee equipment has either been packed away or perhaps is gathering dust. For me personally it's all about espresso now. The ristretto is an extremely short shot of espresso. On a given day, half the shots I pull for myself are ristretto shots. Yes, I too love the ristretto. Yet as perfect as the ristretto may be, there may be problems.

My First Ristretto

It must have been 1996. I was staying in South Tampa at that time plus the area finally got a good coffee house. The place was Jet City Espresso. Don't go searching for this. It is no further there. Once the name implies, the property owner Jessica was from Seattle and shared her coffee knowledge with her customers. After ordering numerous americanos and espressos, Jessica thought it absolutely was time I tried a ristretto. I expected the short pull associated with espresso shot would result in a far more bitter flavor. To my delight the shot was actually a sweeter and more intense version of her espresso blend.


After leaving the Tampa Bay area and getting off Jet City Espresso, it will be years before I happened to be served a ristretto again.

The Rise of the Ristretto

Now I've arrived in the Seattle area. In this town the ristretto rules, whether you love it or otherwise not. A couple of cafes in Seattle area will serve you a ristretto when you order an espresso. My guess is the roaster has determined that the blend tastes optimal when pulled as a ristretto. The initial thought I have is positive. If they have tweaked their blend to perfection then trained their baristas on the best way to pull ristrettos, then your odds are that the drink you are planning to get will probably be amazing.

Yet i am continually disappointed because of the ristrettos served here in Seattle. To minimize disappointment, here our a few rules let me share using the cafes.

Ristretto Rules

  1. Ristretto or Espresso - If a person orders an espresso and your cafe serves ristrettos while the default, let that customer know. Perhaps ask, Is a ristretto fine? If I peek down and discover what is apparently an individual shot, whenever I clearly ordered and was charged for a double shot, i am either going to inquire or walk away feeling ripped off. A sign promently displayed can clear up confusion. One cafe here buries that information in a newspaper article framed in the wall from the menu.

  2. Make It Quick - enough time between once the ristretto is poured so when it really is handed over to the client should be quick. A ristretto cools much faster than espresso. Serving a ristretto at less than optimal temperature undermines the entire quality associated with the drink.

  3. Register First, Drink Second - Nothing is more annoying that after the barista gets prior to the person working the register. Now this won't make a difference for the latte drinkers, but if I'm waiting around for change for a $10 bill and my ristretto is cooling on the pick-up stand, i am not going to be happy.

  4. Heat the Demitasse - Never pour a ristretto (or espresso) into a demitasse this is certainly cold. The drink temperature will drop instantly.

The Caffe Calabria Solution

Caffe Calabria of San Diego has their espresso blend tweaked to taste best as a ristretto. And they're going to serve you a ristretto if you order an espresso. However, they will serve you 2 ristrettos. The effect is you taste the bold sweetness regarding the ristretto using the number of an espresso.

Julius Mordvinov

Thank you for checking my article. You may like my other entry on

Coffee Gift Buying Guide from percolator to automatic coffee maker.

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All