Discover all from Ristretto, Espresso, Americano to Lungo

What you learn here!

To many, these drinks sound like familiar marketing words in the coffee world. You can buy them as coffee beans or order them in cafes and somehow always get the same drink. So what are the differences and how do you know which is the right drink for you?

Espresso has been around for a long time. Luigi Bezzera received the first patent for the espresso machine in 1902. The company la Pavoni then bought the patent from him and produced series with the industrial machine, at that time with only one machine per day. The crema on the coffee came later (more about it in this video) but the espresso culture quickly spread throughout northern Italy and spread throughout Italy to France, Spain, Portugal and beyond and has become an integral part of coffee culture !

In this blog post we will explain the characteristics of the drinks mentioned above and how they are prepared. For the sake of simplicity, we always use the following in the recipes here:

  • 18g coffee powder for brewing in a double sieve - a Doppio recipe
  • and extract for 30s

Ristretto 

The Ristretto - called "Caffè Serre" in Italy - is, as its name suggests, a "restricted," meaning a shorter, more intense, and stronger espresso! Although it's not entirely clear where it originated, there was a big hype around the Ristretto in the 80s due to industrial dark roasting. The numerous bitter compounds complement the acidic Ristretto brewing method perfectly, bringing it back into a beautiful balance. The Ristretto can be consumed in a single sip and also serves as an excellent base for milk-based drinks.

Ristretto Preparation

Brew Ratio 1:1 / Brewing Time 25-30s

  • From 18g of coffee powder, we extract 18g of water/Ristretto in 2 cups
  • A super fine grind is necessary for this
  • Because we brew extremely briefly and pass only a small amount of water through the coffee bed, it primarily extracts the acidity. This results in a concentrated, acidic beverage, making "bitter," i.e., dark-roasted beans, particularly suitable here.

Espresso

The probably simplest but most important beverage as a base. It encompasses a cup content of 20-30g of coffee and should be strong, with a slight bitterness or acidity depending on the bean. Modern espressos have a subtle sweetness, so even inexperienced espresso drinkers don't need additional sweeteners. For a fully unfolding flavor experience, you should stir the espresso once before drinking. In coffee houses, double espressos are often brewed for efficiency and flavor consistency.

Espresso Preparation

Brew Ratio 1:2 / Brewing Time 25-30s

  • From 18g of coffee powder, we extract 36g of water/espresso in 2 cups
  • We set the grind size slightly coarser than for the Ristretto
  • The double cup volume significantly reduces the strength, but it still has a rich, robust body and a strong concentration
  • The brewing is more balanced and extracts significantly more bitter compounds than the Ristretto. Therefore, the bean may also have a subtle acidity.

Here is our video playlist where you can find everything about the preparation and perfection of espresso! Have you never prepared an espresso and need help? Then we have the video for your start in the espresso career right here!

Lungo 

So, what about the Lungo? Here, too, the word already reveals something. It's an espresso that's drawn out longer, meaning we run twice as much water through our coffee bed but use the same amount of powder. This gives us a longer, slightly diluted espresso that is less strong and has more bitter compounds. The Lungo is a drink for enthusiasts who like to enjoy more than just a sip of coffee.

Lungo Preparation

Brew Ratio 1:3 / Brewing Time 25-30s

  • From 18g of coffee powder, we now extract 54g of water/Lungo, distributed in 2 cups
  • The grind size is a bit coarser here
  • Due to the larger amount of water, the strength is significantly reduced, and we extract many more bitter compounds. Therefore, it's okay for the Lungo to have beans with more acidity.

 

Americano

In contrast to the Lungo, here the coffee is stretched after brewing, and the additional water doesn't pass through the coffee bed. So, if you prefer a larger drink with less strength, the Americano might be for you. Many are put off by the fact that it's simply diluted with hot water, but it makes sense because it's a double espresso, flavor-wise round, balanced, and harmonious, which is stretched with hot water to reduce strength. The strength can, of course, be varied with the amount of water.

Americano Preparation

Brew Ratio 1:3 / Brewing Time 25-30s

  • For 1 cup of Americano, we prepare a Doppio and then stretch it with 70g of water
  • Grind size is the same as for espresso
  • Strength can be varied by the amount of water added after brewing.

Here's the preparation video for you!

All coffees in comparison

Ristretto

Doppio Espresso

Lungo

Americano

Coffee powder:

18g

18g

18g

18g

Amount of water:

18g

36g

54g

a Doppio
extended with 70g

Taste:

strong, short and intense

balanced and full

weaker but with crema

Diluted espresso, taste variable by amount of water.

Conclusion

Certainly, there are significant differences in the preparation method! It's important to understand how the sizes of extraction have a significant impact on the taste. So now you know what Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo are, and what their Brew Ratio is. Once you've grasped this, you'll always know exactly which parameters to change if something about your espresso bothers you. We've put together a video on this topic for you.

You can review everything about Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo in our video here!

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What's the difference between an Espresso and a Ristretto?

In addition to the grind size, the size of the beverage also changes. The Ristretto is merely a quick sip, while the Espresso is slightly larger. The grind size for Espresso is slightly coarser, and the bean can also be slightly more acidic since the brewing process takes a bit longer.

Is Ristretto stronger than Espresso?

The Ristretto, compared to Espresso, is somewhat stronger. It is strong, short, and intense in flavor.

What is a Lungo?

Lungo means "long." It is, therefore, a long espresso, as the brewing time is extended, allowing more water to flow through the coffee bed. Consequently, it is also milder than an espresso.

What is an Americano?

Although it may deter many, the Americano is an espresso stretched with water. However, it does make sense because it is a double espresso, flavor-wise round, balanced, and harmonious, which is stretched with hot water to reduce strength. The strength can be varied, of course, by adjusting the amount of water.

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