Difference Between Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo

Coffee is a drink that is prepared from roasted coffee beans that are produced by plants belonging to the Coffea genus. They give berry-like fruits which undergo certain processes to produce green coffee beans that are roasted. These roasted beans are used to prepare coffee. As people may have grown accustomed to tasting, many types of coffee have evolved, with Espresso, Ristretto, and Lungo being some of them.

Ristretto vs Espresso vs Lungo

The main difference between Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo is the amount of water we use. Though they all have a common family called coffee, they all have their own taste, vibe, and fans. These are the must-try options if you are a fan of coffee.

Ristretto vs Espresso vs Lungo

Espresso is a type of coffee brewing technique in which the water is passed through coffee beans at 8-10 bar pressure. basically, Espressos are concentrated extracts of coffee that are given in small quantities known as shots.

A Ristretto is typically an Espresso but with less water and brewing time. In Italian, “Ristretto” means “restricted”. This requires the same amount of coffee beans or coffee extract as before, but less water and less brewing time. This typically requires half the amount of water and half the time that an Espresso usually requires.

A Lungo is also typically an Espresso but with a greater amount of water and brewing time. In Italian, “Lungo” means “longer”. This also requires the same amount of coffee beans or coffee extract as an Espresso needs but with double the amount of water and time that an Espresso needs.

Comparison Table Between Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo

Parameters of ComparisonEspressoRistretto EspressoLungo
Italian origin meaningpressed coffeeRestrictedlonger
Amount of water requiredaround 20-30 mlHalf the amount of espressodouble the amount of espresso
Time required to preparearound 30 secAround 15 secondsabout a minute
Tastea little bolder in taste A little sweeter than espressobitter than espresso
Caffeine concentrationconcentrated than coffeeless than espressoless than espresso and ristretto
texturethicker than coffeeThick, dense, and syrupya little watery

What is Espresso?

Espresso is a type of coffee that is of Italian origin. Espresso in Italian means “pressed coffee.” The name is evolved as it is obtained by passing water through coffee beans at 8-10 bar pressure. This gives a concentrated form of coffee as it contains less amount of water than coffee. it generally requires 30 seconds to brew it in an Espresso machine. There are many methods of preparing espresso but using an Espresso machine is the easiest and quickest way.

Generally, Espresso machines are of two types steam and pump espresso machines. steam espresso machines are difficult to handle and the pressure is also difficult to handle. A pump espresso machine is easy to handle and the pressure is generally is adjusted in most of the machines. even though we can have an espresso machine, the skill of Espresso making is a hard skill to master.

the making process includes taking finely grinded coffee beans into the portafilter of the espresso machine and tamping evenly and cleaning the group head. close the group head and keep in machine and brew immediately. be careful while brewing as it should get the correct amount of water, pressure maintaining, and also in the time of 30 seconds. it usually passing out nearly 20-30ml of water in 30 seconds time under 8-10 bar pressure.

What is Ristretto Espresso?

It is typically a type of Espresso that requires half the amount of water and time that regular Espresso requires. It still uses the same amount of coffee beans as an Espresso. The word “Ristretto” is of Italian origin, meaning “restricted”. Usually, most of the coffee shops don’t offer them as this is less popular. If you are an enthusiast and love Espresso. It should be tried.

Many machines are available with this option, or you can prepare it manually with a typical espresso machine. It is usually sweet as the brewing time is less and the amount of water needed is extracted in less time, which is 15 seconds.

The making process generally goes by taking the required amount of coffee extract that typically an Espresso needs and water needs to be extracted at about 15-20 ml in 15 seconds. The water extraction in the allotted time is the crucial part. You have to extract the maximum amount of water you can in 15 seconds. It is usually combined with a cappuccino, latte, etc., but can also be taken normally. Cafes usually give two shots of Ristretto to make it the same volume as an Espresso.

What is Lungo?

Lungo is also a type of Espresso but requires double the amount of water and time that Espresso needs. For Lungo, the same number of coffee beans is required as for Espresso. “Lungo” is of Italian origin, meaning “longer”. This typically means that it takes a longer amount of time to brew this coffee. If you are a caffeine and bitterness addict, you should try this.

The making process includes taking the required amount of coffee extract and drawing it, typically around 50 ml in a minute. As the bitter elements dissolve in later stages, they have a bitter flavor that most of them don’t like. It’s drawing water as much as a minute of it.

Also, there are so many machines with this option that there are many machines with this option. You can also make it manually with a general espresso machine. Due to more water content, it is generally a little more watery than Espresso and Ristretto. The caffeine concentration is the same for all, but as this has more water, it seems to have a lower concentration of caffeine. The amount of Lungo given can be observed as it is like two shots of espresso. One can find a difference only after tasting them.

Main Differences Between Espresso, Lungo, and Ristretto

 All are descendants of coffee but have some main differences, which include

  1. The Espresso needs nearly 20-30 ml of water. The Ristretto has half the amount of water as Espresso, whereas the Lungo has double the amount of water as the espresso.
  2. The Espresso takes 30 seconds of time, the Ristretto takes around 15 seconds to brew or extract, whereas the Lungo requires a minute.
  3. Espresso is bolder in taste than coffee. Ristretto is sweeter in taste, and Lungo is bitter due to the time difference as bitter elements brew in later times.
  4. The Espresso is more concentrated than coffee, the Ristretto is syrupy and thick in texture, whereas the Lungo is a bit watery.
  5. They are derived from Italian but have different meanings. Espresso means “pressed coffee”, Ristretto means “restricted” and Lungo means “longer”.
  6. Espresso has more caffeinated concentration than coffee. Ristretto is stronger than Lungo as the caffeine concentration will be higher in Ristretto than in Lungo as Lungo has more water content, which decreases the caffeine concentration.


Many people in the world are coffee addicts. Caffeine helps us concentrate more by activating brain cells. As the number of coffee fans is increasing, companies are trying to make different types of coffee to satisfy curious caffeine lovers. In the process of evolution, the Espresso, Ristretto, and Lungo have evolved, which are members of the same family as coffee but have differences in compositions of water.

The water content mainly differentiates them, and you can’t exactly find a difference until you taste it. The Ristretto tastes sweet, whereas the Lungo tastes bitter, and the Espresso is bolder in taste. This is mainly due to adding bitter elements in the later stages of brewing. As the Lungo takes more time, it tastes bitter.

The Ristretto and Lungo were not as popular as Espresso because most cafés don’t include them in their menus. This also requires special machines or people with special skills to make them. A skilled person is required as he should be able to get the exact amount of water in the exact amount of time to retain its nature. These types of coffee are also not commonly found due to the requirement of specialized skilled people.

Finally, we can conclude that if we coffee addicts and enthusiasts want to taste different types, these types are worth giving a try. These can also be combined with a latte, cappuccino, etc. who wants according to their preferences. 


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-4603.2004.35504.x
  2. https://iopscience.iop.org/chapter/978-0-7503-2596-7/bk978-0-7503-2596-7ch5.pdf
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