What is ristretto?
Espresso is at the heart of many Starbucks® beverages. You probably know that you can adjust the number of shots in your espresso drink or choose a decaf option. But, do you know the difference between a traditional espresso shot and a ristretto shot?
Ristretto means “restricted” in Italian. In the context of coffee, ristretto refers to a short (restricted) shot of espresso, meaning the barista pulls only the first portion of a full-length espresso shot.
Ristretto is made with the same Starbucks® Espresso Roast used for full espresso shots, but less hot water is pushed through the grounds. The result is a smaller, more concentrated serving with a sweeter, richer flavor.
Extraction is the reason a subtle change in technique makes a significant difference in taste and texture. Ristretto shots contain more of the flavor compounds that dissolve most quickly from coffee grounds. Arrested extraction makes ristretto more full-bodied and less bitter than fully extracted espresso.
Customize Your Drink with Ristretto
Asking for ristretto is yet another way to customize some of your favorite Starbucks® drinks. Ristretto shots are the base for our Flat White and Holiday Spice Flat White, and you can request ristretto in any espresso-based beverage. We recommend trying ristretto shots in your Caramel Macchiato, Americano, Starbucks Doubleshot® on Ice, or Eggnog Latte.
Another type of shot is lungo, which is Italian for “long.” The barista makes a lungo or “long shot” by passing more hot water through the espresso machine. Lungo is not as strong as traditional espresso or ristretto, but the longer pull time means additional flavor compounds are dissolved, resulting in a more bitter flavor. Just like ristretto, you can ask for a long shot in your favorite espresso drink—whether you’re ordering on the Starbucks® app or at your local store.