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Thread: Why not just Ristretto?

  1. #1
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    Why not just Ristretto?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    As most of my coffee consumption is lattes I never paid much attention to discussions on ristretto v standard espresso, but recently I became more curious and have been doing some research into the meaning of and methods of preparing ristretto.

    As I understand it the pour is restricted by grinding finer or increasing the dose, therefore creating a *more concentrated syrupy espresso which appeals to many. *I have since been experimenting at home and practicing at producing ristretto. Accepting that results may be different for different beans so far I have found that in my milk drinks the ristretto more delicious than my latte with standard espresso shot, and I have also found a more intense pleasant aftertaste.

    This left me wondering why ristretto would not itself become the standard. In my reading online I found a number of baristas on other sites saying that at their workplaces ristretto was the standard espresso base for all drinks including milk drinks. If there is merit in this I guess one obvious benefit is that there is no need to adjust grind or have another dedicated grinder.

    I would be interested to hear opinions on this and to understand what in fact are the advantages in sticking with the standard 30ml espresson shot over the ristretto? Or is it just a matter of taste preference.

  2. #2
    A_M
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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    Quote Originally Posted by 47424D4D5A4B230 link=1258860379/0#0 date=1258860379
    I have found that in my milk drinks the ristretto more delicious than my latte with standard espresso shot, and I have also found a more intense pleasant aftertaste.
    I agree... And if you ever look back you will see I have always pulled my shots short.

    In a nut shell... Education and ease of training ( Opps TBM and through put..) is what I believe..

    As you stated... Finer or up dosing or pulling short.. Remember is ya chasing $$$ any extra grinds has to be recovered.. Opps - Better product = more clients or return/repeat clients is not always factored in..

    I have seen some 3 group systems set up for 2 groups for double shots and one for single.. But same grind and same tamp.. For me it would be the same PF basket and a shorter time... yes more beans, but a much better outcome and easy to manage the 3 min training the staff get... After all they all come with a certificate :D

    Thus the issue between understanding good/great coffee Vs the general understanding that Mr and Mrs public have and expect....

  3. #3
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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    Simple - because Ristretto is not the standard espresso is.
    Ristretto is a very nice way of pulling shots if you are looking for a sweeter more syrupy shot but it isnt completely balanced shot (as pulling a ristretto will reduce the acidic qualities in the beans).

    I look for balance so I mainly drink espressos. Sure we could blend/roast to make a rist. shot balanced but then we are back to square one.

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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    Aha interesting perspective! Doesnt pulling short give a different result? Do you still consider that to be ristretto?

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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    What you are getting into is a matter of taste, one person prefers a ristretto (by the way there is much discussion on how to do it generally in a commercial setting it is just pulled short IMHO), another will prefer an espresso. Most dont care they just want a decent coffee. It is an interesting journey and peoples preference will change over time so enjoy the ride.

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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1E3221273A323F0C1E3C3D38362A530 link=1258860379/2#2 date=1258861863
    Simple - because Ristretto is not the standard espresso is.
    Ristretto is a very nice way of pulling shots if you are looking for a sweeter more syrupy shot but it isnt completely balanced shot (as pulling a ristretto will reduce the acidic qualities in the beans).

    I look for balance so I mainly drink espressos. Sure we could blend/roast to make a rist. shot balanced but then we are back to square one.
    I guess I am yet to understand the balance factor

  7. #7
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    The following link highlights Ernesto Illys Scientific American paper that graphs the extraction of various coffee compounds over time.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1258705607/8#8

    For my tastes the 20 second mark is the optimum, and that matches the results I have gained in experimenting with ristrettos.

    Of course YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary :)) and so may everyone elses.

    Greg

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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7E4B5C5E6E564B5458555D390 link=1258860379/6#6 date=1258863681
    For my tastes the 20 second mark is the optimum, and that matches the results I have gained in experimenting with ristrettos.
    I have found the same. I just started to use a timer out of interest when pulling a shot. The 20 second mark seems the best for me.

    As for standard?
    For who?

    Most baristas look at you strangely when I ask for one. Yeah, I know, they shouldnt be called a "barista". The general coffee drinker wouldnt know what one was. Out of the 35 people at work who get coffee from the "coffee" van, none would know what one was. Then again they wouldnt know what a good coffee was.

    Yet I do see this lack of knowledge improving, so great question but its ahead of its time.

  9. #9
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    When I introduced my sister in Vancouver to really good coffee I took her to Caffe Artigiano.

    After I explained carefully to the cashier how I wanted the doppio ristretto piccolo lattes made, she responded with "Thats our standard."

    Greg

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    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    FWIW, I usually pull 25 ml from 16 gms for Espresso/Ristretto fairly tight (dont use a timer). For milk based will let the shot run up to 60ml depending on cup size and colour of shot.
    This works for us anyway :)

    Chris

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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    All of the responses seem to confirm that there is no set standard and that its a case of experimenting and seeing what works best...i think thats what is exciting about making espresso, if it was so easy then it would be less fun!

    I would love to get some photos of the facial expressions when a ristretto is ordered...for many cafes it must be a nightmare request I had a laugh

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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    Within limits, the more concentrated a coffee, the harder it is to discern the more delicate flavours. *This is mentioned by Mr Petracco in the Illy book and Alan Adler, the guy who made the Aeropress, commented that based on many brix readings, brews that people identify as having "clarity of flavour" are ones that are relatively low in total dissolved solids. *You can test this out for yourself by pulling a double ristretto, stirring it, tasting it, diluting with hot water and repeating. *

    It is most certainly a personal preference thing. *As MM wrote, ristrettos tend to lower acidity and increase body, so you ristrettos are great if thats what youre after. *You could also try to extract an espresso, but cut it off shorter. *As espresso extractions progress, the extraction becomes lower in body. *The final third of the extraction is usually relatively mild; low in body and flavour. *It also seems to me that shots tend to go pear shaped towards the end. *For these reasons, I tend to suggest to people who are starting out that a good way to start is to aim for maybe just over 20mL in just over 20 seconds (or a bit over 40mL in a bit over 20 seconds for a double shot). *This extraction seems to give more of the heavy body of a ristretto whilst keeping more flavour in the extraction.

    I have to say that Im not sure that I agree that ristretto extractions are sweeter than espresso. *It seems to me to vary a bit. *Sometimes the acidity in an espresso can increase your perception of sweetness.

    It seems to me that peoples tastes often change as they experience more and more good coffee. *When people start out, they notice the lack of bitterness (compared with stale coffee) and people tend to gravitate towards high body and low acidity. *As people drink more and more, they often start reducing their milk intake, so lattes give way to double shot lattes, macchiatos and then ristrettos. *From here, some people start to explore filter coffees and espresso.


    Some coffees will be better suited to one extraction than another. If you like big body and low acidity, then you might like something like many of the Brazilian coffees around or a nice sumatran. On the other hand, it strikes me as kind of silly to take a really aromatic yirgacheffe or a crisp, clean, red apple costa rican and try to turn them into something that has low body and high acidity. Why not buy a coffee that has those characteristics to start off with?

    Personally, I like all of these different styles of extraction, but it does irritate me on the odd occasion when I order an espresso of a single origin to enjoy its particular distinctive traits and Im instead served a ristretto that masks those traits.

    Cheers,
    Luca

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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    Quote Originally Posted by 59405654350 link=1258860379/11#11 date=1258870869
    Personally, I like all of these different styles of extraction, but it does irritate me on the odd occasion when I order an espresso of a single origin to enjoy its particular distinctive traits and Im instead served a ristretto that masks those distinctive traits
    I didnt realise that on the minus side rsitretto masks some of the traits othewise found in standard espressso shot...I guess now it makes sense to me that a cafe would reserve the ristretto to a specific request rather than making it the standard shot.

  14. #14
    sco
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    Re: Why not just Ristretto?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 4C4946465140280 link=1258860379/12#12 date=1258871297
    I order an espresso of a single origin to enjoy its particular distinctive traits and Im instead served a ristretto that masks those distinctive traits *
    Sounds like someone who knows something is trying to impress someone who knows more. :P



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