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Thread: Order Espresso, get "Ristretto"?

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    Order Espresso, get "Ristretto"?

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    This may be covered on another thread, but here goes:

    Lately in several different cafes, I've ordered an espresso or "short black" and gotten something I'd characterise as more of a ristretto. Is there a new trend in coffee terminology? How do I order an espresso or short black (approx. 30 ml) and get one? Specify extraction time?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    I think the current consensus, amongst those baristas who think their task here on earth is to edumacate us, is that a ristretto is sexier and perceived to be of higher quality than the plain, old fashioned and very old school simple espresso or short black. I say bullocks to that as I am sure you are old enough to know what kind of coffee you prefer. But... better safe than sorry... so perhaps it might be wise to order an espresso and letting them know you definitely do NOT want a ristretto. Be prepared for the frowns, rolled eyes and general looks of incredulity.

    Good luck with that

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    CoffeeSnob CraigDavey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
    This may be covered on another thread, but here goes:

    Lately in several different cafes, I've ordered an espresso or "short black" and gotten something I'd characterise as more of a ristretto. Is there a new trend in coffee terminology? How do I order an espresso or short black (approx. 30 ml) and get one? Specify extraction time?

    Thanks in advance.
    The same happened to me Stimpy......once........
    I know what I want and how I like it, so as Vinattase suggests make sure they know exactly what you expect.
    If it is not delivered then ask again. You are the customer!
    Not a third wave experimental coffee drinker.
    The complexity of flavors varies as you probably know greatly between ristretto and espresso.
    And I LOVE ristretto, but only when I ask for it, not when dictated.
    Enjoy what's in the cup the way you like it,and how it is expected not how they expect you to accept it.
    Dragunov21 likes this.

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    The easiest thing to do is to walk away.

    There are plenty of coffee shops out there who will service your needs and there is no reason to prolong an antagonistic relationship that makes neither party happy.
    Let them third wave it and spend their time doing what they believe, and spend your hard earned $$ with someone who thinks the same way you do about coffee.

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    Order Espresso, get "Ristretto"?

    It could be worse. I've had a few double "espressos" now that would easily be 150ml+.

    I'd give them a chance to try again, but if the barista fails twice maybe it's time to try a different cafe?

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    Order Espresso, get "Ristretto"?

    Quote Originally Posted by fruity View Post
    It could be worse. I've had a few double "espressos" now that would easily be 150ml+.
    I agree, if I order a double espresso I'll take a double riz rather than 150mls anyday.

    On a related note, the barista at one of my regular haunts has got me drinking single espresso shots rather than doubles. Outside of rush hour (when they do a coffee every 40 seconds) he always asks what I think about the shot. Then a few weeks ago he suggested I try a single shot instead.

    I resisted the initial urge to say "hey mate I only drink double shots" and gave it a go, and it was superb! So he really opened my mind to trying different shots rather than my standard double espresso in the afternoons.

    Not saying anybody else needs to try a single though, just that it worked for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon View Post
    I agree, if I order a double espresso I'll take a double riz rather than 150mls anyday.

    On a related note, the barista at one of my regular haunts has got me drinking single espresso shots rather than doubles. Outside of rush hour (when they do a coffee every 40 seconds) he always asks what I think about the shot. Then a few weeks ago he suggested I try a single shot instead.

    I resisted the initial urge to say "hey mate I only drink double shots" and gave it a go, and it was superb! So he really opened my mind to trying different shots rather than my standard double espresso in the afternoons.

    Not saying anybody else needs to try a single though, just that it worked for me.
    From a single filter or one side of a double?

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    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    What's the difference?

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    volume / weight of grinds. All dependent on the particular type of double & single filters in use, as to whether there is any "equivalency" between the pour from half of a double, or a single. That is, a single is not always half of a double. In fact, it seldom is if you are talking Australia.

    Therefore, you get different brews using the same beans, require different grinder set ups etc, depending on filters used.

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    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Ah, so it's similar to to difference between say, using a stock double basket and a VST double basket? (which if I recall offers less resistance and therefore allows a finer grind for a given dose?)

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    All part of the total number of variables that need to be taken into account by the equipment operator, to get the best out of the particular beans, with the individual equipment and set up provided to the equipment operator by his or her employer.

    And therefore what makes or breaks a cup of coffee, is the expertise of the operator (not as many incorrectly believe, the brand name of the equipment).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Ah, so it's similar to to difference between say, using a stock double basket and a VST double basket? (which if I recall offers less resistance and therefore allows a finer grind for a given dose?)
    In my experience, single filters need anywhere up to 2/3 as much coffee as a double basket in order to work effectively without channeling and get a similar speed pour as a double basket. They increase the brew ratio giving a more ristretto tasting shot. I asked because if made from a double filter a single shouldn't taste any different, its just half as much liquid in your demitasse.

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    Order Espresso, get "Ristretto"?

    Quote Originally Posted by muppet_man67 View Post
    From a single filter or one side of a double?
    It was both spouts of their standard double basket, dosed as a double, but with a single volume of water put through it. Or at least that's what I remember he told me.

    I do remember he told me he set up the single water button with 5.5 seconds pre-infusion compared to 4 seconds for a double water. (Synesso 3 group)

    So just to confirm, their singles and doubles are identical in every way except for less water and longer per-infusion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon View Post
    It was both spouts of their standard double basket, dosed as a double, but with a single volume of water put through it. Or at least that's what I remember he told me.

    I do remember he told me he set up the single water button with 5.5 seconds pre-infusion compared to 4 seconds for a double water. (Synesso 3 group)

    So just to confirm, their singles and doubles are identical in every way except for less water and longer per-infusion.
    Sounds like a double ristretto.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon View Post
    So just to confirm, their singles and doubles are identical in every way except for less water and longer per-infusion.
    Sounds like a double ristretto to me too. as far as I know the 'canonical' volumes would be

    20mL - single ristretto
    30mL - single espresso
    40mL - double ristretto
    60mL - double espresso

    Using a double basket and only running through 30-40mL of water wouldn't be the same as a single espresso or half a double espresso because coffee/water ratio would be different. I tend to prefer ristrettos over espressos too. Since ristrettos tend to be less bitter, I imagine there is quite a bit of money to be made from customers who order espressos, don't know about ristrettos, and just think that the cafe makes particularly good espressos...

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    Order Espresso, get "Ristretto"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by papagoose View Post
    Sounds like a double ristretto to me too. as far as I know the 'canonical' volumes would be

    20mL - single ristretto
    30mL - single espresso
    40mL - double ristretto
    60mL - double espresso

    Using a double basket and only running through 30-40mL of water wouldn't be the same as a single espresso or half a double espresso because coffee/water ratio would be different. I tend to prefer ristrettos over espressos too. Since ristrettos tend to be less bitter, I imagine there is quite a bit of money to be made from customers who order espressos, don't know about ristrettos, and just think that the cafe makes particularly good espressos...
    If it's truly exceptional, and this particular place is (Cup of Truth in Melb) then I really don't care whether it's a ristretto or espresso, I'm just glad to get an exceptional drink.



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