short and sweet
After our last post you have probably perfected the art of making an espresso using your espresso machine. However it is now time to venture into to this intensely flavored brew and look at the variants of an espresso.
If a finished espresso is 1oz then a ristretto is the first 3/4 oz of an espresso. The literal translation of ristretto in Italian is limited or restricted. To make a ristretto you must start with the same amount of coffee as you would for a traditional espresso. the finely ground beans must be tamped down to tightly pack the into the machine. Thereafter around half the amount of water used in a traditional espresso must be forced through these beans at high pressure.
Due to this process a ristretto therefore has a different flavor to espresso. On balance the flavor is less bitter and more intense than a traditional espresso. The Ristretto therefore is an excellent base for milk based coffee drinks such as latte or cappuccino even if, and we suspect for commercial reasons, espresso is what is mostly used to produce those beverages.
The appeal of the ristretto is really in the intense flavor and incredible nose produced by its methodology. Unlike popular belief a ristretto should not be drank quickly. Ok we are in Texas and we do like everything bigger out here, however some things should be savored perhaps because of their size. Remember the saying "good things come in small packages..." well this couldn't be truer of the Ristretto.
The perfect accompaniment for this drink is a glass of cold, even iced, water. Unless you are of Italian descent, or particularly sweet toothed, we would say that when drinking this coffee you should perhaps avoid sugar. This is because sugar alters not just the taste but also the texture of the beverage, perhaps not substantially but enough to be able to tell the difference. It all boils down to personal preference however and we certainly would not discourage you from sweetening your brew. Nonetheless all we are saying is simply try it without first!
Good ristretto like all good coffee, should start with high quality beans! We would recommend our Strong Handshake blend as the perfect blend for this type of coffee!