What’s the Difference Between Espresso Lungo, Ristretto & Macchiato Coffee?

Have you ever thought what the numerous options on your favorite coffee shop’s “espresso” menu are?

You may be familiar with cold brew, Mocha, Americano, or Cappuccino, but do you really recognize what separates an espresso from a Ristretto, Lungo, or Macchiato?

Those are all three different ways to use an espresso machine to get a “shot” of espresso.

Quick Overview of Espresso Lungo , Ristretto & Macchiato Differences

CoffeeGrams of Espresso CoffeeWater Ratio mLCoffee FlavorsCaffeine Levels
Espresso7-825-30 mLStrong , Earthy , Nutty , Chocolaty TonesStrong
Lungo850 mLRoasty , Smoky Notes​Light to none
Ristretto812.5-15 mLHeavy Floral Notes , Herbal and Dark Berries​Light
Macchiato7-825-30 mLStrong , Earthy Nutty , Chocolaty Tones , Milky and SmoothMedium to Strong

They are all focused on the same basic ingredients and methods, but they vary in how the process is carried out.


1. Espresso


What is Espresso Coffee?

Espresso is the Italian bitter, coffee “shot” that we are familiar to at our nearby coffee shop.


Espresso beans are similar to the coffee beans we use in our drip machines at home.

How is Espresso Made?

Espresso is, at its most simple concept, a small amount of water pushed through a firmly packed finely ground bed of coffee at extremely high pressures. The volume of water and coffee used differs based on the espresso machine.

What is The Ratio of Espresso Per Water?

The standard American or Italian espresso preparation demands for nearly 8 gr of finely ground coffee per 25-30ml of water. This is different for each shop’s machine, so this is just a guidance.

However, the end result is the same. You get a strong, aromatic dose of coffee that shows elements of the brew that other brew methods do not show and also produces the perfect crema on the surface of the shot.

Which Espresso is The Strongest?

Dark roast coffee beans are roasted at temperatures ranging from 225 to 230 degrees Celsius. In fact, the more roasted the coffee beans, the more aromatic they are. As a result, dark roast coffee beans are perhaps the most powerful.

So, The Darker …The Stronger!

Flavors of Espresso

How Does Espresso Taste?

Espresso has the stronger, earthier, nuttier tones that are being found in all coffees. In reality, some of the best espresso shots I’ve ever had have powerful chocolate and cocoa notes that convince me, that I’m drinking melted chocolate!

What is Espresso Crema?

The crema, the blonde-white silky cream that appears on the surface of the espresso shot, is always one of the most incredible aspects of espresso and a characteristic feature of the espresso. It has notes of smooth chocolate, caramel, and milk.


2. Lungo


What is a Lungo?

Lungo is another way to make coffee with an espresso machine. It is based, once again, on changing the volume of water used in a standard espresso formula. This time, we use twice as much water as usual per 8 grams of coffee.

Flavors of Lungo

I’m sorry to admit that lungo is my least favorite espresso recipe. Why is this so? The only flavors that exist are roasty, smoky notes. The processing here is so close of becoming excessive that the notes shown may lead you to believe your espresso is already damaged.

Don’t Get Me Wrong!

That isn’t to suggest lungo isn’t good or that certain people didn’t enjoy the flavors. It’s lighter and contains less caffeine, so it’s exactly what people with sensitive stomach need!

How Much Caffeine Lungo Espresso Has?

By using twice as much water, more caffeine is removed, as are more “wider” coffee notes. The longer processing will fully remove most, if not all, of the coffee’s strong notes.

What is The Difference Between an Espresso and a Lungo?

Lungo, that translates to “long” in Italian, is a unique way of pulling an espresso shot that results in a fairly mild flavor. This proves that there is more water, which results in a less strong flavor than an espresso, that has a shorter pressure. A lungo is two ounces in size.

What is the Recipe of Lungo Espresso?

7-8 grams of coffee per 50ml of water is a traditional lungo recipe.

Adding Milk to a Lungo

  1. Go ahead and use your coffee machine to prepare the espresso coffee (40ml or 1.35 Fl oz) and spill it into the cup.
  2. Pour 10 mL of milk over the coffee.
  3. Add 10 and 20 ml of milk.

Lungo and Ristretto are Rare!

The rare choices for true coffee addicts!

Lungo, like ristretto, are less popular than espresso because few people know of the alternative.


3. Ristretto


What is a Ristretto?

Ristretto is an espresso method change. I find it easy to recall “ristretto – restrict” since making a ristretto shot cuts the supply of water by about half. Because of the water limit, less water reaches the grounds.

Flavors of Ristretto

The extraction duration and high pressure give the simple espresso method its deep earthy undertones. Ristretto experiences the high pressure, but since there is less water, the extraction is quicker and less detailed.

We also get some earthy details, but the crema is lighter and the chocolate notes are usually missing. Instead, we get floral and herbal undertones.

In the aroma of the drink, intend to detect heavy floral notes as well as herbal and dark berries. Expect the same on the mouth, but with a huge emphasis on the herbal and floral rather than the berries.

How much Caffeine Ristretto has?

This leads in less caffeine, which some might consider a disadvantage, but more “aromatic” notes in the shot due to the short processing time.

Is Ristretto Tastier than Espresso?

Ristretto emphasizes on the more “aromatic” elements of the espresso preparation process. Less water flows through the bed of beans, but it does so faster, keeping some of the coffee’s more aromatic, “better” flavors.

Is Ristretto Popular?

Ristretto shots are less popular than espresso shots due to their lower density and loss of caffeine kick. In my knowledge, most American coffee buyers do not seek out espresso for the flavor complexities.

What is the Recipe for Ristretto?

An American Ristretto shot is usually made with 8 grams of coffee per 12.5-15ml of water. On your cup expect a dose of about 11ml.


4. Macchiato


What is a Macchiato?

In Italian, macchiato means “dirty” or “marked.” This expression refers to the method by which the espresso is made. The coffee contains a double shot of espresso with a dash of milk. The “ring” is caused by the barista sprinkling a small amount of foam on top of the coffee.

What is Macchiato Flavor?

The Macchiato is one of several Espresso-based blends that started in Italy. The classic Macchiato is a blended coffee drink with a heavy espresso taste. That means that this coffee is mainly made up of one ingredient, espresso, with a splash of another, whipped cream.

Should you Stir a Macchiato?

No, your macchiato should not be mixed.

When most people get their cup, their first instinct is to spin their straw in circles, combining the two layers of espresso and milk to make a smooth creamy brown-colored coffee drink.

What’s the Difference Between a Latte and a Macchiato?

The key distinction between the two drinks is the milk-to-espresso ratio… latte, here’s the main difference a macchiato is basically espresso and steamed milk. A latte is a combination of espresso, hot milk, and frothed milk.


Usage of Various Preparations

For most people, the standard espresso preparation would work. However, if you want to grasp the reality of a specific bean, you should prepare the shots in each method and taste each one.

Here are 5 coffee helpful tips!​
Americano is similar with a lungo shot with a bit of extra hot water.​
For a macchiato, you’ll need a lot of “dry foam”: the fuzzy thing! The milk frother is ideal for creating this kind of foam.​
For caffeine-sensitive coffee lovers, a ristretto shot is the best as it is lighter.​
Often pre – heat the machine before using it (machine, cup)​
Use filtered distilled water.​
Use a new Espresso blend and just grind the coffee beans before creating the espresso.​
The Caramel Macchiato, one of Starbucks’ popular espresso drinks, is a steaming cup of happiness. This tasty drink will have a kick with steamed milk, vanilla extract, espresso, caramel sprinkle, and 150 mg of caffeine per 16 fluid ounces​

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