Ristretto in Italian means literally restricted or limited in English. So, un caffè ristretto is an espresso made with the same amount of coffee grounds but about half the water used for a cup of espresso. The result is a very strong and concentrated drink that provides a powerful caffeine hit
There are quite a lot of myths surrounding “Italian coffee.” We’ve already discussed the role of marketing and the myth that Italy’s water makes superior coffee. We also debunked the idea that Italian coffee is a homegrown product. There’s one more misconception I want to address: The belief that Italians drink strong coffee.
The typical cup of coffee consumed by Italians of all generations is an espresso shot. Giving credit where it’s due, Italians invented espresso and introduced it to the rest of the world. The elements of a perfect espresso – 7 grams of finely ground coffee, the right volume of water, and exact temperature and pressure settings – have become standard all over the world. So, an espresso brewed by a professional barista in Italy is essentially the same thing as one made by any equally experienced barista from London to Lebanon.
With a standard 7-gram shot of coffee used to prepare a single espresso shot, the strength is pretty uniform regardless of the type of coffee used. In Italy, coffee usually has some Robusta beans in the blend, or is roasted really dark, or both. These factors result in overly bitter-tasting coffee, but do nothing to change the strength of a standard espresso shot.