Ordering coffee at a coffee shop means witnessing a myriad of variables in consumer choices.
In glass, with cold milk added, spiked, large cup, water on the side, just to name a few.
But having to make a choice between what people want most among the variations of a good coffee.
The choices are between short, ristretto or long coffee.
But what are the real differences between these three? For example, does the amount of caffeine vary?
Short coffee: the proverbial “coffee on the fly”
Let’s start from the premise that, like short or long, ristretto coffee is an espresso, i.e. a coffee produced by passing water through the coffee powder in the machine at high pressure and very high temperatures before it comes out. In a fast and immediate process, hence ‘espresso’.
The quantity that the machine produces depends on how long this process takes: the time it takes to make a normal espresso is between twenty and thirty seconds (if we want to be precise, it’s twenty-five), so to make a good ristretto coffee you will simply need to spend less time on this step. In terms of quantity, ristretto coffee is less than 30ml (the exact and perfect amount of an espresso) and is very aromatic and creamy, with intense and concentrated aromas. The taste is therefore more pronounced, and contrary to what you might think, it has less caffeine than long or short coffee. Of course, drinking it lasts only a short time, but it concentrates the aromas a lot.
Long coffee: for more enjoyment of the drink
Long coffee is an espresso that takes longer to drink, and it is often prepared incorrectly. In fact, the common mistake is to prolong the duration of the passage of water in the coffee (i.e. extraction) up to forty seconds, resulting in a more diluted drink, more bitter and with a higher caffeine content. This is because exceeding the twenty-five seconds for the duration of extraction, or letting too much water pass through the filter, results in the release of undigestible substances, which give the coffee a bitter taste with the aftertaste of burnt flavour.
Few people know the correct way to prepare long coffee
The correct way is to prepare a normal espresso coffee, serve it in a cup with hot water on the side (or cold, depending on taste). This preserves the drink’s natural aromas, the right balance of flavours and smells. The amount of caffeine is therefore only increased if we make the extraction time longer, not by adding water to the cup. This coffee variant is the one that is most widely consumed around the world and is therefore considered the standard.
Short coffee: a common disambiguation error
What is short coffee? Short coffee is nothing other than what we commonly call ‘espresso‘ in Italy. It is a terminology that we have probably borrowed from abroad, where it is used to differentiate it from long coffee, which as we have seen is the standard. So there is no difference between saying “espresso” or “short”, but you can run the risk of being misunderstood and receiving a “ristretto” instead of a normal espresso.
Is there a difference in caffeine between short, ristretto and long coffee?
The amount of caffeine only changes if you make the extraction time of the drink longer, but as we have seen, exceeding the canonical twenty-five seconds leads to a worsening of the taste, so you should never do this. So the caffeine doesn’t vary, only the choice to enjoy our beloved drink for more or less time.
Knowing these differences will allow you to prepare an excellent ristretto coffee, with an intense creaminess and persistent aromas, or a delicious long coffee, less dense but to be enjoyed for longer, or finally the classic espresso, for the purists of our dark drink.
How to prepare long, short or short coffee at home
Clearly, these differences concern espresso coffee, that is to be prepared with professional machines that are generally found in bars, even if today this is no longer the case: in fact, you can prepare a perfect espresso coffee at home, just like in a bar, thanks to Pontevecchio lever machines. With its wide choice of models and colours, it offers you the possibility to enjoy the best espresso directly at home, for your pleasure or that of your guests, with a machine that beautifies your kitchen.
Prepare your delicious coffee at home, even using your favourite ground beans, just choose your most suitable model of Pontevecchio lever machine, and ask it to prepare it whenever you want.