A ristretto is literally a restricted caffè, i.e. a concentrated, very strong espresso. It is brewed with the same dose and extraction time as a regular espresso but with less water: 15 ml for a single and 30 ml for a double shot. This is achieved by grinding finer.
*** "This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee)
Posted Wed May 23, 2012, 7:03am Subject: Re: Italian Style SIngle Shot Espresso
Correct, adjust the grind to produce around 15 ml of coffee. On your Mini it should be between one and two notches counter clockwise. The idea is to produce a 100% extraction ratio. What it means is that if you are using 15 gr of coffee, your shot should be around 15 gr when you are done. If you have a scale, weigh your grind in the basket and then weigh the shot. It is easier to judge the weight rather then volume because of the crema.
Just weigh your empty basket, zero the scale (to subtract the weight of the basket), grind in the basket, tamp, weigh the basket with coffee, put your empty cup on the scale, zero the scale, pull the shot, weigh your coffee. It sounds complicated, but it isn't.
You don't have to do it every time (unless you want to...), just until you figure out your ratio.
Hi Life and Peace
I would love one but at this stage Silvia it will have to be.
But i think i am a way off having the skills for a lever machine anyway.
Just to confirm for those that are expert ristretto makers, all other factors are the same ie same tamp pressure etc but a finer grind?
TopoTail Senior Member Joined: 19 Dec 2001 Posts: 20 Location: Berkeley Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Giotto Grinder: Mini Mazzer Vac Pot: Nope Drip: Melita (for camping trips) Roaster: Haven't gone there
Posted Sat Jun 2, 2012, 1:36pm Subject: Re: Italian Style SIngle Shot Espresso
I've been brewing single shots for years, using a La Marzocco single basket, and my results are pretty consistent. I don't weigh the beans. I just grind them until there is a slight hump above the rim, then tamp. What I aim for is getting the right amount of coffee in the basket so that the imprint of the screen is clearly visible after I knock the puck out of the basket. I've never measured my tamp pressure on a bathroom scale, but it's fairly firm, and I make sure the tamp is level and smooth.
(I've never forgotten an analogy someone once used to describe the importance of a smooth tamp: That the water in an espresso machine is like a lazy child who is also very smart. If there is even a tiny pit in the surface, the water will find it and get through the coffee the easy way, which will give you bitter, weak coffee.)
For me the best shots are those that begin with just a few drips, then slowly form themselves into a straight and heavy mouse tail. Taking a page from Dr. John, I watch the mouse tail and stop the shot as soon as it begins to wiggle, which means I pull very short shots. But they're strong enough to hold up just fine, thank you, in a cappuccino.
Then, of course, there's the coffee. I recently bought a couple pounds of Cafe d'Arte beans (Seattle), which I used to use but had gotten away from. If you want an "Italian" espresso that's easy to work with and produces a lot of crema, try Cafe d'Arte. They make four or five blends, all pretty dark and all, I think, including a percentage of robusta. Even the decaf produces a beautiful shot with little fuss. Of course, you're not going to get the spicy, floral flavors that are favored by most serious American roasters, but you will get a very "Italian" shot.
realdoctor Senior Member Joined: 2 May 2002 Posts: 5 Location: Hong Kong Expertise: Advanced
Posted Sat Jun 2, 2012, 2:23pm Subject: Re: Italian Style SIngle Shot Espresso
Single shots on home machines always are more challenging. I have been a dedicated fan of single shots for a long, long time - and a good espresso still can be elusive.
The easiest approach is overdosing with a slightly more coarse grind. This is nothing at all like what the Italian baristas do, but it will make it easier for you.
A good point was made by an earlier poster. An Italian bar is using a blend heavy on robusta. That will produce more crema and a bigger flavor than most of the arabica blends used by home enthusiasts. You might try something like a monsooned Indian coffee to get some of the same results. Or find someone who will sell you a recently roasted robusta blend - not easy to do in the US.
I do find smaller, deeper baskets a little easier to manage with a single. I also think that it makes a difference to have a machine that produces a steady 9 bar. It is easier to pull a single on a machine with a procon pump than it is on a home machine operating at much higher pressure. I don't know if you have checked the pump pressure on your Rancilio, but it probably is producing much more than 9 bar at the portafilter. Preinfusion also seems to make a bigger difference with a single.
I realize that neither the procon nor preinfusion is going to be possible with the Silvia - but don't feel bad if it is a struggle to get a good single. The Silvia will produce a good coffee, and it is a lot cheaper to throw away half a double than buy a new machine with a rotary pump and e61 group.
Enjoy the Silvia and play to its strengths - you are still drinking better espresso than an awful lot of people.
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