Ristretto, espresso and lungo: how much water should you use?

18-04-2017 Coffee culture

As you probably know, ristretto and lungo are both ‘espresso’-based drinks. And ‘espresso’ has nothing to do with a specific bean, blend or taste. It’s simply a method of brewing coffee by quickly pushing almost boiling water, under pressure, through tightly packed, finely ground coffee beans – exactly as you use in your machine at home.

Most people express the difference between espressos, ristrettos and lungos in terms of the amount liquid that ends up in your cup. That’s not 100% true, but it is a great place to start.

Heaven in a cup!
Each of our capsules has around 5 grams of finely ground 100% arabica coffee. To extract the very best taste-sensation from our own capsule range we recommend using the following amount of water:

> Around 25ml of water for Noir and Enigma; our ristrettos.
> Up to 40ml of water for Lust and Envy; our espressos.
> Up to 110ml of water for Elevate; our lungo.

This way, the result will be a super-nice, dark brown, slightly thick coffee, with a beautifully formed ‘crema’ – as some folks on our Facebook page have already noted!
Adjusting water to taste

Some prefer a little more water, others a little less. On a Nespresso machine you can easily program the volume of water by simply pressing your button twice. Check your manual for more info.

Once you start playing with this, you are adjusting what the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America call the ‘brewing ratio’. The brewing ratio is the proportion of dry coffee (in grams) to water (in grams) to make your cup of coffee.

As we said earlier, each of our caps has around 5 grams of finely ground 100% arabica coffee. And 1 millilitre of water weighs one gram. So, when you use the volume of water we recommended above, you end up with a brewing ratio of:

> Around 1:5 for our Ristrettos
> Up to 1:8 for our Espressos
> Up to 1:22 for our Lungos.

Nice to know, right?

So why do we recommend these brewing ratios?
The idea behind blending great espressos is to create layers of flavour that balance sweetness, acidity and body. That’s because the espresso extraction method acts like a magnifying-glass for the flavour of a bean.

So that’s what we bore in mind when blending and roasting our range. And that’s also the
thinking behind the amount of water we recommend: we’re aiming to help you experience the best taste possible out of every single cap.

Using 110ml of water with Elevate is a bit like adding water to whiskey. The extra water helps bring out the fine lemon peel flavour above the creamy milkiness.
Using 40ml with Lust, really helps the grapefruit notes pop over a stronger, deeper, cup.

And using just 25ml with Noir and Enigma keeps the subtle chocolatey richness powerful and strong from start to finish.

Explore a world of taste!
The really interesting thing is that using different brewing ratios actually unlocks different flavor profiles. It’s subtle, but they are there. So next time you try a Jones Brothers Coffee cap, why not experiment with the amount of water? You never know what you might discover!

Love what we brew!
The Bean Team