Capabilities and advantages of laser ablation processes utilizing ultrashort pulses have been demonstrated in various applications of scientific and industrial nature. Of particular interest are applications that require high geometrical accuracy, excellent surface integrity and thus tolerate only a negligible heat-affected zone in the processed area. In this context, this work presents a detailed study of the ablation characteristics of common ultrahard composite materials utilized in the cutting tool industry, namely polycrystalline diamond (PCD) and polycrystalline cubic boron nitride composite (PCBN). Due to the high hardness of these materials, conventional mechanical processing is time consuming and costly. Herein, laser ablation is an appealing solution, since no process forces and no wear have to be taken into consideration. However, an industrially viable process requires a detailed understanding of the ablation characteristics of each material. Therefore, the influence of various process parameters on material removal and processing quality at 10 ps pulse duration are investigated for several PCD and PCBN grades. The main focus of this study examines the effect of different laser energy input distributions, such as pulse frequency and burst pulses, on the processing conditions in deep cutting kerfs and the resulting processing speed. Based on these results, recommendations for efficient processing of such materials are derived.