If you enjoy coffee, you’ve probably heard about Lungo coffee. The Ristretto, Doppio and now the Lungo are just variations of Espresso.
“Lungo” means “Long” in Italian and is essentially an espresso shot that is brewed longer and with more water. Lungo shots are around 2-3 oz and are often brewed for 40 seconds, which is twice as long as a traditional espresso shot. Consequently, the drink has milder and less concentrated flavors and leaves a bitter aftertaste.
In this article, I’ll explore how Lungo Espresso is made, its flavor profile, caffeine content, and how it differs from standard espresso. I’ll also provide pro tips for pulling a perfect lungo shot to highlight the nuances this unique drink can offer.
A little more about Lungo Coffee
The Italian word “lungo” means “long,” which is a reference to the size of this coffee drink compared to the shorter espresso shot.
The larger volume of the lungo coffee shot results in a drink with a milder flavor and a longer finish. Lungo has a stronger taste than regular coffee but milder compared to an Espresso shot.
It is believed to have originated in Italy in the mid-20th century when coffee drinkers began to request longer shots of espresso with more water added to create a milder flavor and a longer finish.
How to Make a Lungo Shot
- Coffee grinder
- Espresso machine
- Coffee beans
- 10-15 grams Coffee grounds
- Choose your coffee beans: Light to medium roast coffee beans are the best choice for brewing a lungo espresso. Dark roasts can produce a bitter and unpleasant flavor.
- Grind your beans: Grind your coffee beans with a high-quality burr grinder just before brewing, using a little coarser grind compared to traditional espresso shot.
- Fill your portafilter: Fill your portafilter with enough ground coffee to make a 3-4 ounce shot. The good coffee to water ratio for a lungo shot is 1:3-4. Tamp the coffee grounds down firmly to ensure an even extraction.
- Start the extraction: Start the extraction process on your espresso machine and let the water run through the coffee grounds for approximately 30-40 seconds. This longer extraction time is what distinguishes a Lungo Espresso from a traditional espresso shot.
- Watch the flow: As the coffee is extracted, pay close attention to the flow rate. You want the coffee to flow smoothly and consistently, without any interruptions or spurts. If the flow is too fast, your coffee will be weak and watery; if it's too slow, your coffee will be bitter and over-extracted.
- Stop the extraction: Once you've extracted approximately 3-4 ounces of coffee, you'll start noticing the crema layer. At that moment, Stop the extraction process by turning off the machine.
- Enjoy your Lungo: Serve your Lungo Espresso in a preheated cup and enjoy it on its own, or use it as a base for other coffee drinks like lattes or cappuccinos.
Taste and Flavor profiles of Lungo
A lungo shot tastes less intense and more bitter than a standard espresso. The extra hot water draws out more bitter notes while diluting the body and sweetness.
This longer brewing process also results in a thinner crema – the frothy foam that covers the shot’s surface.
Lighter roasted beans tend to work exceptionally well with Lungos because they contain more complex and delicate flavor profiles. The extended extraction time of a lungo, typically around 30-45 seconds, allows these subtle flavors to shine.
The extended hot water contact of lungo can cause over-extraction if you use darker roasts and make the drink taste bitter and burnt.
Is Lungo Stronger Than Espresso
Lungo is not stronger than espresso. It is made with twice as much water as espresso, but the same amount of ground coffee. This results in a larger and less concentrated drink with a milder flavor.
Also Read: Why Is Espresso Tasting Bitter
The Caffeine content and calories in Lungo
A traditional espresso shot is typically 1-1.25 ounces and has a caffeine content of around 60-72 mg, while a Lungo is usually 3-4 ounces in volume and has a caffeine content of 70-80 mg.
The caffeine content in Lungo is slightly higher than in Espresso that’s because the longer extraction time allows for more of the coffee’s flavors and aroma to be extracted.
The calorie count in Lungo is almost the same as Espresso which is 2-4 calories per serving which is virtually negligible.
However, if you add any additional ingredients to your Lungo, such as milk, cream, or sugar, the calorie content will increase.
Comparison of Lungo with other similar Drinks
Lungo Vs Double Espresso
Lungo isn’t the same as double Espresso. The main difference is the coffee-to-water ratio.
In a double shot, both the amount of coffee grounds and water is doubled compared to a solo shot so the ratio remains the same (1:2). While in a lungo shot, only the amount of water is increased so the ratio increases to (1:3-4).
So, you can say that in a Lungo coffee, the amount of coffee is the same as a single espresso and the amount of water is the same as a double Espresso.
Lungo vs Ristretto
Lungo and Ristretto are like the yin and yang of the espresso world, offering distinctly different flavors and experiences.
A lungo is characterized by a long and extended extraction with a 1:3 coffee-water ratio while a Ristretto is extracted quickly with a 1:1 Coffee water ratio, yielding a concentrated shot with bold and syrupy flavors.
Read a detailed guide: Ristretto vs Lungo
Lungo vs Americano
While both Lungo and Americano serve a lengthened, diluted espresso, the drinks have distinct differences.
Lungo is made by pulling a longer espresso shot with additional hot water. Americano, on the other hand, is made by brewing a regular espresso shot and then adding hot water afterward.
Also Read: What is Gran Lungo Nespresso
Learning about Lungo Espresso has been really fascinating!
I’m a big coffee fan, and I love exploring all the different types of coffee out there. I’ve found that Lungo Espresso is really unique because it’s brewed for a longer time than regular espresso, which gives it a milder taste.
Lungo is a perfect drink to enjoy the delicate and fruity flavors of lighter roasts which are often subdued in darker roasts. Whenever I get my hands on a perfect light roast I prefer to brew Long shots rather than standard Espresso shots.
I’d definitely recommend giving it a try and seeing what you think – who knows, it might just become your new go-to coffee drink!
Also Read: What is short black coffee?
Can you put Milk in a Lungo?
What Is The Difference Between Lungo And Long Black?
Lungo and Long Black are often confused, but there is a little difference.
In a Lungo, the water is passed through the coffee grounds during the brewing process while Long black is a similar drink to Americano, wherever hot water is mixed with freshly brewed standard Espresso shots.
Does Starbucks do lungo shots?
Yes, you can definitely order Lungo shots at Starbucks. You can enjoy a Lungo on its own or use it as a base for other espresso-based drinks like Cappuccino or various lattes.