Created for Coffee Lovers.

Lungo Coffee: An Introduction

Dave Carter

January 11, 2021

There are many espresso-based drinks that you have likely enjoyed, from the classic Latte, Macchiato, Americano, Ristretto, and Cappuccino. But lungo? There's a high probability you haven't tried this beverage, which you don't have to worry about since not many coffee houses promote this drink.

We're about to change that as we are going to discuss everything you need to know about Lungo Coffee, from its origins to its ingredients. Let's begin!

What is a Lungo Coffee​

Things to know about What is a Lungo Coffee

There are many espresso variations, from the classic ristretto, macchiato, and lungo, but what does macchiato mean? What does lungo mean? The names behind these popular drinks typically refer to how they are made. For instance, lungo means "long" in Italian, and it is named that way because you prepare it with a "long-pull," which means a slower but more full extraction of espresso.

Lungo or café allongé is a variation of espresso, but larger and less robust in flavor, but more bitter than a standard single shot of espresso. You can prepare lungo using the best super automatic espresso machine like with most espresso-based drinks. However, you are required to use twice the amount of water than a typical shot of espresso or ristretto. A single serving of this drink is about two ounces, similar to a doppio (double shot of espressos).

Coffee lovers that love bitter brews love lungos because it is sharp and more substantial than most espressos. You can try at your local coffee shop to try out the underrated coffee drink yourself.

Is Lungo same as Americano?​

The most common drink that gets compared to lungo is the Americano because both are made using standard espresso machines and water. Although the brewing method of these coffees is the same, they still have their differences. For instance, when you make a lungo, you have to brew all the liquid, and it is shorter than an Americano.

When you make an Americano, you add the hot water after pulling the espresso from the machine, and it's taller than a coffee lungo. Their flavor profiles vastly differ because when you put the water after pulling the espresso, it gives a milder flavored coffee while having the liquid pass through the granules gives you a more potent brew, like with the lungo.

What is the difference between espresso and lungo​

Although lungo is derived from espresso, it still has distinct differences. The main difference is that lungo uses twice the amount of water than espressos, and you may wonder, does espresso have more caffeine? Yes, that's because lungo contains twice as much liquid, making it milder than espressos.

Another difference is their extraction time. Espressos take between 18 and 30 seconds to pull out of a coffee machine while lungo takes around 60 seconds because it uses more water. The final difference is their flavor profile, lungo will not be as robust as your typical espressos because of its high liquid content, but it does taste more bitter. Its extra bitterness comes from its longer extraction process, dissolving more coffee granules than typical espressos.

Is lungo stronger than espresso?​

Although lungo takes a longer extraction time than espressos, it still produces weaker but bitter brews than your robust espresso shots. The additional water passing through the grounds extract granules that would typically remain undissolved, giving you more bitter coffee. However, when you use less liquid than the usual requirement, you can produce a more robust and more vibrant brew, known as the ristretto shot.

Which has more caffeine, Espresso, or Lungo?​

What is the most common type of coffee beans? Does it affect the caffeine content of these popular drinks? No, it does not. Lungo contains less caffeine than your traditional espresso shot because of its high water content and longer extraction time, creating a more bitter drink than a stronger one. However, you can create these two beverages in your humble abode using the best cappuccino maker for home.

So if you prefer bitter drinks in the morning, a lungo shot is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face each time; however, if you want more caffeine to get you through the day, espressos are the way.

How to Make the Gran lungo​

Procedure on How to Make the Gran lungo

Gran lungos are generally larger versions of your typical lungo. If you want to make this drink, you can use either Vivalto lungo or Linizio lungo, and follow a relatively straightforward method that does not require too much skill.

Because lungos originated from Italy, the best way to get the authentic Gran lungo experience is to prepare it the traditional way. So, hold back on the milk, and enjoy your dark coffee.

The following are the steps for making Gran lungos at home:

  1. Fill up the reservoir of the machine with filtered water.
  2. Grind your coffee beans using your grinder or a blender, ensure you ground these beans consistently for the best result.
  3. Preheat the machine.
  4. Add an espresso shot to the portafilter of your espresso machine.
  5. Tamp the coffee beans using the weight of your hand with even pressure so the liquid can pour through evenly.
  6. Add the grounds to the machine.
  7. Adjust the extraction time on the machine and place it to at least 60 seconds to get the best Gran lungos.
  8. Push the button to brew.
  9. Pull a long shot espresso into your glass.
  10. Serve immediately.

The Best Way to Enjoy a Lungo

The Best Way to Enjoy a Lungo Coffee

Lungo may be something entirely new to you. It's understandable since the brew isn't often offered in most coffee shop menus. This specialty coffee drink originates from Italy, so you can ensure it's a good brew, and like with traditional espressos, Lungos aren't much about the beans used but how the coffee is prepared. Lungo in Italian means 'long,' so essentially, you're getting 'long coffee.' Plus, unlike other Italian coffees, this one is often served black. However, it's common to add sweeteners like raw sugar and honey to this robust brew in Italy. If you want to get the most out of the drink and enjoy it to the fullest, you may wonder, what's the best way to enjoy it?

Generally, for those who don't want to indulge in a straight shot of espresso straight into the vein but still want plain black coffee, the Lungo is an excellent brew to start with as it's brewed using more water than your typical espresso shot. As the amount of water is increased or decreased to a standard espresso shot, it changes composition because coffee's flavors dissolve at varying rates. With that said, long shots like the lungo brew will not contain the same ratio of components that typical servings have. It won't have the same taste or composition as coffee produced following other brewing methods, even when made using the same ratio of water and coffee grounds—making it a unique brew to try.

The best way you can enjoy a Lungo is by brewing it using fresh Arabica beans, providing a robust taste and the perfect balance of acidity and bitterness in one pull. It gives you lighter flavor notings such as citrus alongside almond-like flavors on the finishing, giving you a smoother and delicious cup. You can also add milk to the brew if you want to cut back on the caffeine but don't want to miss out on Lungo's unique flavors. For a standard serving of Lungo, add 20 ml of milk for the best results. However, if you're in for the 'real' Lungo experience, the best way to enjoy the brew is indulging it without any additives.

To coffee lovers that prefer the bitter notings of coffee, Lungos are a great brew to try as they exude more bitterness and typically come in larger servings than most espressos. It also provides smokier and more 'earthy' notes of your typical espresso shot. Additionally, if your go-to or pick me up drink is Americanos, replacing your usual brew with a Lungo may suit your tastes. So, try to look for a coffee shop in your area offering Lungo to help you understand how extraction impacts flavor or for a more powerful, bitter, and larger than usual shot—perking up your days like never before.

But if you have a Nespresso machine on stand by, you can also get Gran Lungo capsules and whip up a Lungo shot at home following the earlier instructions. However, since its extraction time is different from your regular shot, make sure to adjust the extraction time beforehand.

Lungo vs. long espresso​

So how are lungos longer than espressos? It has to do with the amount of water used to pull the shot. Usually, you pull espressos using up to 30 ml of water for 18 to 30 seconds, while you use the twice the liquid with lungos, and because of the additional water, it can take up to 60 seconds to pull, making it longer. Once you place these drinks into a serving vessel, lungos are the same size as a doppio.


Next time you feel like having an Americano or Espresso, why not give the lungo coffee a try? Who knows? You may have just found your next morning staple. Happy caffeinating!

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