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What Is Lungo Espresso?

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Lungo espresso is a “long espresso.” Meaning, it has a milder taste than other preparation methods due to the higher water content. Keep reading to learn about long shots, how to make them, and how they differ from other espresso types.

What Is Lungo Espresso

I love espresso and want to learn everything about it. That passion led me to create this guide on lungo shots.

To fully understand what lungo shots are, we’ll explore these points:

Let’s begin.

Key Takeaways

  • Lungo is an espresso shot that uses more water
  • You let more water flow through your espresso machine when brewing
  • It’s not the same as doppio (double shots), as a double shot has a stronger taste
  • “Lungo” is Italian for “long;” meaning, this is also called a long shot [1]

What is Lungo Espresso?

TasteMilder, more diluted than espresso
AromaSmooth, less intense aroma
MouthfeelLighter, less viscous
Caffeine level *Similar to espresso, slightly less
CaloriesLow, similar to black coffee
Other names for lungoLong espresso, café allongé (French), long shot, caffe lungo (Italian)
Pronunciationloon-goh

Lungo espresso is a type of shot that uses less espresso than water (1:2 ratio). It’s longer than a regular espresso because it uses more water.

This extra water changes the flavor, making it less concentrated and slightly milder. Some people prefer lungo espresso for its unique taste and softer intensity. However, it’s not the same as an Americano, which is also a watered-down espresso shot.

I’ll cover the differences later.

What are Lungo Coffee Pods?

Lungo coffee pods are pre-packaged capsules containing ground coffee specifically designed for brewing a lungo. The most noteworthy pod machines you’ll find lungo pods come from Lavazza and Nespresso [2].

How to Prepare Lungo Espresso

Required:

  • 8–12 g coffee grounds (fine grind)
  • 50–70 ml of softened water
    • Use softened water to prevent scale buildup in the espresso machine [3]
  • Espresso maker

Steps:

  1. Measure the desired amount of coffee grounds
  2. Grind the coffee beans to a fine consistency
  3. Fill the espresso machine’s portafilter with the coffee grounds
  4. Tamp the grounds evenly
  5. Attach the portafilter to the espresso machine
  6. Place an empty cup under the portafilter
  7. Start the espresso extraction process, using the Lungo setting or allowing the water to run for a longer duration.
  8. Stop the extraction process when the desired amount of water has flowed through the coffee grounds

Lungo Coffee Recipes

Here are a bunch of drinks you may want to try using lungo shots:

Lungo Americano:

  • 1 lungo shot (60 ml)
  • 60 ml hot water

Iced Lungo:

  • 1 lungo shot
  • Ice cubes
  • Cold water to taste

Lungo Macchiato:

  • 1 lungo shot
  • A dollop of frothed milk

Lungo Misto:

  • 1 lungo shot
  • Equal parts steamed milk

Lungo Con Panna:

  • 1 lungo shot
  • Whipped cream to taste

Lungo vs. Other Ways to Prepare Espresso

Let’s compare lungo espresso to its counterparts:

MethodCoffee Req.Water Req.Brewing TimeCaffeine Content *
Doppio14–20 g60 ml40 sec126 mg
Solo8–12 g30 ml25–30 sec50–70 mg
Long Shot8–12 g50–70 ml35–60 sec70–100 mg
Ristretto8–12 g15–20 ml15–17 sec25–30 mg

Different types of espresso preparation compared.

Ristretto vs. Lungo

  • Ristretto espresso uses less water and a shorter extraction time
  • Lungo uses more water and a longer extraction time
  • Ristretto espresso has a sweeter, more concentrated flavor
  • Lungo has a milder, more diluted flavor

Ristretto is a “restricted” espresso shot, using less water and a shorter extraction time than regular espresso. The result is a sweeter, more concentrated flavor that highlights the best qualities of the coffee beans.

Lungo takes a single shot of espresso and adds more water, extending the extraction time. This process produces a milder flavor that appeals to those who prefer a less intense espresso experience.

The main distinction between ristretto and lungo is the coffee-to-water ratio, which greatly influences the strength and taste of the final brew.

Doppio vs. Lungo

  • Doppio espresso is a double shot using more coffee grounds
  • Lungo uses a single shot of espresso with more water
  • Doppio espresso has a richer, more intense flavor
  • Lungo has a milder, more diluted flavor

A doppio espresso is a double shot, using twice the amount of coffee grounds as a single espresso shot. It delivers a richer, more intense flavor that provides a bold kick for those who crave a stronger cup.

Lungo uses a single shot of espresso and more water, resulting in a longer extraction time. This creates a milder, more diluted flavor that’s perfect for those who prefer a less concentrated espresso experience.

Solo Espresso vs. Lungo

  • Solo espresso uses less water and has a shorter extraction time
  • Lungo uses more water and has a longer extraction time
  • Solo espresso has a stronger, more concentrated flavor
  • Lungo has a milder, more diluted flavor

Solo espresso is the classic version, using less water and a shorter extraction time, usually around 25–30 seconds. This results in a more robust, concentrated flavor that packs a punch in a small cup.

Lungo offers a milder experience, using more water and a longer extraction time, typically 45–60 seconds.

Places that Serve Lungo Shots

Here are some places where you could order long shots:

Business †Coffee Beans Used
StarbucksEspresso Roast

Coffeehouses and restaurants that offer lungo shots.

† Drink availability will vary by restaurant. Not all countries serve the same drinks.

FAQs

Read on to find frequently asked questions about lungo espresso shots.

What is the Ideal Brewing Time & Water-to-Coffee Ratio for a Lungo?

The ideal brewing time and water-to-coffee ratio for a lungo is approximately 45–60 seconds using a 1:3 ratio. With 18–20 grams of coffee yielding 54–60 milliliters of water.

Can I Make a Lungo with a Single, Double, or Triple Shot of Espresso?

Yes, you can make a lungo with a single, double, or triple shot of espresso. Do so by adjusting the brewing time and water volume accordingly to maintain the 1:3 coffee-to-water ratio.

What Type of Coffee Beans & Grind Size Are Best for Making a Lungo?

For making a lungo, medium to dark roast coffee beans with a fine grind size, slightly coarser than espresso, are ideal. To ensure proper extraction and flavor balance.

Can I Use Any Type of Espresso Machine to Make a Lungo, or Do I Need Specific Equipment?

You can use any type of espresso machine to make a lungo. So long as it allows you to adjust the brewing time and water volume to achieve the desired 1:3 coffee-to-water ratio.

What is the Ideal Water Temperature for Brewing a Lungo?

The ideal water temperature for brewing a lungo to achieve the best flavor extraction is between 195–205 °F (90–96 °C), similar to a standard espresso.

Conclusion

Lungo shots use a higher ratio of water to espresso. This combination gives the drink a smoother taste than double or concentrated shots.

There’s much more to learn about espresso, though. Check out our massive guide on espresso beans, makers, and ways to prepare it here.

Footnotes:

* Caffeine content varies depending on factors such as bean type, roast level, and preparation method. The provided values are approximate ranges for an 8-ounce serving.

Photo of author

Author

Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of TimsCoffee.com. He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create TimsCoffee.com.
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