Maybe you’ve heard about the magical lungo coffee and want to know what it is. We will dive into the art of making a lungo and how it’s different from other espresso-based drinks, such as espresso, doppio, and ristretto.
By the end, you'll not only be an expert in lungo coffee jargon, but also ready to whip up a lungo right in the comfort of your kitchen. Get ready!
What Is A Lungo?
Lungo is an Italian word meaning “long” and it refers to an espresso-based drink that is longer than a typical espresso shot.
A lungo involves double the amount of water used—making it around 3-3.5 ounces in total—but still uses the same amount of ground coffee beans as an espresso shot.
This results in a mildly bitter yet smooth cup of coffee with a slightly thicker consistency than your regular espresso shot. It also has less crema or foam on top due to its longer extraction time.
1. Espresso vs Lungo
Espresso is robust and intense, with an iconic crema on top. This syrupy concoction is the base for most coffee drinks.
The main difference between an espresso and lungo lies in their respective volumes—an espresso will be no more than 2 ounces while a lungo can range from 3-3.5 ounces depending on your preferences.
Espressos tend to be stronger and more intense because they use fewer amounts of water when brewed compared to lungos which use twice as much water. It results in a milder aromatic flavor profile with less crema on top, packed with a slightly more diluted intensity that lets notes of aroma shine.
2. Doppio vs Lungo
Doppio translates as “double” in Italian and refers to two shots of espresso made using twice the amount of ground coffee beans but with the same amount of water used for one shot (2-2.5 ounces).
Doppios usually have twice the caffeine content as regular espressos so bear that in mind if you are sensitive to caffeine. It's a sassy, bold sibling to its single-shot counterpart.
While both doppio and lungos involve double shots of espresso, doppios tend to have higher-intensity flavors due to their shorter brewing time whereas lungos are milder and smoother since they use more water during the extraction process.
3. Ristretto vs Lungo
The ristretto. Ristrettos are short shots of concentrated espresso with half the amount of water used for regular espressos (max 1 ounce). In contrast, lungos use much more water thus creating milder, larger cups (3-3.5 ounces).
As such, ristrettos have more intense flavors than either espressos or lungos due to their higher coffee-to-water ratio concentration levels but contain less caffeine overall because there is less liquid involved during the brewing process.
A ristretto delivers a concentrated, smooth, and sweet coffee with even less bitterness. While the ristretto goes for a strong, focused experience, the lungo gracefully delivers milder, and significantly lower concentrations.
Ristretto = 0.5 - 1 oz (15ml - 30ml);
Espresso = 1 - 2 oz (30ml - 50ml);
Doppio = 2 - 2.5 oz (50ml - 70ml);
Lungo = 3 - 3.5 oz (80ml - 100ml)
How To Make A Lungo
It requires nothing more than your favorite blend of ground coffee beans, some good quality filtered water (preferably cold!), and your trusty home espresso machine or manual brewer. Follow these below simple steps.
- Measure out 2 tablespoons worth of ground coffee beans – this should be enough for max. 4 ounces worth of liquid.
- Add them into your portafilter basket before tamping them down firmly with your tamper tool until leveled off nicely at the top surface level.
- Place the portafilter into the group head before locking it tight.
- Set up desired brew temperature & pressure settings according to the manufacturer's instructions (if applicable).
- Press down the brew button until around 4 ounces worth of liquid has been extracted – usually takes around 25 seconds.
- Remove the portafilter from the group head.
- And voilà! You're now a certified lungo aficionado. Enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- The most important trick to making a good lungo is using the right amount of water. A good rule of thumb is to use twice as much water as compared to a regular espresso shot (1-2 ounces). So for a lungo, you'll want to use around 3-4 ounces of water.
- Most models should already be pre-set with the optimal range for a quality shot of coffee but make sure to refer to your machine manual first before tampering around with any settings.
- You might want to adjust the amount of water used during extraction or use a slightly lighter roast for a mellower cup of lungo - it's all up to your taste preference.
Whether sipping solo or served alongside sweet treats like biscotti or tiramisu, there's nothing quite like enjoying this Italian beverage classic at home anytime.
Need a quality yet affordable coffee gadget? Find your favorite item out of our top picks of best espresso machines under 200 USD in the blog post below.
Grab yourself some freshly roasted grounds and get brewing today!