Lungo Coffee: Little Known Variation of Espresso

I used to worry about going to coffee shops because their endless options were too overwhelming to me. There were lots of choices to make and I couldn’t decide which one to choose; should I drink Americano or espresso, what does macchiato even mean and now you’re saying to me there is something called Lungo coffee?

“ESPRESSO!” by Brian Legate is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Yes, there is something called Lungo. Worry not, my fellow coffee enthusiasts! I am here to explain what Lungo is, how to make it and how it varies from other espresso-based drinks. Let’s start.

What is An Espresso Lungo?

Lungo, as its name implies, means “long” in Italian and it gets its name from how Lungo’s look differs from Espresso, also indicates how much time it takes to pull it.

caffe lungo
“Caffe Lungo (Long black) – Il Barocco, Palazzo Versace” by avlxyz is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

How Can You Make a Lungo?

A shot of espresso is pulled by using about 30 mL water and it take 18 to 30 seconds whereas a Lungo requires double the amount of water (60 mL). As a result of using extra water, it may take up to a minute to pull.

Due to the increasing amount of water, Lungo has a notably larger shot compared to an Espresso. To be more specific, once it’s pulled a Lungo is roughly the size of a doppio, or in other words, double espresso.

In addition, there is another type of Lungo which is called Gran Lungo. It is longer than lungo and shorter than your regular sized coffee. However, Lungo’s size is not the only feature that makes it different from other variants.

What Does Lungo Taste Like?

Since it’s a variant of espresso, you might think that they both taste similar, but the truth is different. Lungo’s flavor is much more subdued and muted than that of an ristretto’s or espresso’s as it has more water but the same amount of coffee as the espresso. Because of that, Lungo tends to have more bitterness and less strong taste compared to others.

Yep, you’ve heard me right. I said bitterness. You are probably wondering why it has more bitter taste since we use less water. This bitterness effect can be credited to the fact that the majority of bitterness causing parts of coffee are dissolved later in the extraction process. Additionally, requiring one-minute time to pull the shot gives them an opportunity to be consolidated into the blend.

If you are a fan of beverages that taste bitter, you will love Lungo as it is more bitter than espresso variants and it is also larger than them. In addition, it is also worth mentioning that Lungo has more roasted and smokier flavor than espresso.

Lungo’s Caffeine Content

Although it’s a controversial topic, to me there is no evidence supporting the opinion that Lungo has more caffeine than espresso. Ultimately, it depends on your coffee beans choice rather than amount of water used or pulling time. In my opinion, espresso and Lungo’s caffeine amount is similar.

Espresso extraction
“Espresso extraction” by Schill is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

However, I can recommend you ristretto if you are studying for an exam or working on a big project and desperately need a hit of caffeine. Other than ristrettos, you might want to try espresso with extra shots.

Lungo vs Espresso

We’ve already mentioned the main differences between lungo and espresso. To sum up, they distinguish from each other with their preparation time, amount of water used and taste.

  • Espresso requires 18-30 seconds to pull out of a coffee machine whereas Lungo needs 60 seconds.
  • Lungo is more bitter than Espresso, however it does not contain the robust taste of Espresso unfortunately.
  • Lungo contains twice as much water than Espresso.

Lungo vs Americano

Lungo and Americano are the two drinks that are constantly compared with each other because of their similar sounding preparation method. Yes, they are both made using water and a simple espresso machine, but does that mean they have to taste similar? No, it doesn’t necessarily mean that. It’s actually just the opposite, they have their differences and that is what makes them unique.

When you make a Lungo, you have to brew all the liquid and it comes out shorter than Americano. However, while making Americano, first you pull the espresso from the espresso machine, and then you add the water.

In addition, Americano is taller than Lungo. As a result of Americano’s process, it becomes a milder flavored coffee whereas Lungo has a much stronger taste.

Lungo is the perfect beverage for those of you who like strong and bitter coffee to start your day!


coffee beans
“18 of 366” by Phil Gradwell is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

If you are a person who prefers earthier and smokier notes of espresso and love the bitter flavors, you are definitely going to love Lungo. On the other hand, if you love sweeter flavors, this might not be for you.

Next time you go to a coffee shop, you can try Lungo instead of the usual routine of espresso or americano. Who knows? Maybe you’ve found your next favorite coffee. Enjoy!


Can You Add Milk To Lungo?

There is no rule that says you can’t add milk to lungo, however, lungo is most commonly consumed without milk. But if you like Lungo and milk blend’s taste, then go right ahead.

Are Lungo And Ristretto The Same?

No, they are not. Ristretto reduces the amount of water used in an espresso shot while Lungo increases it.

How Much More Water You Add To It?

100-120 ml of water is the optimum amount, but it’s totally up to you. If you find it too bitter for your taste, then you can add extra water.

How Many Ounces Is a Lungo?

It is about two ounces per single serving, similar to doppio. It is served with Lungo cups which are specifically designed for Lungo serving.

Lungo Coffee: Little Known Variation of Espresso
Tagged on:     

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *