A lungo coffee is similar to an espresso but the brewing time is longer.
People enjoy Lungo shots to shorter espresso shots because you can taste more of the coffee in the espresso bean. Espresso roasts are less bitter than traditional coffee grounds because espresso is so concentrated. With the longer pull, you can taste more coffee than in a shorter espresso shot.
Want to know more about Lungo coffee? Here, we will share with you everything you need to know about Lungo coffee, including its history and comparisons to other types of coffee.
What Is a Lungo?
Lungo refers to a way of making espresso. It is Italian for “long,” which is appropriate since a Lungo espresso shot contains more water, meaning it brews for longer than a traditional espresso shot. Often, a Lungo espresso shot will be served with a splash of milk or cream.
A Lungo coffee is a type of espresso shot. When espresso is made, high pressure presses the coffee and brews it with water. It takes about 30 seconds to brew an espresso shot.
With a Lungo shot, it can take up to a full minute. Lungo shots also contain more water. The higher water content allows you to taste more of the coffee bean. In short, a long pull of espresso causes a slower but more full extraction of the taste of the espresso bean.
In some instances, a Lungo coffee is not prepared with an espresso machine. Instead, it is prepared by pouring hot water over coffee grounds or boiling the water and coffee for a certain amount of time.
The flavor profile is not as strong as traditional espresso, but it is also not as watered down as traditionally brewed coffee. A Lungo coffee is an in-between stage for these two ends of the spectrum.
Like many popular espresso drinks, the Lungo coffee’s origins are in 20th century Italy. Its invention is likely due to experimentation with the coffee machine. Some people think it is akin to an Americano, but an Americano has more water than a Lungo coffee, so it is not quite the same.
How Are Lungos Made?
There are a few ways you can make a Lungo. These include a pour-over manner, boiling the coffee and water for a certain amount of time, or using an espresso machine with a longer pull. The latter is the most common method of making a Lungo, and it is the only way to make it at home.
If you are using the espresso machine method, you prepare the espresso the same as if you were making a traditional espresso shot. The difference comes with the brew time. Pull the shot for 15-20 seconds longer than usual until you have about 3 or 4 ounces of liquid to make a lungo.
At-home espresso machines like Nespresso have a Lungo brew setting. If this is your preferred method of brewing espresso, press the Lungo button to get the perfect shot. If you order from an American coffee shop like Starbucks, it is called a “long shot”.
Lungo vs. Espresso
To be clear, a lungo is a type of espresso. However, we are speaking of a traditional espresso shot in this comparison. Overall, espresso shots and Lungo shots are similar. For instance, both are espresso pulled with a machine, and both are made from espresso beans.
Although they share some qualities, lungo and espresso shots are not the same. Read below for a few key differences.
- Longer pull time (almost a minute)
- More liquid (about 3-4 ounces)
- Slower extraction
- More flavor from the coffee beans
- Shorter pull time (about 30 seconds)
- Less liquid (about 2 ounces)
- Faster extraction
- Less flavor from the coffee beans, generally more bitter
Lungo vs. Americano
As mentioned, some people confuse an Americano and a Lungo coffee with each other. While they share similar qualities like mixing espresso and water, they have differences that set them apart. Read below for more information on the things that separate them.
- Longer espresso pull from a machine
- Commonly includes a splash of cream or milk
- No added water beyond the extra water in the long pull
- Combination of an espresso shot and hot water
- No addition of cream or milk
- The espresso shot used is a typical shot, not a Lungo
How to Make a Lungo at Home
Fortunately, there are a few ways to make a lungo at home, but they all require an espresso machine of some variety.
If you have an espresso machine that uses pods, like a Nespresso, insert the pod and press the Lungo button on the apparatus. This method is the most low-maintenance way to make a Lungo at home.
You can still make at-home Lungo coffee if you do not have a pod espresso machine. Here are step-by-step instructions for how to make an at-home Lungo coffee with a traditional espresso machine.
- Grind your coffee. Use espresso shot coffee. You will want about 9 grams for a single Lungo shot.
- Add your grounds to the filter until it is slightly overflowing. Use the tamper to press the coffee grounds evenly into the filter. Be sure it is compressed tightly!
- Insert the filter according to your machine instructions and brew.
- Pull the espresso for almost double the time of a normal espresso shot. It is best to use the manual mode of your espresso machine for this.
- Voila! You have an at-home Lungo shot!
- Optional: Add a splash of milk or cream. Gently stir to combine.
Here is some extra information about lungo coffee.
Can You Add Milk to a Lungo Coffee?
Adding milk to your Lungo coffee is not unusual. Many people like to do this to give the drink a creamy texture. Another option is to add a splash of cream or half-and-half to amp up the creaminess of the Lungo coffee.
Since there is more water, it will be less bitter to begin with, so do not overdo it with the milk or cream. Doing so will result in a light flavor. If you add too much, you won’t be able to taste the delicious taste of the coffee bean.