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What is Lungo Coffee and How is it Different from Espresso?

And Lungo Was His Name-O

Where did the name lungo come from? Lungo, in Italian, translates to “long.” That provides us insight into how this coffee is made!

Lungo coffee is made with a short black shot of espresso. More water is used to make that shot of espresso, resulting in a “longer” drink. Therefore, we get the name lungo coffee. In the lungo vs espresso confusion, just remember that both are essentially made the same, but one has more water in it. 

Lungo vs Espresso: Which Has More Caffeine?

What is Lungo Coffee and How is it Different from Espresso?

Because lungo coffee is made with more water, you might think that it has less caffeine. In reality, lungo coffee actually has more caffeine, but only by a little bit.

You see, a lungo coffee isn’t just made by adding water to an espresso shot. More water is pulled into making a cup of lungo coffee and that results in a slightly more caffeinated cup. The more you know! 

Is there Any Taste Difference?

Another common topic in the lungo vs espresso discussion is taste. Of course! What is a cup of coffee without the discussion of flavour profiles?

Remember how the two are made with different amounts of water? Well, the higher water content in lungo coffee gives it a more bitter flavour compared to espresso coffee. Also, you can bet that espresso coffee tastes more intense! People who don’t prefer intense-tasting coffee can find their brew in lungo coffee.

Lungo vs Espresso: What’s the Ratio?

What is Lungo Coffee and How is it Different from Espresso?

Here we are again. Water, water, water! Just how much water is the difference between making a cup of lungo vs espresso? 

Getting straight to the point, the coffee-to-water ratio for lungo coffee is 1:3 or you could even go for 1:4 based on your preference. On the other hand, the brew ratio for espresso is 1:2. Simple! 

Different Types of Lungo Coffee

Can lungo coffee be iced? Sure. Chilled? Yes. It’s still a lungo coffee either way!

Can you add milk to a lungo coffee? You can, but that might fall into a variation already. Some might even call this variation of lungo coffee a lungo con leche. Milk can help soften that stronger bitter taste that lungo coffee has. 

It’s worth mentioning that purists will say that lungo is meant to be black without anything added or mixed with it. But enjoy your coffee the way you want it. You’re the one drinking it after all! 

Lungo Coffee Misconceptions

Lungo Coffee Misconceptions

Remember that it takes longer to pull a shot of espresso when making lungo coffee. So, please don’t confuse it with a caffè americano. That’s made by adding water after you’ve made the espresso - not during.

A long black also gets confused with lungo coffee a lot, too. That one is made by adding a short black shot to hot water. Since you know how lungo coffee is made, you can understand how this can be confused for it.

If you think simple steps won’t make a difference, they do! Seasoned coffee drinkers will be able to tell the difference. Casual coffee lovers might not, but it’s always worth learning about what goes into every cup when possible!

Tips on Making Lungo Coffee

If you’re unsure of how to make a lungo coffee but have experience in making espresso, this should be easy to get the hang of. Don’t fret if not though. Making a lungo coffee isn’t that daunting of a task.

Again, it’s all about water and the right amount of coffee. Get your grinds and get just the right amount needed for espresso. More tips on that can be found in our Espresso Brew Guide.

If you have an espresso machine that can control the amount of water to be added, the process is pretty straightforward. What if you don’t? Then time is your friend! Making an espresso coffee takes around 23-28 seconds to brew per our guide. That would make a lungo coffee around twice that time. 

Lungo Coffee is No Longer a Mystery

Lungo Coffee is No Longer a Mystery

We settled the lungo vs espresso confusion and went into what makes a good cup of lungo coffee. Now it’s time to put your phone or laptop (or wherever you’re reading this from) away and get brewing! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s all part of the process.

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