What Is A Lungo? Discover Everything About This Coffee Drink

what is a Lungo

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Have you ever been to a coffee shop and been overwhelmed by all the different coffee drink options? It can be pretty confusing trying to understand the differences between Espresso, Ristretto, Americano, Latte, and even a Lungo.

So, what exactly is a Lungo? You may have heard the term Lungo before or seen it on the menu, but you might not know what it means.

Well, in this article, I’ll give you all the information you need about Lungo coffee. By the time you finish reading, you’ll know how it’s made, how it tastes, what sets it apart from other coffee beverages, and even how much caffeine it contains.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to confidently order Lungos during your next visit to a coffee shop or even make it at home.

What Does Lungo Mean

Let’s begin with the fundamentals. In Italian, the term “Lungo” (pronounced LOON-goh) translates to “long.” So, for those new to this, we can deduce that the distinction between espresso and lungo lies in the size of the shot.

A lungo entails a larger quantity, as the term “long” refers to the extended duration required to extract the espresso from the machine.

How Is A Lungo Made?

Now that you understand what Lungo means, let’s talk about how to make it longer. Essentially, the key is to use more water when pulling the shot of espresso. Remember, a Lungo is just a slightly modified version of a regular espresso shot. It has a longer extraction time and a less intense flavor, often with a more bitter taste compared to a standard single shot.

In a classic espresso shot, you typically use 1 ounce (30ml) of water and extract it for 18 to 30 seconds.

However, a Lungo requires double the amount of water, resulting in a longer extraction time of about a minute.

So the coffee-to-water ratio for a Lungo usually falls between 1:3 and 1:3.5. Visually, a Lungo looks quite similar in size to a Doppio (double shot of espresso), causing confusion between the two, especially for novice baristas.

lungo vs espresso

The good news is that due to its popularity, many top espresso machines now come with a built-in preset for making Lungo coffee. This makes it as easy as pressing a button. Companies like Nespresso even offer dedicated Lungo pods, pre-filled with the perfect amount of coffee, eliminating the need to figure out the brew ratio.

But still, coffee enthusiasts who enjoy more control over the process may prefer manually operated espresso machines. With these machines, factors like pull time, coffee ground size, and water amount can be adjusted to achieve the desired Lungo.

You can keep your normal espresso settings unchanged and experiment with different water amounts and pull times until you find the perfect balance.

This approach may be more challenging for most people, so using a Nespresso machine or an entry-level espresso machine with presets is a great option for mastering the Lungo with minimal difficulty while still achieving a decent crema.

How Many Ounces In A Lungo

A lungo is a type of coffee beverage that typically contains 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of liquid. It’s important to note that making a lungo with a regular home espresso machine can take up to a minute or so, as it requires more water than a regular double espresso. This results in a less intense taste.

However, Nespresso machines have added further confusion to the lungo concept. By default, the lungo setting on a Nespresso machine is programmed to produce 3.75 liquid ounces (equivalent to 10.90ml). In contrast, a traditional lungo pulled by a barista would typically yield about 2 liquid ounces (equivalent to 60ml).

It’s unclear to me why Nespresso has chosen this particular size for their lungo, but you have the option to adjust your machine’s settings to pull a lungo of 2 liquid ounces with your preferred pods.

The good news is however that you can always reset your machine to the factory defaults whenever needed so don’t be afraid to play around with the long shot extraction times.

Lungo Coffee Taste?

A Lungo coffee has a slightly bitter taste compared to a classic espresso due to the longer extraction process. This prolonged extraction allows for more bitter compounds to be present in the coffee. As a result of the longer exposure to water, delicate and high notes in the coffee are not as prominent in a Lungo compared to an espresso.

The increased amount of water in a Lungo dissolves specific compounds that would otherwise be left behind in a regular type of espresso shot. This gives the Lungo a more bitter and even smokier flavor profile, with noticeable roasted notes.

If you enjoy the taste of bitter coffee, you will likely enjoy a Lungo as it offers a stronger and more bitter experience than espressos.

Table: Standard Espresso vs. Lungo Espresso

Standard Espresso ShotLungo Espresso Shot
VolumeApproximately 1 oz (30 ml)Approximately 23 oz (6090 ml)
Caffeine Content Approximately 63 mgApproximately 80100 mg
Preparation Time 2530 seconds4560 seconds
Taste Profile Intense and concentratedMilder and more diluted

Caffeine Content In A Lungo?

Determining the exact amount of caffeine in coffee can be challenging. Factors such as the origin and type of coffee can greatly influence the caffeine content in a Lungo.

Generally, a Lungo will have slightly more caffeine than a regular shot of espresso because it is a larger serving. Caffeine is soluble in water and is one of the first components to be extracted from coffee. Therefore, the more water comes into contact with the ground coffee, the more caffeine will be extracted.

However, there is a point where extracting more water through the coffee will not yield any additional caffeine because all the available caffeine has already been extracted.

In simpler terms, if you compare two cups of coffee with the same variables (such as coffee type, grind, and brewing time), one being 200ml and the other 100ml, the 200ml cup will have more caffeine.

Therefore, we can confidently say that a Lungo will have higher levels compared to a smaller Ristretto or espresso shot.

The exact amount of caffeine in a Lungo depends on various factors. However, if we look at Nespresso Lungo pods as an example with relatively standardized variables, you can expect to get around 77 to 85 mg of caffeine per serving with regular Lungo capsule varieties. 

But keep in mind that the stronger Kazaar coffee pods (made from Robusta coffee beans) will contain nearly double the amount of caffeine per Lungo shot, at 125 mg.

Lungo Statistics and Fact: Lungo coffee is that it's sometimes referred to as the "European-style coffee" because it's more commonly enjoyed in Europe than in other parts of the world.    Europeans tend to appreciate the milder flavor and extra volume of a lungo, which is distinct from the shorter and more concentrated espresso shots popular in other regions.

What You’ll Need To Make A Lungo

Are you interested in learning how to make a delicious Lungo (aka long shot espresso) right in the comfort of your own home? Well, you’re in luck! I’ll guide you through the simple steps to create the perfect Lungo, and you don’t even need to be a barista to do it. Just follow these easy instructions:

First, let’s gather the ingredients and equipment you’ll need:


  1. Freshly ground coffee beans
  2. Clean, fresh water


  1. Espresso machine (make sure it has the capability to brew Lungos)
  2. Coffee grinder (optional, but recommended)
  3. Tamper
  4. Lungo cup or glass

Now that we have everything ready, let’s get started!

Step 1: Choosing the Right Coffee Beans It’s important to select high-quality coffee beans for the best flavor. For Lungos, a medium roast coffee with a balanced flavor profile is ideal. If you have whole beans, grind them to a fine consistency similar to table salt.

Step 2: Preparing Your Espresso Machine Before you start, make sure your espresso machine is clean and free of any old coffee grounds. Fill the water reservoir with fresh, cold water.

Step 3: Measuring the Coffee Lungos are typically milder than Espressos. For a standard Lungo, use about 1.5 to 2 times the amount of coffee you’d use for a single shot of Espresso. This should be around 18-20 grams of coffee.

Step 4: Tamping the Coffee Next, place the ground coffee into the portafilter basket. Use a tamper to evenly compress the coffee grounds with gentle but firm pressure. This will ensure uniform density.

Step 5: Brewing Your Lungo Now it’s time to brew your Lungo! Insert the portafilter into the espresso machine’s group head and start the extraction process. The machine should run hot water through the coffee grounds for a longer time compared to an Espresso shot. A typical Lungo takes about 25-30 seconds to brew. Adjust the grind size and shot time if needed to achieve the right balance of flavor and strength.

Step 6: Enjoying Your Lungo Once your Lungo is ready, it should have a rich, aromatic crema on top and a balanced, mild flavor. Remember, it’s a longer coffee drink, so take your time to sip and savor it slowly. You can enjoy it black or add sugar, cream, or milk according to your preference.

Congratulations on successfully making a delicious Lungo!

With practice, you can perfect your Lungo-making skills and even try different coffee beans to discover your favorite flavor. Just remember to use the right coffee beans, prepare them properly, and be patient during the brewing process.

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