Can You Press Lungo with Espresso Capsules?

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A person holding a cup of coffee in front of a machine.

Ever wondered if you could press a lungo with your espresso capsules? This question stems from the fact that both types of coffee use similar brewing methods, but are they truly interchangeable? Fear not, this article is here to answer pressing questions regarding mixing up your Nespresso pods.

Let’s delve into the world of coffee-making techniques and find out if espresso really can dress up as a lungo!

Can You Press Lungo with Espresso Capsules?

Yes, you can press lungo with espresso capsules, but there are certain considerations to keep in mind.

Espresso capsules are typically designed for a short, concentrated shot of coffee. However, many modern espresso machines with capsule compatibility offer a lungo option. When using this setting with an espresso capsule, the machine allows more water to flow through, resulting in the longer, milder lungo shot.

While the process is feasible, the flavor profile might differ from using dedicated lungo capsules. Some brands do offer specific capsules optimized for a lungo pull. For those seeking an authentic lungo experience, it might be worth exploring these specialized options.

Key Takeaways

  • Espresso and lungo are different types of coffee made using similar brewing methods.
  • Lungo requires more water and has a milder flavor compared to espresso.
  • Using espresso capsules for lungo is not recommended by Nespresso.
  • Alternative methods like using a French Press or adjusting settings on an espresso machine can be used to make lungo with espresso capsules.

Understanding Espresso and Lungo

Espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans, resulting in a small shot of strong and flavorful coffee.

What is an espresso?

An espresso is a small shot of coffee. It’s brewed quick and strong. You make it by pushing hot water through finely ground coffee beans with high pressure. The result is bitter, bold, and creamy.

It’s used as the base for many other drinks like cappuccinos or lattes. Espresso has less caffeine than regular coffee because the water spends less time touching the grounds.

What is a lungo?

A lungo is a type of coffee that is made by using more water than an espresso. It has a larger volume and takes longer to brew. The word “lungo” actually means “long” in Italian, which refers to the extended extraction time needed to make this drink.

A lungo shot typically has twice as much water as an espresso, resulting in a milder and less concentrated flavor compared to espresso. Lungo coffee also tends to have slightly more caffeine than espresso due to the increased water volume used during brewing.

The Differences Between Espresso and Lungo

Espresso and lungo differ in terms of water volume, flavor profile, and caffeine content.

Water volume

Lungo and espresso differ in their water volume. A lungo requires twice as much water as an espresso. This means that when making lungo coffee, you need to use more water than when making espresso.

The increased water volume gives the lungo a milder flavor compared to the strong and concentrated taste of an espresso shot. Nespresso advises against using espresso capsules for lungos because they are designed specifically for smaller amounts of water.

It is important to follow the recommended brewing methods and use the appropriate capsule for each type of coffee to ensure the best taste and quality.

Flavor profile

The flavor profile of lungo coffee is different from that of espresso. Lungo has a milder taste and is less concentrated compared to espresso. It has a smoother and slightly more bitter flavor.

Espresso has a strong and intense taste with notes of bitterness and acidity. The longer extraction time of lungo allows for more flavors to be extracted from the coffee grounds, resulting in a different taste profile.

Caffeine content

Lungo coffee generally has a bit more caffeine than espresso. This is because when making lungo, you use twice as much water as for an espresso shot. The longer extraction time allows for more caffeine to be extracted from the coffee grounds.

The exact caffeine content can vary depending on factors such as the type of beans used and how they are roasted. Always follow Nespresso’s recommendations for brewing methods and capsule selection to ensure you get the desired strength and flavor of your coffee without compromising on quality or taste.

Can You Use Espresso Capsules to Make Lungo?

Using espresso capsules to make lungo is possible, but it may not result in the desired flavor profile and strength.

Nespresso’s recommendation

According to Nespresso, it is not recommended to use espresso capsules to make lungo coffee. This is because lungo coffee requires more water and a longer extraction time compared to espresso.

Using an espresso capsule may result in a bitter and over-extracted taste. Nespresso provides specific capsules for each type of coffee, so it’s important to use the appropriate capsule for the desired brewing method.

If you don’t have a machine, an alternative way could be cutting open an espresso pod and using the grounds in a French Press, but keep in mind that multiple pods might be needed depending on how much coffee you want.

Alternative methods

If you don’t have a Nespresso machine but still want to make lungo coffee with espresso capsules, there are some alternative methods you can try. Here are a few options:

  1. Use a French Press: Cut open an espresso pod and empty the grounds into a French Press. Add hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. Then, press down the plunger slowly to separate the grounds from the coffee.
  2. Use a Moka Pot: A Moka Pot is a stovetop coffee maker that uses pressure to brew coffee. Fill the bottom chamber with water, place the espresso capsule in the filter basket, and screw on the top part of the pot. Place it on the stove over medium heat until coffee starts to flow into the top chamber.
  3. Use a Pour-Over Method: Grind the espresso capsule finely and place it in a pour-over filter or coffee sock. Boil water and slowly pour it over the grounds in circular motions. Allow the water to drip through and repeat until you reach your desired strength.
  4. Use an Espresso Machine: If you have an espresso machine at home, you can still use espresso capsules to make lungo by adjusting certain settings such as grind size, extraction time, and water volume.


It is not recommended to use espresso capsules to make lungo coffee. Nespresso advises using the appropriate capsule for each type of coffee. If you don’t have a machine, an alternative method is cutting open an espresso pod and using the grounds in a French Press.

Just remember that you may need multiple pods depending on how much coffee you want.


Can you press lungo with espresso capsules?

Yes, you can press lungo with espresso capsules. The main difference is the amount of water used for extraction which alters coffee strength and flavor.

What’s the difference between Nespresso Vertuo pods and Lungo coffee capsules?

Nespresso Vertuo pods and Lungo coffee capsules differ in size, flavor and brewing technique. However, both are types of capsule coffee used in espresso brewing.

How does grounds extraction affect the taste of my Espresso or Lungo?

Grounds extraction plays a big role in determining your drink’s flavor during espresso or lungo brewing with any type of Nespresso capsules.

Is it possible to make cappuccino using Lungo size Nespresso coffee?

Yes! You can prepare a cappuccino using a Lungo size Nespresso pod by adding hot milk to the brewed coffee.

Does pressing lungo change its flavor when compared to regular brewing methods?

Pressing lungos might enhance some flavors that don’t come out as strongly through other brew techniques due to different levels of grounds extraction.

About the Author:
Oliver Bennett, a seasoned barista, focuses on the technical aspects of coffee-making. His journey from local cafes to specialty coffee shops has equipped him with skills in the science of coffee, from grind size to latte art. Oliver's articles and how-to videos delve into brewing techniques and coffee science, fostering a community of home baristas and elevating the home coffee experience.