Is Lungo Espresso or Coffee?

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A cup of coffee with steam coming out of it.
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A cup of coffee with steam coming out of it.

Are you a coffee enthusiast puzzled by the difference between espresso and lungo? Lungo, an Italian term meaning “long,” is brewed using double the amount of water compared to traditional espresso, leaving many to wonder – is it actually espresso or just a variation of regular coffee?

This blog post aims to clear up this confusion by diving into the intricacies and characteristics that distinguish these popular caffeinated beverages.

Is Lungo Espresso or Coffee?

Lungo is essentially an espresso that’s been extracted for a longer duration. Though it originates from the same beans and machinery used to produce espresso, a lungo uses more water during its brewing process.

This results in a larger volume and a somewhat diluted taste compared to a regular espresso shot. To clarify, both espresso and lungo are coffee preparations, but while an espresso highlights the robust and concentrated flavors, a lungo offers a milder, more extended version.

So, in essence, lungo is a type of espresso, emphasizing the nuances and subtleties of the coffee bean.

Key Takeaways

  • Lungo is a type of coffee that is made using double the amount of water as espresso.
  • It has a milder flavor compared to espresso but still contains more caffeine.
  • To make lungo at home, use fresh coffee beans, grind them medium-coarse, and brew for 45-60 seconds.
  • Choose medium to dark roast beans with flavors like chocolate or caramel for the best lungo experience.

Understanding the Difference Between Lungo, Espresso, and Coffee

Espresso is a strong and concentrated shot of coffee, while lungo is an extended espresso shot with more water, resulting in a milder flavor.

What is an Espresso?

An espresso is a small, strong shot of coffee. The name comes from the Italian word “espresso” that means “quick in time.” To make an espresso, hot water is forced under high pressure through finely ground coffee beans.

This makes a concentrated drink with full flavor and caffeine kick. One sip will feel rich and creamy.

What is a Lungo?

A lungo is a type of coffee that is made using twice the amount of water as a regular espresso shot. It’s called “lungo” because it means “long” in Italian. To make a lungo, hot water is passed through finely ground coffee beans for a longer time compared to an espresso shot.

This extended extraction process creates a milder and less intense flavor compared to traditional espresso. Despite the longer brewing time, a lungo actually has more caffeine than an espresso shot.

It can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base for other coffee beverages like lattes.

Is Lungo considered espresso or coffee?

A lungo is a type of coffee beverage that is made using twice the amount of water as a regular espresso shot. It is brewed for a longer time, resulting in a milder flavor compared to espresso.

Despite the longer extraction time, a lungo shot actually has more caffeine than a regular espresso shot. So while it’s not exactly the same as traditional espresso or coffee, it falls somewhere in between the two.

Characteristics of Lungo

Lungo is known for its milder espresso flavor and extended extraction time, resulting in a coffee beverage with double the amount of water compared to a regular shot of espresso.


A lungo has a slightly different taste compared to espresso. Since it is brewed with more water and for a longer time, the flavor is milder and less intense. It still retains some of the bold characteristics of an espresso, but with a smoother profile.

The extended extraction time allows for more flavors to be extracted from the coffee beans, resulting in a more rounded and well-balanced taste. So if you prefer a coffee that is not as strong or bitter as espresso, but still want something flavorful and satisfying, then a lungo might be the perfect choice for you!


A lungo is made by using twice the amount of water as a regular espresso shot. This means that a lungo contains more liquid than an espresso. The additional water helps to create a longer extraction time, resulting in a milder and less intense flavor compared to espresso.

Despite the extended brewing process, a lungo still has more caffeine than a regular espresso shot. So if you prefer to have more coffee in your cup without sacrificing too much on strength, a lungo might be the perfect choice for you.

Just keep in mind that it’s important to use the right ratio of coffee to water when brewing a lungo to ensure that you get the desired strength and flavor.

Caffeine Level

A lungo has a higher caffeine level than a regular espresso shot, despite the longer extraction time. This is because it uses twice the amount of water as an espresso, allowing more caffeine to be extracted from the coffee beans.

So if you’re looking for a stronger kick of caffeine, a lungo might be a good choice for you.

How to Prepare Lungo at Home

Learn the brewing techniques, find the recommended coffee beans, and gather the equipment needed to make a perfect lungo at home. Discover the secrets to creating a rich and flavorful lungo that will satisfy your coffee cravings.

Brewing techniques

To make a lungo at home, you can use the following brewing techniques:

  1. Start with fresh coffee beans: Choose high-quality beans that are suited for espresso brewing.
  2. Grind the beans to a medium-coarse consistency: This type of grind allows for proper extraction and prevents over-extraction.
  3. Preheat your espresso machine or coffee maker: This ensures that the water temperature is optimal for brewing.
  4. Insert the ground coffee into the portafilter: Use the appropriate amount of coffee based on your machine’s instructions.
  5. Tamp the coffee evenly and firmly: Apply pressure evenly to create a compact bed of coffee in the filter basket.
  6. Attach the portafilter to your machine and start the extraction process: The water should flow through the coffee at a slow, steady pace.
  7. Allow for an extended extraction time: Unlike espresso, which is typically extracted for about 25-30 seconds, a lungo should be brewed for around 45-60 seconds.
  8. Collect the lungo shot in a preheated cup: This helps maintain its temperature and preserve its flavors.
  9. Taste and adjust if necessary: If you find that your lungo tastes bitter or too weak, you can adjust the grind size or brewing time to achieve your desired flavor profile.
  10. Enjoy your lungo as is or use it as a base for other coffee beverages like lattes or cappuccinos.

Recommended coffee beans

For a delicious lungo, it’s important to choose the right coffee beans. You want a bean that will complement the longer extraction time and create a milder flavor profile. Medium to dark roast coffee beans tend to work well for lungos as they bring out rich flavors without being too overpowering.

Look for beans with tasting notes like chocolate, nuts, or caramel. A blend of Arabica and Robusta beans can also provide a good balance of flavor and caffeine content. Experiment with different coffee brands and origins until you find your perfect cup of lungo!

Equipment needed

To prepare a lungo at home, you will need the following equipment:

  1. Espresso machine or pod coffee machine: This is necessary to brew the lungo shot properly and extract the flavors from the coffee grounds.
  2. Lungo capsules or ground coffee: Choose high-quality coffee beans that are specifically labeled for lungo preparation. You can either use pre-packaged lungo capsules or grind your own coffee beans.
  3. Coffee grinder: If you choose to use whole coffee beans, you will need a grinder to grind them into a fine consistency just before brewing.
  4. Water kettle or boiler: You’ll need hot water to brew the lungo shot, so having a kettle or boiler to heat the water is essential.
  5. Lungo cup or espresso cup: A lungo shot requires a larger cup compared to an espresso shot since it contains more water. Use a lungo cup with a capacity of around 5-6 ounces.
  6. Measuring spoon: To ensure precision in measuring the coffee grounds, use a measuring spoon specifically designed for coffee.
  7. Milk frother (optional): If you prefer adding milk to your lungo to make it a latte or cappuccino, a milk frother will come in handy for creating creamy foam.


A lungo is considered a type of coffee. It is similar to espresso, but with double the amount of water and a longer brewing time. While it may have a milder flavor compared to espresso, it still packs more caffeine.

So, whether you prefer an intense shot or a milder cup, a lungo can offer you the best of both worlds. Now go ahead and enjoy your perfect cup of lungo coffee!


What is lungo coffee?

Lungo coffee is a type of diluted espresso brewed with double the amount of water.

What’s the difference between lungo and espresso?

Espresso has a more intense taste compared to lungo, which uses more water for a weaker, less intense result.

How do you make a lungo coffee?

To make lungo coffee, follow an espresso recipe but use double the amount of water to create a long shot or diluted espresso.

Is Lungo same as Americano or ristretto?

No, Lungos are not the same as Americanos or ristrettos. While both are forms of espresso, they have different amounts of water that change their taste.

Are there any benefits to drinking lungo coffee?

Yes! Because it’s made using more water than traditional espressos, it could be seen as less strong while still offering a rich flavor.

About the Author:
Sophia Lewis, a travel blogger with a focus on global coffee cultures, explores coffee traditions from Colombia to Turkey. Her expertise lies in understanding the cultivation, brewing, and enjoyment of coffee in different cultures. Through articles, travel vlogs, and tastings, Sophia brings a global perspective to coffee, emphasizing ethical and sustainable practices, and invites readers to join her community of global coffee enthusiasts.