Red Eye Coffee vs Lungo

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Two glasses of espresso - Red Eye Coffee vs Lungo.
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Two glasses of espresso - Red Eye Coffee vs Lungo.

Looking to shake up your morning coffee routine? While you might be familiar with a Red Eye Coffee, the lesser-known Lungo offers another exciting option for java aficionados. In this article, we’ll dive into the rich histories, unique brewing processes, and tantalizing tastes of these two distinctive coffee styles.

Ready to brew some knowledge? Let’s plunge in!

Red Eye vs Lungo

A red eye is a bold concoction made by adding a shot of espresso to a regular cup of drip coffee, resulting in a high-caffeine drink that combines the nuances of both brews. A lungo, on the other hand, is purely an espresso variant.

It’s created by using more water in the extraction process, producing a milder and larger espresso shot. The red eye stands out for its potent caffeine kick and layered flavor profile, while the lungo offers a more extended, but undiluted, espresso experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Red Eye Coffee is made by combining regular brewed coffee with a shot of espresso, resulting in a rich and bold flavor.
  • Lungo is an Italian-style coffee that involves extracting more water through the coffee grounds than in a regular espresso shot, creating a smoother and milder taste.
  • Red Eye Coffee has a higher caffeine content compared to Lungo due to the addition of an extra shot of espresso.
  • Both Red Eye Coffee and Lungo can be used as bases for popular specialty drinks like lattes and macchiatos.


Red Eye Coffee is a type of coffee that consists of regular brewed coffee with an added shot or two of espresso. Lungo, on the other hand, refers to a “long” or extended espresso shot that is made by extracting more water through the coffee grounds than in a regular espresso shot.

Red Eye Coffee Definition

Red eye coffee is a rich blend that packs a punch. It’s made by pouring an espresso shot on top of drip coffee. Some people call it dead eye coffee. It is like an Americano, but brewed coffee takes the place of hot water in this mix.

This type of coffee is known for its high caffeine kick which can wake you up fast!

Lungo Definition

Lungo is a type of coffee. It’s like a shot of espresso, but not as strong. To make lungo, more water goes into the coffee machine than for regular espresso. This comes from Italy where “lungo” means long.

And that makes sense because it takes longer to brew lungo than other kinds of coffee drinks like an americano or a latte.

The size of a lungo equals two shots of espresso. But it’s not just two shots mixed together! It is one long shot with lots more water in it. This lets you get more flavor out the ground coffee beans without making your drink too strong or bitter.

Historical Origins

Red Eye Coffee originated in the United States, where it is believed to have been created as a way to combat tiredness during long-haul truck drives. On the other hand, Lungo has its roots in Italy and is known for its longer extraction time, allowing for a milder flavor profile.

Red Eye Coffee Origins

Red Eye Coffee started in the United States during the 1990s. This name comes from how people’s eyes look red after a long night or an early morning flight. People flying from the West Coast to the East Coast often have red eyes.

They found this coffee to be powerful and it helped them stay awake.

This type of coffee soon became popular with busy workers too. Many liked Red Eye Coffee because it gave them a big energy kick when they needed it most. Making Red Eye is simple – you mix regular drip coffee with an espresso shot.

Because of this, people could get their extra caffeine boost quickly and easily while on the move.

Lungo Origins

The lungo, or caffè lungo, is a type of coffee that originated in Italy. It became popular worldwide after the Second World War, especially with soldiers who wanted a longer-lasting caffeine boost.

The word “lungo” means “long shot” in Italian and refers to the fact that more water is used during the brewing process compared to a typical espresso. This extra water results in a larger volume of coffee while still maintaining the intensity and richness of flavor that espresso is known for.

So if you’re looking for a stronger cup of joe that lasts a bit longer, give the lungo a try!

Brewing Process

The brewing process for Red Eye coffee and Lungo involves carefully measuring the ratio of water to coffee, controlling extraction time, and maintaining specific temperature and pressure levels.

Water and Coffee Ratio

The water and coffee ratio is an important factor in brewing both red eye coffee and lungo. Here are the key points to know:

  1. A lungo shot uses twice as much water as a regular espresso shot.
  2. The coffee-to-water ratio for a lungo is typically between 1:3 and 1:4.
  3. This means that for every part of coffee, you will use three to four parts of water.
  4. On the other hand, an espresso shot has a coffee-to-water ratio of 1: 2.
  5. For every part of coffee, you will use two parts of water.
  6. A ristretto shot, which is a shorter and more concentrated version of espresso, has a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:1.
  7. It uses equal parts of coffee and water.

Extraction Time

The extraction time is an important factor in determining the flavor and strength of both red eye coffee and lungo. Here are some key points to know about the extraction time for each:

  • For a regular espresso, the ideal extraction time is typically 25 to 35 seconds.
  • Red eye coffee, which is made by adding a shot of espresso to a cup of drip coffee, also follows this extraction time.
  • Lungo, on the other hand, involves a longer extraction time ranging from 25 to 35 seconds. This extended brewing process allows for a larger volume of water to pass through the coffee grounds.
  • Due to its longer extraction time, lungo shots can sometimes have a more bitter taste compared to regular espresso shots.
  • It’s important to note that both red eye coffee and lungo shots have longer extraction times than regular espresso shots.

Pressure and Temperature

Espresso brewing relies on the right pressure and temperature. Here are some important facts to know:

  • Brewing temperature affects the flow rate of espresso.
  • Nespresso machines have higher pressure but lower brewing temperatures compared to espresso machines.
  • The cup temperature during espresso brewing is typically around 67 ± 3 °C (153 ± 5 °F).
  • The entry water pressure for espresso brewing is typically 9 ± 1 bar (900 ± 100 kPa; 131 ± 15 psi).
  • Water temperature is crucial as it affects the extraction rate.

Flavor and Aroma Differences

Red Eye Coffee has a bold and slightly bitter flavor, with strong notes of coffee and a robust aroma. Lungo, on the other hand, has a smoother and more balanced flavor profile, with hints of caramel and chocolate, as well as a rich aroma that is often described as nutty or sweet.

Red Eye Coffee

Red Eye Coffee is a type of coffee that contains one shot of espresso poured into a cup of drip coffee. It is known for its strong and bold flavor, with a balanced body and less bitterness compared to other espresso-based drinks like Americano.

Red Eye Coffee offers a rich and dense taste, making it popular among coffee lovers who enjoy the intense flavors of espresso. It can be enjoyed on its own or as an ingredient in various specialty drinks.

Unlike Black Eye Coffee or Dead Eye Coffee which have multiple shots of espresso, Red Eye Coffee strikes a perfect balance between the flavors of coffee and espresso in every sip.


Lungo is a type of coffee that is made by adding more water during the brewing process. This extra water gives lungo a lighter and smoother taste compared to regular espresso. It also has a distinct crema on top, which gives it a bitter flavor.

Lungo takes longer to brew than espresso and uses coarser grinds and more water. The result is a stronger and more bitter coffee with a lighter layer of foam compared to an Americano or other espresso-based drinks.

So, if you’re looking for a bold and bitter coffee experience, lungo might be the right choice for you!

Caffeine Content

Red Eye Coffee typically has a higher caffeine content compared to Lungo due to the addition of an extra shot of espresso.

Red Eye Coffee Caffeine Content

Red eye coffee is known for its high caffeine content, often exceeding that of a regular cup of coffee. This stimulating beverage is typically composed of drip coffee combined with a shot of espresso, resulting in a caffeine-packed punch.

Red Eye Coffee CompositionApproximate Caffeine Content
Regular Drip Coffee (8 oz)95 mg
Single Shot of Espresso100 – 150 mg
Combined Total in a Red Eye200 – 250 mg

The resulting caffeine content can range from 200 to 350 mg depending on the type of coffee beans used to prepare both the drip coffee and the espresso shot.

Dark roast coffee beans are often used in red eye coffee preparation, imparting a stronger flavor and further boosting caffeine levels.

Despite the high caffeine content, red eye coffee is a milder option compared to coffee variations like the black eye and dead eye, which boast even higher caffeine concentrations.

Lungo Caffeine Content

The caffeine content in a Lungo is considerably higher compared to a regular espresso shot, due to the larger quantity of water used in its brewing process. The prolonged extraction time also contributes to this higher caffeine count. Reports vary, but on average, a Lungo can contain around 94 milligrams of caffeine.

MeasurementCaffeine Content
Shot of Espresso64 milligrams
Lungo94 milligrams (average)

Please note, however, the exact caffeine content can vary depending on factors such as the type of coffee bean used, the roasting process, and the brewing technique.

Uses in Popular Drinks

Red Eye Coffee is often used as a base for popular drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, adding depth and richness to the flavor profile. On the other hand, Lungo is preferred for those who enjoy a stronger coffee taste in their americano or macchiato.

Red Eye Coffee in Popular Drinks

Red eye coffee, a unique combination of drip coffee and a shot of espresso, is gaining popularity in various drink creations. Here are some examples:

  1. Red Eye Latte: A delicious blend of steamed milk and red eye coffee, creating a creamy and caffeinated treat.
  2. Red Eye Cappuccino: A classic cappuccino with an energizing twist of red eye coffee for an extra kick.
  3. Red Eye Flat White: Smooth and velvety milk mixed with red eye coffee creates a balanced and rich flavor profile.
  4. Red Eye Americano: Hot water added to red eye coffee produces a stronger version of the traditional Americano.
  5. Iced Red Eye: Perfect for hot summer days, this refreshing creation combines iced coffee with a shot of red eye coffee.

Lungo in Popular Drinks

A lungo is a type of coffee that is less concentrated than espresso. It is often used as a base for various popular drinks. Here are some examples of how lungo is used in popular drinks:

  • Café Lungo: This is a simple drink made by pouring hot water over a lungo shot. It creates a longer and milder coffee that can be enjoyed black or with milk.
  • Lungo Macchiato: Similar to an espresso macchiato, this drink consists of a lungo topped with a small amount of foamed milk. It adds a touch of creaminess to the strong coffee flavor.
  • Lungo Latte: A lungo latte combines the richness of steamed milk with the long and mellow taste of a lungo shot. It’s perfect for those who prefer a milky and less intense coffee experience.
  • Iced Lungo: An iced lungo is created by pouring cold water or ice over a shot of lungo. It’s refreshing and great for warm weather.

Choosing Between Red Eye Coffee and Lungo

Consider your personal preferences and the occasion when deciding between Red Eye Coffee and Lungo.

Considering personal preferences

When choosing between red eye coffee and lungo, it’s important to consider your personal preferences. Here are some factors to think about:

  • Caffeine intensity: If you prefer a stronger caffeine kick, red eye coffee may be your best choice as it combines espresso and drip coffee for a higher caffeine content.
  • Flavor intensity: Red eye coffee also has a stronger espresso flavor compared to an Americano. If you enjoy bold and robust flavors, red eye coffee might be more suitable for you.
  • Coffee quantity: Lungo offers more ounces to enjoy compared to other espresso drinks. If you prefer a larger serving size, lungo might be the better option for you.
  • Occasion: Consider the appropriate occasion for each drink. Red eye coffee is often enjoyed in the morning as a way to jump-start the day, while lungo can be enjoyed throughout the day.
  • Taste preferences: Ultimately, your taste preferences will play a big role in choosing between red eye coffee and lungo. Some people may prefer the rich and intense flavor of red eye coffee, while others may enjoy the balanced and smooth taste of lungo.

Determine the appropriate occasion

To choose between red eye coffee and lungo, consider the occasion:

  • Breakfast on-the-go
  • Mid-afternoon pick-me-up
  • Relaxing at a coffee shop
  • Enjoying a leisurely morning


Red Eye Coffee and Lungo are two different types of coffee that offer bold and strong flavors. Red Eye Coffee combines normal drip coffee with a shot of espresso, while Lungo is a stretched espresso with more water.

Whether you prefer the intense taste of Red Eye or the milder flavor of Lungo, these options cater to coffee lovers looking for a robust caffeine kick in their drinks. So go ahead and try both to find your perfect cup!


What is Red Eye Coffee and how does it compare to Lungo?

Red Eye coffee is a strong drink with hot coffee topped with a shot of espresso. On the other hand, Lungo is a kind of coffee where you add more water to the normal espresso, making it less strong than Red Eye.

How much espresso goes into each type of drink?

For Red Eye, you top off your hot cup of coffee with one shot or double shot of espresso. For Lungo, equal parts of water and finely ground coffee are used in an espresso cup but brewed longer for a less concentrated taste.

Is either drink made with milk?

No! Both Red eye and lungo do not need milk or foam like many other kinds such as macchiato or iced espressos.

Are these drinks considered strong types of coffees?

Yes! both red eye and lung are stronger than most filter coffees yet differ from each other: red-eye is dark coffee that combines the rich flavor of standard espresso whilst lung provides longer yet intense taste from its long brewed process.

Can I use any amount or type of ground coffee for them?

Both require specific amounts – Espresso for red eyes needs about two shots whilst lung uses equal ratio; Also finely-ground beans are preferred for optimal flavors.

What’s the difference between drinking straight Espresso Vs Longer versions like ‘Lung’?

Straight up offers concentrated quick bursts while Lungo gives slightly diluted version due to additional waters giving it smoother finish on palate without losing main characteristics compared to single shots.

About the Author:
Emily Thompson is an enthusiastic guide in the world of coffee, sharing her expertise in flavors, brewing techniques, and cultural significance. Her journey, fueled by a deep love for coffee, involves educating coffee enthusiasts of all levels to enhance their coffee experiences. Emily's content spans from brewing guides to the cultural importance of coffee, emphasizing ethical sourcing and sustainability.