What is a Lungo coffee?

A Lungo coffee is an espresso-based drink, which means it shares the same foundational ingredient and brewing method as traditional espresso. The primary difference lies in its preparation, distinguishing it from other espresso-based beverages.

The key characteristic of Lungo coffee is that it uses more water than traditional espresso. This adjustment in the water-to-coffee ratio significantly alters the brewing process, affecting both the taste and resulting in a larger volume of 50-70ml.

As a result of the increased water content, Lungo coffee has a longer extraction time compared to traditional espresso. The extraction time is longer, taking up to 60 seconds compared to 18-30 seconds for a normal espresso. This longer brewing time allows more water to pass through the coffee grounds, extracting different flavor profiles and caffeine levels.

The extended extraction time and increased water use in making a Lungo coffee produce a larger volume of coffee. This makes Lungo a preferable option for those who enjoy their coffee with a bit more to sip on than a standard espresso shot provides. The longer extraction time of a lungo can lead to a thinner body and a more pronounced bitterness in the coffee. This bitterness arises from the increased contact time between the coffee grounds and water, allowing for the extraction of more bitter compounds. Despite the heightened bitterness, a lungo still retains the distinctive espresso flavor, albeit in a diluted form, making it a popular choice for those seeking a less intense coffee experience.

Finally, due to these differences in preparation, Lungo coffee has a milder flavor than traditional espresso. The extra water dilutes the intensity of the espresso, resulting in a less concentrated flavor that can be more approachable for those who find regular espresso too strong.

What is a Lungo coffee?

What’s the Meaning of Lungo Coffee?

“Lungo” translates from Italian as ‘long’ and describes a coffee shot brewed with more hot water, resulting in a larger, milder drink while retaining espresso’s flavor intensity. In Italy and France, among other European countries, 60% of coffee drinkers favor this milder, voluminous option over traditional espresso, which has a stronger solution per unit but less volume.

How Lungo coffee is brewed?

To brew Lungo coffee, precisely measure 60mL of water and allow the coffee to extract for up to a minute, which is significantly longer than the extraction time for a standard double espresso shot that uses only 30mL of water. This process makes the Lungo larger in volume and more diluted in taste compared to its espresso counterpart. Many espresso machines feature preset options for making Lungos, simplifying the brewing process.

How Lungo coffee is  brewed?

.Specifically, Nespresso offers pods designed exclusively for Lungo brews. For machines without automatic Lungo settings, manual adjustment of the extraction time and water volume is necessary. It’s crucial to maintain consistent temperature and the amount of coffee grounds used for other espresso drinks while tweaking these variables.

This careful adjustment aims to strike a delicate balance between sufficient extraction to capture the coffee’s full flavor and the right level of dilution to avoid over-concentration. The resulting Lungo is a smooth and balanced coffee beverage that offers a unique flavor profile. It is less intense than a traditional espresso shot but still delivers the same caffeine kick, catering to those who prefer a less robust coffee experience without sacrificing the essence of a high-quality espresso.

What does lungo coffee taste like?

A Lungo, requiring more water for extraction than an espresso, results in a beverage that is less concentrated, exhibiting a milder yet distinctly more bitter taste. This bitterness stems from an extended brewing period, which allows a greater quantity of bitterness-inducing compounds to dissolve.

Moreover, the lungo’s unique brewing method introduces smokier and roasted flavor nuances not typically found in the bolder espresso. Despite the lungo’s reduced intensity compared to espresso, its flavor complexity, characterized by these additional notes, offers a differentiated and appealing option for coffee enthusiasts seeking variety in their coffee experience.

How much caffeine is in Lungo Coffee?

A lungo coffee typically contains between 77-85 mg of caffeine, surpassing the standard espresso shot’s 63 mg, attributed to its use of more water for effective caffeine extraction. Research indicates that despite the common debate among coffee enthusiasts over caffeine content in a lungo versus an espresso, the caffeine difference largely stems from the volume of water rather than the extraction time. Both drinks use the same amount of coffee grounds, and since caffeine is one of the first compounds to dissolve, extended extraction times do not necessarily increase caffeine content significantly. Studies suggest that the initial extraction phase is crucial for caffeine release, implying similar caffeine levels for lungo and espresso if their extraction times are comparable (Lingle, T., “The Coffee Brewing Handbook,” SCAA, 2011).

For those seeking a higher caffeine concentration, a ristretto offers a viable option. Pulled with less water than an espresso, ristrettos provide a double shot’s worth of caffeine in a more concentrated form, effectively doubling the intensity without compromising taste. Additionally, for a balance of robust flavor and caffeine, adding an extra shot to a doppio or Americano can increase the caffeine content without altering the drink’s core characteristics, ensuring a flavorful yet potent coffee experience (Smith, A., “Coffee Science: How to Make the Perfect Cup,” 2014).

Lungo Coffee vs Ristretto what is the difference?

Lungo Coffee vs Ristretto

Lungo and Ristretto represent two distinct espresso variations, each with unique characteristics primarily defined by the water-to-coffee ratio, extraction time, flavor profile, and caffeine content.

A Lungo is essentially an elongated espresso shot, achieved by using more water (around 60ml total volume) than a standard espresso shot, resulting in a less concentrated beverage. The Lungo employs a brew ratio of approximately 1:3, meaning that if 18 grams of coffee are used, it yields a drink weighing roughly 54 grams. This extended extraction time, typically 50 to 70 seconds, allows for a broader range of coffee compounds, including caffeine, to be extracted, making Lungo the variation with the highest caffeine content among the three. Despite the increase in volume, the flavor profile tends towards the bitter, as the prolonged contact with water extracts deeper notes such as chocolate and caramel, resulting in a beverage that is less thick than an espresso​​.

In contrast, a Ristretto is a “restricted” shot of espresso, offering a more concentrated flavor by using less water (about 15ml in total volume) and halving the extraction time compared to a standard espresso. This process results in a drink that emphasizes lighter tasting notes, such as fruitiness and sweetness, due to the early extraction phases being favored. A Ristretto typically has a brew ratio of around 1:1, making it the smallest of the three shots and having the least amount of caffeine because the shorter extraction time means less caffeine is extracted. The quicker extraction produces a thicker mouthfeel than espresso, with a preference for finer grind settings to ensure efficient extraction within the limited water and time​​.

Caffeine Content Differences: Despite their contrasting volumes and intensities, a Ristretto contains less caffeine than a Lungo. This is primarily due to the smaller amount of coffee used and the shorter brewing time, which does not allow all of the caffeine to be extracted from the coffee grounds. Lungo shots, on the other hand, almost double the caffeine content found in Ristretto shots because the longer brewing process allows for more caffeine extraction from the coffee grounds. Specifically, Ristretto shots contain about 40-50 mg of caffeine, while Lungo shots contain around 70-80 mg of caffeine​​.

Flavor and Preparation: Lungo shots are milder with slightly bitter notes due to the increased water volume and longer brewing time. They are enjoyed by those who prefer a touch of espresso flavor but with the mildness of traditionally brewed coffee. Ristretto shots, conversely, are known for their intense and full-bodied flavor, being sweeter and less bitter than Lungo due to the shorter brewing time which emphasizes the coffee’s sweet and acidic notes​​​​.

In essence, the choice between Lungo and Ristretto depends on personal preference for strength, flavor, and caffeine content. Lungo offers a longer, more diluted espresso experience with a higher caffeine content and a slight bitterness, while Ristretto provides a concentrated, intensely flavored shot with less caffeine and a sweeter profile.