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Lungo coffee is a long espresso shot with a less concentrated, more bitter flavor! It’s a fun way to mix up your daily caffeine.

Lungo

Love a good espresso shot? Then you’ve probably already tried a lungo! The lungo is a long shot of espresso, made in a longer time than the standard shot. It ends up with more water, almost like an Americano: with a less intense, more bitter flavor! It’s a fun way to mix up your daily caffeine habit. Here’s more about lungo coffee, how to make it at home, and the difference between lungo, espresso, and ristretto!

What is lungo coffee?

Lungo is a long espresso shot that’s pulled in longer time than the standard shot so that it has a slightly larger volume of water (lungo means “long” in Italian). It uses the same amount of coffee as a normal espresso shot, but is made in 35 to 40 seconds versus 25 to 30 seconds. This longer extraction time it more bitter and less concentrated than the standard. It’s also a bit more watery than creamy, since it contains more water. It’s almost like an Americano, but with a more bitter flavor.

You can order a lungo at your local coffeeshop, or even at Starbucks! Request a lungo shot to replace espresso in any of the Starbucks espresso drinks, like a latte, macchiato, Americano, iced latte, and more.

Long shot vs ristretto

What’s the opposite of a lungo? A short shot, or Ristretto! Italian for “restricted,” the ristretto uses the same amount of espresso as a normal shot but is pulled in 15 to 20 seconds. The shorter extraction makes it taste sweeter and richer.

The better of the two? In all honesty, we prefer the ristretto! Its sweet, rich flavor and creamy texture tops the lungo in our book. A lungo is tasty too, but we even prefer making an Americano (espresso plus hot water) over a lungo.

Lungo coffee

An espresso machine is required to make it at home

Want to make a lungo shot at home? It’s easy to do, but you’ll need one thing: a countertop espresso machine! This tool is a little pricey, so you’ll need to make an investment to be pulling lungo shots every morning. Here’s what to know:

  • A countertop espresso machine is required to make lungo coffee. Here’s the Breville espresso machine we use. This type of machine is similar to what you’d see a barista use: it sits on the countertop and grinds the coffee. Many espresso makers also have a steaming wand to steam milk for lattes and cappuccinos. (In fact, it gives you the keys to all sorts of espresso drinks!)
  • It’s a bit pricey. Countertop espresso machines start at about $300, and can range up to several thousand dollars. But if you’re a coffee nerd, it’s worth it for the high quality! It’s really the only way to make lungo coffee in the comfort of your own home.
  • Accessories: Make sure to get a knock box to use with your espresso machine. It’s helpful for tamping and discarding the used coffee grounds.

Use espresso roast coffee

The best coffee for a lungo? Espresso roast. Using espresso roast is important to get the right dark, bitter flavor to an espresso shot. Some coffee brands we recommend are Illy IntensoStarbucks Espresso Roast, or Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso.

How to make lungo coffee

Once you’ve got an espresso machine and the right coffee, making a lungo is a breeze! You’ll just need to use the manual mode on your espresso machine and pull the shot for 35 to 40 seconds. Here’s what to do:

  1. Grind the coffee: Use espresso roast coffee, about 9 grams for a single lungo shot and 18 grams for a double shot. Grind the coffee until it’s very fine ground. Different roasts and brands of beans will require a different grind for your machine. You may need to do a few test runs to get it dialed in just right.
  2. Pack and tamp the coffee grounds: Add the coffee grounds to the espresso basket (portafilter) until it’s slightly heaping over the top. Use the tamper to press the grounds evenly into the portafilter, pressing very firmly until it is fully compressed. Place the portafilter on a folded towel before tamping, or the best tool is a knock box for tamping and discarding used grounds. It’s important for the coffee grounds to be as even and straight as possible to get the best lungo shot.
  3. Pull the shot: Place the portafilter in the espresso machine and press the button to pull the shot using Manual mode. Make sure it lasts 35 to 40 seconds, resulting in 3 ounces coffee for a double lungo (compared to 25 to 30 seconds for a standard espresso doubleshot).

And that’s it! Enjoy your lungo shot, and let us know what you thought in the comments below.

Lungo

More coffee drinks

Got an espresso machine? You can make so many espresso drinks and coffee drinks! Here are some favorites:

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Lungo Coffee


Description

Lungo coffee is a long espresso shot with a less concentrated, more bitter flavor! It’s a fun way to mix up your daily caffeine.


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Grind the coffee: Grind the coffee until it’s very fine ground. Different roasts and brands of beans will require a different grind for your machine. You may need to do a few test runs to get it dialed in just right.
  2. Pack and tamp the coffee grounds: Add the coffee grounds to the espresso basket (portafilter) until it’s slightly heaping over the top. Use the tamper to press the grounds evenly into the portafilter, pressing very firmly until it is fully compressed. It’s useful to have something to press onto for tamping so that you don’t damage the counter or filter. Place the portafilter on a folded towel before tamping, or the best tool is the ledge of a knock box (you can also use it to discard the used grounds). It’s important for the coffee grounds to be as even and straight as possible to get the best espresso shot.
  3. Pull the shot: Place the portafilter in the espresso machine and press the button to pull the shot using Manual mode. This is the most important part of pulling a ristretto shot. Make sure it lasts 15 to 20 seconds, resulting in 1 ½ ounces coffee for a double ristretto, with a caramel-colored crema (compared to 25 to 30 seconds for a standard espresso doubleshot).
  4. Consider any adjustments: It takes a while to hone in the grind of the coffee and the tamping process. Don’t worry if it’s not exactly right the first time! If you find that the shot is watery, use slightly more coffee grounds or use a finer grind on the coffee.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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4 Comments

  1. Hi, I was wondering if this can be made with the french press espresso method you have linked in similar other espresso recipes. Is this a recipe that can only be made with an expensive espresso machine or can it be made via the french press espresso method you provide? Thanks for sharing all the great recipes to follow along :)

      1. Thanks! Would the portable/manual espresso machine work that you have previously linked by StarEspresso for less than 100$ work for the lungo and ristretto by using it for shorter or longer lengths of time?