What Is Lungo Coffee? Lungo vs. Americano vs. Long Black
The coffee menu in most coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and coffee bars is always growing. But, some coffee beverages like the Lungo have always been there, though many coffee lovers either do not know what it is or confuse it with other coffee types.
Lungos are made with an espresso machine, and so making one will only require you to push the appropriate button given that these coffee makers are always clearly marked. However, things are not that simple because as a coffee lover, you need to understand what every coffee type you intend to take is all about.
To help ensure you know what you are ordering for or making, here we highlight the key things you need to know about Lungo including its differences with other beverages it is often confused with.
What is Lungo?
A Lungo is simply a type of espresso-based beverage or one of those coffee types you can make on your espresso machine. Lungo is an Italian word that translates to long in English, and it gets the name from how it is made.
The Lungo is an espresso type that will typically contain more water than a regular espresso, and what truly makes it different is that it is made with a slower and more voluminous extraction which is what is fondly referred to as a long pull.
This beverage is made with the same amount of finely ground coffee as a regular espresso but with about double the amount of water which results in a brew size of at least 2 ounces which is about the same as a double shot of espresso.
What Does a Lungo Taste Like?
Since it is a type of espresso, the Lungo still has the richness and boldness that is associated with the regular espresso but the two do not taste the same.
With Lungo, you get a more watery beverage since it has more water but the same quantity of coffee as the regular espresso. When compared to an espresso, the Lungo will have a relatively less strong taste and the longer extraction time makes it bitterer as it allows for more of the bitter compounds in the coffee to be extracted.
Coffee drinkers that prefer bitter coffee will love the Lungo because besides being relatively bitterer, it will also be larger than a typical espresso.
Lungo vs. Americano vs. Long Black
Lungo is often confused with two other popular coffee types due to the appearance. And these are the Americano and long black. While they might look the same and are often served in similar glasses, they are different beverages that taste different.
While the Lungo is simply an espresso that has been extracted longer and with more water, Americano entails adding hot water to a shot or two of espresso while the long black is just the reverse of an Americano whereby espresso is added to hot water.
Of the three beverages, Lungo is the strongest and richest given that unlike the other two, the extra water is not just added to the espresso, but it is instead used to extract coffee from the grounds. But, the Lungo will be bitterer than the Americano and long black.
How to Make a Lungo
If you have an espresso machine, you should not break a sweat to make the Lungo because besides most machines having a button specifically for pulling a Lungo, its recipe is one of the few basic ones that many espresso machine models will come with. But, if you are not sure how to make one at home, below is a brief guide that will help you out.
What You Need
Extraction Time: Up to 60 seconds
Step by Step Directions
Step 1: Fill Up Water Reservoir
Start by filling up the water reservoir on your espresso machine with filtered water. And note that while a typical shot of espresso will use around 30 ml water, a Lungo uses at least double this which is 60 ml.
Step 2: Heat Machine
Heating your espresso machine is an important step that is often overlooked but is still crucial. Some of these machines can take up to 45 minutes to warm up, and so to save time you need to switch them on way in advance.
Step 3: Add Coffee Grounds
Next step is to add coffee grounds to the portafilter and because the Lungo is an espresso-based beverage, you will still need to use finely ground coffee. Remove the portafilter from the machine, fill it up with the grounds before tamping with then tamper and restoring it to the machine. It is also worth noting that for a Lungo, around 7 grams of coffee grounds will be used per serving.
Step 4: Push Button to Brew
Most modern espresso machines will have a "Lungo" button, and so once everything is set up, you will only need to push it to make the brew. The extraction time for the Lungo will be between 50 and 60 seconds which is longer than the 20 to 30 seconds it takes to pull a regular shot of espresso.
Step 5: Serve and Enjoy
Many Lungo lovers will prefer to take it just as it is as most of its fanatics love it because of the bitterness, but like any other coffee type, you can still lighten it with a little milk or cream and even add some sugar to sweeten things.
Other Ways of Taking a Lungo
No matter how much you love your Lungo, at some point, it can get boring. Nevertheless, it does not have to as there are some simple ways of making it a more interesting beverage, and here are 2 of them.
1. Make an Americano
If you are a caffeine “freak” but still prefer to make your coffee a little less strong, you should use your Lungo to make an Americano. To do this, you will only need to make the Lungo as you would normally and add some hot water to make an Americano.
2. Make the "Shot in the Dark"
To make your Lungo beverage even more caffeinated, you should try the "shot in the dark" variant. This coffee will entail mixing your Lungo with drip coffee to get a nice cup of coffee with a roasty backbone and a nice caffeine kick.
If you are yet to try out a Lungo, then you are missing out on a very interesting coffee type that you can easily make on your espresso machine by pushing the right button.
For the coffee aficionados that prefer to experience the earthy and smoky notes in espresso or just prefer something bitterer than their typical espresso shot, a Lungo will be a perfect beverage.
Also, you can use this beverage to make other drinks like Americano more interesting and even use it to make espresso-based beverages such as lattes and cappuccinos.
The bottom line is that the Lungo is good enough coffee that deserves some trying out, and you will not know whether you like it or not until your taste buds experience it.
- Lungo The Bigger, Bitterer Coffee Drink - The Spruce Eats