Lungo vs Espresso: What’s the Difference?

lungo vs espresso

Espresso is a common drink for coffee lovers, but have you ever heard of a lungo? It is similar to espresso, because it is made from an espresso machine. There are a few differences between the two. Learning these differences might change the one you prefer to enjoy. The descriptions of each are below and after reading you will know the differences between a lungo and an espresso to decide what suits your personal preference.

Espresso

This coffee beverage is an intense-flavored 1-2 oz of coffee per espresso shot. When the espresso machine pulls these shots it is forcing water through packed grounds and extracting the bold espresso flavors that you expect. The extraction can take about 20-30 seconds. The length of time for a shot can depend on the calibrations of the machine, or the decision is left to the user with some types of espresso machines. A shot of espresso has three parts, the darker bottom part is called the body, the heart is in the middle and has a lighter color, and on top is the light foamy crema. A true espresso doesn’t have additions when consumed, but some prefer multiple shots of espresso instead of just one. A double is called a doppio (2-3 oz) and some even order triple shots of espresso.

espresso

Lungo

Lungo is a different way to pull an espresso shot that gives it a different flavor. The beverage is made with an espresso machine, but it takes longer to pull the shot. This gives it a less intense flavor than an espresso, which has a shorter pull. Another difference is that it adds more water to push through the grounds, during the brewing process. This gives more ounces as a result. Lungos have a more bitter taste than a regular espresso because the shot takes longer to pull. The longer time effects the extraction of the grounds flavor through the water. The shots pulled for a lungo will also have three parts like an espresso shot, but there will be less crema. Lungos can also be enjoyed with multiple shots if the consumer prefers.

lungo coffee

Main Differences

The three differences are taste, quantity, and caffeine level. All three of these are explained in more detail below.

  1. Taste

The taste will be different because of the different pull times. Since the extraction takes longer for a lungo, it often has a harsher, more bitter taste than espresso does. It also does not have as intense of a flavor as espresso does, because there is more water used in brewing making it less concentrated. Espresso has a bold, rich flavor and the crema is arguably the most enjoyable part of an espresso shot. As mentioned above it has an intense flavor because of the smaller amount of water being pushed through all the coffee grounds.

  1. Quantity

The quantity is different because in a lungo the espresso has more water pushed through it to provide more ounces to enjoy in comparison to the espresso. A regular shot has about 1 oz of espresso and a lungo shot makes 1.5 oz.

  1. Caffeine Level

The longer an espresso shot is pulled, the more caffeine it has. This is not a significant difference in caffeine, but it is still present. A lungo will have more caffeine than regular espresso, but only by a little bit.


Here’s some other types of coffees we’ve compared:

What’s the difference between espresso and ristretto?

What’s the difference between latte and espresso?