What is Lungo Coffee?

Among coffee lovers there is a sub-species (if you’ll pardon the expression) devoted to the taste and aroma of espresso. Some people prefer filter coffee, others like to drink coffee with milk, sometimes even the region where you live determines your taste… but it is clear that espresso is one of the kings of the market.

And within the espresso coffee, also called black coffee, there are some variants in size such as ristretto or lungo coffee, which is the protagonist of today’s article. In these lines we are going to find out what lungo coffee really means and how to identify it.

What is a lungo coffee? Basic definition

The lungo size coffee is simply a slightly different way of preparing the traditional espresso. Lungo, as you know, is an Italian word meaning “long” and that is just the equivalent of what we would call a long coffee.

This is a process by which the water passes more slowly through the coffee filter, and as a result more is extracted and the flavour is more intense, although less concentrated.

Therefore, the difference between lungo and regular espresso is essentially the extraction time, which is longer in the case of lungo.

Similarly, the difference between a lungo and a ristretto is just the opposite: the ristretto is a more concentrated coffee in which the extraction time is much shorter. Therefore, in terms of extraction time:

Ristretto << Normal Espresso << Lungo Coffee

There is no fixed rule, but in general a real espresso is extracted for about 25-30 seconds. Ristretto reduces this to a maximum of 20 seconds, and lungo can take up to 50-60 seconds.

Difference between Lungo and American coffee

Although they are both long coffees, which is why many people confuse them, the difference between a lungo and an Americano is very noticeable. American coffee is made by adding hot water afterwards, i.e. after the espresso has been extracted.American coffee is made by adding hot water afterwards, i.e. after the espresso has been extracted.  Therefore, the extraction of the coffee itself has nothing to do with the two coffees, and neither do the taste and aroma.

How to prepare lungo coffee correctly

To find out how to make a lungo coffee, all you need to do is to have an espresso machine and to pay attention to a couple of time-related questions.

To make a lungo coffee, you should use the same dose of ground coffee as for a normal espresso (this is important, because if you use more then you would be making a doppio or double espresso) but prolong the extraction for about twice as long.

The result will be a coffee with about 150 millilitres of volume.

Lungo coffee in capsules

Of course, we also have lungo coffee in capsules in various formats available on the market. We will only review the best known ones, but in reality there are few capsule formats that do not include lungo in their catalogue.

Lungo coffee for Dolce Gusto

There are plenty of options if we want to try lungo coffee for Dolce Gusto, both in the catalogue of official pods and among the compatible pods. In general, these are single-serve coffee pods that contain a slightly higher dose of coffee than usual (not much) and invite us to brew with a high range of water quantity.

In Dolce Gusto automatic coffee machines, of the seven water levels we can choose from, we will normally use at least 5 or 6 to prepare a lungo. Espresso is usually set to level 2, to give you an idea.

Of course, among all these varieties, we can also find decaffeinated lungo coffee for Dolce Gusto. You will have deduced by now that a lungo, just like a ristretto, can be prepared with any type of bean: normal or decaffeinated.

Lungo coffee for Nespresso

In the case of Nespresso coffee makers, we must remember that they come already configured with two sizes of coffee (in some cases programmable), which are even three sizes in the most modern models. Among these sizes, we can always choose one normal size and one for lungo.

The machine will use the right amount of water according to our choice, maintaining the water flow for as long as it is needed. Lungo coffee capsules for Nespresso are usually varieties that are already prepared and optimised to obtain the best result with this amount of water, although of course it is ultimately up to the user to choose how much water to use with each single dose.

Lungo coffee for Tassimo

And finally, of course, we can also buy lungo coffee for Tassimo, in this case from two varieties of L’Or and Marcilla.