Complete Guide To Lungo Coffee vs Espresso, Double Espresso and more!

I’ve thrown the name Lungo around a lot in this blog. Especially when it comes to Nespresso machines and their serving sizes. But I’ve come to realize that some users didn’t know what exact Lungo coffee is, and how it is different from Espresso or double-espresso.

What Is Lungo Coffee?

Lungo coffee, also known as long-espresso, is a type of coffee that is brewed in an espresso machine. Unlike standard espresso shots, lungo coffees are a bit larger and have slightly less concentrated flavor.

Lungo, in Italian, means longer. So it’s basically a longer shot of espresso. Traditionally, lungo coffees are brewed using an espresso machine with a longer extraction process than standard espresso shots. This results in more volume of coffee that has a milder flavor, making it great for those who prefer a smoother or less bitter taste.

What Is Lungo in Nespresso Machines?

Nespresso Lungo on OriginalLine

Traditional espresso machines can be a bit of a hard work. That’s why we appreciate a quick shot of espresso or lungo using a Nespresso machine.

In Nespresso machines, there are two different options for brewing coffee: espresso and lungo.

Servings Sizes:

In Original Line machines, Espresso pods make 1.35 oz of coffee out of 5g of coffee grounds, while a Lungo pod will make you 3.7 oz out of 7g of coffee grounds.

Vertuo machines have Espresso, Double Espresso and Gran Lungo:

DrinkVolume of CoffeeCoffee Grounds in Pod
Espresso1.35 oz5g
Double Espresso2.7 oz7g
Gran Lungo5 oz9.5g
  • Espresso serves 1.35 oz of coffee from 5 grams of coffee grounds
  • Double-Espresso makes 2.7 oz of coffee from 7 grams of coffee grounds
  • Gran Lungo will make 5 oz of coffee from 9.5 grams of coffee grounds.

Is Gran Lungo Considered Espresso or Coffee?

It is somewhere in between. Personally I would considered it a shorter cup of coffee and not espresso. If you want something closer to an actual Lungo, use the Double-espresso option.

Can You Use Espresso Pods to Make Lungo?

A Lungo pod contains 7g of coffee grounds as opposed to 5g to coffee in an espresso pod. Technically, you can use either pods for either coffee selection, it doesn’t matter. But your Lungo will taste better if you use a Lungo pod. This applies to OriginalLine machines only, of course, since Vertuo uses automatic pod detection, you can’t do the same.

espresso vs lungo vs double espresso
An example ratio of various Espresso drinks using a traditional espresso maker

Is Lungo the Same as Espresso?

Kind of. It all has to do with the brew ratio (how many grams of coffee grounds vs how much water to use to brew the coffee).

Let’s look at this example of brew ratio for espresso and lungo (when using a traditional espresso machine)

If we are using 16 grams of coffee grounds:

  • You can extract 37g for a shot of espresso in about 30 seconds.
  • Or, you can extract 48g of Lungo coffee in about 30 seconds.

Both espresso and lungo, you can use the same amount of coffee grounds, to extract more coffee or less. But how is it done using the same time frame?

This is where grind size comes into play…

For Espresso, you use finer grounds. For Lungo, you’ll slightly adjust to a coarser setting to allow you to expand the extraction time.

Lungo vs. Double Espresso

Although they are both brewed using an espresso machine, lungo and double espresso have some key differences.

Lungo coffee tends to be larger in size than a standard espresso shot, and typically has slightly milder flavor due to the longer extraction time. In contrast, a double-espresso is smaller in size and has slightly more concentrated flavor due to a shorter extraction process.

Double-espresso is basically double the amount of coffee grounds and double the volume of a shot of espresso. While a Lungo will use the same amount of a single-shot espresso, but will produce more coffee. Not double, but around an extra of 10 grams more.

  • Single shot espresso = 7 gram of coffee grounds produces 1 to 1.5 oz of coffee.
  • Double shot of espresso = 14 grams of coffee grounds produces 2 or 2.5 oz of coffee.
  • Lungo = 7 grams of coffee grounds produces 1.7 to 2 oz of coffee.

Lungo vs Ristretto

Lungo is similar to Ristretto in the sense that it’s another type of espresso shot.

They both use the same amount of coffee grounds, but the difference is in how much water you use for each. With Lungo, you use more water to allow for a longer extraction process, resulting in a milder yet fuller-bodied coffee.

A Ristretto, on the other hand, uses less water for a shorter extraction process. The result is a stronger, more concentrated shot of espresso with bolder flavor notes.

  • Ristretto = 7g of coffee grounds > 0.5 oz of coffee.
  • Lungo = 7g of coffee grounds > 2.7 oz or more coffee.

As you would imagine, Ristretto is quite strong and concentrated, even stronger than espresso.

Caffeine Content – Which Has the Highest Caffeine?

While both espresso and lungo may contain similar amounts of caffeine, it’s important to note that there are a lot of factors that can influence the caffeine content in your coffee. This includes things like the type of coffee beans used and how much of it are you using.

If we count in double-espresso, it will win the caffeine debate since it has double the amount of coffee grounds. But between espresso and lungo, both are about the same.

How Does Lungo Coffee Taste?

Some people find that lungo has a milder taste due to the longer brewing process and slightly larger volume size. If you’re someone who prefers a smoother or less bitter flavor, lungo might be a good choice for you. It has less density than a shot of espresso, but it’s not that much different. So you’ll still enjoy a small amount of coffee (about 2 oz in average) that is strong enough, but not as punchy as an espresso shot.

Is Lungo the Same as an Americano?

No, not exactly. An Americano is espresso diluted with hot water. In other words, it’s a larger version of an espresso shot that has been watered down. It’s about 8 oz in size. Lungo coffee, on the other hand, is simply brewed with more water--it still has the same amount of coffee grounds as a regular espresso shot. So although they are both brewed from an espresso machine, they are different in the way that they are prepared and taste.

The Wrap Up…

Lungo, Espresso, Ristretto or Double Espresso – They are all espresso drinks with different coffee to water ratio. Risttretto being the shortest and strongest and Lungo being the mildest and longest. Overall, lungo coffee is a versatile and popular type of espresso that can be enjoyed in many different ways. You can drink it on its own or add milk to it, the choice is yours!