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Lungo Coffee: Discover the Milder Side of Espresso

Espresso drinks have become a staple in the modern-day coffee culture. People find comfort in the rich and robust flavors of a well-prepared espresso.

However, contrary to popular belief, it is not just a simple shot of coffee. Espresso-based drinks come in a variety of styles, each offering unique flavor profiles.

In this article, we will provide an overview of espresso drinks and guide you through one of the lesser-known styles: lungo coffee.

Overview of Espresso Drinks

Espresso is a concentrated shot of coffee, brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans. It is a versatile drink that can be used as the base for a range of popular drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.

In addition to the popular recipes, a well-prepared coffee shop will have a menu that includes a variety of espresso drinks to suit every taste. These include macchiatos, cortados, and flat whites.

While the classic espresso recipe calls for a shot of water to be pushed through a single shot of coffee, other variations alter this recipe to create new flavor profiles and intensities. The addition of milk, cream or water, allows baristas to create milder or sweeter drinks without sacrificing the espresso flavor.

Focus on Lungo Coffee

Lungo coffee is a lesser-known espresso drink, and rightfully so, as it is not typically available on coffee chains menus. The word “Lungo” is Italian for “long,” and refers to the brewing method of this coffee.

When compared to a standard shot of espresso, a lungo shot uses twice as much water and takes nearly twice as long to pull. The result is a milder, more diluted espresso, with a distinct flavor profile.

What is Lungo Coffee? Lungo coffee is made by using approximately two times the volume of water that is used for a standard espresso shot.

This results in a “longer” shot that has a longer extraction time. To put it simply, lungo coffee is a milder version of espresso, but with more volume.

Origin of Lungo

Lungo coffee has been around since the early days of espresso coffee, although it is not as popular as its counterparts. The drink is said to have originated in Italy in the early 1900s, where it was a popular choice for those who found a standard espresso shot too strong.

Lungo was a way to enjoy a milder coffee, while still having the option of enjoying all the benefits of espresso.

Comparison to Standard Shot of Espresso

A standard shot of espresso is served in a small cup and consists of a single shot of coffee brewed by using hot water forced under high pressure through finely ground coffee beans. This brewing method results in a rich and flavorful shot of coffee, which can be used on its own or as a base for other drinks.

Lungo coffee, on the other hand, is extracted using the same method, but with twice the amount of water and a longer extraction time. This results in a different flavor profile, with a more diluted taste compared to the standard espresso shot.

The slow extraction process allows for extraction of some of the different flavor compounds in the coffee, which are not present in a smaller espresso shot.

Taste Profile of Lungo Coffee

The taste of lungo coffee is different from the standard shot of espresso. The taste of the coffee is primarily determined by the way it is prepared and brewed.

When compared to a standard shot, lungo coffee is milder, with a less intense flavor. Because of the longer extraction time, the coffee has more time to extract different flavors, which can contribute to a sweet and subtle flavor.

This makes it an ideal choice for those who enjoy the taste of espresso but find standard shots too strong.

Flavor Compounds

Lungo coffee is brewed using a slightly finer grind than standard espresso, and the extraction time is longer. This means that different flavor compounds are extracted from the coffee beans, which create a different taste profile for the coffee.

These compounds include caramel, chocolate, nutty, and floral notes.


The flavor of lungo coffee is determined by the extraction time. The ideal extraction time for lungo coffee is between 30 and 60 seconds, which is twice as long as for a standard shot of espresso.

This means that lungo coffee requires a lot of water to be pushed through the grounds, which can dilute the taste of the coffee. However, the longer extraction time allows for a more complex and subtle taste that some coffee lovers may enjoy.

Caffeine Content in Lungo Coffee

The caffeine content of lungo coffee varies depending on the coffee beans used, the brewing method, and the cup size. However, broadly speaking, lungo has slightly more caffeine than the standard shot of espresso.

This is because the water is in contact with the coffee beans for a longer period during extraction, resulting in a higher caffeine content in the final product.


Lungo coffee is a popular alternative to the classic shot of espresso, which can be a bit strong for some people. The longer extraction time used to make the coffee allows other flavor compounds to be extracted, resulting in a smoother and milder coffee.

The more subtle taste profile, coupled with the caffeine content, make this a favorite for coffee lovers who want to enjoy an espresso-based drink that is less intense. Next time you are looking to try something new, consider giving lungo coffee a try.

You may be surprised at how much you enjoy it!

In conclusion, espresso drinks have become a beloved staple in coffee culture, but their complexity can often intimidate coffee drinkers. Lungo coffee offers a milder, more diluted espresso option that is perfect for those who find standard shots too strong.

Lungo coffee has a unique flavor profile that is dependent on its longer extraction time and can appeal to those who enjoy more subtle espresso flavor notes. Lungo coffee’s high caffeine content is also an added benefit for those looking for an energy boost.

Ultimately, coffee drinkers should feel empowered to explore the various espresso drink options and find the one that best suits their preferences.

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