Lungo vs Espresso: Which Is Better?

Updated: Jun 7

Recognizing the distinctions between varieties of coffee might be frustrating because there are a plethora of names associated with the drink.

While the variations may appear negligible, the difference paves the way for a more personalized experience.

When you’re in a coffee, espresso, lungo, and many others are among the most common drinks.

To discuss the lungo vs espresso comparison in-depth, let’s first identify the characteristics and other facts about these two varieties of coffee.

learn the key differences of lungo vs espresso

What Is Espresso?

Before we discuss in detail about this drink, let’s make it clear that espresso is a brewing process, not a type of coffee bean.

You can make espresso out of any coffee ground, similar to a French press.

This popular drink is produced by forcing hot water through grounded coffee beans to make the coffee.

The result is a rich, powerful of coffee usually used as the foundation for popular café products.

Note that true espresso can be only possible with a machine.

A standard espresso machine should feature 200 degrees Fahrenheit of water temperature, an extraction time of 25 to 30 seconds, and nine bars of pressure.

People typically enjoy a cup at a shop, but enthusiasts may have an espresso machine in their house.

The concentrated shot with a distinct, robust flavor makes the drink a significant part of the morning ritual for many people.

With its strong flavor, many prefer their espresso with water or milk.


Preparation

A regular espresso shot contains ground coffee that amounts to seven to nine grams per ounce.

For brewing, this coffee requires a finer consistency for the beans than others, so a burr grinder is the best machine for the job to achieve the recommended grind level and size.

Besides ground coffee, the quality of your espresso is also dependent on how pure the water is.

Water with distinct smells or mineral deposits will severely impact the taste and aroma of your espresso.


Taste

The espresso flavor might vary based on the quality of the beans used to make it. All shots of espresso, however, have a distinctive taste.

Typically, espresso has a potent flavor that ranges from very strong to somewhat bitter.

A natural sweetness should be present as it is an indication that the extraction is done correctly.

When it comes to the lungo vs espresso comparison, many would prefer the latter because of the wholesome flavor.

To have more idea on how it should taste, the flavor of espresso should be sweet and reminiscent of creamy caramel.

Qualities such as grind size, water temperature, and manner of extraction should be within the recommended levels to produce the correct flavor.

An espresso should never have a hint of a sour flavor.

It was most likely not produced correctly if it tastes too sour or very bitter.


Caffeine Content

With its powerful, rich flavor and concentrated form, most people assume espresso contains more caffeine than other beverages.

However, this is not the case because it contains less caffeine than regular coffee.

A one-ounce espresso shot has about 64mg of caffeine on average.

Many espresso beverages, including lattes and cappuccinos, have at least two shots, which would double the amount of caffeine content.

As a result, the typical caffeine content in these drinks is approximately 128mg.

For adults, consuming a caffeine amount of about 400mg daily is not a healthy practice.

Most would recommend two to three single espresso shots for a day.

lungo vs espresso differences

What Is Lungo?

Lungo is the Italian word for long, which effectively denotes what this drink is compared to a regular espresso.

It is essentially a type of espresso served with more water than a traditional espresso recipe.

Lungo has a more distinctive bitter taste as the shot takes more time to pull and the prolonged duration impacts ground extraction.

With the difference in duration and flavor, this espresso variant is not the same as others.

To elaborate, it generally has a stronger, more bitter flavor than espresso.

It also lacks the intensity of taste due to its lower concentration.


Preparation

While standard espresso shots generally have a volume of one ounce, a lungo shot will have about doubled, from 1.5 to two ounces.

As a result, producing lungo will fill a bigger coffee cup because of the amount of water extracted.

With the difference in volume, it requires approximately one minute to pull due to excess water.

Specifically, a lungo is roughly the size of a double espresso or doppio once poured into a cup.


Taste

As previously stated, the additional amount of water and the length of the extraction period impact the overall taste.

Specifically, the lungo-making process results in pulling more of the richer, more bitter components of the coffee.

The bitter flavor is mainly due to the extended time required to pull the shot.

It allows for the inclusion of bitter content into the drink.

The increased extraction time will also result in a somewhat thinner mouthfeel than a regular espresso.

However, it’s essential to emphasize that a lungo is more than just a half-force coffee shot.

Since brewing necessitates several chemical processes, the taste profile is fundamentally different.


Caffeine Content

Many enthusiasts debate the caffeine content of a lungo.

Some insist that it exceeds the amount of caffeine of a typical espresso shot.

However, the quantity of caffeine you get is mainly dependent on the beans you use.

The extraction time and amount of water used to make the shot have little effect on the presence of caffeine.

Furthermore, both espresso and lungo include an equal volume of soil.

Considering these facts, there isn’t much evidence to support why the lungo has more caffeine content.


Lungo vs Espresso: In Conclusion

Taste, extraction time, and volume, are the primary distinguishing characteristics of espresso and lungo.

While both shared the same place of origin, their flavor and appearance will be different even when prepared with identical coffee beans.

It all boils down to personal preference to determine the better choice for lungo vs espresso.

The differences have allowed more people to have a distinctive coffee experience.

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