What is lungo coffee?
What is lungo coffee?
Every coffee lover has heard of espresso, but lungo? This one is less in the spotlight. We mention espresso because lungo is in fact a variant of the popular drink, but it has some notable distinctions that we’re going to cover in this article so you can decide whether you want to give it a try for yourself and possibly even make a switch in your daily brew. First, let’s get into exploring what exactlylungo coffee is and where it comes from.
How to make lungo coffee
Lungo is an interesting name with a basic origin in that it means “long” in Italian. The name references two important parts of this coffee, what it looks like compared to its espresso parent and how much time it takes to pull the lever when preparing the coffee.
A normal espresso shot takes around 18 to 30 seconds to pull on an espresso machine whilst lungo takes more than double that time at typically 1 minute. This is because it uses more water which means it is not as concentrated and the overall taste is less powerful than a typical espresso, but more bitter due to the longer extraction time. Also, the extra water means the crema layer won’t be as thick and when it is poured into a cup the end result resembles the size of a double espresso shot. Nespresso has put lungo coffee on the map thanks to it featuring a lungo option on its machines.
The best ways to enjoy lungo coffee
Like espresso, lungo is at its best when it consumed for a quick caffeine rush or to add an extra kick of flavour to more delicate roasts. It is best to avoid using lungo coffee in milk-heavy coffee drinks like lattes or flat whites because the extra water will detract from the creaminess of these classic beverages. However, when it comes to drinks like Americanos and black coffees, using lungo instead of espresso can be beneficial as you will get more of the caffeine hit and a stronger coffee flavour.
How does lungo compare to other espresso variations?
Given that they are allespresso blend coffee, there are many similarities between lungo, espresso, and ristretto, another not very well-known coffee type. However, you can always tell the difference between them, in their flavour profile and consistency.
This is largely because of two important changes during the brewing process: how much water is used and extraction time. Lungo uses the most water out of all three of these coffees and as a result is on the more extracted side, which is where its bitterness comes from.
On the other end of the scale, ristretto uses the least amount of water and walks the line of being under extracted. This means that a lot of the flavours of the coffee are unable to reach their full potential.
Lastly, if we look at espresso, it is the middle ground between lungo and ristretto, which could explain why it is the most popular. With the right balance of water and extraction time the various notes and unique tastes of the coffee can come through.
Making a lungo coffee
Lungo coffee is prepared in a similar way to an espresso, the only tools you need are a grinder and espresso machine.
Grind the coffee beans
No matter what type of beans you’re using, you will want to make sure that when grinding them, the result is coarser than you would usually grind for an espresso. This will slow down extraction and ultimately take the edge off the bitterness.
Add to the portafilter
Settle the grounds by lightly tapping the filter, check they are spread evenly, tamp the portafilter and put it into your espresso machine.
Pull the shot and enjoy
When you have positioned your cup underneath, start using the lever to pull the lungo shot. Keep pulling for around 40 seconds, after that time the flavour will be well extracted. You can experiment with the timings depending on the tastes you want from your lungo coffee.
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