Skip to Content

Espresso vs Lungo: What’s the Difference?

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes

Do you ever wonder what the difference is between espresso and lungo? It can seem mysterious to the uninitiated, but fear not: this article will answer all your questions about these two quintessential coffee drinks.

In fact, by the end of it, you’ll know exactly why each one tastes different, which type of beans are used for them both, and which type pairs best with various foods.

Plus, prepare yourself as we delve deeper into the world of espresso vs lungo – because believe us when we say that there’s a lot more than meets the eye.

What is Espresso?

Espresso – a coffee world staple. It’s a concentrated, intense form of java.

Pressurized hot water is forced through finely ground beans, resulting in a bold flavor-filled shot.

Rich oils and compounds extracted from the beans give it a velvety texture and strong taste.

On top, you’ll find a crema – a reddish-brown foam.

It adds a smooth mouthfeel and visual appeal.

Pressure, temperature, and brewing time influence the quality of the crema.

Espresso boasts robust flavor and high caffeine content.

Each shot contains around 63 milligrams of caffeine.

Its strength is why it’s enjoyed in small quantities or used as the base for other coffee favorites, like lattes and cappuccinos.

What is Lungo?

Lungo, which comes from Italy, is a bitter and bold flavoured coffee.

It is made by letting a larger amount of water pass through finely ground beans, for a longer time than espresso.

This results in a highly concentrated caffeine content and a strong flavour.

The distinct taste of lungo is intense and bitter.

It’s one of a kind due to its brewing method, which uses more water and takes longer than espresso.

This creates an intense, full-bodied taste from the coffee beans used.

Also, lungo can be enjoyed as a single drink or used as the base for other coffee drinks, such as Americanos or lattes.

It can be customised according to preference, as different brewing times create variations in strength and flavour.

In conclusion, lungo is a popular Italian-style coffee, known for its bold flavour and longer extraction process.

It provides a unique and versatile option for coffee drinkers, with an intense and bitter taste that appeals to those who seek a robust coffee experience.

Differences Between Espresso and Lungo

Espresso and Lungo may seem alike, but they are unique coffee drinks.

Brewing Method

Espresso and lungo are two very different coffees.

Espresso is made by pushing hot water through finely ground coffee, under pressure.

Lungo uses the same process, but more water.

The difference in taste and intensity is huge.

Espresso has a bold flavor and strong aroma.

It’s done by passing a small amount of water through tightly packed coffee grounds, under pressure.

This extracts the rich flavors and oils.

Espresso is used as the base for other coffee drinks, like cappuccinos and lattes.

Lungo is brewed for longer, with more water.

This makes the taste milder than espresso, but with more liquid.

It’s a diluted version of the intense espresso flavor.

People who don’t like strong coffee tend to prefer it.

Both espresso and lungo have unique qualities.

Understanding their brewing methods helps appreciate their subtle differences.

Brewing Time

Brewing time varies between espresso and lungo.

Espresso typically takes 20-30 seconds.

This quick process gives a bold flavor and aroma.

Lungo takes longer, 45-60 seconds.

This lets more water pass through the grounds, making it milder than espresso.

The choice between them is personal preference.

Flavor Profile

Espresso and lungo have very different flavor profiles.

Espresso has a robust and intense flavor, described as bold and concentrated.

On the other hand, lungo has a milder taste with more volume – a smoother experience.

These differences come from the brewing methods used.

Espresso uses finely ground coffee beans with high pressure, while lungo is brewed for longer with coarser grinds.

This creates contrasting flavors to suit different preferences.

Plus, espresso has a strong, rich aroma that captivates the senses.

Its flavor often resembles dark chocolate or burnt caramel notes – a favorite of coffee-lovers who enjoy bold and bittersweet flavors.

Lungo, however, has a smoother flavor with subtle hints of bitterness and acidity.

It still has complexity, but with a lighter body.

Knowing the contrasts between espresso and lungo helps coffee fans choose their brewing method based on their desired taste and experience.

Appreciating these differences makes coffee-drinking more enjoyable.

So, the next time you have your favorite cup of joe, savor the unique flavors that separate them.

Caffeine Content

Caffeine levels in espresso and lungo differ.

Espresso is a powerful shot of coffee made by pushing hot water through finely ground beans.

It usually has about 63 milligrams of caffeine per ounce.

Lungo is a longer pour of espresso that uses more water to get the flavor from the beans.

It has a higher caffeine content, with an average of 77 milligrams per ounce.

These differences in caffeine levels affect the strength of your morning brew.

Similarities Between Espresso and Lungo

Espresso and Lungo, different in taste, have some commonalities.

Both are ways of brewing coffee with hot water and ground beans.

This creates a flavorful drink, beloved by coffee fans around the globe.

The equipment is alike.

An espresso machine or a Nespresso capsule system is needed for each method.

Dedicated machines guarantee the perfect temperature and pressure, producing an aromatic cup of joe.

Also, the size of the serving is similar.

Espresso and Lungo are usually served in small portions to emphasize their intense flavors.

A shot of espresso has a volume of 1 ounce (30 milliliters), while a Lungo has double or triple that amount.

However, this can vary depending on one’s preference and regional customs.

Both require premium beans to get an amazing taste.

The choice of beans is vital to the final flavor.

Whether it’s a dark roast with chocolate hints or a light roast with floral undertones, top-notch beans are essential.

Grinding the beans needs precision too.

To get optimal extraction, the coffee grounds must be fine but not too powdery.

Finding this balance ensures that the water takes out the desirable aromatic compounds without bitterness or over-extraction.

In addition, espresso and Lungo are both concentrated.

They have a lot of caffeine per volume compared to regular drip-brewed coffee.

This makes them perfect for those wanting an energy boost or a strong pick-me-up.

In short, espresso and Lungo, despite their different tastes, have many things in common: specialized equipment, small servings, high-grade beans, precise grinding, and a concentrated caffeine content.

This underlines their status as coffee favorites.

Espresso and Lungo are two kinds of coffee with unique flavors.

Espresso is a concentrated shot of coffee made by forcing hot water through ground coffee beans.

It has a bold flavor and strong aroma.

Lungo is an extended espresso with more hot water used.

This produces more coffee but with a milder flavor.

Espresso is usually served in small cups, while Lungo is often served in larger cups.

The final choice between the two comes down to personal preference.

Understanding these variations lets people find their preferred cup of joe.

How to Serve Espresso and Lungo?

Serving espresso and lungo? Attention to detail is key.

Here’s a three-step guide to make it a breeze.

Step 1: Gather the right equipment.

o You’ll need an espresso machine that lets you adjust water volume.

o Plus, make sure to have quality espresso beans and filtered water.

Step 2: Make the perfect shot.

o Finely grind 7 grams of beans per shot.

o Firmly tamp the grounds into the portafilter.

o Extraction should take 25-30 seconds for espresso, or 40-45 seconds for lungo.

o Double the water for a milder taste.

Step 3: Serve with style.

o Pour the coffee into a preheated cup or glass.

o Add milk or foam for extra indulgence.

o Serve with sparkling water or a snack.

Both espresso and lungo can be enjoyed on their own, or as a base for coffee-based beverages.

It’s all about personal preference.

Remember: Pay attention to each step for an exceptional cup of coffee every time.


Espresso and lungo have an immense similarity but still, there are some notable differences.

Espresso has a higher level of intensity at the brew and takes less time for extraction whereas Lungo has a more mellow flavor with a longer extraction time.

At the end of the day, both of these coffees offer unique flavors and experiences – it all just depends on what your preference is when it comes to coffee.

Overall, both espresso and lungo offer complex flavors that keep your taste buds guessing.

As with any kind of coffee, you should experiment with different brewing methods to find what’s right for you.

We can guarantee it’s going to be an adventure worth taking.

So don’t wait any longer; go ahead and get out there and try both espresso and lungo today.

Who knows – you may just surprise yourself by discovering your new favorite blend.

Espresso vs Lungo: What’s the Difference?

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: This vs That

Prep time


Cooking time


Total time




  • Espresso

  • Lungo


  • Choose between espresso and lungo based on your coffee preference.
  • For espresso, use finely ground coffee beans and extract a 1-ounce shot.
  • For lungo, use the same finely ground beans but extract a longer 3-ounce shot.
  • Brew and enjoy your coffee, savoring the concentrated richness of espresso or the milder flavor of lungo.
  • Experiment with different coffee beans and grind sizes to discover your perfect cup.

About The Author