lungo

Home coffee activity #3

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Activity #3 : Try a Lungo

During the current Coronavirus stay-at-home periods, we are suggesting “coffee” things you can do. Stay tuned for more suggestions!

For this activity, we look at my favourite coffee brew – the Lungo.

The Lungo

No – this isn’t a trending dance move.

Many think of the term “espresso” to mean “fast” or “short” (although it is probably really derived from the Italian for expressed), the term “lungo” is the Italian word for “long”. You may see a coffee described as a espresso lungo; in essence, a lungo is a lengthened pull of an espresso.

It’s quite simple, really – Unlike other black coffees like an americano (which dilutes an espresso with add hot water) the lungo is created by allowing the hot water to flow through the ground coffee for around twice as long.

An espresso pulled for longer

An espresso is “pulled” or “expressed” (being the process of forcing hot water though the ground coffee) for sufficient time to make a strong, smooth coffee. If pulled for longer, some of the more-bitter solids also start to get dissolved resulting in a more bitter drink. Because the brew also has more water (twice the volume or more), a lungo becomes a slight more bitter and weaker drink (as compared to an espresso). You can (as I do) use a double shot of grind to maintain the strength.

Importantly, the crema is preserved (or at least it should be). They are usually served black, but you should enjoy your coffee as you like.

Espresso Lungo
Size 30ml (1oz) Around 60ml, often larger
Pull time 30 seconds 60 seconds
Taste Strong and smooth Slightly weaker, more bitter

My own lungo preference

An espresso is made from around 7gm of ground coffee. Each morning I enjoy a “double lungo” comprising 14gm of medium grind through which I pull about 120ml of water. Sometimes I allow it to run up to 180ml (around 6oz). Totally delicious as the first shot of the day! And the second…

Not so easy with Pods

I am sad enough to have weighed the coffee in various “Pods”, and found around 5g of coffee to be common. I have an overall positive view of Pods, but 5g of coffee is not enough to pull a Lungo, in my opinion. Personally, I think 7g is needed anyway for an espresso, although 5g pulls an acceptable drink. But pushing through 2X the water volume in 5g of grind produces a drink that is too weak (again, in my opinion).

Some capsule and pod machines, and bean to cup machines, may offer lungo options. But an espresso machine will give you the most control. And they aren’t usually expensive and a little extra faff is worth it.


Making a lungo at home

Some capsule and pod machines, and bean to cup machines, may offer lungo options. But an espresso machine will give you the most control. And they aren’t usually expensive.

Check out these machines from Amazon. See what you like, but sake sure you get the optional “double size” grind holder in case you want to use the higher grind volume (which I would).

Enjoy your first Lungo!

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