Try a lungo

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You have to try this delicious coffee brew…

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Non coffee enthusiasts may not be familiar with the term “lungo”, 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.

Unlike some other brews (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” (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 less strong drink.

Hence a lungo is weaker and slightly more bitter that an espresso. 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.

Before the comments start rolling in, this table only represents my own rough guidance on the difference between the more-familiar espresso and the less “standard” lungo.

Espresso Lungo
Size 30ml (1oz) Around 60ml, often larger
Pull time 30 seconds 60 seconds
Taste Strong and smooth 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 around 120ml of water. Sometimes I allow it to run up to 180ml (around 6oz). Totally delicious as the first shot of the day!

You can tell who’s the Barista

I often request a lungo in coffee shops (because I like a lungo), and it’s surprising how often you see that fleeting moment of uncertainty and doubt in the eyes of someone wearing a shirt boasting the word “Barista”.

So why not give a lungo a try? A real Barista will know what to make…

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.

Are you interested in trying this at home, but maybe don’t have a suitable machine?
You’ll ideally need a machine like these espresso machines sold by Amazon or these espresso machines sold by Currys

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