Lungo: Overview, Steps to Make It, and How to Order It at Starbucks

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A lungo is an espresso drink made with more water. Take a look at this simple guide on lungo including how to order it at Starbucks and how to make it at home.

Lungo shots in an espresso cup.

What is a Lungo?

  • A lungo is a shot of espresso made with more water. It’s a bigger drink than a regular espresso shot because more water runs through the ground coffee, making it slightly diluted.
  • “Lungo” translates to “long” in Italian, as in pulling a long shot. A short shot is called a ristretto. A regular shot (not long or short), is just called espresso.
  • A lungo shot isn’t as intense as an espresso and it usually has a distinct bitterness at the end of the shot, which comes from the water being allowed to run through the espresso for a longer period of time.
  • Regular espresso shots are usually an ounce, while a lungo shot can be anywhere between 1 ½ ounces to 2 ounces.
  • Lungo is pronounced LUNG-GO.

RELATED: Blonde Espresso, Americano, Flat White, Cortado, Macchiato

Differences Between Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo

Labeled espresso cups with ristretto, espresso, and lungo.

Ristretto, espresso, and lungo shots are made the same way with the same amount of ground coffee. The main difference is the amount of water that’s used to make each drink.

Shot time
A regular espresso shot can take anywhere between 20-30 seconds to brew and a few second shorter for a ristretto. A lungo shot takes a few seconds longer.

Caffeine
Compared to an espresso, ristretto has a little less caffeine and lungo has a little more.

Drink size
Ristretto is the smallest sized drink, at about ½ an ounce. Espresso shots are about an ounce and a lungo shot is the biggest, at 1 ½ ounces to 2 ounces.

Taste
Ristrettos are on the sweeter, lighter side while lungos are darker, with more bitter notes. Espresso is right in the middle with light and dark notes. Some people prefer lungos since they like the additional tasting notes you get with a longer shot.

Lungos at Starbucks

You can order any espresso drink as a lungo at Starbucks. The espresso machines have a button for long shots so that more water goes through, filling the cup with more coffee. You don’t get charged more for ordering a lungo shot instead of an espresso shot.

You can order a lungo shot on its own, or you can replace any of the espresso shots in a drink like Iced Caramel Macchiato with lungo shots.

A lungo shot in a glass cup.

What You’ll Need to Make a Lungo

  • Espresso machine 
    An espresso machine is a must to make authentic lungo, but you can also use a Nespresso which will give you similar results. 
  • Coffee grinder
    This is only if your espresso machine doesn’t come with one.
  • Whole coffee beans
    Get whole coffee beans and grind them just before making the drink for best results. You can use any coffee you like. Just because a coffee is labeled for espresso doesn’t mean it has to be used only in espresso machines.
  • Filtered water
    Always use good quality water to make any coffee drink.
My Espresso Machine Pick

Photo Credit: crateandbarrel.com

Perfectly sized for home use, this espresso machine makes espresso (ristrettos and lungos) for lattes and cappuccinos.
SEE PRICE ON CRATE & BARREL

How to Make Lungo at Home

For full ingredients and instructions, scroll down to the recipe.

  1. Fill and tamp your portafilter with finely ground coffee.
  2. Pull 1-2 shots of lungo.
    Let the water run longer than you would for an espresso.

BARISTA’S TIP: There isn’t a set amount a drink needs to be to be a lungo so the easiest way to pull a lungo shot is to let your espresso shot go a few seconds longer than you normally would. The lungo just needs to be bigger than an espresso shot.

Expert Tips

  • A scale is always recommended, but you can easily eyeball a lungo shot so that there’s more in the cup than a shot of espresso. If you’re used to pulling a shot for 25 seconds, see what happens when you pull that same shot for 30-35 seconds. 
  • If you’re looking for the complexity of espresso but want something to sip on for more than two sips, a lungo shot might be a good middle ground between espresso and and Americano.
  • Add steamed milk to a lungo to make a latte or cappuccino using a lungo shot.

Questions You May Have

Can you get a lungo shot from a Nespresso? 

Yes. Nespresso has a line of capsules that are specifically designed to be pulled as lungo shots.

Is a lungo the same as an Americano? 

Nope. An Americano is espresso, with hot water added after the shot has been pulled. A lungo is a shot of espresso in which water is allowed to run through for longer. A lungo is a smaller drink than an Americano.  

Do you add more coffee to make lungo?

The same amount of coffee is used to make ristretto, espresso, and lungo. The only difference is in how much water runs through the espresso machine to make the drink.

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How to Make a Lungo

Author: Jee Choe
A quick and easy guide to making a lungo shot at home using an espresso machine.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 mins
Total Time 2 mins
Course Drinks
Yield1 serving

INGREDIENTS
 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Remove portafiter from espresso machine and run the water through the grouphead to remove any leftover coffee grounds.
  • Grind and fill dry portafilter with finely ground coffee.
  • Level and tamp filled portafilter. Clean loose ground coffee off the portafilter.
  • Put portafilter into the grouphead and pull lungo shots.
    There should be more water in a lungo shot so pull a longer shot than you would an espresso. The drink should be between 1 ½ – 2 ounces.
  • Place cup under the portafilter.
  • After pulling shots of lungo, remove the portafilter and flush grouphead.

NOTES

  • A scale is always recommended, but you can easily eyeball a lungo shot so that there’s more in the cup than a shot of espresso. If you’re used to pulling a shot for 25 seconds, see what happens when you pull that same shot for 30-35 seconds. 
  • If you’re looking for the complexity of espresso but want something to sip on for more than two sips, a lungo shot might be a good middle ground between espresso and and Americano.
  • Add steamed milk to a lungo to make a latte or cappuccino using a lungo shot.

NUTRITION

Sodium: 4mg | Calcium: 3mg
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