It is easy to get lost in terminology if you are new to the world of coffee because it’s quite a lot for sure. Even if we were to just name the different types of popular coffees served in specialty cafes, the list would have to include cappuccino, latte, lungo, espresso, macchiato, affogato, mocha, Frappuccino, and mazagran to name only a few!
Despite the complexity, the differences between the various coffee types are often minimal and subtle. An excellent example of this would have to be the differences that separate espresso from lungo coffee. Although they are similar, lungo and espresso are not the same. To better explain those differences, let’s get started by defining the two first.
What is an Espresso Shot?
Before any confusion ensues regarding the difference between an espresso shot and espresso in general, let us assure you that they are one and the same thing. Espresso shots are prepared via almost the same process as lungo coffee, with only a few key differences separating them. Before we get to the differences, let us clarify the core process shared by both espresso and lungo.
Espresso and lungo coffee are both made by forcing hot water through coffee beans/grounds at high pressure. The water must be allowed to percolate for a specific amount of time before extraction. A lot depends on how much water is used for the process, as well as the amount of time the hot water is allowed to percolate for. In fact, those two differences are what separates lungo from espresso during the brewing process. Espressos take about half the time and water to be brewed, as compared to lungo coffee.
What is Lungo Coffee?
Lungo means long in Italian, so lungo coffee can be literally translated to long coffee. However, length in this case has very little to do with the actual size of Lungo coffee, and more to do with how long it takes to brew it. As the amount of water required to properly brew a batch of lungo coffee is significantly more than it would take to brew espresso, brewing lungo takes longer.
This longer extraction method for lungo is also described by expert baristas as the long-pull process which is also the main difference between lungo coffee and espresso shots. Brewing lungo takes roughly double the time and water, as compared to espresso shots.
What is a Gran Lungo?
Now we are getting into very specific categories as you will only find the term gran lungo if you are using an espresso lungo Nespresso machine. Don’t be confused by the term because an espresso lungo Nespresso machine is just about any Nespresso espresso coffee machine that’s also equipped to brew lungo coffee.
As far as gran lungo is concerned though, the difference is only in the size of lungo coffee servings. Check out the difference as detailed next to get a perfect understanding of what that difference in size means:
- Regular Nespresso Lungo size oz – 3 fluid ounces
- Gran Nespresso Lungo size oz – 5 fluid ounces
If you need to know the size in milliliters instead because Nespresso Lungo cups are usually measured in ml, we have you covered next:
- Regular Lungo ml cup size – 88.7 milliliters
- Gran Lungo ml cup size – 148 milliliters
Lungo vs Espresso: Key Differences
By now, you should have a proper idea regarding the differences, although a few of them have still not been mentioned. They might be similar in many ways, but subtle variations which are there in their brewing process make a big difference to the end product in both instances.
Lungo vs Espresso: Slow vs Quick Extraction
First and foremost, the difference is in the time it takes to brew each type of coffee. Pulling a shot of espresso takes only 20-30 seconds, while lungo coffee shots are pulled over a period of 40-60 seconds. This makes much more of a difference in the flavor, but we will get to that later.
Lungo vs Espresso: More vs Less Water
Secondly, the amount of water needed to prepare espresso is roughly half the amount you would need to make lungo. For example, a regular lungo coffee size cup (3oz) would require at least 60ml (2 oz) of water, while a cup of espresso is prepared with just 30ml (1 oz) of water. Now, if we are discussing Nespresso gran Lungo size servings, then we will need about 100ml (2.4 oz) of water to brew a gran lungo.
Lungo Vs Espresso: More vs Less Caffeine
Now, this question is a bit more complicated than it initially seems. Technically, lungo caffeine content should be higher than espresso shots and that is also practically correct. Since hot water is percolated over a bed of coffee beans for double the amount of time, lungo caffeine content is indeed higher. Although it can differ, there will be about 80mg of caffeine in an average cup of lungo coffee. Espressos, on the other hand, have only 60mg of caffeine in each standard cup. However, the taste, strength, and effects from lungo and espresso shots do not exactly match expectations as indicated by the much higher lungo caffeine content.
Lungo Vs Espresso: Weaker vs Stronger Coffee?
Surprising as it may seem, espresso shots feel and taste stronger than their much larger counterparts. Despite having more coffee and caffeine in it, Lungo actually has a comparatively milder taste and seemingly weaker strength than espresso shots. This is also what has made lungo more popular in recent times. Lungo coffee may taste better and richer than espresso, as it weakens the caffein’s initial strength to a small degree, while preserving the aroma and flavor. However, lungo coffee will keep your energy flowing at a steadier rate and for a longer period than espresso shots.
Figuratively speaking, espresso shots are the sprinters of the coffee world, providing us with a burst of explosive energy and alertness for a short time. Lungo coffee, on the other hand, is the marathon runner that acts as a steady and long-lasting energy source to help us stay active for a much longer period on a workday.
If you are wondering what makes this difference, despite lungo having more caffeine in per shot, the answer is concentration. The fact is that 60mg of caffeine brewed in just 30ml of water creates a highly concentrated caffeinated beverage. In comparison, 80mg of caffeine brewed in 60ml of water is nowhere near as concentrated. That does not change the fact that we are still consuming 80mg of caffeine with every cup of lungo, so it will still keep us active and alert, but without the hard hit which can cause the infamous caffeine jitters in some of us. In other words, it is the significant espresso Lungo oz difference (2 oz vs 3 – 5 oz) that makes one so different from the other in taste, potency, and effect.
How Many Coffee Shots Can You Get from One Nespresso Capsule?
Although there might be Nespresso two shots one capsule combos available from third-party manufacturers, Nespresso does not manufacture them. Every official espresso and Lungo Nespresso capsule will only contain enough coffee in it for a single shot. Consequently, we can only brew a single serving of the desired coffee from a single capsule. However, if you do not mind your coffee at half strength, you can technically turn any Nespresso pod into your own Nespresso two shots one capsule variant!
That being said, other manufacturers are known to sell Nespresso two shots one capsule products which are often more economically viable to a lungo café in addition to being more ecofriendly. Also, the possibility of combining multiple flavors in one capsule really does open up when two shot combos are made possible. Just be sure to check that the third-party Nespresso two shots one capsule you are buying is compatible with the model of espresso Lungo Nespresso machine that you have at home. Look for the individual size compatibility as well because they differ a lot.
Lungo vs Espresso Pods
There is not much to state about the lungo vs espresso pods debate because they are properly marked and come with instructions for brewing the respective type of coffee. If you know how to make espresso on your machine, you already know how to make Lungo Nespresso on that same machine as well. The only big differences are in time and quantity. Add double the water and percolate the beans for twice as long to brew a perfect cup of lungo on your first try.
However, there are a few points that you should keep in mind while choosing.
- Lungo Nespresso pods will be bigger, so make sure that your Nespresso espresso machine is equipped to use them.
- Gran Lungo pods will be even bigger and not all Nespresso machines have the capacity to be used with those.
- Older Nespresso coffee machines may not be compatible with lungo coffee pods at all.
What is a Nespresso Lungo Americano?
The Nespresso lungo americano is a cup of espresso that surpasses even the gran lungo in its sheer volume! You will need a Nespresso lungo americano capsule, 125ml of water, and of course, a Nespresso espresso machine which is compatible with the Nespresso lungo americano pod. The process remains the same, but the effect is going to be very strong and last much longer. For those that like their coffee strong and work long hours, the Nespresso Lungo Americano is the one-shot answer!
Finally, now that we have successfully ended the whole espresso Lungo confusion, you should be able to choose the right type of coffee for every occasion. You can convert your espresso café into an espresso and lungo café in no time at all. Just make sure that you have one or more machines which can handle the various types and sizes that the Nespresso Lungo and espresso coffee capsules come in.