Lungos: Overview & Tips To Make A Perfect Cup

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You’ve seen lungos at your coffee shop but didn’t mind to ask what they were or what made them so different.

Even if you indulge in the occasional French press, you might be curious about how an Italian drink could make such a great cup of joe.

The answer comes down to two important factors: water temperature and grind size.

Now that you know, you can go back to enjoying your morning cup of Joe and skipping the sugar and milk.

But, get ready for a deep dive into the waters of lungos.

In this article, I’ll discuss what a lungo is and why it’s so different from other coffee drinks.

I’ll also give you some great tips on how to make your own lungo at home. Let’s get started!

What Is A Lungo?

A lungo is an Italian drink that consists of two-thirds espresso and one-third steamed milk. It’s served in a larger cup than an espresso.

A lungo is more complex than it first appears. It’s made by using a variety drip brewing method that blends hot water with espresso on top of the milk steaming on the bottom.

This drips down into the cup through a filter, which makes an even richer and thicker drink.

How does it make for a great cup of coffee?

The espresso effectively extracts coffee oil from the grinds, drip brewing results in flavors that are less bitter, cleaner, and brighter compared to regular drip methods.

This makes the lungo a more flavorful and complex way to start your day off right.

It’s also not too strong so it won’t get in the way of your morning activities.

Here’s what it looks like:

It’s hard to get the same results from brewing espresso on its own, which is why people often pair espresso with alternative drip methods such as pour-overs or french presses.

But, you can only go so far without losing some of the unique characteristics of your espresso.

In a way, a lungo is a sort of like the middle ground between espresso and drip coffee.

It’s a more complex tasting drink that isn’t as bitter as a pure shot of espresso.

Lungos The Italian Way

The term lungo means “long” and refers to the longer and stronger brew than a traditional regular espresso.

It’s meant to give the drinker a longer-lasting cup of coffee — just like its name.

The time that it takes for an espresso shot to be made also depends on the equipment used.

But, it typically takes around 25-35 seconds for a regular espresso and 45-55 seconds for a lungo.

The amount of water that goes into the shot also depends on your preference.

Some people feel safer with more water, so they order their drink as a lungo. Others like the thinner consistency of the drink, so they get a regular espresso.

You can also get standard lungos with an extra shot of espresso for a little more kick.

It’s not the strongest drink in the world, but it’s strong enough that it won’t be too bad if you keep your mind on other things during that first cup of the day.

What Do Lungos Taste Like?

The Italian way to make a coffee drink certainly doesn’t seem traditional to some people, but it makes for an interestingly complex taste.

The taste is reminiscent of chocolate or hazelnut spread with some caramel or sweetbreads.

At least that’s what one barista says.

It’s not the same as the taste of a drip coffee or pour-over coffee, but it has a unique flavor that shines when you take the time to appreciate it.

It’s also less bitter than regular espresso shots, which makes it a great drink for people who want to focus on the flavors and aromas in their cup.

Making Your Lungos At Home

So, you’re sold on the idea of lungos. Now what?

Well, you’re in luck. A lot of people like making lungos at home because they tend to be more customizable than most drip coffee makers or French presses.

You can change the amount of espresso you want, the temperature of your water, and the size.

And if you don’t have any equipment to make a lungo with, there are plenty of ways to fake it until you make it.

Here’s the best way to customize your own at home:

Pick Your Beans And Equipment

Because quality matters when it comes to creating great-tasting coffee, you’ll want to pick high-quality beans with a robust flavor profile.

You can also use some equipment that you already have, like a filter or cone dripper.

Grind Your Beans Properly

Grinding your beans for coffee is an essential first step to brewing the perfect cup.

It allows you to brew your coffee more finely so it’s not too strong, mellow, or bitter on its own.

Think of it as the first step in creating the perfect combination of flavors and aromas for your liking.

Adjust Your Grind Size Depending on Your Equipment and Water Temperature

The size of grinds of beans will vary depending on the equipment that you’re using.

The grind size should make a difference in the strength of your drink.

The smaller the grind size, the more concentrated and bitter your drink will be.

The larger it is, the less concentrated and mellower your drink will be.

However, you should consider your equipment as well as the temperature of your water when choosing your grind size.

For example, if you’re using a small amount of water and drip equipment, you’ll want to use coarser grinds so they can filter through without clogging up.

On the other hand, if you’re using a large amount of water and steam equipment, use finer grinds so there’s less sediment in each sip.

Getting Your Temperature Right Is Key

While the strength of your coffee will affect your grind, don’t forget about the temperature.

The hotter your water is, the less concentrated your coffee will be.

On the other hand, if you use cooler water, it’ll be stronger.

So, consider what you want out of each cup before you measure out your beans.

For example, if you want something more concentrated and strong than usual, don’t let the water get too hot before putting it into drip or steam equipment.

If you want something that’s not as strong but still flavorful, go ahead and let that water get hot first before adding it to your beans.

You Can Make It the Way You Want It

The last thing to remember when making a lungo is that you can make it in the way that you want it.

There’s no right way to do it and there’s no wrong way.

If you’re in a rush and just want something that’ll get the job done, then go for a regular espresso shot.

If you’re looking for something with a little more kick or thinking about your long day ahead, get a double shot of espresso with warm water instead of hot water.

Consistency Is Key

If you want somewhere in between, try getting an extra shot on top of an already regular espresso instead of taking 2 shots at once.

It’ll make the session go by faster and make your taste buds happier at the same time.

Taste and strength aside, consistency is the most important part of making a good lungo.

Make sure you know how much water you’re going to use before you start brewing your grounds.

That way you will have a better idea of how long it’ll take for your drink to come out right.

If it’s your first time, just try to get as close as possible without going overboard.

A little too much water can ruin a great coffee drink.

So be patient and have fun experimenting with different recipes.

You may even discover something that will become a staple in your home or office whenever you feel like having a cup of coffee.

How To Make Lungos At Home

What You’ll Need:

  • A coffee maker
  • Coffee grounds
  • Water

Instructions:

  1. ​Turn on your espresso machine and start heating up your water first before you do anything else.
  2. Once your water is up to temperature, start grinding your beans. Don’t use too much pressure, but make sure you grind them enough to make the initial brewing process. The further down your grind size goes, the stronger you’ll need to make your shot.
  3. After you’re done grinding, place around 10g – 20g of finely ground coffee in your coffee filter.
  4. Now, go ahead and start brewing your coffee. The amount of time you brew it will depend on how strong you want it to be. I recommend around 40-45 seconds to yield.
  5. For a perfect lungo, I like to extract around 120ml of water from the coffee to get the right consistency, aroma and taste.
  6. Enjoy your lungo!

Yes, you can. Just like with all the other coffee and espresso drinks out there, you can mix milk into your lungos.

There’s no right or wrong way to do it.

Just make sure to continue to follow all the previous steps if you decide to add it in after step 4.

Lungo vs Coffee

Lungo and coffee, or Americano and espresso, maybe two different drinks, but they both have their own unique features that make them the best of their kind.

While lungo with milk is a type of milk drink similar to a latte, it also has unique features like an extra shot of espresso.

The bottom line is that both drinks provide you with a strong taste all thanks to the coffee alone.

If you’re looking for something different in your home or office, then it only makes sense to try out both since they’re equally excellent in terms of taste.

All you have to do is find out what makes them special, and then mix and match to make something that’s good enough to serve at a cafe!

Lungo vs Double Espresso

If you’re looking for something that’s even stronger than lungo, then you should think about getting a double espresso instead.

The good thing about both of these drinks is that they’re pretty much completely customizable to your liking.

At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with getting something that’s already made for you.

Just head on over to your local coffee shop and order up whatever they have available to serve you the way you want it.

Remember, the point of ordering at a café is to enjoy your drink without having to worry about making it yourself!

Final Thoughts on Lungos

A lungo is the most common coffee drink made in various ways using different machines.

It’s easy to make, and there are plenty of variations that you can do to make it your own.

A lungo is the most common coffee drink made in various ways using different machines.

It’s easy to make, and there are plenty of variations that you can do to make it your own.

So, ready for your future lungos?

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