Lungo is the name for an espresso beverage made by prolonging the extraction time, compared to the normale, which is the standard extraction for espresso. Lungo is the Italian word for long. A normale takes approximately 25 to 30 seconds to pull, while a lungo can go anywhere from 30 to 50 seconds. The volume of a lungo is about the double of a normale. A solo normale contains about 1 oz. of beverage, while a lungo normale is just shy of 2 oz.
We can also pull doppio lungo, or triplo lungo, with the beverage volume adjusted accordingly.
In contrast to the americano, the lungo is prepared by running a shot through an espresso machine for a longer period of time. The water in a lungo is all brewed. Espresso is not added to hot water, as with an americano.
The lungo also differs from the caffè crema, which is prepared using the same brewing process, because a lungo is a shorter drink than the caffè crema. The lungo is about half as long as the caffè crema, and is generally between 130 and 170 millilitres.
A successful lungo is achieved by adjusting the standard espresso settings in a grinder and coffee machine by changing the grind, increasing the volume of water in the brew process etc. The lungo will take roughly a minute to brew, in comparison to an espresso which is generally brewed between 20 and 30 seconds.
These days, the lungo has been popularized by Nespresso, who offer an espresso shot or a lungo as their two brewing options in a standard Nespresso capsule machine.
The lungo has a less strong, more bitter flavor profile to the espresso, due to the coffee being watered down more and being in contact with the water for longer during the brewing process.