A regular shot of espresso is roughly equivalent to 1 ounce of water passed through 7 grams of ground coffee. This is what is served standard in most coffee shops when you order a single shot of espresso.
A long shot of espresso passes more water through the same grounds. Typically, a long shot uses half again to twice as much water as a regular shot, or 0.5 to 1 ounce of additional water. So –
Since a long shot uses half again to twice as much water, it takes half again to twice as much time to brew – typically 30 to 40 seconds compared to a regular espresso shot’s 20-second brew time.
Lungo Espresso or Café Allongé
Like most of the staples seen in coffee shops around the world, the long shot comes from Italy’s coffee culture.
In Italy, the long shot is known as the lungo, which literally translates as “long” in English.
In France and other French-speaking regions, the long shot is known as café allongé, which literally translates as “to elongate” or “to draw out” in English.
Generally, ordering an allongé in France will get you a longer shot than ordering a lungo or a long shot anywhere else in the world.
Though there is no definitive number scale, you can assume ordering a lungo or long shot at a coffee shop will get you a shot closer to that 1.5 ounce-to-7 gram ratio, while ordering an allongé will get you at least double the amount of water passing through the grounds. Sometimes, even more.
How does a long shot espresso taste?
How a long shot of espresso tastes depends entirely on how well it’s made.
A good long shot tastes much like a regular espresso shot. Only there’s more of it and it might be slightly more bitter. That’s because espresso is a science. The entire point of espresso is to extract a perfect amount of flavor from coffee beans.
Over-extraction, which can easily happen with a long shot, means flavor continues to be pulled from the coffee after the best flavors are already extracted and all that remains is caffeine. Caffeine is super bitter on its own.
Does a long shot have more caffeine?
Yes. As alluded to above, a long shot of espresso extracts more caffeine than a regular shot.
Lungo vs Americano
A lungo (or long shot) espresso and an Americano are often confused due to the similarities between them. Both add additional water to espresso.
The difference is that a long shot pulls more water through the coffee grounds, while an Americano’s water is added after brewing.
An Americano is a standard shot of espresso + hot water.
Since less water is pulled through the grounds, an Americano is typically not as strong as a long shot with water added to it.
However, an Americano typically also tastes less bitter. So, the additional flavor in a lungo may not be particularly desirable.
Long Espresso vs Double Espresso
Both a long shot of espresso and a double shot of espresso gets you more coffee in your drink. However, there is a major difference in how these two shot options are prepared.
While the long shot pulls more water through the same 7 ounces of coffee grounds, a double shot pulls twice as much water through more grounds (at least twice as many grounds, often more).
A double shot is 2 to 2.5 oz of water pulled through 14-20 grams of coffee.
While a long shot extends the brew time of the espresso, a double shot takes about the same amount of time as a regular shot to brew. This makes it stronger without the bitter taste that can come from over-extraction.
Can a long shot of espresso be done well?
While many coffees suffer from an extended extraction time – most espresso blends are roasted with a standard brew time in mind – not all coffees return the same results.
Some roasts have the potential for longer extraction times without a negative impact on flavor.
Like all things coffee, it really is just a matter of taste. So, order one up and see how it strikes your palate.
And if you’re interested in learning more about espresso extraction and how it impacts flavor, check out our article on the lungo’s opposite – the ristretto.