What is a Long Shot of Espresso?

clear shot glass on stainless steel surface

A regular shot of espresso in most coffee shops is roughly equivalent to 1 ounce of water passed through 7 grams of ground coffee.

A long shot of espresso is pulled with more water through the same grounds. Normally, baristas pull about twice as much water through the coffee grounds— 0.5 to 1 ounce of additional water. 

Since it uses twice as much water, a long shot takes twice as much time to brew – usually 30 – 40 seconds than a regular espresso shot’s 20-second brew time.

Lungo espresso or cafe allonge

The long shot comes from Italy’s coffee culture, and In Italy, a long shot is known as Lungo (Italian for “long”). 

In France and other French-speaking regions, the long shot is known as café allongé, which translates as “to draw out” or “to elongate” in English. Usually, when you order an allongé in France will get you a longer shot than when you order lungo or a long shot anywhere else across the globe.

Though there is no standard number scale, you can assume ordering a long shot or lungo 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.

Lungo vs. americano vs. ristretto vs. double espresso

What is the difference?

We have already seen lungo means long in Italian. Hot water is passed through the espresso machine to extract coffee. Though lungo is not as strong as traditional espresso or ristretto, longer pull time can lead to additional compounds been dissolved, resulting in a better flavor.  

Ristretto (Italian for restricted) is a short shot that uses hot water when brewing to get ore concentrated flavor. This results in a smoother and stronger shot of espresso. 

Americano is extracted a bit differently from lungo in that not all hot water is used to extract coffee. Just a small volume is used for extraction. The remaining volume is added afterward as a top-up. In other words, Americano is an espresso that is diluted after and is a good option if you don’t like your coffee too strong.

A double espresso is also different from a long espresso. How? A long shot of espresso is pulled with more water through 7 ounces of coffee ground, while a double shot pulls as much water (2 to 2.5 oz of water) through more grounds (14 – 20 grams of coffee).

Unlike a long shot that extends the espresso’s brew time, a double shot takes about the same amount of time as a regular shot to brew. That makes it stronger without the bitter taste that often results from over-extraction.

How does a long espresso taste?

The taste of a long shot of espresso largely depends on how well it is brewed. A perfect long shot tastes like a regular espresso sho —only it might be slightly bitter. This bitterness is always as a result of over-extracted caffeine. 

Does a long shot have more caffeine?

Yes, it does. A long shot of espresso extracts more caffeine than a regular shot.

How to make a lungo“

When making a lungo, there are two things you need to keep in mind: volume of water and the duration of pull. For example, if a regular espresso uses 30 mL of water, then a lungo must use around 60. And don’t pull it too fast. You have twice as much water, so take twice as much time.

How long can an espresso shot sit?

A shot dies after only 10 seconds of sitting. That is, for the body, crema and heart to blend together into a big dark black or brown bitter mess. If sipping your espresso straight away, it doesn’t matter.

Can a long shot of espresso be done well?

While most coffees suffer from a lengthy extraction time – many espresso blends are roasted with a standard brew time in mind – not all coffees yeild the same results. Some roasts have the potential for longer extraction times without a negative impact on flavor.

And like all things coffee, it is actually just a matter of taste. Therefore, order one up and see how it strikes your palate.

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