Americano VS Lungo

by orcoffeeroasterscharlene

Americano VS Lungo

Not so long ago people here started to go to Italy where they drank that good espresso under the sun with the hot Italian boy or girl next to them and we got hooked, not on the boy or the girl, but on the ‘coffee feeling’. We wanted to take that feeling back home, to experience the same in our living room. What we did was we transformed the traditional filter coffee into ‘caffe lungo’. We wanted to have the same look as a small espresso (with the crema on top) but bigger. People started to buy expensive gear to make a wrong coffee. Yes you heard me a ‘wrong coffee’. Why do I call this a wrong coffee? Not because I don’t like it (that is also true), but because of the extraction.


What is extraction? Extraction in chemistry is a separation process consisting in the separation of a substance from a matrix. It may refer to Liquid-liquid extraction, and Solid phase extraction. What happens when we make a caffè lungo, we extract to much out of the coffee substance. Proper brewing of coffee requires using the quantity of coffee, ground precisely, extracted to the correct degree, controlled by the correct time and correct temperature. So extraction also known as  “solubles yield” – what percentage (by weight) of the grounds are dissolved in the water.

A normal espresso takes from 25 up to 30 seconds to pull, and fills 25 to 30 milliliters, while a lungo may take up to a minute to pull, and might fill 150 milliliters.

A caffè lungo should not be mistaken for a caffè americano, which is an espresso with hot water added to it, or a long black, which is hot water with espresso added to it (inverse order to Americano). In the lungo, all the water is brewed, and the lungo is generally shorter than an Americano or a long black.

Most commonly, an Americano is used when one wishes a brew-coffee sized drink from an espresso bar.

Americanos are also used within espresso preparation for single origin coffees. Where many find that undiluted espresso shots can prove overpowering. This is particularly used for lighter roasts not generally associated with espresso, such as beans of Ethiopia.

The crema on top of an americano is practically gone. You could call it a negative thing, but I believe that the taste is more important than the look of it.


A lungo is less strong, but more bitter, because the additional hot water passing through the ground coffee extracts components that would normally remain undissolved. The more water is passed through the coffee grounds, the more bitter and watery the shot tastes.

When you make a coffee in general first thing that comes out of the machine is sourness followed by sweetness and at the end you get the bitterness. You need these three compounds to get a balanced cup of coffee. The only thing the barista needs to find is good recipe for every coffee. When the coffee runs to long,  you add a lot of bitterness to the coffee and that is the crema. Have you ever tasted the crema on its own? Well next time you drink a coffee, take your spoon and scoop of the crema. What you will taste is pure bitterness. That is why an espresso should always be stirred first. To mix the three compounds in your beverage to get a balanced cup of coffee.

That is why we at OR coffee use americano instead of lungo.

If you have more questions on this subject, you can always ask a barista.

 Great Origins.Perfect Roast.Outstanding Coffee