What is a Long Shot of Espresso?

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Consumed widely throughout various parts of the globe, coffee is a popular drink of choice. The preparation procedure for coffee also differs greatly across different regions. This article elaborates on one such variant- the long shot of espresso.

The long shot of espresso is a staple Italian concoction that is also known as a short black. It is a simple variation of the regular espresso shot and is also prepared using the standard espresso machine.

What is an espresso?

Before answering the question- “what is a long shot of espresso?”, let us first know more about espresso.

An espresso is a method of preparation of coffee using ground beans. The finely ground coffee beans are packed into a “portafilter” of an espresso machine and then hot water at high pressure is passed through the beans to extract concentrated coffee. The regular espresso shot has an intense and bold flavor that is not bitter in taste. It is usually about 1 oz (30 ml) in volume.

What is a Long Shot of Espresso?

The long shot of espresso or the lungo is an Italian process of preparing coffee using an espresso machine. In this process the amount of water used to extract the coffee from the ground beans is increased to get a shot that is larger in volume, hence the name lungo ( Italian for long).

For extracting a long shot, typically the amount of water utilized is double than that used for a regular espresso shot. The usage of extra water results in a coffee that has more caffeine with the distinct “darker” notes in the taste. The longer extraction also dissolves the higher notes of the coffee, resulting in a more bitter taste than the usual espresso shot. A long shot of espresso is about 1.5 oz (45 ml) in volume.

In French, a long shot of espresso is referred to as cafe allonge.

Extraction of a Long Shot of Espresso

To get a long shot of espresso, a common practice is to use a coarser grind of coffee beans than what is used for a regular espresso shot. This is because a coarser texture allows the hot water to pass through it with ease, resulting in a full-bodied and flavorful extraction of coffee concentrate. The extraction time also depends on the kind of coffee grounds that are being used for preparing the long shot.

Usually, a long shot of espresso is prepared with an extraction time of about a minute to yield 1.5 oz (45 ml) of concentrate. The optimum pressure in the espresso machine for preparing this ranges from 9 to 12 bars.

The Flavor of a Long Shot of Espresso

As mentioned, the long shot uses more water for preparation and hence is more diluted than a regular espresso shot. This gives it a less strong taste. However, because the coffee brews for a longer time, the resulting taste is a bit more bitter than an espresso shot. Moreover, the longer extraction time also results in the dissolving of the higher notes, which otherwise are not brewed in the regular espresso shot. This makes the long shot of espresso have a rich and deep taste, unlike other brews.

An interesting point to note in this regard is the fact that doubling the amount of water and the extraction time does not simply produce a coffee that is half in strength than a regular espresso shot. Rather, the dissolving of the complex higher notes with more time results in a concoction that has a very distinctive and complex flavor and aroma.


Coffee in itself is a drink that can be savored in so many different ways. On one hand, there is the pure concentrated espresso and its variants while on the other one can have the elaborate concoctions made by mixing coffee with ingredients like cream, flavored syrups, and ice cream. In each of these forms, it is no doubt an enjoyable drink.

If you are looking for something to give you the caffeine kick and like simple things in life, then the best choice is to go for a pure espresso shot. However, if something so concentrated does not satisfy your palate and yet you want a simple coffee to drink, then your best bet is the long shot of espresso or as known in Italian, the lungo.