There are a number of different types of espresso drinks that you can get and figuring out the differences between them can be a challenge.
This post will show you the difference between long and short espresso, how they are made and what impacts their taste.
So, what is the difference between long and short espresso? A long espresso (lungo) is an espresso that is made with more water than usual. This dilutes its taste and makes it less rich, dense and bitter. A short espresso (ristretto) is made using less water than usual. This gives it a denser, richer and more bitter taste.
The way that the long or short espresso is made will have a big impact on the way that it tastes and there are actually a number of things that will have an impact on the taste.
Difference between long and short espresso
Below, I will mention a number of differences between long and short espresso, how they are made, drinks that are similar to them and what impacts their taste.
A short espresso, also known as ristretto, is an espresso that is made with half the amount of water.
This gives the ristretto a very dense, rich and bitter taste. Some people consider ristretto as being the only true form of espresso but many people consider it as being too strong for their taste.
To make a ristretto you just make an espresso the normal way but with half the amount of water.
There are a number of ways to make espresso but two of the main ways are to either use a traditional espresso machine or to use a pod machine.
To make espresso with a traditional espresso machine you must get the coffee beans, grind them, put them into a container called a portafilter, put the portafilter into the machine and then to turn the machine on.
In order to make truly authentic espresso it will be necessary to use an espresso machine. Another advantage of using and espresso machine to make the espresso is that it gives you full control over all of the variables that go into making the espresso. This means that you should be able to adjust the variables until you can make it how you like it.
However, espresso machines require the most maintenance on your part, they require you to do the most amount of work in actually making the espresso and there can be a steep learning curve to using them.
The espresso machine that I would recommend the most is this one on Amazon. This is mainly because it is reliable and it also allows you to make coffee so you won’t need to get two different machines.
With pod machines, it is just necessary for you to put the pod and water into the machine and then to press a button on the machine and it will do the rest for you.
This is ideal since it requires little effort on your part and the espresso will come out consistently tasting the way that you expect it to. It is also possible for you to get pods that come with ristretto and lungo flavors so it will require even less work on your part to make either of them.
A disadvantage of pod machines is that you don’t have much control over the way that the espresso will come out. However, there are usually a number of different flavors for you to choose from so it shouldn’t be an issue.
The espresso machine that I would recommend the most would be the Nespresso VertuoPlus on Amazon. This is mainly because it allows you to make five different types of coffee including long espresso.
What impacts the way that the ristretto tastes
The things that will impact the taste of the short espresso will be the same things that impact the way that a normal espresso tastes.
The origin of the beans will have an impact on the taste. If the beans are from a single origin then it will normally cause the espresso to have a more pronounced taste that can often be sour. Whereas, if the beans are from a number of different origins it will normally give them a more balanced taste.
The type of roast that the beans have will also be a factor to consider. If the beans have a light roast then it will normally cause the espresso to taste slightly sourer. Whereas, if they have a dark roast then it will cause it to taste more bitter.
Whether or not the beans are Arabica or Robusta will also be a factor. Arabica beans will normally cause the espresso to taste sourer and Robusta will normally have a more bitter taste. A blend of the two is often recommended.
The type of grind used to make the espresso will also be a large factor in the way that it tastes. If the grind is very fine then it will mean that it will take the water a long time to pass through the coffee causing it to mix with the coffee a lot more in the portafilter. This will cause it to have a more bitter taste. The opposite is true for when a more coarse grind is used that is less fine.
Questions that people also ask about short espresso
Is ristretto (short espresso) stronger than espresso? Yes, ristretto is stronger than normal espresso. This is because it is an espresso that has been made with the same amount of coffee but half the amount of water. This means that ristretto will have a more rich, sweet and bitter taste than normal espresso.
Does ristretto have more caffeine? Per gram ristretto will have more caffeine. However, ristretto has a smaller serving size than normal espresso so the total amount of caffeine will likely be marginally lower than a normal espresso.
Is ristretto decaf? No, espresso is not decaf. This is because ristretto is made by mixing pressurized water with finely ground coffee. However, there are decaf ristretto pod flavors that you can buy.
Long espresso, also known as Lungo or a tall espresso, is where the espresso is made using more water than usual.
This gives the espresso a less sweet, rich and bitter taste than a normal espresso and much less sweet, rich and bitter than a short espresso.
Long espresso is best suited to people who want to try espresso but don’t like drinks with a strong taste and those who like espresso but find it to be a bit too strong.
Another drink that is slightly similar to the Lungo is the Americano.
An Americano is where hot water is added to espresso. Even though both lungo and Americano are both basically espresso’s with more water they have a very different taste. This is because lungo will normally have less water than Americano making it taste stronger.
What impacts the way that lungo tastes
The things that impact the way that the long espresso tastes will be the same things that impact the way that an espresso tastes mentioned above.
Questions that people also ask about lungo
What is the difference compared to a double espresso (doppio)? A lungo is an espresso that has been made with the same amount of coffee grind as normal but with more water. Whereas, a double espresso is made with more water and more coffee grind. A lungo tastes weaker than a double espresso.
Is lungo (long espresso) stronger than espresso? No, lungo is weaker than espresso. This is because a lungo is an espresso that has been made with more water but the same amount of coffee grind.
Does lungo have milk? No, lungo doesn’t have milk it is made with water. If milk is added it would make it either a latte or a cappuccino.
Does lungo have caffeine? Yes, lungo has caffeine this is because it is made by forcing pressurized water through finely ground coffee. There are pods that are decaf with a lungo flavor that you can buy if you want decaf.
Is a long espresso the same as a long black? A long espresso is an espresso made with more water. A long black is where espresso is added to hot water. Long black will have more water so it will be less strong than long espresso.