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Thread: Lungo or longblack???

  1. #1
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    Lungo or longblack???

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    Hey guys, can someone please explain to me why when I ask for a long black at cafes, I either get a traditional long black: hot water topped with a shot of espresso, or I get a I presume is a Lungo a little bit more than a double shot. I like them both but a bit confused. TIA

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    Inadequate barista training

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    I did a basic barista course for amusement. I liked it, but lungo wasn't mentioned. Neither was magic for that matter. They're not mainstream drinks.

    Oooooh. You mean you're being given a shot that's just been left to run til the cup's full?
    nice.
    Agree. Inadequate training or lazy baristarising, I'd say.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    My coffee of choice at home is a Lungo, particularly in the morning, totally different drink to a long black, almost impossible to get a barista to make one in a cafe, don't even try any more.

    A long black or Americano is a shot or two, usually topped up with hot water, no crema, hot, thin and lacking body.

    For a Lungo I grind my beans to enable a flow of approx 90 mls in 30 seconds, what I get is 90 mls of quite viscous coffee, full of flavour with a nice layer of crema floating on top.
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    So a cafe would have to adjust their grinder to make a lungo, right?

    on the long black, I was shown to hold the cup up to the spout so the shot pours gently enough onto the hot water to keep the crema. Seems to work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    My coffee of choice at home is a Lungo, particularly in the morning, totally different drink to a long black, almost impossible to get a barista to make one in a cafe, don't even try any more.

    A long black or Americano is a shot or two, usually topped up with hot water, no crema, hot, thin and lacking body.

    For a Lungo I grind my beans to enable a flow of approx 90 mls in 30 seconds, what I get is 90 mls of quite viscous coffee, full of flavour with a nice layer of crema floating on top.
    Don't forget the spoonful of double cream

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    Whatever happened to the Vienna?

    loved em in high school when I had pocket money left over!

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    Quote Originally Posted by shortblackman View Post
    So a cafe would have to adjust their grinder to make a lungo, right?

    on the long black, I was shown to hold the cup up to the spout so the shot pours gently enough onto the hot water to keep the crema. Seems to work.

    Exactly, hence the reluctance to make a Lungo.

    Hear what your saying re the long black, still far too watery for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magnafunk View Post
    Don't forget the spoonful of double cream
    He He, I love a spoon full of double cream on top of a shot, very noice.
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    As a matter of interest, I leave the Mazzer set up to grind for a Lungo, have worked out to grind for approx 30ml shot or a Cappuccino I need to adjust 2 notches finer, seems to work every time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post

    A long black or Americano is a shot or two, usually topped up with hot water, no crema, hot, thin and lacking body.

    .
    The shot ( double is my preference, in a small ACF tulip cup) goes on top of the water, the shot is not topped up with water as you say above. If you top it up the oil is no longer sitting on top. This simple detail makes a remarkable difference to the taste.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrmontboy200 View Post
    The shot ( double is my preference, in a small ACF tulip cup) goes on top of the water, the shot is not topped up with water as you say above. If you top it up the oil is no longer sitting on top. This simple detail makes a remarkable difference to the taste.
    Yep this exactly. Also don't start with boiling water in the cup, aim for 70-80C. You can get this by adding a dash of cold tap water.

    Second tip is when you add the double shot on top, let the streams hit the side of the cup, a bit like pulling a beer. This makes a big difference in terms of maintaining crema.

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    Its doubtful a cafe is going to make either a ristretto or lungo by adjusting the grind, just doesnt make sense in a busy cafe envrionment.

    Traditionally, in Italy the variation is made in the dosing, so if you order a ristretto they would up the dose a little resulting in a slower and shorter shot, equally for a lungo they would decrease the dose slightly, resulting in a faster and longer shot.

    Of course at home we can do anything we like and call it whatever takes our fancy!

    Sadly the worst option is leaving dose and grind the same and just letting the pour run for less or more time to change volume - what I generally see in cafes!
    Last edited by ArnhemR; 1st May 2016 at 11:10 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    A long black or Americano is a shot or two, usually topped up with hot water, no crema, hot, thin and lacking body.
    That sounds like a badly prepared long black to be honest. There are good and bad ways to make them.

    Ideally, use a smallish cup like a 160ml Tulip or so.

    Put the hot water in first. (!Important!)
    Use about 60 - 80 ml of hot water.
    Add a splash of tap water to bring the temp down from boiling (some good cafes that "get" long blacks, have a hot water urn set to 80C for this purpose)
    Pull a double on top. If possible run the stream down the side of the cup rather than straight into the water, or pull the shot into an espresso cup and then add it to the long black by hand. Either way - your aim is to "float" the crema on top.

    Done well, a long black is a nice way to extend a doppio type beverage. With a good, fresh bean, the extra water can release a bit of flavour nuance, a bit like adding water to a barrel strength single malt. It also makes the drink last longer, which is a practical consideration if you are drinking with company.

    Done badly, (i.e. too hot, too big, water added last) it's not much better than a cup of International Roast with boiling water.

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    This article is a good summary.

    The perfect long black

    Mugshot

    Matt Holden


    It is possible that no brew is so misunderstood as the long black.

    In the course of 24 hours recently I had a really great long black and a really-not-so-good long black.

    I have rarely knocked back a coffee, but I didn't drink the really-not-so-good one: it was scalding hot, brimming over the top of the mug and devoid of crema (and flavour).

    It's possible that no brew is so misunderstood as the long black. The crimes against long black drinkers include:

    1. Pushing the button on an espresso machine and letting it extract until the cup looks full enough. Not many baristas do this any more, but they did, once upon a time. The resulting cup will be horribly over-extracted and burnt-tasting, not because it is burnt, but because one of the compounds that is extracted from coffee once you pass 30 seconds of extraction tastes of smoke.

    2. Pulling a double shot and then filling the cup with really hot water from the tap on the espresso machine (or worse, the steam wand). Doing this breaks up the crema and disperses the aromatic compounds trapped in it, so the flavour palette is limited to what you can taste in your mouth - sour, sweet, salty, bitter, umami - without the enhancement of what you can smell: a much greater range (a recent Rockefeller University study put the number of aromas that the human sense of smell can detect at 1 trillion).

    3. Using water from the machine can also leave the long black drinker with a cup of coffee that is too hot. This is what James Kilby from Padre's Brunswick East Project calls the social angle: "Water from the machine can be close to 100C," Kilby says. "So the long black drinker is still waiting for their coffee to cool when everyone else is finished."

    The way to make a good long black is to pour the (not too hot) water first, then add the double shot on top. Some cafes pour from a hot water tap on the espresso machine, and the cup can take some of the heat out of the water. At Padre they pour 100 millilitres of water at 70 degrees from an urn.

    It's easy to tell if a long black has been made properly - it will arrive with some crema (not as dense as a short black because of the bigger surface area), and it will be ready to drink, temperature wise.

    The long black is a great way to enjoy lighter specialty espresso roasts: the extra water lets the flavours open up a bit. You get the fuller mouthfeel of an espresso - and the chance to linger over your brew.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herzog View Post
    This article is a good summary.

    The perfect long black

    Mugshot

    Matt Holden


    It is possible that no brew is so misunderstood as the long black.

    In the course of 24 hours recently I had a really great long black and a really-not-so-good long black.

    I have rarely knocked back a coffee, but I didn't drink the really-not-so-good one: it was scalding hot, brimming over the top of the mug and devoid of crema (and flavour).

    It's possible that no brew is so misunderstood as the long black. The crimes against long black drinkers include:

    1. Pushing the button on an espresso machine and letting it extract until the cup looks full enough. Not many baristas do this any more, but they did, once upon a time. The resulting cup will be horribly over-extracted and burnt-tasting, not because it is burnt, but because one of the compounds that is extracted from coffee once you pass 30 seconds of extraction tastes of smoke.

    2. Pulling a double shot and then filling the cup with really hot water from the tap on the espresso machine (or worse, the steam wand). Doing this breaks up the crema and disperses the aromatic compounds trapped in it, so the flavour palette is limited to what you can taste in your mouth - sour, sweet, salty, bitter, umami - without the enhancement of what you can smell: a much greater range (a recent Rockefeller University study put the number of aromas that the human sense of smell can detect at 1 trillion).

    3. Using water from the machine can also leave the long black drinker with a cup of coffee that is too hot. This is what James Kilby from Padre's Brunswick East Project calls the social angle: "Water from the machine can be close to 100C," Kilby says. "So the long black drinker is still waiting for their coffee to cool when everyone else is finished."

    The way to make a good long black is to pour the (not too hot) water first, then add the double shot on top. Some cafes pour from a hot water tap on the espresso machine, and the cup can take some of the heat out of the water. At Padre they pour 100 millilitres of water at 70 degrees from an urn.

    It's easy to tell if a long black has been made properly - it will arrive with some crema (not as dense as a short black because of the bigger surface area), and it will be ready to drink, temperature wise.

    The long black is a great way to enjoy lighter specialty espresso roasts: the extra water lets the flavours open up a bit. You get the fuller mouthfeel of an espresso - and the chance to linger over your brew.
    Seems the flawed methods you describe have been used by all of the cafe's I have ordered a LB in over the past 30 odd years, cant recall a single instance when the offering was enjoyable, hence my statement,

    As I said previously a LB is not my drink of choice, I find the Lungo far preferable, really is a moot point though, as you say very few cafes in OZ make a long black correctly.

    None that I've ever graced with my presence even bother to offer a Lungo, probably because as someone remarked, it requires a grinder adjustment.

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    @ Yelta - seek no more. A lot of 'tend-ish' cafe which shows off their EK43 for espresso tends to pull lungo nowadays. Of course the catch is instead of one cup, it's now split into two cups and offered/charged as 2x individual 'espresso'. Also, sometimes it has a new name called the coffee shot or EK shot. So if you want your full volume lungo, you might have to double up the tips as well

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Seems the flawed methods you describe have been used by all of the cafe's I have ordered a LB in over the past 30 odd years, cant recall a single instance when the offering was enjoyable, hence my statement,
    I've certainly struck the bad ones. Undrinkably bad in some cases. For example, in country towns it's pretty much guaranteed you'll be given something scalding hot, in a huge mug, devoid of flavour, and with zero crema. At more specialised coffee shops it's probably 50/50 depending on the level of competence or possibly laziness of the barista.

    Ultimately I guess that's why we have our own gear. I'd suggest try the method above at home on your own gear, and compare to the "add boiling water last" method you described earlier. If that was your idea of how long blacks are made, I can see why you don't like them!

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    I prefer a lungo to a long black, but done properly as I described earlier, its still quite a short drink. So occasionally I want a long drink with no milk, in which case its a proper long black. I fill my cup with a mixture of hot water from the Izzo and cold water from the tap to get about 65 deg, then pull a standard double espresso on top of the water.

    Here is one I just prepared on the Pompeii,

    Longblack.jpg

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    I recall reading somewhere that the difference between an Americano and long black is the order in which the shot and water are added - but what that's based on and whether it's accurate is anyone's guess.

    Lately I've noticed cafes serving long blacks as espresso in a cup with a small jug of hot water on the side for the customer to add to taste, which doesn't seem to be the worst method...

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    Quote Originally Posted by herzog View Post
    I've certainly struck the bad ones. Undrinkably bad in some cases. For example, in country towns it's pretty much guaranteed you'll be given something scalding hot, in a huge mug, devoid of flavour, and with zero crema. At more specialised coffee shops it's probably 50/50 depending on the level of competence or possibly laziness of the barista.

    Ultimately I guess that's why we have our own gear. I'd suggest try the method above at home on your own gear, and compare to the "add boiling water last" method you described earlier. If that was your idea of how long blacks are made, I can see why you don't like them!
    Morning Hezog,

    Thanks for your advice.

    Think I've explained my preference and the reason for it pretty well, don't feel the need to elaborate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic_Matt View Post
    I recall reading somewhere that the difference between an Americano and long black is the order in which the shot and water are added - but what that's based on and whether it's accurate is anyone's guess.

    Lately I've noticed cafes serving long blacks as espresso in a cup with a small jug of hot water on the side for the customer to add to taste, which doesn't seem to be the worst method...
    Yep and it is pretty easy to slip the water carefully under the crema like at the start of pouring latte art, thereby preserving the precious if you so desire. Long black or Americano pretty much semantics.
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    The barista at my local cafe puts 50 ml from the machine, into the tulip cup and puts it aside for a few minutes, and then the shot is on top of that, and great coffee.
    a coffee shot on top of 60, or 80 ml of 100 ml water, is hard to know when to stop extracting?
    At home i hve measured the tulip cup and know that 30 ml is at the bottom of the handle, and 60 ml is almost at the top of the handle, so agree with steve82 that you can carefully slip water in at the side of the cup, and keep the crema.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    Long black or Americano pretty much semantics.
    Agreed, but a Lungo is a different drink altogether, and that was the OP's original Q - what's the difference between a Lungo & a Long black (/Americano).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    My coffee of choice at home is a Lungo, particularly in the morning, totally different drink to a long black, almost impossible to get a barista to make one in a cafe, don't even try any more.

    A long black or Americano is a shot or two, usually topped up with hot water, no crema, hot, thin and lacking body.

    For a Lungo I grind my beans to enable a flow of approx 90 mls in 30 seconds, what I get is 90 mls of quite viscous coffee, full of flavour with a nice layer of crema floating on top.

    I like this answer best 😝 will have to try this . thanks
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    Quote Originally Posted by kike10 View Post
    I like this answer best  will have to try this . thanks
    Thanks Kike 10, was startin to feel a little unloved.
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    This has been an interesting read for sure. I used to drink black coffee and nothing else. My preference was for a well made long black, but I quite liked a lungo as well. I had a Gaggia Classic at the time which was a great little machine for making black coffee. My long blacks used to be a double espresso in a tulip cup (carefully extracted) on top of about 60ml of hot water (hot, not boiling, although I was just guessing as I never used a thermometer). This was back when I was a relative coffee Neanderthal and used to add sugar. However the better the coffee the less sugar I used so there was some incentive to get it right. I found it harder to make a good lungo, but enjoyed them when I was successful. Either way, my 'long' black coffees were still relatively small (short).
    To me an Americano was a different drink, not just a variation and I had no interest in ordering one at a cafe except for the couple of times I was in the US and a long black was an option and the espresso/ristretto/doppio/lungos tasted like crap. The whole point of an Americano is to mimic drip filter coffee so it's weaker and often hotter due to more water being added and the water is added on top of the shot to break up that awful crema (haha).
    I agree with most comments that getting a good long black at a cafe was a challenge and getting a lungo was near impossible. I used to be quite specific when ordering to make sure they didn't put too much water in and this helped sometimes. I think poor training, laziness and possibly being busy are the main reasons you receive less than acceptable drinks in cafes at times.

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    Lungo or longblack???

    The choice probably boils down to a preference for a sweeter or more bitter brew.

    A lungo means you continue extracting into the bitter phase, whereas a properly made long black uses a conventional espresso shot, so has the same sweetness characteristics as a traditional doppio, extended with hot water.

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    Lungo = Italian for long(er) black coffee. Long black = English/Aus for long black coffee. Americano = Yank for long (generally scalding and undrinkable) black coffee- derived from Italy trying to accommodate requests for bad, weaker thermonuclear American style coffee.

    There are different methods of producing a longer black drink and given that cafes don't adjust grinders to client preference, double shot over water (which should not be scalding) is generally contemporary Aussie style and that's a good thing. Water over espresso? Bad technique regardless of what you want to call it. Cup 1/2 full of tertiary extraction- also bad.

    If it doesn't suit, you finds somewhere else or you orders mineral water...
    Last edited by TC; 2nd May 2016 at 04:23 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArnhemR View Post
    Agreed, but a Lungo is a different drink altogether, and that was the OP's original Q - what's the difference between a Lungo & a Long black (/Americano).
    True and I will attempt to answer the OP's original question. Warning, anyone who gets knickers in a knot from technical speak, stop reading now.

    As with any coffee beverage it all comes down to actual strength or TDS.

    Assuming the rare case at a cafe that we are starting with a even and balanced extraction, for example 20g dose / 40g yield / over 30 sec which has resulted in a TDS of around 10.5 - 11%. Sweet, full and balanced acidity.

    My take on a long black would be to dilute this 1 : 2 , espresso 40g : water 80g in a 150ml cup. So we now have a drink that is 1/3 its original strength around 3.5 TDS, which can be very tasty and can really open up some more subtle flavours that are not able to be perceived at the higher original strength.

    Now, if someone like Yelta wants a properly extracted lungo requiring a coarser grind and more water, for example this would be around 20g dose / 60g yield / over 30sec resulting in a strength around 6.5 to 7 TDS. There are many places extracting med - light filter style roasts as espresso like this now and when done right it can be very sweet, clean and fruity. If the roast is underdone, it tastes grassy.

    So if you want a lungo strength drink, just order a double espresso with a small jug of hot water and dilute it slightly less than 1:1 espresso : water and you will have the same strength as properly extracted lungo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    True and I will attempt to answer the OP's original question. Warning, anyone who gets knickers in a knot from technical speak, stop reading now.

    As with any coffee beverage it all comes down to actual strength or TDS.

    Assuming the rare case at a cafe that we are starting with a even and balanced extraction, for example 20g dose / 40g yield / over 30 sec which has resulted in a TDS of around 10.5 - 11%. Sweet, full and balanced acidity.

    My take on a long black would be to dilute this 1 : 2 , espresso 40g : water 80g in a 150ml cup. So we now have a drink that is 1/3 its original strength around 3.5 TDS, which can be very tasty and can really open up some more subtle flavours that are not able to be perceived at the higher original strength.

    Now, if someone like Yelta wants a properly extracted lungo requiring a coarser grind and more water, for example this would be around 20g dose / 60g yield / over 30sec resulting in a strength around 6.5 to 7 TDS. There are many places extracting med - light filter style roasts as espresso like this now and when done right it can be very sweet, clean and fruity. If the roast is underdone, it tastes grassy.

    So if you want a lungo strength drink, just order a double espresso with a small jug of hot water and dilute it slightly less than 1:1 espresso : water and you will have the same strength as properly extracted lungo.
    Great post Steve, looks to me like you've pretty well nailed it.

    No knickers in a twist here, all makes perfect sense.

    Like your suggestion re double espresso and jug of water, will try when next out and about, see what reaction I get.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Great post Steve, looks to me like you've pretty well nailed it.

    No knickers in a twist here, all makes perfect sense.

    Like your suggestion re double espresso and jug of water, will try when next out and about, see what reaction I get.
    No worries Yelta, be prepared for strange looks. like you are asking for blood. Definitely do not mention ratios!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    .... Warning, anyone who gets knickers in a knot from technical speak, stop reading now.

    As with any coffee beverage it all comes down to actual strength or TDS.
    mmm....that ignores extraction ratio which is at least as important as the strength of a coffee. I can agree that with a Long Black (Americano) all you are doing is changing the strength by adding a (hopefully) perfectly extracted espresso to hot water so the extraction ratio is the same. In the case of the Lungo I guess it depends on the methodology but extraction ratio will certainly come into it. Traditionally you would just cut the dose back slightly and run the shot for the same time as an espresso for more volume giving a higher extraction ratio and therefore less strength.

    I am still thinking about your idea for diluting an espresso to make a lungo!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArnhemR View Post
    mmm....that ignores extraction ratio which is at least as important as the strength of a coffee.
    Not so.
    StrengthAlso known as "solubles concentration", as measured by Total Dissolved Solids – how concentrated or watery the coffee is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Not so.
    StrengthAlso known as "solubles concentration", as measured by Total Dissolved Solids – how concentrated or watery the coffee is.
    Yes so, strength and extraction are in an inverse relationship. The higher your extraction ratio the weaker your coffee and vice versa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shortblackman View Post
    Whatever happened to the Vienna?

    loved em in high school when I had pocket money left over!
    Pretty much every café here either has a Vienna on their drinks menu or will make one on request...!

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    Oh. How quaint!

    welcome to Coffee Snobs!

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    I think its pretty unfair to be upset at baristas for not doing lungo's on request. We dial in coffee to get it tasting balanced at the recipe we are using, if we simply put more water through in the same time its likely going to result in over extraction. If we are using any grinder other than an EK43 its going to result in significant wastage and workflow issues for the following coffees made to order. If a long black is too watery, ask for a double espresso and hot water on the side.
    Steve82 likes this.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArnhemR View Post
    mmm....that ignores extraction ratio which is at least as important as the strength of a coffee. I can agree that with a Long Black (Americano) all you are doing is changing the strength by adding a (hopefully) perfectly extracted espresso to hot water so the extraction ratio is the same. In the case of the Lungo I guess it depends on the methodology but extraction ratio will certainly come into it. Traditionally you would just cut the dose back slightly and run the shot for the same time as an espresso for more volume giving a higher extraction ratio and therefore less strength.

    I am still thinking about your idea for diluting an espresso to make a lungo!!
    Not sure how you come to conclusion of ignoring ratios? My post gave general or starting examples of brew ratio ie: 1: 2 or 20g dose / 40g yield or 50% brew formula = a solid starting point for brew ratio. At a guess 95% of cafe baristas in this country heads implode if you mention a " brew ratio " they push volumetric buttons and thats it...

    The assumption is if one is taking on an understanding of actual measured beverage strength (TDS) and the resulting extraction yield % they already have a firm grasp of brew ratios and what altering them does in combination with grind adjustments.

    The dilution of espresso was not to make an actual lungo, it was a suggestion to make a beverage of very similar actual measurable strength to that of a properly executed lungo style extraction. Obviously it won't taste the same, but having the drink the same strength will more often than not give satisfaction.

  40. #40
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by muppet_man67 View Post
    I think its pretty unfair to be upset at baristas for not doing lungo's on request. We dial in coffee to get it tasting balanced at the recipe we are using, if we simply put more water through in the same time its likely going to result in over extraction. If we are using any grinder other than an EK43 its going to result in significant wastage and workflow issues for the following coffees made to order. If a long black is too watery, ask for a double espresso and hot water on the side.
    Who's getting upset with barista's? the discussion has mainly been around the correct method of making a long black and the fact that a Lungo is an inconvenience because the grinder needs adjustment.

    Mind you I don't see this as an insurmountable problem, a dedicated grinder would do the job.

    I often have a grin at so called professional barista's being phased by an unusual request, I suspect these "Paladins of the espresso machine" need to extend em selves a little, remember its a service industry, the idea is to provide the customer with what they want.
    Last edited by Yelta; 9th May 2016 at 05:26 PM.
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  41. #41
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    I thought the whole point about espresso coffee was that its very unique depending on the beans, roast, grind, machinery, settings, Barista technique, water, etc etc. Subtle changes in any of those can be the difference between a ideal drink and a big dissapointment...depending on personal preferences.
    So, expecting a long black, or any other brew, to be the same at two different coffee shops ,..is a little optomistic in my mind.
    know your coffee shop, know your Barista, and let him/her know how you like you regular drink.
    dont expect them to read your mind.!

  42. #42
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    So, expecting a long black, or any other brew, to be the same at two different coffee shops ,..is a little optomistic in my mind.
    I don't expect offerings to be the same at different venues, what I do expect for my four bucks is something enjoyable.

    vive la différence.



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