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What Is A Gran Lungo? (A Guide To Nespresso Coffee)

Most people are whizzes at whipping up an espresso shot on their Nespresso machine. Heck, some of us can even manage to make a mean cappuccino!

However, if you’ve yet to brave the ‘gran lungo’ option on your machine, I don’t blame you.

This drink isn’t one that most people are familiar with, meaning it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

In this guide, I’m going to walk you through what a gran lungo is and why you should try one. Plus, I’ll throw in tips on Nespresso coffee sizes in general.

Let’s check it out!

What is a Gran Lungo? 

To put it simply, a gran lungo is a larger version of a Nespresso lungo. 

Of course, in order to really understand what a gran lungo is, you’ve got to know what a Nespresso lungo is in the first place!

A Nespresso lungo is just the Nespresso company’s name for a lungo coffee.

For those who aren’t aware, the word lungo is of Italian origin and translates as long.

As its name implies, it’s a longer version of an espresso.

When you make an espresso, you typically pull your shot for 18 – 25 seconds. With a lungo, however, you pull the shot for 35 to 40 seconds.

Because you pull the shot for longer, the drink is bigger, more watery, and not as strong. For those who like strong coffee but find espresso more like rocket fuel, this might be a good pick.

A gran lungo, as you can probably guess from the name, is just a larger version of a lungo. If you want to make a gran lungo, you’ll have to pick up a gran lungo instead of a lungo Nespresso pod.

Either way, make sure to use the ‘lungo’ setting on your machine instead of the ‘espresso’ setting. Otherwise, your machine won’t pull the shot long enough to make a proper brew.

NOTE
Some machines have a ‘gran lungo’ button. If you have that option, that’s what you should use to make your brew.

The Difference Between Gran Lungo and Other Nespresso Drinks

At first glance, a gran lungo can look a lot like some other Nespresso beverages on the menu.

But, when you know how to tell them apart, you’ll see that it’s actually quite different.

Let’s go over in a bit more detail some of the differences between this drink and other Nespresso brews.

Espresso vs Gran Lungo 

two espresso cups
Source: nespresso.com

Espresso is a coffee drink that most commonly gets confused with a gran lungo.

The main reason for that is that these two drinks are prepared in the same way. The only difference is that a gran lungo uses more water.

Because of the higher water content, however, the drinks wind up being fairly different.

For one thing, these drinks have different caffeine content. A Nespresso espresso shot only has 60-150mg of caffeine.

Gran lungo pods, however, have 120 to 200mg of caffeine.

Despite the extra caffeine, the lungo actually tastes smoother and less bitter. Thanks to the extra water, you might find the coffee notes softer.

You can also pick up on underlying notes of caramel and nuts.

The coffees also differ in size and prep time. Remember that a gran lungo can take around 40 seconds to brew, while espresso usually takes just 20 seconds.

Since gran lungos have nearly double the extraction time and use more water, they wind up much larger.

Most gran lungos work out to be about 5 ounces. A regular espresso shot, on the other hand, is usually 1 ounce.

Double Espresso vs Gran Lungo

A lot of people also get confused about the differences between double espresso and gran lungos.

For one thing, gran lungo shots are bigger than double espresso shots.

The size of a double espresso is 60 ml, while a gran lungo works out to be around 150 ml.

On top of that, double espressos are just two espresso shots. So, they’ve still got the concentrated flavor of a single espresso.

If you didn’t like the strong taste of classic espresso, you likely wouldn’t enjoy the flavor of a double espresso either. In that case, a gran lungo might be a better pick.

NOTE
Nespresso espresso shots are actually a bit bigger than shots pulled with traditional espresso machines. As a result, some people don’t consider Nespresso a true espresso.

Americano vs Gran Lungo

americano

Americanos are probably the closest things to a gran lungo that you’ll find on your Nespresso menu.

The real difference between an americano and a gran lungo is how you make them.

To make an americano, you’ll pull a single shot of espresso and then add hot water.

With a gran lungo, however, you pull an espresso shot for a longer period of time and use more water.

Gran lungos work out to be a bit smaller than americanos as well.

Whereas an americano is between 6 and 8 ounces, gran lungos are only around 5.

Another thing to know is that gran lungos are a bit more bitter than americanos. The added hot water of an americano dilutes the flavor in a way you won’t get with a gran lungo.

Nespresso Coffee Sizes 

Now that we’ve talked a bit about gran lungos and espressos, you might be starting to wonder what the deal with Nespresso coffee sizes is.

Nespresso has a couple of different cup sizes, depending on the machine you have.

In terms of the Nespresso Original, you can choose between:

  • A ristretto (22 ml)
  • An espresso (30 ml)
  • A lungo (90 ml)

In some of the original models, you can also choose to make an Americano (150ml).

Nespresso Vertuo machines, however, have a few different options. A Vertuo coffee machine lets you make:

  • An espresso (40 ml)
  • A double espresso (80 ml)
  • A gran lungo (150 ml)
  • A mug of brewed coffee (230 ml)
  • A tall mug of brewed coffee (414 ml)

If you go for the coffees, you’ll notice they’ve still got Nespresso’s thick, signature crema.

To Sum Up

If you want a caffeine kick without the strength and bitterness of your coffee, Nespresso gran lungo might be the way to go.

A gran lungo is an espresso shot that’s made with extra water. It’s also pulled for a longer amount of time.

As a result, it’s a smoother, larger, and more caffeinated alternative to an espresso shot in the morning.

If you want to brew this espresso drink, all you need is a special gran lungo capsule. And don’t forget to press a lungo button when brewing, or choose a gran lungo option if your machine has one.

In need of a Nespresso machine to brew a gran lungo with? Check out this guide to the best Nespresso machines on the market!

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Jessica Ruth Lee Fleming
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.