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What is a long shot Espresso?

A shot of espresso is the base of many coffee drinks, whether they’re ordered in a cafe or made at home on the best espresso machine. For sure, you’ve heard of a regular espresso. But do you know what is a long shot espresso? 

A long shot Espresso is a variety of espresso that uses more water. Sounds good because more water means more espresso, right? But not so fast! 

The extra water used to brew the espresso will change the flavor profile of your espresso drink. So what’s a long shot and how does it compare to the regular espresso shot?

Let’s jump right in and find out!

The Regular Espresso

Before we talk in detail about the long shot espresso, it would help to first mention the traditional or regular espresso. 

Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee. The brewing method for the regular espresso originated in Italy. It’s known for being robust and having sweet brown crema foam on top.

Because of its stronger flavor and high caffeine content, it’s generally served in 1 ounce (30 ml) shots. 

Espresso is brewed by forcing pressurized hot water through finely-ground coffee. This process requires the use of an espresso machine to generate the pressure and pull the water through the ground coffee. 

The amount of pressure, amount of water, and extraction time are all critical to get the best espresso.

For a regular espresso, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) recommends that you brew with about 9 bars of pressure, use about 25-35 ml of water, and have an extraction time of only 20-30 seconds. 

It takes some skill to get right, but the right espresso machine can go a long way to getting it right.

Now let’s compare the regular espresso with the long shot.

The Long Shot of Espresso

Depending on where you are, the long shot may also be called the cafe lungo or café allongé. But it all refers to the same thing.

A long shot of espresso is brewed is just like the regular shot of espresso, except it uses up to twice the amount of water and has a longer extraction time.

Since more hot water is used, the flavor of the long shot is milder than a regular espresso. 

But the longer extraction time means more of the coffee bean flavors are pulled into the final drink. This gives the long shot flavor characteristics of over-extracted coffee. 

If you want to try a long shot, you should be able to order one at Starbucks or your favorite cafe. If the barista isn’t familiar with a long shot, just ask them to pull more water through while brewing your espresso.

Long shots are one variety of espresso, but not the only one! Next, let’s take a look at the short shot.

The Ristretto (a.k.a. Short Shot)

The ristretto, or “restricted”, espresso is made with less water than the regular espresso. This short shot of espresso has less volume but is even more strong than regular espresso.

But regular espresso is already strong by itself, it’s only an ounce! Why would you want to order an espresso that’s even smaller than that?

Here’s why. More water and longer brewing time mean that your espresso will taste over-extracted. This is why long shots taste a bit bitter. Less water and a shorter extraction time mean less of the bitter coffee flavors will be pulled. 

So, because ristretto uses less water and extracts for a shorter time, it tastes sweeter, tastes more strong, and is known for having a less bitter taste.

Long Espresso vs Americano

When requesting your barista to pull a long espresso, there’s one thing to keep in mind – the difference between a long espresso and an americano.

Long espressos are brewed using more water than a normal espresso. Meaning, that twice the amount of hot water is pulled through the ground coffee beans.

On the other hand, an Americano is made by brewing a regular espresso with a regular amount of water. After the espresso is in the cup, more hot water will be poured on top, essentially diluting it.

If you plan on trying a long shot of espresso, make sure it’s really a long shot and not an Americano.


There you have it! Now you know what a long shot of espresso is and how it compares to short espressos and regular espressos.

The key thing to remember is that the longer the shot, the more water is pulled through the coffee grounds. The shorter the shot, the less water is used.

Longer shots have more caffeine, have an over-extracted flavor, and taste milder. Short shots are stronger, have less caffeine, and taste sweeter.

If you’ve got your own espresso machine at home, give it a try yourself and tell us what you think in the comments below!