Nespresso Espresso and Lungo Capsules Explained

Types of Nespresso Espresso and Lungo Capsule

There are several types of both espresso and lungo capsules within the Nespresso range. We hope to explain the differences between these in greater detail and inform you on the difference between Nespresso espresso and lungo capsules.

After this, we may also have a stab at which might be more suited to your taste! However, to do this we must first understand the types of capsule that are available from Nespresso and what they even mean in the first place.


The Difference Between an Espresso and a Lungo

Many of us are familiar with espresso – many of us have ‘a shot of espresso’ or two (or three or more!!) in our coffee. This forms the base and the heart & soul of drinks such as your macchiatos, flat whites and lattes. Now, a lungo is slightly different. It is a longer coffee which tends to be popular in a number of countries, especially in Europe. You are extracting the flavour from your coffee in the same way and it is still under high pressure as it flows into your cup. However, a lungo is designed to fill up more of your cup – basically taking up a little more room. What this means is that on the whole they can be a little more mild but still maintaining flavour and intensity.

A lungo is also sometimes called a ‘stretched coffee’, and in French it is called a café allongé. This shouldn’t be confused, however, with an Americano, which is an Italian style coffee with hot water added. Also not to be confused with a lungo is a long black, where you add a short black directly to the hot water – basically the opposite of an Americano. The reason for this swap around is so you can pour the short black in as soon as it’s extracted, preserving more of the crema.

Does This Mean Lungos are Less Intense or Flavourful than an Espresso?

This is a common misconception – in short, no. The strongest espressos are more intense than the strongest lungos, but the possible range of how mild or intense a roast is ultimately comes down to the coffee the capsule is produced from. On a scale of one to ten, Nespresso lungo capsules have an intensity ranging from 2 to 7 – so you can already see that some of them are stronger in flavour than many regular Nespresso espresso capsules.

The strongest Lungo that you’ll find in the Nespresso capsule lineup is the Fortissio Lungo. Going down from this is the Vivalto Lungo capsule, which has an intensity rating of four. Finally, the Linizio Lungo capsule is even milder and has a whiff of malted cereal about it – a mild but very distinct taste. This has an intensity rating of just two and rounds out the standard Nespresso offering.

Fortissio Lungo

Browse Prices

Vivalto Lungo

Browse Prices

Linizio Lungo

Browse Prices

As well as intensity of flavour, some people ask whether this means lungos also have less caffeine in them. There is no more or less caffeine in a lungo than an espresso, as the main differentiating factor is how much water you are passing through to produce the lungo during extraction, and how long the extraction of the coffee takes. The only differences are down to the type of beans, because Robusta beans tend to have more caffeine in them than your normal Arabica beans. However, the amount of Nespresso capsule caffeine is about the same in each because the blend ratio of these types of beans doesn’t vary too much.

Can I Make a Lungo Using a Nespresso Espresso Capsule?

This is actually quite important – you should not make an espresso using a lungo capsule or vice versa! The coffee blends and their respective flavours are put together specifically with the extraction time in mind. Extracting an espresso capsule super slowly and with more water will just result in a weak, overextracted espresso that won’t taste like it is intended. Similarly, it would be impossible to extract the full flavours of a lungo from a Fortissio Lungo, Vivalto Lungo or Linizio Lungo capsule by extracting under higher pressure and for a shorter period of time.

Nespresso Variety Pack Capsules

Definitely try buying a few of these capsules or a variety pack and tasting the differences between them, ensuring that you properly use either an espresso or a lungo setting depending on what the capsule is designed for. Hopefully you’ll be able to not only learn more but taste the difference as well!


We hope this guide has been useful – enjoy your coffee and Nespresso drinking! If you want to read more about possibly picking up a Nespresso coffee machine of your own, you can check out our guide here.