Article

The café lungo problem

May 2nd, 2019 by Phillip McMillan

Black coffee drinkers in Australia, like myself, often face a dilemma when we go to an unfamiliar café or to a busy chain coffee store at an airport or event. I want an espresso style black coffee, but a 30 ml shot of espresso leaves me unsatisfied and a 250 ml long black leaves me with a large cup of coffee flavored water. What to do? What I really want is a long-pulled espresso to about 100 ml.

Trying to explain that to most baristas leaves them staring at me and giving me a standard long black or a standard espresso. Maybe we could invent this in between black coffee that would satisfy me, but wait, its already there and a standard part of coffee offerings in Italy, the home of coffee.

In Italy, I can go into any coffee shop and order a ‘café lungo’ and get exactly what I want. Lungo meaning long in Italian, is a long pull on the espresso machine rather than an espresso with water added.

For some reason barista training in Australia seems to bypass the café lungo. I would like to make an impassioned call to RTOs and trainers that train baristas to bring in the café lungo as part of the training. Please, I just need my coffee when I’m out and about, it’s not too much to ask, is it?