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Most of us have personal experience with lattes, cappuccinos, lattes, and frappuccinos. If asked, we can give a pretty accurate definition of what those coffee drinks are based on what we see in our cups. But as we read down the Starbucks menu and mentally check off drinks we know, there are a few drinks that no one you know ever orders.
For example, the “long shot” just sounds like a drink Starbucks just made up. If you try to look it up in Oxford Languages you get the definition: “an attempt or guess that has only the slightest chance of succeeding or being accurate.” Okay, wrong context.
We’ll give you better than our best guess at what a Long Shot means in the context of Starbucks coffee drinks:
A long shot uses the same dose of coffee grounds as a single shot of espresso. However, you extract a long shot just a little bit longer than your usual espresso.
Starbucks baristas pull a long shot at about 45 seconds, while a regular espresso is pulled at about 20 seconds. This means that a long shot will be double the size of a single. But, since a long shot has a greater amount of water, it won’t taste as strong as a regular shot of espresso.
We’ll let you in on some interesting facts about long shots and how to order the espresso drink you want at Starbucks.
What is a Long Shot?
Starbucks tends to use the Italian language in ways that authentic Italians never would (we’re looking at you, Venti-Sized-Cup) But, they miss their chance with the long shot. This drink actually has a legitimate Italian name that many other coffee shops use: the Caffe Lungo. It means “long coffee.” Still, Starbucks chooses to go American-friendly with their lingo for once and calls it a long shot. Sigh.
Whether you call it a lungo or a long shot, the long and the short of it is that you will be drinking more coffee than a single shot. But since you are basically just adding extra water to your espresso, a lungo won’t taste as strong.
How does a long shot taste?
My love for espresso began in the form of a long shot when I was abroad. This coffee drink was much stronger than the average cup of Joe I was used to. But it wasn’t too strong. The lungo also had more depth of flavor with chocolatey, nutty notes.
While this coffee drink is a great middle-of-the-road choice between espresso and American-style drip brews, the lungo does fall short in some areas.
While you’d think that long shots would be less bitter than single shots, actually the opposite is true. The over-extraction of the espresso allows more time for more bitterness to enter your cup of coffee. A long shot will also have a thinner flavor and texture than espressos and ristrettos.
If you’ve never tried an espresso on its own, a long shot can be a good first step toward this tasty category of drinks.
How much caffeine is in a long shot espresso?
A long shot of espresso uses the same amount of grounds as a single shot of espresso. So, it may surprise you to learn that a long espresso actually contains slightly more caffeine than a regular shot. Why is this?
It all boils down to time and the extraction of the coffee grounds. For a long shot, the barista extracts the coffee for a longer amount of time than a regular shot. This extra time allows the hot water to pull more caffeine out of your coffee grounds. The amount of caffeine in a long shot will be more than a single shot, but not as much as a double shot.
The long shot VS ristrettos, espressos, and doppios
Ristrettos, espressos, and long shots are brewed using different techniques, which gives each drink a slightly different flavor. But the thing they have in common is that they are all made under pressure. According to the SCA, any type of espresso should be brewed using at least 9 bars. When coffee is brewed under 9 or more bars of pressure you will get a thick, creamy brew with crema on top. The brewing process also cuts out a lot of the undesirable flavors of the coffee bean.
Starbucks adds espresso to many of its popular specialty drinks. But, if you take just the shots themselves, here is what they look like up close:
While a lungo gives you more coffee in your cup, Ristrettos will give you less. In fact, this is the shortest and strongest espresso drink on the menu! In Italian, ristretto means “restricted.” This is because you will “restrict” the shot by using less water and less extraction time.
This short shot of espresso is powerfully strong but has great flavor. You’ll get all the sweet flavors of the bean with very little bitterness in a thick, syrup-like drink.
However, a ristretto won’t last long as you can down this doll-sized drink in one gulp! Ristrettos are generally half the size of regular espresso and measure at half a fluid ounce (15 mL).
At Starbucks, ristretto shots are the base for Flat White coffee drinks. You can also ask for a ristretto shot in any Starbucks drink.
The single shot
A regular shot of espresso (also known as a single shot or standard shot) is generally one ounce of coffee. However, at Starbucks most solo shots will be a bit shorter at .75 ounces. Single shots are used as a base for tall-sized Starbucks espresso drinks including lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and more. A long shot uses the same amount of coffee as a single shot, but you get more coffee in your cup with the lungo.
The long shot
Many baristas will use a coarser grind to brew a long shot. This allows the water to flow more easily through the grounds for a longer extraction time. You can drink it as is, or turn it into iced coffee. Europeans generally add two teaspoons of sugar to this espresso drink and drink it without any milk. Personally, I like to skip the sugar and add a splash of half and half, instead.
The long-shot espresso at Starbucks isn’t be used as a base for other hot drinks on the menu. But it can be a great stand-alone espresso drink.
Although long shots and double shots are about the same size, they are not the same thing. A long shot uses the same amount of coffee as a single shot but uses more hot water. This means that a long shot will have a weaker taste and less caffeine than a double shot of espresso.
For a double shot, you will use twice as many grounds in the portafilter of your espresso machine. This gives you double the drink and also double the caffeine.
Ordering espresso drinks at Starbucks
While you can get an espresso drink at a cafe, you may notice slight differences in the taste of the espresso from coffee shop to coffee shop. The coffee roast, bean origin, amount of pressure, and extraction time of your shot can influence the flavor of your espresso drink.
If you want to try out a long shot or other espresso drink at Starbucks, here are a few things to know about this short coffee category.
The coffee beans
When Starbucks brews a long shot or other espresso beverage, they use an espresso roast that is finely ground. The coffee bean blend comes from Latin American and Asia/Pacific regions. You’ll get rich and caramelly flavors and a touch of sweetness with this Starbucks espresso coffee blend.
The espresso machine
Starbucks brews espresso using a Mastrena espresso machine. This is a super-automatic espresso machine that was developed in Switzerland specifically for Starbucks. The barista will extract your shot using 15-19 bars of pressure with this technologically savvy machine.
The cup size
Starbucks has brand-specific names to differentiate its cup sizes. You have the tall, grande, venti. However, long shots and doppios will usually come in a “short” size at Starbucks stores.
Starbucks measures their shots a bit differently than the standard. While a regular shot of espresso is usually one ounce, it is only .75 of an ounce at Starbucks. Ristrettos, long shots, and doppios follow suit and are also slightly smaller than the usual.
This means that:
- You’re getting a little cheated on size. (Hey, Starbucks calls the shots here!)
- You’ll get a richer tasting lungo at Starbucks than you will at other cafes.
Try out a long shot at Starbucks and see what you think!
Starbucks is the home of the slightly shorter long shot. They serve this cup of (small) coffee as a stand-alone drink. But, you can add as much cream and sugar as you want at the bar!
A long shot is nice when you want a rich coffee drink that is not overly strong. It gives you a bit more in your demitasse cup than a single shot. This means you can slowly sip this drink for longer while you relax in a comfortable, faux-leather chair surrounded by Starbucks merchandise.
What is a flat white?
A flat white is similar to a latte except it won’t contain as much milk. Also, the steamed milk for flat whites is foamed to create micro-bubbles. This leaves the milk layer with a velvety texture that compliments the espresso nicely. The flat white is becoming a popular drink among coffee lovers.
Is an Americano the same as a long shot?
The Americano and long shot are espresso drinks that both use extra water. However, these drinks have some key differences. A long shot uses a longer extraction time and more hot water will drip directly through the grounds. An Americano uses a single shot as a base and then tops that off with hot water. Overall, the long shot uses much less water than an Americano.
Is monkey poop coffee sold at Starbucks?
No, while Starbucks stores may have used monkey poop coffee in coffee tastings from time to time, they do not currently sell this controversial coffee in their stores. Monkey poop coffee can be found on Amazon, however, the market for this type of coffee is largely unregulated. You will want to research a reputable seller to ensure you are getting ethically sourced monkey poop coffee.
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