Defining Espresso Drinks

by Whole Latte Love Updated: August 25, 2023 3 min read
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What are the Different Types of Espresso Drinks?

Asking yourself what exactly is a Ristretto, an Espresso, an Espresso Doppio, a Lungo, an Americano, a Long Black, and a red eye espresso drink? Let's clear up some confusion surrounding the names of these espresso beverages. An espresso is not a type of bean or roast, it’s a process using pressure to extract a beverage from finely ground coffee.

So let’s break it down...


The smallest which is sometimes called a short shot. It’s a very concentrated espresso typically it’s about 3/4 oz. A ristretto uses the same amount of ground coffee as a regular espresso, but it’s usually ground finer to produce a smaller beverage using the same extraction timing

Standard Single Espresso

A single espresso uses about 7 grams of ground coffee and produces a beverage of about one ounce. It’s kind of the basis of measurement of a espresso and can be called a single, a single shot or simply an espresso.

Espresso Doppio

In Italian, doppio means double. so a doppio is twice the size of a a single espresso. It’s also called a double shot. They key thing to remember here is that it also uses twice as much ground coffee so about 14 grams, and the same shot timing.


In italian, lungo means long. A lungo typically is 3 times the size of either a single or double espresso so either about 3 or 6 ounces in volume. Unlike a doppio or double, it does not use more coffee. And unlike a ristretto, it does not use the same extraction time of 20 -30 seconds. With a longer extraction time, it tends to be more bitter. (in some places a lungo may be referred to as a long coffee, cafe crema or crema coffee)

Americano and Long Black

Americano or cafe americano is made when you take the espresso and add some heated water to it. These drinks are made when you add water to standing espresso. Its companion is the long black which reverses the process and adds the espresso to standing hot water.

So for an americano, a single or double espresso is made and then water equalling about double the volume of espresso is added to it. A long black is typically made by pouring a double espresso over 4 ounces of hot water. Pouring it that way leaves a more pronounced crema layer and a different flavor profile from an americano because it retains the crema layer.

Red Eye

It is highly recommended for those looking for an extra kick of caffeine. The red eye takes standard drip coffee and adds a shot of espresso. This one originated in the U.S. and is becoming increasingly popular.

Now, one thing to remember is the volumes can vary from country to country, cafe to cafe and barista to barista. So if you’re not sure what your getting or have a specific request - talk to your barista. If they’re good, they’ll be happy to tell you or take your special order!