Here at GadgetGuy, we’re avid coffee drinkers. We have to be, what with reporting on technology, so we need to be wired. And we like our coffee long, because it essentially means more caffeine. But something about the Nespresso machines has us wondering… outside of the amount, what exactly is the difference between the short and the long cups?

The Nespresso coffee pod machines all have similar controls, allowing you to easily pick which type of cup you want at that moment: short or long.

When you’re buying a sleeve of pods, Nespresso’s system tries to make it clear which pod you should buy, with specific words explaining the different amounts of coffee on its pod sleeves.

Most varieties of the pod seem to be made for ristretto (25ml) or espresso (40ml), with the long or “lungo” (110ml) pod having its own specific type, which you can generally see when the word is tacked on to the end of a coffee variety.

The same pod run through two different coffee sizes. Outside of the volume, what changes?

We’re still not really sure what the difference is, outside of the lungo varieties packing in more coffee and therefore needing to be run through the longer variety, unless you like your short coffees with an insane amount of impact.

At one of Nespresso’s many Sydney outlets, though, one of the store representatives told us that if we ran a short pod through the longer lungo setting, it would essentially make the coffee burn.

So we decided to try it, after all, what’s a little more caffeine going to do to us except make us write more quickly?
(In all seriousness, try not to drink excessive amounts of coffee; it may result in heart palpitations)

We grabbed one of our favourite short varieties – Dulsao, with an intensity rating of four – from our little pod selection in the GadgetGuy kitchen and set the Nespresso Maestria (our current review machine) to the top setting for the biggest espresso and lungo coffee amounts we could muster.

The result was exactly what we expected: a regular espresso on the short, and a slightly weaker coffee in a larger supply in lungo. Maybe it’s our tastebuds, but we just couldn’t pick up on the so-called burn taste that Nespresso says we should be able to detect.

There’s no doubt that the Lungo variety of pods are made for the longer cup, but we’ll probably just keep running the regular capsules through on the full cup just so we can have more of the blends we like, even if they are a touch weaker.

UPDATE (August 14): Nespresso has given us an official comment on the sizes:

Nespresso offers a unique choice of Grand Cru coffees to satisfy every taste. The Nespresso Grands Crus capsules contain between 5 grams for the Espresso range and 7 grams for the Lungo range of highest quality roast and ground coffee. Our Espresso coffees are designed for maximum enjoyment in a 40ml cup, while Lungo coffees are best enjoyed in a 110ml cup.

Extracting each coffee using the appropriate setting on your Nespresso machine will ensure that you keep each Grand Cru’s unique taste and sensory profile. It will allow you to get the best experience and guarantees the pleasure of a coffee, rich in aroma with a dense crema.

While Nespresso says its capsules are designed for a specific type of coffee, you’re still fine to use them however you want. We’ll keep throwing our short variety through the long, and you definitely could too.