Long Black vs Americano | What’s the Difference?

For coffee lovers, there’s nothing better than a steaming cup of joe to start the day. But with so many different coffee drinks available, it can be overwhelming to choose which one is right for you.

Two popular espresso-based coffee drinks are the americano and Long black. At first glance, they may seem similar or even taste almost similar, but there are some key differences between the two that can slightly affect the taste and experience of your coffee.

Long blacks are made by pouring a double shot of espresso over hot water, while Americanos are made by adding hot water to a double shot of espresso and that’s the only main difference between them.

In this article, I will make a detailed comparison of Long Black vs Americano so you can easily choose what’s better for you.

Long Black vs Americano

What is Long Black coffee?

Long black coffee is a popular type of coffee in Australia and New Zealand. You can make it by pouring a double espresso over hot water, creating a distinctive “long black” effect with the crema on top.

Because of the way it’s made, long black coffee has a slightly stronger flavor profile.

Long black coffee

You might confuse Lungo with Long black but it’s a different drink. Read a guide on Lungo coffee

How to make Long Black coffee

The freshness and quality of the Espresso matter a lot while preparing a perfect cup of long black coffee.

Step 01: Take the right measurements:

To make a long black coffee, you only need hot water and your favorite espresso beans.

A typical serving of Long Black is around 6 ounces with a 1:2 espresso to hot water ratio.

So, for one cup of long black, use approximately 4 oz of water (100-120 mL) with a double shot of Espresso 2 oz (60 mL).

Step 02: Prepare your cup 

If you have a dual boiler espresso machine, you can use its spout to fill your cup with hot water. Otherwise use an electric kettle or stove to heat water until it reaches about 195 degrees Fahrenheit or 91 degrees Celsius. 

Step 03: Make your espresso 

Fill the Portafilter basket with coffee grounds, tamp it, and attach it to the group head. Place the glass filled with hot water on the drip tray and start pulling the Espresso shot directly on the top of hot water.

Serve immediately and enjoy the rich, creamy texture of the long black coffee.

What is Americano?

An americano coffee is a popular espresso-based coffee drink that is made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso.

It is similar to a drip coffee, but the difference is that it is made with the espresso shot rather than steeping coffee grounds in hot water.

It is also a less concentrated and smooth drink making it a good choice for those who prefer less strong coffee flavors.


How to make Americano Coffee

To make Americano follow this step-by-step process.

1- Gather the ingredients

The first step to making a great Americano is selecting good quality espresso beans. A typical serving size of Americano is around 8 to 12 oz which is larger compared to long black coffee. Americano is also prepared with a double shot of Espresso with an Espresso to water ratio of around 1:3 to 1:4.

2- Heat the water

Heat 6-8 oz of water (170-200 mL) to a temperature of 70-76 degrees Celsius. The amount of water depends on your taste.

Don’t overheat the water to boiling temperature as the Americano should be served at a drinkable temperature

3- Prepare Espresso

While the water is heating add 14-18 grams of Coffee grounds to the portafilter. Place it into the group head of the espresso machine and start the machine.

4- Mix Espresso and Water

Add Hot water on top of the freshly prepared Espresso shot and stir the mixture to ensure they are well blended.

History and the Origins of Americano and Long Black

Americano’s origins go back to World War 2 when American soldiers were stationed in Italy and couldn’t handle the rich and bitter taste of Espresso which was the traditional coffee drink in Italy.

So they simply start pouring some hot water over Espresso shots to reduce their intensity and make them drinkable. This practice gave birth to the term “Americano,” which was used by Italian baristas to refer to diluted espresso for American soldiers.

Over time, Americano coffee has become a beloved classic, enjoyed by coffee lovers worldwide.

On the other hand, Long Black coffee has roots in Australia and New Zealand. It is a staple menu item in coffee shops and cafes around the world, and its popularity continues to grow as more and more people discover its unique taste and satisfying texture.

In cafes around Australia and New Zealand, the Long Black coffee is a popular morning or afternoon brew.

The Crema Layer of Long Black vs Americano

Americano and Long Black differ primarily in their appearance.

Espresso shots are topped with a reddish-brown layer called crema. Crema is produced when Carbon dioxide tries to leave the coffee but the coffee oil traps this carbon dioxide and forms this foamy layer on the top.

In the case of Americano, when water is added on the top the crema layer dissolves and dissipates very quickly.

However, with Long Black, when the espresso is extracted directly to the surface of hot water, the crema layer remains preserved.

Difference in the Flavor Profiles and Caffeine content

There is no significant difference in the flavor profiles of Americano and Long Black as the ingredients are exactly the same. The flavor mainly depends on the amount of water you add in the drink.

Americanos are typically prepared with more water than Long Blacks, which makes them more watered down and smooth.

In Typical Aussie Cafe, the serving size of Long black is almost half compared to Americano that’s why they are more potent and rich in coffee flavors.

As both Americano and Long black is prepared with the double shot of Espresso the amount of caffeine remains the same which is around 120-133 mg.

Americano vs Long Black | So What’s Better?

Both Americano and Long Black are popular coffee choices but Long Blacks are not as widespread as Americano around the World. Many people outside of Australia and Newzealand have never heard of long black.

Personally, I prefer a Long Black as I enjoy the stronger flavor and apperance of the Crema layer at the top.

Regardless of which coffee drink you choose, both Americano and long black are great options and not very different from one another.

You can try making coffee both ways at home, one with espresso shots on top and one with hot water on top and decide which is better for you.

Also read comparison of related Espresso drink


What is Lungo? Is it the same as Long black?

Lungo coffee is a type of Espresso shot that is pulled for longer and made by using more water than usual to extract the flavors from the coffee beans.
Essentially, lungo is different from Long Black in a way that it is made by pulling more water through the espresso machine instead of simply adding hot after pulling a standard espresso shot.

Is an Americano Same as black coffee?

Yes, technically Americano is a Black coffee drink but it is different from traditional Black brewed coffee.
“Black coffee” is a more general term that can refer to any type of coffee that does not contain milk or cream. It can be made using any brewing method, such as drip, French press, or pour-over. “Americano” on the other hand is a type of black coffee prepared by adding hot water to concentrated Espresso shots.
Read a detailed guide on Americano vs Black coffee

Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.