What is the difference between long black and Americano

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Johny Morrisson

The only difference in Long Black and Americano is that Long blacks are made by pouring espresso over hot water, while Americanos are made by adding hot water to espresso.

At first glance, they may seem similar or even taste almost similar, but that little difference in pouring technique can slightly affect the taste and experience of your coffee drink.

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 is a popular coffee drik in Australia and New Zealand. It is made by pouring a double espresso shot over hot water, creating a distinctive “long black” effect with the crema on top.

Typically long black is made less water, that’s why it have a 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 1: 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 4-6 ounces with a 1:1 or 1:2 espresso to hot water ratio.

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

Step 2: Heat the water 

Heat the water until it reaches about 185-195 degrees Fahrenheit or 85-90 degrees Celsius. 

Step 3: Make your espresso 

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 American 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.

Americano is 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

A typical serving size of Americano is around 8 to 10 oz which is larger compared to long black coffee. Americano is also prepared with a double shot of Espresso with an Espresso-water ratio of around 1:2 to 1:4.

2- Heat the water

Heat 4-8 oz of water (120-240 mL) to a temperature of 185-185 degrees Farenhiet. 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- Mix Espresso and Water

Prepare a fresh shot of Espresso and add hot water on top of it. 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 the Espresso shot to reduce its intensity and make it 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.

The Crema Layer of Long Black vs Americano

Americano and Long Black differ primarily in their texture and appearance.

Crema is the reddish-brown foamy layer on top of an espresso shot. It is formed when carbon dioxide gas is trapped by coffee oils during the brewing process.

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

However, with Long Black, the espresso is extracted directly to the surface of hot water, and the crema layer remains preserved. This thin crema layer in the Long Black gives the drink a richer mouthfeel.

Differences 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 to 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 which is why they are stronger and rich in coffee flavors.

As both Americano and Long black are 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 New Zealand have never heard of Long Black.

Personally, I prefer a Long Black as I enjoy the stronger flavor and appearance 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 better suits your taste.

Also read a 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 espresso shot.
So, lungo is not same as Long Black as it is made by running 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 Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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