Long Black and Americano are two popular variations of black coffee. They are both made with freshly brewed espresso with hot water.
But are “Long Black” and “Americano” the same? Should you use the terms interchangeably? That’s a common question our baristas get at our mobile coffee carts and I hope to explain the subtle differences in this article.
Long Black vs Americano
The key difference between a Long Black and an Americano is the way they are made. A Long Black is brewed by pouring an espresso over hot water while an Americano is brewed by pouring hot water over the espresso.
Same same but different…
Pouring an espresso over hot water better retains the crema, hence a long black is known for its stronger aroma and taste.
What is a Long Black?
Commonly served in cafes within Australia and New Zealand, a Long Black is a black coffee brewed by pouring freshly pulled espresso over water.
Depending on the café, a Long Black can feature a single shot espresso, double shot espresso or even a ristretto. About 100ml to 120ml of hot water would be filled into a cup before the espresso is added.
For best experience, the hot water should be between 70°C to 80°C, poured into a warm glass.
A long black is said to be made with lesser water than an Americano, resulting in a stronger coffee. However you can feel free to dilute your drink further if you prefer your coffee weak.
How to make Long Black coffee?
- Brew an espresso to your liking
- Fill a cup with about 100ml of hot water
- Pour the espresso over the hot water
- Serve with a spoon which can be used to break the crema.
What is an Americano?
An Americano is a black coffee made by pouring hot water over an espresso.
These evolved from the Italian café culture where baristas realised that the American consumers didn’t like the strong and flavorful espressos as they were used to brewed coffee. Hence, the baristas added water into their espressos and served these Americanos in a larger cup.
How to make Americano?
- Brew an espresso into your cup
- Add 100ml to 200ml of hot water over the espresso
Which is stronger Americano or Long Black?
A Long Black is stronger as it is usually brewed with lesser water compared to the Americano. A long black is usually served in an 8oz cup (~230ml) whereas americanos can be served in 8oz, 12oz (~350ml) or even 16oz (~470ml) cups.
How Much Caffeine is in a Long Black or Americano?
The amount of caffeine depends on the amount of espresso used in the recipe of the long black or americano.
Both long black and americano contain similar amount of caffeine, if the same amount of espresso was used.
What are the Benefits of Drinking a Long Black or an Americano?
Long blacks and Americanos have low levels of calories while providing a good caffeine kick. They are good options for health conscious coffee lovers who are watching their calorie intake.
Long Black vs Americano: Which is better?
A good barista would be able to serve either option, but it is ultimately, it’s down to the coffee drinker’s preference as well as the menu offering and SOP of a café.
Long black and Americano should not be confused with the Lungo, which is an espresso extracted for a longer time, with more water.