Long Black Vs Americano

There are many reasons why we love coffee so much. The most evident is that as it is such a good source of caffeine there is nothing better to wake us up in the morning and give us much needed energy for all activities in the day. Additionally, for many people drinking coffee is a social ritual. Sometimes you enjoy meeting friends without drinking alcohol and in these situations grabbing a cup of joe is the best thing you can do.

Plenty of people simply enjoy drinking coffee without giving too much thought about it. Some others however like to know where do beans come from, what is the product type, or brewing style, etc. We call these type of people coffee aficionados or connoisseurs.

 Often when you go to a café you hear people ordering long black coffee or Americano. If you are not a coffee expert these two may seem the same, but in reality, there are important differences between these brewing styles. Today we are going to go through some of them and start a journey towards becoming a true coffee aficionado. 
Long black vs americano – what all you need to know!

What is an Americano?   

What we call Café Americano or simply Americano is espresso diluted with water in a way that it keeps the strength but you get more coffee with a bit different flavor. There is an ongoing discussion about whether the term comes from Italian or American Spanish.   When it comes to the origins of Americano there is a story that says that it was created by American soldiers who were in Italy during the Second World War. According to this story, the standard Italian espresso shot was too strong for them therefore they began to add hot water to make it more similar to the coffee they were accustomed to.  One thing that makes Americano special is that it doesn’t come with milk in it. Even if some people like to put warm or cold milk in their cup of Americano it is very unlikely you will receive it with any form of milk – animal or vegetarian. 

What is a Long Black Coffee?

A lot of folks out there mix up long black and Americano.  Indeed there are similarities but they are different. A long black coffee is commonly drank is Australia and New Zealand. It is again invented by Americans in a way but it took Italians to perfect it.  Italians as we know usually drink two types of coffee – espresso and cappuccino. When Americans tried it they found espresso too strong and they weren’t happy with milk form in cappuccino. A long black is made by adding a shot or two shots of espresso to a cup with hot water. 

There are few variations of the modern version of long black but the most common is to extract an espresso shot over hot water instead of adding the water over the espresso shot. In many specialty coffee shops, there is this tendency to drink long black as a ristretto shot poured over hot water. You can also make it with two shots.  This kind of coffee comes with less acidity but more strength and flavor. 

Long Black vs Americano Comparison

So as you can see when you observe long black vs Americano the main difference is basically in how you prepare it which consequently makes the difference in strength and aroma. Here is the thing when you are making Americano you are diluting the coffee by adding hot water, whereas when you prepare long black you pour coffee in the cup with water. Usually, there is less water in the long black than an Americano. Additionally, long black retains the well-known crema of espresso and has less volume therefore more flavor. 

Americano Long Black
At the bottomEspresso Hot water
In the middle Hot water Espresso
CremaThinFull, beautiful crema

Making Process 

We already mentioned how to make both of these coffee types in general. Now we are going to give you more details about it. 

For Americano:

Make a 3 ounces cup of espresso. If you prefer you can make it stronger and also a double espresso shot. Preheat around  3 ounces of water and pour it in the cup with coffee. Many people prefer Americano black but if you like you can add milk or sugar per your taste. 

For Long Black: 

Here as you know the process is reversed. First, you preheat again around 3 ounces of water and pour in the cup you want to drink from. After that make a single or double espresso shot and pour in the cup with water. 


When we are talking about long black vs Americano taste there isn’t such a huge difference.  The main thing is related to crema which is way thicker in long black which consequently leads to fuller taste, which is more similar to an espresso shot.  Since the coffee is diluted when making Americano the taste resembles more the standard American drip coffee. However, these are only nuances and don’t make a difference that can significantly affect the choice. 

Caffeine Content 

Keep in mind that the ingredients used here are completely the same. What it means is that the caffeine content depends on the number of espresso shots you use. Additionally, the type of coffee might also affect the caffeine content.

How to Make Americano at Home 

Okay, so making an Americano at home doesn’t appear as quantum mechanics now, does it? No, it isn’t, but there are things that you need to know to make it exactly like the one your barista makes. What is the most important is to make the good espresso shot of course! Keep in mind though that even if you don’t make it at once the more you do it the better you will become.  Here is what you need.

  • Espresso machine – this can be an automatic machine or something like an Italian coffee maker.
  • Hot water 
  • Coffee mug 
  • Coffee ground or beans 
  • Grinder if you are using the beans
  • Scale to measure the beans

As we previously mentioned also, there isn’t much you need in terms of ingredients – just espresso and water.  The amount of water should be equivalent to the amount of espresso  – for example for 3 ounces of espresso you will put 3 ounces of water. Now many people are wondering about the temperature of the water. In general, we can say it is important that the water doesn’t boil – on average it is recommended that the temperature is between 90 and 94 degrees Celsius/ 194- 201 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Talking about espresso shots it is necessary to point out that one measures 20 -25 milliliters (a bit less than an ounce). You need about 7 grams of ground coffee for one shot which equates to about 4 teaspoons)

How to Make Long Black at Home 

Okay, so now again we come to the question of long black vs Americano. Since the two types are pretty similar so is the making process and you need the same equipment. Something to keep in mind when making it is that the equipment needs to be completely clean as it impacts the taste of the drink. What is crucial when you are making long black is the water temperature. In most coffee shops and bars, the water that comes from machines is too hot – about 95 degrees. This kind of heat will almost certainly make the coffee lose sweetness. Therefore, we recommend that you heat the water to around 75 degrees Celsius/167 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Crema is another important feature of long black coffee. A lot of people are attracted by the appearance of crema but actually, the taste is quite bitter. The best effect is received when you stir it and mix it with the rest of the espresso and water. This way you will get a well-balanced cup of coffee. 

More Coffee Options to Try 

After we established what are the differences between black long vs Americano we also want to share with you some other types of espresso beverages.

Lungo is a type of drink pretty similar to long black and Americano. The main difference is that when you are making lungo you are adding more water to the point that there is twice the regular amount. The taste is similar to espresso but less bitter. 

Flat White is very similar to the café latte. The principle is the same as with long black, except there is milk in it. The main difference comparing to a standard latte is that it is smaller and comes with less foam. 

Ristretto is most commonly drank in Italy. It is one shot of espresso. It goes fantastically with a little cake.


Finally, the mystery behind the difference between black long and Americano is uncovered. Now you only need to get the equipment and you are good to start preparing the kind of coffee that will make even your barista envious. What is your favorite type of coffee? Do you have some tips for preparing it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *