Long Black vs. Americano: What’s the Difference?

Image of Long black on one side vs. Americano on the other side

As a coffee lover, you may find yourself exploring the vast world of espresso-based specialty drinks. Two commonly confused orders are the Long Black and the Americano. Both of these beverages use espresso and hot water, but they differ in taste, strength, and preparation.

The Americano is a coffee drink made with espresso and hot water, typically in a 1:1 ratio. On the other hand, the Long Black is also made with espresso but has a higher water-to-espresso ratio, often 1:2, and can also be made using a ristretto shot instead of a standard espresso shot.

The way these drinks are prepared also affects their taste and strength, making the choice between them a matter of personal preference.

In this article, we’ll break down the similarities and differences so you’re never confused when you have to order one in a coffee shop.

Key Takeaways

  • Americanos and Long Blacks are both made with freshly brewed espresso and hot water but differ in their ratios and preparation methods.
  • Long Blacks may use ristretto shots instead of standard espresso shots, resulting in a stronger taste.
  • Personal taste and strength preferences play a significant role in choosing between Americanos and Long Blacks.

Brief Overview of the Americano

2 glasses of iced americano

An Americano is a popular coffee drink that consists of espresso and hot water. To make it, you simply need to add one or two shots of espresso to a cup and then pour hot water on top, creating a delicious and satisfying beverage. It’s a great option if you’re a fan of strong, black coffee, but you want something a bit more intense than a regular drip coffee.

Flavor Profile of an Americano

The flavor profile of an Americano is mainly characterized by the taste of the espresso used to make it. The addition of hot water dilutes the espresso slightly, making the drink less intense and allowing for a smoother, more balanced taste. The resulting flavor is rich and bold, with a hint of bitterness, which is typical for black coffee.

In an Americano, the crema, which is the creamy layer of foam that forms on top of espresso, is preserved, adding a delightful, velvety texture to the drink. The crema also contributes to the overall taste, providing a subtle nuttiness and sweetness that coffee lovers appreciate.

When enjoying an Americano, you’ll notice that the taste is significantly different from other coffee drinks made with milk, such as lattes or cappuccinos. In these beverages, the creaminess of the milk softens the bitterness of the coffee, creating a different flavor profile.

If you’re in the mood for a strong, black coffee, consider ordering an Americano. Its rich flavor and satisfying texture make it a perfect choice for those who appreciate the true taste of coffee.

Brief Overview of the Long Black Coffee

Aerial view of long black coffee

A Long Black is a popular coffee drink originating from Australia and New Zealand. When you want to make a Long Black, you start by pouring hot water into your cup and then adding espresso on top. This process helps to maintain the richness of the espresso by keeping the crema intact. The crema, a golden layer of froth, adds to the velvety texture and flavor of your coffee.

Flavor Profile of a Long Black

The Long Black boasts a strong, robust taste compared to other coffee beverages, so if you’re looking for an intense coffee experience, this might be the ideal choice for you. In making a Long Black, you would typically use either a double shot of espresso or ristretto.

Ristretto is a very short shot of espresso coffee. It’s made with the same amount of coffee grounds as espresso but extracted with about half the amount of water. The result is a more concentrated and often more flavorful shot compared to a regular espresso. When used to make a Long Black, the flavor is more concentrated and potent. This results in a fuller-bodied coffee that retains its original aroma and flavor.

When sipping a Long Black, you’ll notice that it has a darker color and a rich crema on top. The crema contributes to the unique taste, as it holds boldness and bitterness from the espresso. Overall, the Long Black presents an enjoyable balance of flavors, making it a popular choice among coffee enthusiasts who prefer the taste of strong coffee.

Long Black vs Americano: Similarities

A cup of coffee

You might be wondering what the similarities are between a Long Black and an Americano, two popular coffee drinks. Well, we’re here to enlighten you with the key common traits of these beloved beverages.


First and foremost, let’s talk about the main ingredients: both Long Black and Americano are composed of espresso and hot water. So, when it comes down to it, the essence of these drinks is pretty similar. Both are designed to give you that rich, bold coffee flavor without the addition of milk, a key distinction from drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.

Brewing Process

As simple as the ingredients and brewing process is, it doesn’t mean you can make either of these beverages at home by pouring water and espresso through your coffee filter. At best, your attempt will create something that vaguely resembles coffee but is not quite one.

In terms of the brewing process, the espresso shot is the star of the show for both of these drinks. To make a delightful cup of Long Black or Americano, a quality espresso shot is essential.

This means using fresh espresso beans, ensuring your espresso machine is finely tuned, and maintaining consistency in tamping and pulling the shot – all to give you that perfect but distinct coffee taste.


Now, let’s discuss the caffeine kick you’ll get from these drinks. Since Long Black and Americano both contain espresso, you can anticipate a similar caffeine strength. Generally, a double shot of espresso is used for each drink, so whether you’re choosing a Long Black or an Americano, you know you’ll get that energy boost you’re after.


Visually, the finished Long Black and Americano look fairly alike, with both sporting deep brown colors complemented by a layer of crema on top. In a well-prepared drink, this crema signals that the espresso is on point and that the brewing process was executed correctly.

Long Black vs Americano: Differences

Diffences between long black and americano

Now, let’s dive into the differences between these two popular espresso-based beverages and see what sets them apart.


First, let’s talk about how they’re made. The key difference between Long Black and Americano lies in the order of pouring. For Long Black, you pour hot water into the cup and then add the espresso on top.

On the other hand, when making an Americano, you prepare the espresso first and then pour hot water over it. This simple distinction has significant effects on the way the crema forms and flavor profile.

Flavor Profiles

Speaking of flavor profiles, you might be wondering which drink has a stronger taste. It turns out that the Long Black is generally more robust than the Americano due to the smaller serving size and concentration of coffee. The Americano, being prepared with more water, has a smoother and more diluted taste.


Now, let’s talk about the crema – that beautiful golden layer on top of your espresso-based drink. In case you didn’t know, the crema plays a significant role in the flavor and aroma of the drink. When you pour the espresso over the water in a Long Black, it helps preserve the crema, making the drink more aromatic and flavorful.

Which is Stronger Americano or Long Black?

A cup of Americano

So, you’re a coffee connoisseur and want to know the difference in strength between an Americano and a Long Black? You’ve come to the right place! Let’s dive into the details.

First, it’s important to understand the preparation process for both drinks. An Americano is made by adding hot water to espresso, diluting it, and giving it a taste similar to regular brewed coffee. On the other hand, a Long Black is made by pouring espresso over hot water, which retains the strength and fullness of the espresso.

When it comes to caffeine content, things might get a bit surprising for you. Despite the stronger flavor of a Long Black, it actually has the same caffeine levels as a double shot in an Americano. However, if you make your Americano with one shot of espresso, obviously, the caffeine levels would be lower.

To sum it up, if you’re seeking a stronger taste in your coffee, the Long Black might be the way to go. However, if you prefer more caffeine and a milder flavor, you might find the Americano more to your liking. Regardless of your choice, both options offer an enjoyable espresso experience for coffee lovers like you.

A chart comparing the flavor profile of long black and americano
Chart comparing flavor profile of long black vs. Americano

Americano vs. Long Black, which is right for you?

A cup of coffee on an outdoor table

Ultimately, the decision between an Americano and a Long Black boils down to your personal taste preferences.

Although they’re both made with the same ingredients and have similar caffeine content, the different brewing processes involved make Long Black coffee have a more intense flavor. On the other hand, an Americano is more mellow.

Also, as it turns out, an Americano may sometimes be served with milk or cream on the side, while a Long Black typically does not include any dairy. So, if you enjoy a touch of creaminess in your coffee, an Americano might be a better fit for you.

Give both of these delicious espresso-based drinks a try and see which one is the perfect match for your coffee cravings! However, you need to consider these subtle differences when choosing between an Americano and a Long Black.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is a long black different from a short black?

A long black and a short black are both espresso-based coffee drinks, but they have some differences. A long black is made by pouring a double espresso shot over hot water, resulting in a strong, bold flavor with a lighter caffeine taste than pure espresso. On the other hand, a short black is simply a single shot of espresso with no added water, making it more concentrated and intense in both flavor and caffeine content.

What is the ideal ratio for a long black coffee?

The ideal ratio for a long black coffee is 1:4. This means that you’ll want to mix 1.5 ounces of espresso (a double shot) with 6 ounces of hot water. This ratio helps to achieve the perfect balance of robust espresso flavor and smoothness while still preserving the crema that contributes to the complexity and overall taste of the drink.

Is the Starbucks long black similar to an Americano?

Yes, the Starbucks long black is similar to an Americano in that both drinks involve adding hot water to a shot of espresso. However, there might be slight variations in taste and presentation between the two, depending on the specific coffee blend and preparation techniques used by Starbucks or other coffee shops.

Can you explain the difference between a Lungo and an Americano?

A Lungo and an Americano are both espresso-based drinks, but they differ in how they are prepared. A Lungo is made by extracting more water through the coffee grounds during the espresso brewing process, resulting in a larger volume of coffee with a milder flavor than a standard espresso shot. In contrast, an Americano is created by adding hot water to a shot of espresso, diluting the coffee and producing a longer drink with a taste profile closer to drip coffee.

Veronica McCoy

Veronica McCoy

Hi there, I’m Veronica a caffeine addict and coffee lover. Coffee has always been more than just a drink to me; it’s a journey of flavors, stories, and traditions. This blog is where I share my appreciation for the subtleties of different brews and the nuances of coffee-making. Through careful observation and a genuine interest, I delve into the details that make each cup unique. Whether you’re a seasoned coffee lover or just starting to explore, I hope my insights offer a fresh perspective. Thanks for stopping by.

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