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What is a long black coffee?

A long black coffee is the opposite of the known Americano. It’s a coffee where hot water is added to a cup and then the Espresso afterward. This gives a strong flavor and aroma with a delicious crema on top.

We all love our creamy Cappuccino and Latte. But what about the black-coffee-lovers out there? They’re more familiar with their drip coffee and maybe Americano. But have they heard about a long black coffee and its history? Let’s find out what a long black coffee actually is and if it’s any different from its variant, the Americano.

What is a long black?

A long black coffee is the opposite of an Americano coffee. It’s made by pouring a shot of Espresso into hot (but not boiling) water of around 158°F / 70°C. Meanwhile, in an Americano you add Espresso first and fill the rest with hot water. This gives the Long Black a surprisingly more robust flavor and aroma than its variant, the Americano. This is due to the crema created by pouring in the Espresso last.

The drink is trendy in Australia & New Zealand and is stronger because you don’t add as much water to the Long Black. In a Long Black you will add around 3.3 – 4 fl oz / 100 – 120 ml of hot water. While in an Americano there will be a lot more water.

Typically a long black has a lot less water which makes the Espresso more concentrated, and so it gives you a stronger drink. Don’t forget that since you add the Espresso after the water, you will end up with more crema and thus more flavor and aroma too.

Long Black

The history of the long black

The long black has a bit of the same history as the Americano, but not quite.

Back in the day, Italians only knew their Espresso and Cappuccino. So when black-coffee-loving Americans visited Italy they would ask for a large cup of black coffee. Italian baristas found this strange and out of place since the only black coffee they knew was their small Espresso. After a while in order to please the American tourists, they adapted their espressos and made a large (or long) cup of black coffee.

Back then the Americans only knew about their good old filter-style drip coffee. But the strength of the Italians’ espresso was too much for them. That’s when the Italian barista adapted and reduced the strength of the coffee by drawing one shot of espresso into a cappuccino cup that was pre-filled with hot water.

The long black was born and the rest is history.

How to make a long black coffee?

Making a long black coffee is not hard. It will give you a beautiful black coffee with a strong aroma and flavor. But since this is an Espresso-based drink, you do need an espresso machine.

Here’s how we do it.

  • Begin by pouring hot water of around 158°F / 70°C in your 4 – 6 ounces cup of your choice.
  • Once the water is poured, extract the espresso shot on top of it.
  • Enjoy! 

The bottom line

The long black is a black coffee and looks like the americano. But the difference here is in the preparation. A long black is made by filling a cup with hot water and adding a shot of espresso afterward. This gives a strong flavor and aroma with a beautiful crema on top. The americano does not have any crema.

It’s a popular drink in Australia & New Zealand and was found when American tourists wanted a large cup of black coffee in Italy. The normal espresso they served was too strong for the Americans so the Italian baristas ended up using a cappuccino cup with hot water and adding a shot of espresso to it afterward.

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