Americano was a creation by American solders and geared toward American taste. Then from Down Under, in New Zealand and Australia, Long Black Coffee should be the equivalent. These two famous drinks have the same components: espresso and water. But how it is made, served, and the flavor profile can be different on some levels. This post will show you all the differences between Long Black Coffee and Americano.
What is long black coffee?
Long black coffee is a common espresso drink in Australia and New Zealand. It is made from pouring two shots of espresso over hot water. People mostly enjoy it served hot, especially during the chilly winter months, but it can be served cold as well.
In the past, Australian mainly drinks tea. People believe that this coffee is a creation by Italian who moved to the country. It has a bold flavor but lighter than an espresso. The drinks are well-received by Australian and also become a typical drink in a neighboring country, New Zealand.
We should not confuse long black coffee with a long espresso. A long espresso is made with more hot water than a regular espresso, sometimes double the amount. That results in a coffee that has a less sweet, less intense, but more bitter taste. Most of the bitterness comes from the extended extraction period, where bitterness-causing components have a chance to dissolve into the coffee.
What is Americano?
Americano is a short form of caffè Americano which mean American Coffee. It is invented by American Soldiers in Italy during World War II to replicate the familiar taste of their coffee back home in America. It is made by adding hot water over to a cup of espresso coffee.
The strength of Americano depend on the number of espresso shot used as well as amount of hot water added.
Today Americano is available widely most of coffee chains around the world as well as local coffee shop with espresso machine.
Long Black vs Americano: what are the main differences?
Americano and long black coffee both have two main components: espresso and water. It can be quite hard to distinguish them. But we can break down their differences based on the way it is made, the taste and caffeine content.
The way it is made
Americano is generally made by pouring hot water over one or more shots of espresso. Long black coffee, on the other hand, is made the opposite way by pouring one of more shots of espresso over hot water. Most barista uses two shots of espresso or double ristretto. A bit more care is needed when making it not to destroy the coffee crema layer. A well-made cup of long black coffee with have a nice brown layer of crema on top which is the key factor to distinguish these two coffee by visual look.
The number of espresso shots and hot water varies from place to place. But it is common to see they use more hot water in an Americano compared with a cup of long black. The more water use, the more diluted the coffee will be.
The critical component in both coffee is the espresso. Different from making brewed coffee, in order to make espresso, you need an espresso machine. Nowadays, there are various types of espresso machine, from a traditional espresso machine, stove-top espresso maker, or modern espresso machine. The quality of the coffee beans or ground coffee will affect the taste of the espresso. Therefore, it affects the taste of Americano and a long black since espresso is its main element.
The taste of Long Black vs Americano
Long black coffee retains the coffee crema, floating on top of each cup that so many people enjoy. It tends to have a stronger flavor and slightly sweeter taste compared with an Americano.
It is crucial to remember the order of making a long black coffee: hot water first, then espresso. That way you would not lose the beautiful crema on top, or end up with a cup of Americano when what you want is long black coffee.
The taste of coffee depends on the coffee beans, the roasting levels (light roast, medium roast or dark roast) and brewing process. For coffee like Americano and long black, the ratio of espresso versus water will also alter the taste.
Caffeine content in Long Black vs Americano is also one of the most popular questions among coffee drinkers. And here is your answer.
As both coffee are made with espresso shot and hot water. Thus the difference in caffeine content is based on number of espresso shot. As for that, it changes from brand to brand. Some coffee shops have their small 6-8oz cup of Americano made with 1 shot of espresso while the same size cup of Long Black made with 2 shots. Other coffee shop might treat these 2 coffee drinks equally by using the same number of shots for the same size.
Furthermore, the type of coffee beans use might also play an important part. Robusta beans will contain more caffeine than Arabica beans. However since they are both black coffee thus they are usually brewed with the same coffee beans.
Long Black vs Americano: What should you choose?
Now we have gone through what is long black coffee and what is Americano as well as their main differences, so which one is better for you.
The answer depend on you preferences. Although they are made in different way, they are both espresso-based black coffee, thus there is NOT much different in taste. Since long black coffee is usually made with less water, thus if you prefer stronger coffee, go for long black, if not you should go for Americano.
The best way to know which one is better for you is to try both, then decide yourself base on your personal preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you order long black at Starbuck?
Starbuck in Australia and New Zealand does have long black coffee on their menu. In North American, since it is not popular, thus it is not available on their menu. However, please do not worry, you can ask their barista (experienced barista should know about it) , they might know how to make it and you will be charged as Americano coffee.
If they barista has no idea about it, then you can just simply order double espresso coffee with a cup of hot water on side. So you can just add espresso on top of your hot water and make it by yourself.
What can you add to Long black and Americano?
As both long black and Americano are espresso- based black coffee, you can add milk and sweeten it with sugar. Some people like their black coffee with a dash of cream instead of regular milk. You can also add honey instead of sugar if you want your coffee a bit healthier.
Can you make Long black and Americano with ristretto coffee?
Yes, you can use ristretto shot to replace your normal espresso shot. It will not make your coffee taste stronger, but it will have less bitter taste and more pleasant flavor as it is extracted in less amount of time compare to normal espresso shot.
How can you make your long black or Americano stronger?
If you want to make your coffee taste stronger, simply just add extra espresso shot to your coffee. Reducing the amount of hot water in your coffee is also another solution.
You can also checkout this list of espresso based drinks which are all espresso black coffee with different strength levels.
If you are a fan of Starbucks and prefer strong coffee, you will love to read this articles about strongest coffee at Starbuck
Can you make long black or Americano at home?
Yes, you can easily to make these two espresso drinks at home as long as you have the espresso makers. Nowadays, you can own a small espresso maker for less than $500 and still make great coffee. You can checkout my review on top 3 espresso makers for home use here.