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

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on December 18th, 2022

A true black coffee enthusiast has probably already tried a cup of Americano and a cup of long black. They are similar as they are both espresso-based brews, with one differentiating characteristic: the component that is poured first.


Both caffeine variants are prepared with hot water and espresso. With Americano, the espresso is poured into the cup first before hot water is added, while with long black, it is the other way around.

cafe americano vs long black coffee

You might think that how these are produced doesn’t seem to create a difference, but you will be surprised how clear the distinction is once you try both. Also, filtering water and espresso through coffee grounds will not give you an Americano or a long black. 

Long black how-to

Preparing a cup of a long black is not the hardest thing to do. As pointed out, you must start pouring hot water with this variant. To help you make yourself some long black goodness, follow these steps:

  1. Have 4 ounces of water heated up to about 195 F.
  2. Pour the hot water into your cup.
  3. Gradually and carefully pour 2 ounces of espresso as close to the cup as possible.

If you correctly follow these, you will have a nice cup of coffee with an inviting layer of cop on the surface. 

Americano how-to

Americano, being the more popular of the two, should be mastered by any coffee enthusiast that enjoys black coffee at home. Here, we break down the steps to your lovely Cafe Americano:

  1. Have 6 ounces of water heated up to 195 F. Set aside.
  2. Gently pour in 2 ounces of espresso first.
  3. Pour the hot water on top of the espresso.

Take note that the ratio of hot water to coffee should be lower with Cafe Americano. A cup of an Americano is made with slightly more water content, even up to eight ounces. You may keep trying until you achieve your desirable ratio, but a ratio of 2:1 for a long black and 3:1 for an Americano is highly recommended. But, to ensure a safe caffeine experience, keep your cup of Joe below 12 ounces.

Where did the Americano come from?

The origin of the name, Caffè Americano, is the Italian counterpart for “American coffee.” However, there’s no clear information regarding the drink’s history.

Despite the uncertainty, it was said that Americans stationed in Italy back when the Second World War was taking place craved coffee. However, Italians then did not have the same coffee they used to drink back in the United States. For Americans, it was either a percolator or a drip coffee, while for Italians, it was always a good ol’ espresso. To cater to the American’s needs, the Italians found a way to serve a cup of coffee to the foreigners’ liking by serving a cup of coffee to dilute the espresso. And alas, they called this the Caffè Americano.

Whether this is its true story or not, the lack of history doesn’t affect our love for our American experience.

Now, which is better?

Americano vs. Long Black

Coffee is always based on personal preference. But if you ask me, it would be the long black in a heartbeat, primarily because of the crema on top, which I enjoy way too much. Crema provides a flavor like no other with a mouthfeel that lets me savor my cup of caffeine even more.

However, for those who are not the biggest fans of crema, an Americano is the better suit for you. 

Try both and judge for yourselves if you haven’t yet. It surely is an experience you should not skip!

FAQs

Which is stronger long black or Americano?

Long black coffee preserves coffee crema floating on top of the cup that many people love. It tends to have a stronger flavor and a slightly sweeter taste than an Americano. It’s important to recall making a long black coffee: first hot water, then espresso.

What is the difference between a long black and a short black?

Short black: A shot of espresso served in a demi-tasse cup. … Long black: an espresso shot in hot water. It’s very popular for fussy types to ask for a small jug of hot water on the side to water down their espresso, saving the barista’s headache.

Is long black strong?

Long black’s solid. If you want anything less, think black coffee or long black.

Is long black bitter?

Applying the espresso to the hot water retains the espresso crema. This gives the long black a bitter taste.

How many shots of espresso are in an Americano?

Two shots are normally used.

Can you have americano with milk?

It’s more latte than an americano if you prefer milk.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.