What is a Long Black?

Long Black

A Long Black is an espresso-based coffee with added hot water, similar to the more well known Americano. It is slightly stronger than an Americano and generally has a bit of Crema i.e. coffee froth on top. To make a Long Black, the order in which the espresso and hot water are added to the cup is important, as it helps to preserve the Crema. We’ll detail the complete making process further down below.

So yes, the term refers to coffee. Although we don’t believe black holes are long they are more of a spherical shape that may or may not transport you to another galaxy. Most likely not, but we can dream of a land filled with unicorns, coffee-filled swimming pools and cotton candy clouds right?

But you’re here to learn more about coffee, so let’s get into it.

Where Does it Come From?

This infamous coffee is more commonly served in Australia and New Zealand, some say it’s an upside-down Americano. Which in essence it is, so fittingly from down under. 

As far as the history of this drink goes the story behind the coffee is a little murky. Some attribute this drink to the Italians in Australia who helped to perfect the Americano. 

The Americano itself is rumoured to originate from American soldiers stationed in Italy during World War II who demanded a coffee that tastes more like their own drip coffee back home. 

It appears that this was then further perfected in Australia, a country that takes their coffee very seriously. The first evidence of this type of coffee in Australia is seemingly from back in 1981.

What is the Difference Between an Americano and a Long Black?

Both the Americano and the Long Black consists of espresso and hot water. The latter is slightly stronger than an Americano as it is usually made with a double shot of espresso as standard. Australians and New Zealanders like their coffee strong. The Americans seem to have an affinity for milder tasting coffee.

The biggest difference between the two types of coffee is the order which the water is added to the espresso. Yes, this is a big deal in the coffee world. It might sound trivial to some, but it’s definitely a thing.

When Americanos are made the water is added to the espresso. On the other hand, Long Blacks are made the opposite way. The espresso is added to the water, to preserve the Crema.

What is Crema?

Crema is where coffee magic starts. The Crema is the caramel coloured froth/foam that sits on top of the perfect espresso. 

It can only be created if pressure is used during the making process. The easiest way to create Crema is by using an electric espresso machine. Although a little harder, a Moka Pot or an Aeropress should work as well if you follow the instructions closely.

A nice layer of Crema indicates great quality coffee and a bit of skill from the barista. 

As we said earlier, when it comes to a making a Long Black the espresso is poured into the water to preserve the precious Crema. See, we told you it’s a thing.


How to Make a Long Black

Making this type of coffee is a relatively easy task if you have the right tools for the job of course. It all starts with a good quality espresso. 

As mentioned, to make a good quality espresso that forms a nice layer of Crema you’ll need an electric espresso machine, a Moka Pot or an Aeropress. 

  1. Add a roughly 100ml of hot water not boiling water (as you’ll burn your tongue) into a cup
  2. Then gently pour a double espresso into the cup of water
  3. And bob’s your uncle, you’re good to go

What is the Difference between Short Black and Long Black?

For some, the term Short Black and Long Black might seem oddly racist, but I can assure you it’s not, it’s just coffee. A Short Black is another drink term that originates from the land down under.

You may have noticed that similar to the Americans our friends from Australia enjoy making up their own version of English – guess that’s what happens when you send a bunch of people to an island and leave them alone for too long. Things start to get a little weird… 

We love weird in all fairness, variety is the spice of life!

The Short Black is no exception to the evolution of the English language in another part of the world. Just as the Australians like to call ladies Sheilas, they enjoy calling espressos Short Blacks. It’s as simple as that. 

A Short Black is an espresso and a Long Black is an espresso with hot water, poured to preserve the Crema.


Can you Order a Long Black with Milk?

Of course, you can, just ask for a Long Black with a dash of milk. Or a Long Black with a dash for short. 

Is a Long Black Healthy?

Along with many other benefits, Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants. It also contains Vitamin B2, B3, B5, Manganese, potassium and magnesium. As long as you drink a Long Black without sugar or sweetener it can generally be considered a healthy drink.

Is a Long Black Made with Drip Coffee or Espresso?

A Long Black is an espresso-based coffee and is therefore made with a double espresso added to hot water.

Which Country Does a Long Black Originate From?

It’s believed that the Long Black originated from Australia and New Zealand.

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