What Is a Long Black Coffee?

What is a long black coffee? A Long Black Coffee is an espresso-based coffee drink that is both rich and aromatic. Unlike most coffee drinks, a long black retains the crema and is less voluminous, delivering a more concentrated coffee flavor. Traditionally served in a small cup or glass, this coffee variant is quite popular among coffee connoisseurs who prefer a strong and flavorful coffee experience.

Origin and History of Long Black Coffee

Interestingly, the long black coffee has its roots not in Italy, the birthplace of espresso, but in Australia and New Zealand. It emerged during the mid-20th century as the local coffee culture evolved to cater to patrons seeking the rich flavors of espresso without the intensity. Unlike the Americano, which was initially created in Italy for American soldiers during World War II, the long black coffee was crafted for a palate that appreciated stronger coffee notes.

What Is a Long Black Coffee?

The name ‘Long Black’ refers to the lengthening of the shot of espresso with hot water while preserving the crema on top. Over time, the long black coffee gained recognition and popularity, not just in Australia and New Zealand, but around the world. Today, you can find it being served in coffee shops across continents, making it a global coffee favorite. More about its fascinating history can be explored here.

The name ‘Long Black’ refers to the lengthening of the shot of espresso with hot water while preserving the crema on top.

The Composition of a Long Black Coffee

Creating a long black coffee involves just two core ingredients: espresso and hot water. However, the magic lies in the preparation and ratio. A long black is typically prepared by pouring a double shot of espresso or ristretto over hot water.

As for the ratio, a classic long black coffee consists of 1/3 espresso to 2/3 hot water. But it can vary depending on the personal taste and preferences. This specific ratio is what sets it apart from its coffee cousin, the Americano. The trick is to ensure that the hot water does not overpower the espresso, keeping the strong flavors intact.

1. Pour hot water into a cup, filling it to about 2/3 full.
2. Brew a double shot of espresso.
3. Pour the espresso slowly over the hot water.

It’s crucial to remember that while making a long black coffee, the water should be poured first into the cup followed by the espresso. This process helps preserve the crema on top, resulting in a richer, full-bodied flavor.

long black coffee

Brewing a Perfect Long Black Coffee

Creating an impeccable long black coffee is both an art and a science. The right balance between the espresso and hot water is crucial to achieving its unique flavor. Below is a step-by-step guide on how you can brew a perfect long black coffee.

1. Start by pre-warming your coffee cup with hot water.
2. Empty the pre-warmed cup and then fill it with hot water (not boiling) to about two-thirds full.
3. Extract a double shot of espresso using your espresso machine.
4. Gently pour the espresso into the cup of hot water.
5. Enjoy your perfect cup of long black coffee!

The equipment needed for brewing a long black coffee primarily includes an espresso machine and a coffee grinder. To extract the most flavor from your coffee beans, it’s crucial to grind them just before brewing. More detailed guidelines for brewing can be found here.

Difference between Americano and Long Black Coffee

While both the Americano and long black coffee are espresso-based drinks diluted with hot water, they aren’t the same. The distinction lies in their beans, roast, preparation, and flavor.

In terms of beans and roast, there’s a variety that can be used for both, but it’s typically a medium to dark roast that’s preferred for a long black coffee, which contributes to its stronger flavor profile.

The major difference lies in their preparation. An Americano is made by adding hot water to an espresso shot, while a long black involves pouring espresso over hot water. This difference in preparation influences the flavor, strength, and crema of the drink.

The Americano tends to have a flavor closer to a traditional drip coffee, while a long black coffee preserves the espresso’s strength, giving it a bolder, more robust taste. Also, the order of preparation in a long black helps retain the espresso’s crema, offering a more authentic espresso experience.

Why Choose Long Black Coffee?

There are numerous reasons to opt for a cup of long black coffee. One of the foremost is its unique flavor profile. Offering a delightful balance between the richness of espresso and the smoothness of hot water, it creates a beverage that is both potent and flavorful, perfect for those who appreciate a strong yet nuanced coffee experience.

Another compelling reason to choose long black coffee is the potential health benefits associated with its consumption. Rich in antioxidants, it can contribute to a healthy heart and may lower the risk of certain types of cancers. Additionally, the relatively low-calorie count of a long black coffee makes it an excellent choice for individuals mindful of their dietary intake. Read more about these benefits here.

To sum up, a long black coffee is a unique, robust coffee variant, cherished by many for its rich flavor and potential health benefits. Its distinct preparation technique sets it apart from other coffee drinks, offering a delectable espresso experience in every sip.


Is long black coffee strong?

Yes, it is generally stronger than other types of coffee due to the higher ratio of espresso.

Can long black coffee be made with regular coffee?

Technically, you could try to create something similar, but it wouldn’t truly be a long black coffee without the use of espresso.

How does long black coffee differ from other coffee types?

A long black’s key distinction is its preparation method and ratio of espresso to hot water, leading to a stronger flavor and richer crema.

What’s the caffeine content of long black coffee?

This can vary depending on the beans and extraction process, but a typical long black has approximately 120 mg of caffeine.

Is long black coffee suitable for people who are calorie-conscious?

Yes, long black coffee is low in calories, making it suitable for those watching their calorie intake.

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