They both have an espresso shot mixed with water so aren’t they the same?
If you mix the same two ingredients, you get the same result – right? Well, no not really. Especially when if comes to making a Long Black vs an Americano.
Both these drink are made by combining espresso and hot water, but they are prepared in different ways and so product different brews.
- A Long Black is made by adding an espresso shot to hot water
- An Americano is made by adding hot water to an espresso shot
They would appear to be the same. But they aren’t. When you pour hot water oven an espresso you disrupt/destroy the crema (the delicious oily foam on the top). When you pour espresso onto a hot water, you can preserve the crema. When making a Long Black I prefer to present the cup with the water up to the espresso nozzle to prevent splashing of the crema. So unlike an Americano, extra care is needed when crafting a Long Back.
I think they really do have a different taste and offer a different experience, and I find I tend to savour a Long Black just that little bit more…
Trying at home
An Americano is somewhat easier to make I think, because a Long Black needs care (and passion!). In either case, use 4-5oz of water and a single or double espresso shot. Try making both and you’ll hopefully taste the difference. Don’t use just-boiled water though; let the water cool otherwise you will taint the flavour anyway.
Are you interested in trying coffee recipes at home, but maybe don’t have a suitable machine?
You’ll ideally need a machine like these espresso machines.
And finally, the Lungo
A Lungo to many is like a Long Black (often you get a Lungo when you ask for a Long Black in cafes). But this is different again; a Lungo being more bitter. See our Lungo article here.