Americano vs Long Black. The differences

This article will interest you if you want information about the Americano and Long Black. We will see what these beverages are, how they are prepared, if they are the same or if there is any difference between them. In addition, we will compare them with filtered coffee to better understand their characteristics.

Brief history of the Americano

It is said that the Americano came from Italy at the time of the Second World War. It seems that the US soldiers (Americans) established in the area found it difficult to get used to the intensity of the espressos offered to them by the Italians, given that, up to that moment, only filter coffee was known and drunk in the United States.

Thus, the “American soldiers” began to ask the Italian baristas to dilute their espressos a little. And what they did was to serve them with a bit of hot water on the side so that they could add it to their liking.

From this, the Italians gave the name “Americano” to this preparation, and later this name was adopted in all parts of the world. How true is this story? We do not know, but it has been maintained over time.

What is an Americano?

Americano coffee is nothing more than an espresso diluted in hot water. The proportions of this drink are not very clear; nowadays, they are prepared in different volumes (generally quite large). According to tradition, it is prepared by extracting the espresso and then adding hot water.

By adding hot water to an espresso, we obtain an Americano
By adding hot water to an espresso, we obtain an Americano

Differences between an Americano and a Long Black

In essence, they are practically the same, but the Long Black is a recipe that emerged in Australia and differed from the Americano one in the way it is prepared.

The Australians usually use a cup of cappuccino that ranges from 250 to 180 ml, to which 100 to 120 ml of hot water is added. On top, a double ristretto or double espresso is served.

By brewing a double espresso over hot water, we obtain a Long Black
By brewing a double espresso over hot water, we obtain a Long Black

Preparing it in this order; first, the water and then the coffee on top, keep the espresso cream intact. This is ideal for serving in coffee shops, as it makes the beverage look much more attractive. The aromas are also trapped in this crema, making the coffee more aromatic.

Difference between an Americano and a regular black coffee

The difference lies in the way the coffee is prepared. We will compare a preparation made with an espresso machine with a filtering method. Interestingly, in the United States, if you ask for a black coffee, you get a filtered coffee, but in Italy, if you ask for a black coffee, you get an espresso.

The same coffee bean prepared with an espresso machine and a filter machine will give different results.

  • An espresso machine has seconds of extraction, a lot of pressure, and a fine grind.
  • In filtered methods, we have several minutes of extraction, with no more pressure than gravity and a much coarser grind.

The truth is that the preparations between one machine and the other are quite different. Those obtained from an espresso machine tend to have a heavier body and greater intensity than those from the filtered method.

This is one of the reasons we could choose a Long Black over a filtered coffee because it will still have a more intense flavor despite adding water to the espresso. In any case, most coffee shops do not serve filtered coffees and only focus on drinks made with an espresso machine.

How to prepare a good Americano or Long Black

  1. Obviously, and as we always repeat, the most important thing is to use coffee of excellent quality. By not mixing the coffee in the preparation, we will feel every one of its flavors intact.
  2. Also, having the espresso machine well calibrated is essential, with a good recipe for the type of coffee you use to develop its full potential and be delicious.
  3. The hot water we awe will also be of excellent quality, preferably bottled water.
  4. The temperature for the preparation should not be too hot; around 158 degrees Fahrenheit would be ideal.
  5. If you can heat the water in a separate kettle, the result will taste better than if you use the water directly from the espresso machine. Especially if you are making it at home where the boiler of your machine does not have as much movement as in a coffee shop.
Written by Pablo Barrantes Nevado
I am Pablo Barrantes, a coffee lover. I decided to start this website to solve all the doubts that arise every day when preparing our favorite drink: coffee. I am an industrial engineer by profession, but I have worked in coffee shops for many years, where I have learned all the secrets about coffee machines and coffee. My passion for coffee has led me to investigate and study beyond the obvious, and thanks to this, I can offer solutions and give news about coffee and coffee makers. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I research, document and write here.

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