Ah, the Americano and long black – two classic espresso-based drinks that may appear identical to the untrained eye.

This is why I decided to put together this article so you can easily see all the differences between these two great coffee choices!

Quick Answer: What is the difference between Americano and long black?

The main difference between an Americano and a long black is that for an Americano, a shot of espresso is pulled first and then topped with hot water. On the other hand, a long black is prepared by adding an espresso shot to hot water – essentially brewing it backward.

Americano vs. Long Black: Get To Know All the Differences

I’ll compare the two drinks side-by-side to get a better idea of just how similar they are, let you know what sets them apart, and then help you decide which one is ultimately right for you.

Americano vs. long black, how do they differ?

The Americano and long black use the same ingredients, but the process of making these coffees changes the flavors.

Both drinks are made with espresso coffee and hot water, but there are some differences in the flavor profile.

Americano vs. long black comparison.

The long black has similar flavor notes to Americano but is slightly more robust. While the Americano usually tastes more like regular black coffee.

What is the difference in taste?

The Americano and long black coffee differ in taste because of how the water is added to your cup.

With the Americano, the water is poured straight into the cup with the espresso coffee inside.

This results in a smooth and balanced flavor profile as the hot water dilutes some of the intense bitterness often associated with espresso shots.

It creates a flavor that is comparable to coffee brewed with a pour over brewer like the Chemex.

Americano vs. long black.
Americano on the left. long black on the right.

On the other hand, the steps are reversed when making a long black. This method preserves more of the crema on top, resulting in a richer taste that remains bolder than an Americano.

You can compare the flavor with French press coffee, which has a stronger flavor because of the brewing technique.

Read along to find a more in-depth explanation of both espresso-based drinks:

What is an Americano?

An Americano is made by combining equal parts of espresso and hot water, resulting in a strong yet smooth drink.

You may be thinking, “Isn’t that just diluted espresso?” And while it may seem like that on the surface, there’s much more to this drink than meets the eye.

Americanos still packs quite a punch. The combination of espresso and hot water creates a unique flavor profile that balances out the intensity of pure espresso while maintaining its boldness.

A 1:2 ratio of espresso to hot water can also be used. This means that one shot of espresso is diluted with double the amount of hot water, resulting in a less intense beverage.

Americano coffee.

An Americano tastes similar to regular black coffee but with the robust notes that espresso has to offer.

It has a sweeter and laidback taste to it from the added hot water, creating an easygoing drink.

Americanos are my go-to cup of coffee to make in the morning because I like to enjoy the flavor of coffee longer instead of drinking espresso, which is finished in two slurps.

Brewing tip: If you want to learn how to make an Americano at home, you can check out this easy recipe.

What is a long black?

A long black is a shot of espresso extracted over hot water, creating a bold and rich base for the drink.

This method allows for the full potential of the espresso to be unlocked, resulting in a more intense and flavorful drink compared to other coffee drinks.

Because of how it’s poured, the espresso lays on top of the hot water, and its crema is kept intact.

The crema of espresso has a robust flavor, and this is where the best feature of the long black comes in.

Long black coffee.

If you prefer drinking strong coffee, just like I do, then you’ll love the long black.

It creates a stronger coffee because you’ll first drink the espresso, and when drinking further, you’ll get to the more diluted part of the drink.

A long black coffee uses the same 1:2 ratio of espresso to hot water as an Americano, or you could use equal parts.

The key to making a perfect long black lies in getting the proportions right – too much water will dilute the flavor, while too little can make it overly strong, so have fun playing with the ratios!

Recipe tip: If you want to learn how to make a long black at home, you can check out the full recipe here.

How much caffeine is in these coffees?

You might be wondering about the caffeine content in these drinks. Because both drinks use one espresso shot, they have 68 mg of caffeine. (source)

Depending on the coffee bar you go to, and how they prepare the Americano and long black, the amount of caffeine can change if they add an additional espresso shot.

Here’s a quick overview:

Espresso shots usedAmericanoLong black
One espresso shot68mg of caffeine68mg of caffeine
2 espresso shots136mg of caffeine136mg of caffeine

If you want a stronger coffee, you can also ask for one more espresso shot in your drink and make sure not to take too many espresso shots in a day.

Americano vs. long black, which is right for you?

Because these drinks use the same ingredients and are made in (almost) the same way, you might be wondering which is the better of the two.

If you haven’t yet decided which suits your flavor best, have a look below for my recommendation:

  • The Americano is perfect for you if you prefer a less-robust espresso-based drink that tastes great.
  • Go with a long black if you prefer the taste of espresso coffee but want to enjoy it for longer.
Brewing espresso shots.

Choosing between these drinks is tough, but it’s all up to the flavor profile you like in your coffee.

To get the best result, you should experiment – order both drinks and leave out milk or cream to get a stronger taste of coffee bean flavor without any creamy sweetness distracting from the palate!

This way, you can see if one drink suits your taste better than another. You may even find that they have different flavors, which you enjoy equally as much!

Related coffee comparison articles

Are you wondering how the Americano and long black compare to other coffees?

Great! Check out the articles below for more in-depth coffee comparisons:

And to compare more coffees, visit the coffee comparison hub!


I hope that you’ve learned some new things about the two popular coffee drinks.

I’ve talked about the differences between an Americano and a long black. Both espresso-based coffees are great to enjoy in the morning, but which do you prefer?

This article has given you all of the details on these two drinks, making your decision easy! If either one sounds like something you’d love to drink first thing each day, leave a comment below with which coffee you’re leaning toward.

Are you a fan of espresso-based coffees? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. If you have any other questions regarding coffee, you can also contact me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!

Coffee recipes to try

Picture of Jeffrey, Author at Your Dream Coffee

On my coffee blog you will find everything you need in order to start brewing coffee at home. Ranging from the basics; to the newest coffee recipes everybody talks about! You can learn more about me here.

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