What is a Long Black?

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In the diverse landscape of coffee beverages, the long black stands out as a bold, full-flavoured espresso-based drink that has captured the hearts of coffee enthusiasts across Australia and beyond.

The long black offers an alternative to the Americano while maintaining the rich intensity of espresso.

In this Coffee Expert guide, we’ll delve into the origins, characteristics, and variations of the long black, helping you better understand and appreciate this invigorating coffee creation.

The Origins of the Long Black

Australia’s Answer to the Americano

The long black has its roots in Australia, where it emerged as a popular alternative to the Americano. The long black’s origin can be traced back to the mid-20th century when Italian immigrants brought their love for espresso to Australia.

Global Popularity of the Long Black

Over the past few decades, the long black has gained popularity around the world, particularly among those who appreciate the bold and full-bodied flavour of espresso without the addition of milk.

The Components of a Long Black


The foundation of a long black is a double shot of espresso, which provides the intense coffee flavour and aroma that characterises the beverage.

Hot Water

Hot water is the secondary component of a long black, which dilutes the espresso to create a more approachable and sippable drink. The water should be heated to around 93°C (200°F) to ensure the ideal extraction and flavour profile.

How to Make a Long Black

1. Prepare the Hot Water

Begin by heating water to approximately 93°C (200°F) and filling a 180-240ml (6-8 oz) cup about two-thirds full.

2. Pull Your Espresso Shots

Pull a double shot of espresso using freshly ground coffee beans. Aim for a rich and balanced extraction, as the espresso will provide the core coffee flavour in your long black.

3. Pour the Espresso over the Hot Water

Carefully pour the double espresso shot over the hot water in the cup, allowing the two components to mix gently.

This process helps to preserve the crema, the golden layer of foam that forms on top of the espresso.

Enjoying and Pairing Your Long Black

Sipping and Savouring a Long Black

When enjoying a long black, take small sips to appreciate the bold, full-bodied flavour of the espresso, balanced by the hot water. Notice the rich coffee aroma and the smooth, lingering aftertaste.

Pairing Suggestions for the Long Black

A long black pairs well with a variety of sweet or savoury treats, such as pastries, biscuits, or a slice of banana bread. Experiment with different pairings to find the perfect accompaniment to your long black.

Variations of the Long Black

Adjusting Strength and Size

The long black can be customized to suit personal preferences for strength and size. You may adjust the amount of hot water or the number of espresso shots to create your ideal long black experience.

Alternative Long Black Brewing Methods

While the long black is traditionally made with espresso, alternative brewing methods such as Aeropress, Moka pot, or French press can also be used to create a similar coffee experience. Keep in mind that the flavour profile and intensity may vary depending on the brewing method used.

The Long Black in Modern Coffee Culture vs. Other Espresso-Based Drinks

The long black is distinct from other espresso-based drinks, such as the Americano, latte, flat white, and cappuccino.

The primary difference between the long black and the Americano lies in their preparation methods: the long black is made by pouring espresso over hot water, while the Americano is created by adding hot water to espresso. This difference in preparation affects the presence and quality of the crema.

The latte and cappuccino, on the other hand, incorporate steamed milk and milk froth, offering a creamier and less intense coffee experience compared to the long black.

Our Conclusion on the Long Black

The long black is a bold and invigorating coffee creation that showcases the rich intensity of espresso in a more approachable and sippable format.

By understanding the origins, components, and variations of the long black, you can better appreciate this delightful beverage and confidently order or create it at home.

Whether you’re a seasoned espresso aficionado or a newcomer to the coffee scene, the long black offers a full-flavoured and aromatic experience that is sure to awaken your senses and energize your day.