Americano vs Long Black

Photo of an americano coffee and a long black coffee side by side. Americano vs Long Black.

Feeling confused about the seemingly identical Americano vs Long Black regarding the taste and ordering process? Here are the differences you need to know!

Their descriptions are almost identical if you compare an Americano directly with a Long Black. Both of these drinks feature either a single or a double espresso and hot water.

It’s called an Americano if the water is poured on top of the espresso in the cup, and it’s called a Long Black if the espresso is poured into the cup after the water is added. There is a difference in the flavor of the two, mainly because a Long Black has an espresso extraction process of 45 seconds to 60 seconds compared to 25 to 35 seconds for an Americano.

There’s more to know about the differences between these commonly confused drinks below!

What is an Americano?

An Americano is a strong, black coffee that blends a single or double shot of espresso with 4 oz (118 ml) of water on top of it. It’s an Italian term and refers to a type of coffee made for Americans that found traditional Italian coffee too strong

Adding the water to the espresso creates a crema between the two layers and helps blend the two ingredients. It’s bold and can be bitter, depending on your taste preferences.

What is a Long Black

This type of bold and strong coffee is made by pouring 4 oz (118 ml) of water into the cup and then a long-extracted espresso on top of it. Adding the espresso last forms a frothy crema at the top of the drink and forms a robust and bitter espresso taste from the top of the drink.

It’s lighter in color than the Americano because of the longer focused extraction process of the espresso beans!

Americano vs Long Black key differences

If you’re still confused about the critical differences between the two drinks, let’s take a closer look at their specifics!


As you might be able to guess from my explanation of the translation above, an Americano is from Italy, and a Long Black is from Australia and New Zealand. Of the two drinks, a Long Black is lesser known worldwide because it is so specific to that region. However, you can get it at many North American coffee shops in modern times!

Ingredients (1:2) espresso to hot water

Both potent drinks have a 1:2 ratio of espresso to hot water. Sometimes an Americano is made with only one shot of espresso, however, which will have a greater difference in the ratio. 

Brewing process

The brewing process is where you’ll see the greatest difference between these two drinks. The Americano is made by pouring a regular single or double shot of espresso and then hot water on top, forming a subtle cream layer between the two layers. A Long Black pours the hot water first, and then the long-extracted espresso shot is added on top as a frothy, thicker crema.


The serving size is the same for each drink and is typically between 4-6 oz (118-177 ml). At first glance, they look almost identical to each other! You’ll notice that a Long Black has a lighter brown color, though, which is from the long extraction process!


If you ask me, this is where there is a divide in the online community. Some say these two drinks taste identical, and others say they taste nothing alike. An Americano tastes watery and bitter, typically a bit better mixed regarding flavor distribution. A Long Black has a stronger espresso flavor and a distinctive shift to the weaker hot water underneath the crema.

Both have unique tastes from each other if they’re both made correctly with no additives to either. But that’s just my opinion.

What is stronger: an Americano or a Long Black?

That caffeine content should be the same between an Americano and a Long Black because they’re made the same as far as the espresso ratio is concerned. As far as overall flavor, I find that the mixing between water and espresso of the Americano makes it a tad weaker than the Long Black, which has a distinct, bold espresso flavor at the top of the drink.

Fun Fact:

Did you know that espresso can help enhance your long-term memory? It can have noticeable positive impacts on your memory during study sessions.

Calories in an Americano vs. a Long Black

One of the best details of these drinks is that they are both relatively healthy for you compared to other fancier coffee drinks! Both have 0 calories when made authentically. In fact, these drinks don’t add calories to your day and even help you burn calories, mainly if you take them in the morning!

Which is better: an Americano or a Long Black?

As you can guess, this will vary greatly depending on what you prefer personally and where you go to try both drinks. They taste very similar to each other unless you are very familiar with one or the other, and you can typically go between them as far as enjoyment is concerned.

If you want to figure out which is better for you, I recommend having one from a specialty coffee shop where you usually like your coffee and see how they make each drink. 

After all, a traditional Italian shop will make it different from a classic American shop, so try these drinks at a place you normally enjoy and compare them to different places to get a feel for how they stack up!

The more places you test each drink, the better sense you’ll have of what you like more, and form which sops you like best!

How do I know if an Americano is made correctly?

It’s pretty easy to see the differences between these two drinks are focused a lot on how they are made. So, how do you know if you’re getting a drink that’s made properly?

Firstly, you’ll want to start with a coffee shop you know and trust. Secondly, watch them make it! Watch for the extraction process and see which they add to the cup first. Lastly, of course, is the crema layer and where it is in the drink. When in doubt, get a second one to compare! This will help you be a coffee expert before you know it!

Choosing between a seemingly identical American and Long Black doesn’t have to be impossible. You just need to choose the best for you based on the taste profile and brewing process.

Both drinks have a double espresso mixed with hot water. Both have a crema layer, though an Americano has a thinner one between layers, and a Long Black has a thicker and frothier one on the top of the drink. An Americano tastes much like a black coffee, whereas a Long Black is a brown color and can be bolder at the top of the drink and weaker at its end.

An americano has a classic 35-second espresso extraction, whereas a Long Black has a long 45-60 second extraction. This is what makes the color so different! As you’ve learned, there’s more to each drink than meets the eye.

If you know someone that has had one but not the other, you’ll want to share this with them so that they can take a look at whether this similar drink might be an excellent addition to their favorite types of coffee!

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Robert Knowlton is an expert barista with more than 15 years of experience. Robert's main goal is to make sure everyone can enjoy the perfect cup of coffee regardless of their skill level.