Some people use the names Americano and Long Black interchangeably, but there are subtle differences that set these two drinks apart.
Let’s make you the person that knows those differences, it will finally give you something to impress your parents with.
We’ve also tried to answer any other questions you might have related to the caffeinated beverages, so feel free to jump to any section that interests you.
Now, let’s jump in!
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Known as an Americano, Caffè Americano and Café Americano, it is basically just the dilution of an Espresso with hot water.
It is prepared starting with a base of Espresso (usually 1 shot) and topped off with hot water – it does not really have a prescribed size but are commonly served in a 240ml (8 oz) cup.
When prepared correctly it should have a nice crema.
No one is 100% sure where the Americano gets its name from, but it is commonly believed that the name was coined during WW2, where American G.I.s stationed in Italy, not being used to the strong taste of Espresso, would dilute their drinks with water, to more closely match the taste of coffee they were used to.
In Italian Caffè Americano literally translates to American coffee.
As an Americano is only made from Espresso and water, it basically tastes like a much milder version of the Espresso it is made from.
Obviously Espresso can have different tastes depending on the bean variety, extraction time, etc. so the taste will vary from drink to drink.
It should however, maintain the complexity, balance of bitterness, sweetness and acidity; and bold flavours you’ve come to expect from your Espresso shots.
Commonly found in Australia and New Zealand, a Long Black, like an Americano, is also a dilution of an Espresso with hot water.
Like the Americano, when prepared correctly it should have a nice crema.
The Long Black starts with a base of hot water to which a shot (or two) of Espresso is added.
It is usually 100 – 120ml (3.5 – 4 Oz).
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Very similar to the Americano, it turns out!
Though, due to the smaller amount of water used in the preparation of a Long Black and the order of which it is prepared (water before the coffee shot), the taste and aroma will be a bit stronger than the Americano.
If you’ve read the article up to this point you would’ve seen that the Americano and the Long Black are basically the same drink. The keyword there being basically. There are subtle differences that separate the two, making them more like siblings then identical twins.
The difference between an Americano and a Long Black all comes down to taste and aroma.
Due to the difference in preparation and the use of less water, a Long Black will taste and smell stronger than an Americano.
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If you are watching your calorie intake and are wondering which has less calories between a Long Black and an Americano, then wonder no more.
Actually you are in luck because they are pretty much the lowest calorie coffee you can drink!
Basically all of the calories are coming from the coffee shot so the two drinks should have about the same amount of calories.
Obviously a double Espresso shot will have more calories than a single shot, and there will even be little fluctuations in calories between a single Espresso shot from one café compared to a single Espresso shot from another, but assuming they are made from the same base coffee shot, they will have the same amount of calories.
For an example of the calories in an Americano, the following calorie information has been taken from Starbucks UK:
Calories in a Starbucks Café Americano
Short: 23 Kcal
Tall: 46 Kcal
Grande: 69 Kcal
Venti: 92 Kcal
For the whole list of Starbucks’ nutritional information click HERE.
Similar to the answer of which drink has more calories, if the two drinks are made from the same base coffee shot then yes, they will have the same caffeine content.
If a Ristretto shot is used in the Long Black instead of an Espresso shot, then the Long Black will have less caffeine i.e. Ristretto shots are weaker in caffeine than Espresso shots (to find out why a Ristretto shot has less Caffeine than an Espresso shot, click HERE!).
This is an easy one, if you are tossing up between the two drinks ask yourself this one question:
Do you prefer a stronger coffee taste?
If the answer is yes then choose the Long Black.
If the answer is no then it’s the Americano.