Many may be able to distinguish between a latte, flat white, or a Cortado, but it can be difficult when it comes to black coffee. This is because black coffee looks… black.
There are several types of black coffee, such as Americano, Long Black, and Lungo. How similar or different are they?
Long Black, Americano, and Lungo are different in that they are made differently, with different ratios of water and espresso, and may also give a different taste. They also differ in caffeine content and place of origin.
This article discusses long black vs Americano vs Lungo coffee, focusing on how similar and different they are. We also discuss if there are ways we can tell the coffee apart from each other.
What Is A Long Black?
Long Black is a coffee style where baristas pour a shot of espresso over hot water. It is known for having a thicker crema and delivers a strong punch and flavor compared to other types of black coffee.
Long Black has an American and Italian origin but is popular in Australia and New Zealand.
A Long Black is a coffee made by pouring espresso over hot water. It’s made rather simple yet delivers a strong, bold punch that is popular among coffee drinkers.
Long Black’s story has an American and Italian origin. Italians traditionally made their coffee as espressos or cappuccinos. However, when American tourists started visiting Italy, they started ordering ‘black coffee,’ essentially the drip coffee they used to drink at home.
The Italian baristas learned that espresso is too strong for these tourists. They eventually figured that adding an espresso shot over hot water helps mellow the coffee and make it easier for these Americans to drink.
Despite its origin, Long Black is a popular black coffee drink in Australia and New Zealand. Long Black carries a thick layer of crema, which separates it from other black coffee styles such as Americano.
What Is An Americano?
Americano is a coffee style commonly made by pouring 2 or 3 parts water into a shot of espresso. It has a mellower taste and may be the closest to the classic drip coffee.
Americano remains one of the most popular black coffee styles worldwide.
Americano is a black coffee style, where hot water is added to a shot of espresso. This makes Americano much closer to the common drip coffee, with a more mellow taste.
Americano was inspired by American soldiers in World War II. When these soldiers were fighting in Italy, they went to local cafes and ordered an espresso from the local baristas.
They then added hot water to it, making it taste more like the drip coffee they used to drink at home. The cafes eventually picked up on this habit. The name ‘Caffé Americano’ was used by the soldiers and the baristas for this recipe.
Americano was usually made with 1 part espresso and 2 or 3 parts hot water. Ratios can be adjusted to make the coffee stronger or mellower. Some also enjoy having their Americano with a splash of milk or honey and super to sweeten it. Warm spices such as star anise or cinnamon may also be added in winter.
What Is A Lungo?
Lungo is made by pulling an espresso longer, using more hot water, and more ground coffee. This results in a black coffee with more volume than espresso, with milder flavors and lesser caffeine content than Long Black.
Lungo has an Italian origin and remains popular here.
Lungo can be considered a variation of espresso coffee. It is made by pulling a longer shot of espresso by using more ground coffee and hot water.
Lungo has an Italian origin. In fact, the word Lungo means ‘long’ in Italian, referring to the length of time it takes to pull an espresso shot.
Lungo tends to produce a stronger and bitter-tasting coffee compared to espresso. However, it is not as strong as a Long Black. It also does not have intense flavors, unlike espresso. If made with a common ratio of water and ground coffee, Lungo also has a caffeine content lower than Long Black.
Lungo may be appreciated by coffee drinkers as its less intense flavor and longer pulling time allow more of the coffee’s flavor to be extracted.
Long Black vs Americano vs Lungo
Long Black, Americano, and Lungo differ in the making process, water-to-coffee ratio, and flavor. They also differ in caffeine content, origin, and popularity. They tend to be appreciated by different coffee drinkers as well.
|Process||Pouring espresso shot over hot water||Pouring hot water over espresso shots||Pulling a longer espresso shot, using more water and ground coffee|
|Coffee To Water Ratio||Commonly 2 or 3 parts hot water per shot of espresso||Commonly 2 or 3 parts hot water for 1 part espresso||Commonly 3 or 4 parts hot water to ground coffee|
|Flavor||Strong, bold, and intense||Mellow and smooth, rather similar to drip coffee||Strong and flavorful, but not as intense as long black|
|Popularity||Popular in Australia and New Zealand||The most popular black coffee style after drip coffee||Popular in Italy and some parts of Europe.|
Long Black, Americano, and Lungo are all types of black coffee. This means they are just a combination of ground coffee and water without adding milk or chocolate.
However, they differ in many other ways. They are made differently using different recipes and may contain different caffeine content and flavor intensity. They may also have a different origin story and levels of popularity.
Long Black: Long black is made by pouring hot water over a coffee cup. A shot of espresso is then pulled and then added to the water. This results in the coffee retaining most of its crema, giving your coffee a more intense taste.
Americano: Americano is made similarly to Long Black but in reverse. An espresso shot was pulled into a coffee cup with hot water, then added to the coffee. Adding water breaks the crema, giving you a less robust, mellow coffee, similar to drip coffee.
Lungo: Lungo does not involve the process of combining espresso and water together. Instead, more ground coffee is loaded into the espresso holder, and a long pull of espresso is made. This results in coffee with a similar volume as long black or Americano, with a medium intensity.
Water To Coffee Ratio
Long Black: Common Long Blacks combine 2 or 3 parts of hot water with a shot of espresso. However, some drinkers may strengthen their coffee by reducing the water-to-coffee ratio to 1:1.
Some may opt to add another shot of espresso, making it a 3 parts water, 2 parts espresso recipe.
Americano: Americano is also commonly made with 2 or 3 parts of hot water for every shot of espresso. Similar to Long Black, some prefer to adjust the recipe to 1:1 or 3:2.
Lungo: Lungo’s portioning may be harder to calculate, as the recipe does not call for water and espresso to be combined in a clear ratio. However, common portioning may call for 3 or 4 parts hot water for every part of ground coffee.
Long Black: Long Black may have the strongest flavor compared to Americano or Lungo. This may be because you put espresso over hot water to make it. This means most of the crema may remain on top of the coffee.
Crema contains the oils and compounds that make coffee taste different. You also sip in the crema as you drink, giving you a strong, intense, and bold flavor.
Americano: Americano tends to be milder than Long Black, and some may even consider Americano to be milder than Lungo. This may be because the recipe calls for you to pour hot water over a shot of espresso.
When you do that, the hot water may break the crema layer apart, reducing the flavor concentration of the coffee. As a result, Americano is mellower and may taste the closest to a classic cup of drip coffee.
Lungo: Lungo is perhaps in between Long Black and Americano in flavor. It is milder than Long Black and espresso since the pulling process using more water may not leave much crema around. However, many drinkers consider it stronger than Americano.
Long Black: Long Black is known to have the highest caffeine content among the coffees here. As a result, the coffee may deliver a stronger punch and may be sought after by those looking for a stiff coffee to perk them up in the morning.
Americano: Americano may not have as much caffeine as Long Black. As a result, they taste milder and do not deliver too much punch to drinkers. As a result, Americano may be very popular with people looking for a casual sip of coffee, similar to drip coffee.
Lungo: Lungo does not have as much caffeine as Long Black. However, they have their fans, who appreciate its stronger flavor, but not to the point of a Long Black or espresso.
Long Black: Long Black originated in Italy, with an American connection. The recipe traces back to American tourists who visited Italy, who wanted black coffee to taste closer to the drip coffee they enjoy at home.
The Italian baristas eventually discovered that pouring espresso shots over hot water dilutes the strong espresso into something closer to home to these tourists.
Americano: Similar to Long Black, Americano also originated in Italy, with, again, an American connection. During World War II, many American soldiers fought in Italy, and they would look for coffee.
They found Italian espresso a little too stiff. Eventually, they found that adding hot water to the espresso made the coffee taste close to what they liked. The Italians observed this and eventually started making ‘Caffé Americano’ for these soldiers.
Lungo: Lungo has an Italian origin and does not have a great origin story compared to Long Black or Americano. But Lungo means ‘long’ in Italian, which explains the long shot the espresso machines pull out from ground coffee.
Long Black: Long Black may have American and Italian origin, but it is a very popular black coffee in Australia and New Zealand. It is, however, less popular in other regions, with Americano being the most common black coffee style.
Americano: Americano may be the most common and popular black coffee style worldwide, perhaps due to its mild taste. Americano is also highly versatile, with some drinkers adding milk, honey, or spices to their cups.
Lungo: Lungo is least popular compared to the other two, with perhaps people deep into coffee knowing about this style or appreciating a cup of it.
While Long Black, Americano, and Lungo coffee may seem similar, they each have their own unique flavor profile and preparation method.
Knowing the differences between the three can help you order the perfect cup of coffee to suit your taste preferences. Whether you enjoy a strong, bold coffee or a milder, more diluted flavor, there is a coffee option for you.
So next time you’re at a coffee shop or using your espresso machine at home, don’t be afraid to try something new because you may find your favorite new coffee drink!
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