What is a Long Black?

Best Guide to Making Perfect Long Black in 2023

Ahoy, coffee enthusiasts! Listen up, ’cause today we’re diving deep into the caffeinated ocean of espresso-based drinks to resurface with a gem known as the “Long Black.” Yeah, it sounds like the title of a badass action movie, but it’s actually a drink that takes espresso and water and makes them harmonize like Lennon and McCartney. This Aussie-Kiwi staple is like the Americano’s cooler, more nuanced cousin. Want a cup that’s rich, but not overpowering? Creamy but not milky? Then, mate, the Long Black is your calling card to Coffee Nirvana. Stick around and I’ll spill the beans on how to perfect this Down Under wonder.

What is a Long Black?

Alright, you’re intrigued, I can tell. Let’s kick it off by defining what exactly a Long Black is, so we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. A Long Black is an espresso-based drink that’s wildly popular in Australia and New Zealand. This isn’t just an Americano in disguise, folks. Nah, a Long Black has its own distinct character—think of it as the Thor to Americano’s Iron Man.

Long Black:
Credits to TasteAtlas

In a Long Black, hot water is added to a double shot of espresso, not the other way around like in an Americano. The result? A coffee with a stronger aroma, bolder flavor, and a luscious, golden crema on top. This drink gets you a ticket to Flavor Town without mugging your taste buds like a straight espresso might. So, if you’re into deep dives but not cannonballs into coffee intensity, the Long Black is where you wanna be.

Reasons You Need to Know How to Make a Long Black

So, why should you even bother learning how to whip up a Long Black? Good question, my curious compadre. Trust me, it’s more than just a coffee lover’s obsession; it’s about expanding your palate and elevating your caffeination game.

  • Unleash the Flavor: The Long Black delivers a robust taste without going overboard. You get a fuller flavor profile, making it an essential experience for anyone calling themselves a coffee connoisseur.
  • Crema Galore: The unique method preserves that dreamy crema layer on top. You get the silky texture that’s like the cherry on top of a sundae, but for grown-up coffee drinkers.
  • Versatility: The Long Black gives you wiggle room for experimentation. Switch up the espresso, tweak the water temperature, or even mess with the water-to-coffee ratio. It’s like the Lego set of the coffee world.
  • The “Cool” Factor: Let’s face it, ordering a Long Black just sounds cooler than asking for an Americano. You might not get a hipster beard instantly, but your coffee cred will go through the roof.
What is a Long Black?
Credits to Breville

Okay, here’s the kicker. The Long Black isn’t just another item to tick off your coffee bucket list; it’s a taste revelation. It’s an Aussie secret that deserves to go global. Ready to master it? Keep reading, because I’ve got the ultimate guide coming up.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Craft Your Own Long Black

You’ve made it this far, which means you’re ready to roll up those sleeves and get to work. I’ve refined this process so even a caffeine-deprived zombie could follow it. We’re about to go full barista, friends, so grab your espresso machine, your favorite coffee beans, and let’s get brewing.

  1. The Prewarm-Up: Preheat your cup
  2. Bean There, Done That: Choose and grind your beans
  3. The Shot Caller: Pull a double espresso shot
  4. The Water Wizardry: Add hot water
  5. Stir It, Don’t Shake It: Give it a gentle stir

That’s the roadmap. No detours or distractions, just a straightforward path to making a coffee masterpiece. Fasten your seatbelts ’cause we’re cruising through each step with flair and finesse.

The Prewarm-Up: Preheat Your Cup

Let’s start with a step that many rookies overlook: preheating the cup. You heard me, folks—this isn’t just something fussy baristas do to look cool. Preheating your cup is like stretching before a workout; it preps everything for peak performance. When you pour hot coffee into a cold cup, you’re basically committing a crime against Coffee-kind. The temperature drops, and so does the flavor.

Here’s how to execute this step like a pro:

  1. Fill your coffee cup with hot water. Let it sit for a minute.
  2. Dump the water out and dry the cup.
Instructions to Craft Your Own Long Black Fill your coffee cup with hot water
Credits to Allrecipes

Bada-bing, bada-boom. You’ve just set the stage for a Long Black that’ll taste like it was crafted by Aussie angels. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.

Bean There, Done That: Choose and Grind Your Beans

Ah, the beans—the heart and soul of any coffee drink. Don’t skimp on this step, or you’ll end up with a Long Black that’s more “Long Meh.” Start with high-quality, fresh beans, preferably sourced from a reputable roaster. You want beans that are full-bodied and rich, but not too oily. Think George Clooney, but in bean form.

Now, onto the grinding:

  1. Measure out about 18 to 21 grams of coffee beans. That’s your golden range for a double shot of espresso.
  2. Use a burr grinder and set it to a fine grind setting. We’re talking smaller than sand but not quite powdered sugar.
  3. Grind those bad boys. Freshly ground beans are the key to unlocking full-on flavor.
Instructions to Craft Your Own Long Black choosing and grinding coffee bean
Credits to Majesty Coffee

There you go, now you’re geared up with the coffee equivalent of high-octane fuel. Let’s keep this train moving!

The Shot Caller: Pull a Double Espresso Shot

You’ve got your cup pre-warmed, your beans ground to perfection, and now it’s time for the main event: pulling that espresso shot. This is where the rubber meets the road, my friends.

Here’s how you ace this step:

  1. Load your portafilter with the freshly ground coffee. Tamp it down evenly, but don’t go all Hulk on it. We’re looking for firm, not flattened.
  2. Lock the portafilter into the espresso machine. Start the shot and aim for a 25-30 second extraction time. What you’re looking for is a shot that starts off slow and then picks up, like a suspenseful thriller.
  3. You should end up with about 60 ml of liquid gold. This double shot is the backbone of your Long Black.
Double Shot: Instructions to Craft Your Own Long Black
Credits to Upgrounds

Execute this step correctly, and you’ll have a shot worthy of an espresso hall of fame. Now, let’s get it mingling with some hot water.

The Water Wizardry: Add Hot Water

Alright, time to work some liquid magic. This is where the Long Black really comes into its own. Unlike the Americano, where the espresso is a polite guest in a water-filled home, the Long Black makes sure the espresso is the host of this shindig.

Here’s how to work that wizardry:

  1. Heat up about 120 ml of water to a temperature between 195-205°F (90-96°C). Don’t let it boil; we’re making coffee, not cooking pasta.
  2. Now, gently pour the hot water into the pre-warmed cup. Aim to pour it down the side to minimize disruption to the crema. Think of it like a butler smoothly entering a room—quietly, with grace.
  3. Finally, pour your double espresso shot over the hot water. You want the espresso to float on top, preserving that creamy, dreamy crema.

And voila! You’ve got a Long Black that’s as authentic as a kangaroo eating Vegemite. Let’s stir things up a bit, shall we?

Stir It, Don’t Shake It: Give It a Gentle Stir

We’re almost at the finish line, folks, and you’ve done brilliantly so far. Now, the last step might sound simple, but it’s crucial. Stirring your Long Black is like adding the final brushstroke to a masterpiece. Do it right, and you’ve got art in a cup. Do it wrong, and well, let’s not go there.

Here’s the skinny on stirring:

  1. Grab a spoon—preferably a long one so you don’t scald your knuckles.
  2. Gently incorporate the espresso and water together, doing your best not to disrupt that beautiful crema you worked so hard to preserve.
  3. Take a moment to admire your handiwork. Yep, that’s a Long Black, as legit as they come.
Stir the long black coffee , Don’t Shake It
Credits to The Woks of Life

There you go. A perfect Long Black, crafted with your own two hands. You’re basically the Picasso of coffee now. So give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve earned it!

Key Considerations For Successfully Crafting a
Long Black

You’ve followed the steps like a champ, but let’s dial in some finer points to ensure your Long Black is consistently great, every single time.

  1. Water Quality: Don’t overlook this one. Bad water equals bad coffee. Use filtered or bottled water if you can. It’s like giving your Long Black a VIP pass to Flavorville.
  2. Timing: Pay attention to your espresso extraction time. Too fast and it’s sour; too slow and it’s bitter. This isn’t speed dating; you want to take the 25-30 seconds to get to know your espresso shot intimately.
  3. Experimentation: The Long Black is forgiving, so feel free to tweak. A different type of bean or a slight adjustment to your water-to-coffee ratio can yield surprising results. Just don’t go adding caramel syrup or whipped cream, okay? This isn’t a dessert.

Nail these considerations, and you’ll not only have a fantastic Long Black but you’ll also elevate your entire coffee game. Now, let’s chat about how to kick it up another notch.

Taking it to the Next Level: How to Elevate Your Long Black

Okay, hotshot, you’ve mastered the basics, but what if you want to show off a little? (And let’s be honest, who doesn’t?) Here are some ways in elevating your Long Black from “Wow, that’s good” to “Holy smokes, did a barista angel make this?”

Single Origin Beans:

Experiment with single-origin beans for a Long Black that screams “I have a refined palate!” These beans give unique flavors that’ll make your drink stand out like a diamond in the rough.

single-origin beans Taking it to the Next Level: How to Elevate Your Long Black
Credits to Coffee Informer

Temperature Control:

If your espresso machine has adjustable temperature settings, play around with it. A degree here or there can make a world of difference. It’s like tuning a guitar—get it just right, and you’re golden.

espresso machine Taking it to the Next Level: How to Elevate Your Long Black
Credits to Casa Espresso

Coffee Art:

Mastered the Long Black? Try adding a touch of latte art on the crema. It’s not traditional, but hey, you’re a rebel, right? Just keep it classy—no smiley faces, please.

Taking it to the Next Level: How to Elevate Your Long Black
Credits to Carmel Bay Coffee

These are the secrets the hipster baristas don’t want you to know. But hey, their loss is your gain. Ready to explore some alternatives?

Alternatives to Crafting a Long Black

Listen, I get it. The Long Black is fantastic, but life’s too short to stick to just one type of coffee. In the spirit of caffeinated exploration, here are some worthy alternatives to your newfound fave:

Alternatives to Crafting a Long Black Flat White

Flat White:

Another Aussie invention. It’s like a Long Black that decided to go to finishing school—sophisticated and creamy.

Alternatives to Crafting a Long Black  Espresso


If you’re thinking, “Why water it down?”, just grab a straight-up shot. It’s like the whiskey of the coffee world—intense and not for the faint-hearted.

Alternatives to Crafting a Long Black 
Credits to Liquids PH


The cousin who grew up in the States. It’s less robust but a solid choice when you’re in no mood for fanciness.

Whether you decide to stray from the Long Black path or stay loyal, each of these options brings its own twist to the table. Coffee is a playground, my friend, so go out and swing on all the swings!

Wrapping Up

You’ve come a long way, coffee comrade, from zero to Long Black hero! I’ve been making Long Blacks for years, and let me tell ya, once you’ve gone black, you’ll never go back. Whether it’s the richness of the espresso, the smoothness of the water, or that luxurious crema, this drink hits all the right notes. It’s the go-to for when I need my coffee to pack a punch without going full espresso.

In the grand spectrum of coffee, the Long Black is like that underrated indie film that deserves more attention. Mastering it not only boosts your coffee cred but also elevates your taste buds to levels of enlightenment you never knew existed.

So go ahead, flex those newfound barista muscles and make yourself another Long Black. Heck, make one for your neighbor too; they clearly need it.

Happy brewing, mates! – Jl.Surjan

Disclosure: Our blog contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

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