Why is Long Black Called Long Black?

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Glass of coffee on a tray with Long Black coffee beans.
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Glass of coffee on a tray with Long Black coffee beans.

Have you ever wondered where the name ‘Long Black’ for a type of coffee originated from? This style of coffee, typically found in Australia and New Zealand, is adored by many due to its intense flavor and unique preparation method.

In this article, we will drink up all delightful facts about the Long Black origin – why it’s named that way, how it differs from an Americano, and why it holds such cultural significance.

So grab your cuppa’, let’s dive into these intriguing java details!

Why is Long Black Called Long Black?

Why is it called long black? The term “long black” originates from the method of preparation and presentation of this coffee type.

The “long” in its name denotes the larger volume of water used in its creation compared to an espresso shot. A long black is typically made by pouring a double shot of espresso over hot water, ensuring that the crema (the golden layer of foam atop an espresso) remains intact. This results in a strong coffee flavor that’s elongated or “lengthened” by the water.

Originating from New Zealand and Australia, the long black stands in contrast to the Americano, which involves adding water to the espresso, potentially diluting the crema. This distinction emphasizes the desire for a full-bodied coffee experience without compromising the crema’s quality.

Key Takeaways

  • The name “long black” for a type of coffee originated in Australia and New Zealand, where it has become a staple in the local coffee culture.
  • The term “long black” refers to the way the coffee is prepared, with a long stream of hot water poured over an espresso shot, creating a dark brownish-black color.
  • A long black differs from an Americano as it starts with espresso rather than adding hot water to brewed coffee, resulting in a more concentrated and rich taste experience.

The Origins of the Long Black

The long black has its origins in Australia and New Zealand, where it has become a staple in the local coffee culture.

Historical background

The long black coffee has deep roots. It comes from Australia and New Zealand. People in these places love to drink their coffee without milk. This lets the true taste of the espresso stand out.

The idea for this kind of coffee came from something called Caffe Americano. But it was the Italians who made it just right. Now we call this medium-strength, full-flavored drink a long black!

Evolution of the name

The name “long black” evolved over time to describe this style of coffee. It is believed that the term originated in Australia and New Zealand, where the drink became popular. The name refers to the way the coffee is prepared, with a long stream of hot water poured over the espresso shot.

This method creates a dark brownish-black color, which gave rise to the name “long black.” Over time, this term has become widely used in these countries and is now recognized as a unique style of coffee beverage.

The Difference Between a Long Black and an Americano

The Long Black is made by pouring a double shot of espresso over hot water, while an Americano is made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso.

Ingredients and preparation methods

The long black is made using the following ingredients and preparation methods:

  1. Espresso: A single shot or double shot of espresso is the base of a long black.
  2. Hot water: The espresso is poured into hot water, typically around 3/4 to 4/5 full, creating a longer drink than an espresso.
  3. No milk: Unlike some other coffee styles, the long black is traditionally enjoyed without milk.
  4. No sugar or flavors: The long black is typically served as it is, without any additional sugar or flavors added.
  5. Bold and flavorful: The resulting drink is a dark brownish-black color and provides a strong yet balanced flavor profile.

Flavor profiles

The flavor profile of a long black is characterized by its bold and robust taste. It has a rich and deep flavor, with hints of bitterness and sweetness. The combination of the espresso and hot water results in a dark brownish-black coffee that is full-bodied and aromatic.

Unlike other coffee styles that may be diluted by milk or flavored syrups, the long black allows the natural flavors of the espresso blend to shine through. It is enjoyed for its pure and strong taste, making it a popular choice among coffee lovers who appreciate a flavorful cup of joe without any added ingredients.

Cultural Significance of the Long Black

The long black holds significant importance in Australian and New Zealand coffee culture, as it is a popular choice among locals and visitors alike.

Importance in Australian and New Zealand coffee culture

The long black holds great significance in Australian and New Zealand coffee culture. It is a staple beverage that reflects the love for strong, pure coffee flavors in these countries.

The long black is treasured as a way to appreciate the nuances of espresso blends without any distractions from milk or sugar. It has become an integral part of local cafe menus and is enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike.

Its popularity showcases the unique coffee preferences and appreciation for quality brews in Australia and New Zealand.

Popularity in international coffee scenes

The long black has gained popularity in international coffee scenes for its unique flavor and cultural significance. Coffee enthusiasts worldwide appreciate the boldness and complexity of this espresso-based drink.

The simplicity of the long black, with just a shot or two of espresso combined with hot water, allows the true flavors of the coffee to shine through. While it may not be as well-known as other coffee beverages like café au lait or caffè Americano, the long black is steadily gaining recognition and appreciation among coffee lovers around the globe.

Conclusion: The Unique Name and Enjoyment of the Long Black

The name “long black” may seem curious, but it reflects the way this coffee is enjoyed. It originated from the Caffe Americano and was refined by Italian coffee culture. With its rich flavors and medium strength, the long black has become a popular choice for those who appreciate a pure and robust cup of coffee.

So next time you’re in Australia or New Zealand, be sure to try a long black and savor its unique taste!


What is a long black?

A long black is a type of coffee, dark brownish-black in color. It is savored for its rich flavors and it’s one of the espresso-based drinks.

Why is it called “long black”?

The name “long black” comes from coffee terminology used to describe the method of coffee preparation that creates this beverage.

Do American tourists enjoy long blacks?

Yes, many American tourists enjoy the unique taste of the long black when trying different coffee beverage names on their travels.

How does a long black differ from other coffees?

Long blacks have strong and rich flavours which set them apart from many other types of coffees.

About the Author:
Oliver Bennett, a seasoned barista, focuses on the technical aspects of coffee-making. His journey from local cafes to specialty coffee shops has equipped him with skills in the science of coffee, from grind size to latte art. Oliver's articles and how-to videos delve into brewing techniques and coffee science, fostering a community of home baristas and elevating the home coffee experience.