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Americano vs Long Black vs Lungo: Understanding the Differences

Coffee Drinks Comparisons May 12, 2023

Looking at a cafe’s menu, you’d feel like they’re almost confusing you on purpose with the many names of similar coffee beverages. This time, we’re looking at the difference between Americano vs Long Black and Lungo.

In this post, you’ll learn about:

Learning about these differences helps you order the right coffee drink to suit your taste.

The Difference Between Americano vs Long Black vs Lungo

Americano vs Long Black
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Like Americano vs Cappuccino and Latte, this set of beverages is also Espresso based. But this time around, Americano, Long Black and Lungo are all black coffee drinks made from Espresso.

AmericanoShot of espresso + Hot Water8 oz to 12 oz
Long BlackHot Water with Espresso Extracted on Top8 oz to 12 oz
LungoLong shot of espresso3.7 oz

The main difference between an Americano vs Long Black is pure technicality:

  • Americano is a shot of espresso with added hot water.
  • Long Black is how water with a shot of espresso added on top of it

The difference between Americano and Long Black is almost ridiculous. They’re practically the same thing. But they remain called differently out of respect to their origins and where these beverages were made:

Americano was invented in Italy for American soldiers who found Espresso to be too strong for them. So the solution was to dilute espresso with hot water to make it comparable to brewed black coffee.

Long Black came later on, in Australia, as a way to modernize the Americano. According to this source, the idea to extract the espresso shot over hot water (Long Black) instead of the other way around (Americano) produces a sweeter brew and the espresso retains its beautiful crema.

Now what about Lungo, how is it different than an Americano or Long Black?

Lungo is pure espresso that is extracted for a longer time to produce a longer volume of espresso. It is still as strong as a shot of espresso, but not as concentrated. On average, a Lungo is made into a 3.7 oz capacity. That’s more than the average 1.3 oz of espresso shot or 2.6 double espresso shot.

How an Americano is Made

Americano vs Lungo Taste

An Americano is made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso. This creates a coffee that has a similar strength to a regular cup of brewed coffee but with a more intense flavor. The water is added after the espresso shot is pulled, giving it a distinct taste. But this method tends to break the crema of the espresso.

To make an Americano, follow these steps:

  1. Pull a shot of espresso into a cup.
  2. Add hot water to the espresso shot.
  3. Stir to combine the espresso and water.

How a Long Black is Made

A Long Black is made by pouring a shot of espresso over hot water. This creates a coffee that has a stronger, more intense flavor than an Americano. Because the espresso is added to the water, it retains its crema, which gives the Long Black a unique taste and texture.

To make a Long Black, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a cup with hot water.
  2. Pull a shot of espresso into a separate cup.
  3. Pour the espresso shot over the hot water.

Alternatively, you can extract directly on top of the cup with hot water.

How a Lungo is Made

A Lungo is made by pulling a shot of espresso for a longer period of time than usual. This results in a coffee that has a milder flavor than a regular espresso shot but with a more bitter taste. A Lungo is also larger in volume than a regular espresso shot.

To make a Lungo, follow these steps:

  1. Pull a shot of espresso for a longer period of time than usual. Using the same amount of grounds you’d use for a shot of espresso.
  2. The shot should be around 2.5 to 3.5 ounces in volume.

Americano vs Long Black Taste

Americano vs Long Black Taste

When it comes to taste, Americano and Long Black are not that different, to be honest. Although it always depends on the beans you’re using and how it’s made.

Is Americano and Lungo the Same?

No, Americano and Lungo are not the same. Even though they both use espresso as a base, the preparation method is different, and that can affect the taste. They’re the reverse of each other, with Americano, you’re pouring hot water over the espresso. With Long Black, you’re doing the opposite. But does that really affect the strength of the final cup?

Is Americano Stronger than Long Black?

When it comes to taste, which is stronger?

Personally speaking, I find them both to taste exactly the same. But I can give you one instance where Long Black can actually taste stronger than an americano.

As I already mentioned, the fact that Long Black is made by extracting the Espresso over the hot water helps the Espresso shot retain its full layer of crema. And Crema is where all the flavor of the espresso is. If you’re going to drink a Long Black without stirring in the espresso first, you’ll get the full strength of espresso. But once it is all stirred in, Long Black and Americano, provided you’re using the same amount of espresso/water in them, taste exactly the same.

Lungo vs Americano Taste

Americano vs Long Black vs Lungo: Understanding the Differences

Now, the difference between those is definitely worth mentioning. One is short in volume and concentrated, and the other is diluted with hot water. It’s not hard to tell which one wins for stronger flavor (hint: it’s Lungo!)

Is Lungo the Same as an Americano?

Lungo and Americano are not the same. Lungo is made by pulling a longer shot of espresso, using more water and less coffee. This results in a milder taste than espresso, but it’s still considered a smaller espresso drink. On the other hand, Americano is made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso. With an Americano, you are getting a full cup of coffee made from diluted espresso.

Is Lungo Stronger than an Americano?

When it comes to flavor, Lungo is a lot stronger than both Americano and Long black. Although it is a longer shot of espresso, it still retains all the properties of an espresso, as there’s nothing added to dilute it like the americano or long black.

Caffeine Content: Americano vs Long Black vs Lungo

One Espresso shot = 63mg of caffeine

Since all of these beverages are made with Espresso as its base, the amount of caffeine in them equals the amount of espresso shots in them.

Adding hot water (or cold for that matter), or brewing the espresso longer as in Lungo, does not affect the amount of caffeine in the drink.

That said, caffeine can increase based on the type of bean used, roast level and amount of grounds use. If you’re watching your caffeine intake, ask your barista if they’re using a single or double shot to make these drinks.