Coffee & Tea
January 18, 2023

How to Make Long Black Coffee in 3 steps

Lattes and Macchiatos may be fancy, but nothing beats a good old long black coffee. If you love your coffee strong and full tasting, here’s how to make long black coffee. Yes, it is basically water with espresso added but the chronological water-first-before-coffee gives you a more intense and bolder taste.

Joana Regulacion
Table of Contents:

Lattes and Macchiatos may be fancy, but nothing beats the classic long black. And the good thing about that is that there are tons of different ways to enjoy black coffee. If you love a strong and full-tasting morning boost, read on to learn how to make long black coffee.

Long black coffee is basically water with espresso added. The chronological water-first-before-coffee gives you a much stronger and fuller taste.

What is a long black coffee?

Long black sometimes called tall black coffee is water with espresso added.

Long Black is a coffee variant that originated in Italy and gained popularity the most in Australia and New Zealand.

When American tourists started to look for another coffee option beyond espresso and cappuccino, baristas learned to adapt and accommodate their preferences.

But the long black may be more universally acclaimed than you think. 🌎

If you ever find yourself in France craving some caffeine, you should know that a long black coffee is called allonge in french. 🗼

You can order a long black by saying: “un café allongé.”

Wherever you are in the world, the general way to prepare this drink is by pouring a shot or double of espresso into a cup of hot water. This is pretty much like the type of black drip coffee many Americans like.

How much caffeine is in a long black?

A long black coffee could have an estimated 150 milligrams of caffeine for every 6 ounces of the beverage. Most likely, this espresso-based drink is made up of two shots of espresso poured over 120mls of water. This kind of coffee could also have about 126 mg of caffeine in it.

Nevertheless, it’s in the very high range among the popular caffeinated drink options.

It’s been established by multiple studies that drinking your coffee black is the healthiest way to get your caffeine fix. So, this is definitely healthier than other sweet coffee concoctions.

But I don’t think this means it’s less in flavor. ❤️

It would taste much stronger and fuller than the Americano which is an espresso with water added that tastes like strong coffee.

You might be thinking: “Uhm, what’s the difference?” Before you think, they are both just watered-down espressos, think again. They may appear to be the same drink on the surface —but they’re not. 

The results of whether you put coffee or water first will yield two slightly different-tasting espresso drinks.

Long black coffee vs Americano: What’s the difference


You can say that Americano is a tall black coffee’s cousin, as they are both strong, flavorful espresso-based drinks.

What distinguishes one from the other is how much crema, is present in the drink.

What’s crema? It is the light brown froth created by air bubbles that comes at the end of an espresso extraction.


What determines the amount of crema present depends on the order in which the espresso shots and the water is added to your cup or glass.

Americano is prepared by putting water into the espresso, while the reverse is done for Long Black. This may seem trivial, but the reversed steps in preparing these two drinks affect the taste and how much crema is in the drink.

Here’s an Americano 👇


Now, for your long black coffee, the espresso shots are added after the water. As a result, the luscious crema is preserved just as much as most of the espresso’s richness. 😙🤌

Short black vs long black coffee

A short black is simply espresso. Yup. Just that one shot.

Both short black and long black coffee are strong, flavorful espresso-based options. They only differ in how much water is involved in preparing them…and oh the crema of course.

How much water in a long black? It should be around 100 to 120 ml while a short black should only have 30ml.

In a simple explanation, short black coffee is a plain espresso shot without any water added. Meanwhile, a long black is one or two espresso shots added to water. 

As for the flavor, the strength of short black can be more pronounced because it’s not diluted.

For the uninitiated, here’s a very helpful guide: 👇


How to make long black coffee

The basic Long Black Coffee only needs at least two steps to prepare. Some may take a bit more steps to personalize their coffee taste. But seriously, how difficult would it be to just pour your espresso down on a cup of hot water?

You would only need to at least have your preferred coffee beans and your favorite brewer to prepare a good serving of long black.

Check out this video below 👇

What do you need

Your long black coffee ingredients are pretty basic —just coffee and water.

Here’s everything you need to make your very own long black coffee at home: 

  • Hot water (195-205 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Espresso Beans
  • Espresso machine (of course!)
  • Sweetener of choice (Optional)

Step 1. Make your espresso

Prepare espresso shots. A long black coffee ratio is ¾ water for every ¼ espresso bean. 

You can use around 100-120ml of water for one espresso shot.

I recommend single-origin Arabica coffee. It is said to have the most original and unaltered flavour profile, while a coffee blend combines the elements of various beans.

Single origins tend to have an exotic taste and are bolder and more robust.

And why Arabica? Arabica beans are often thought to be tastier. It is said to have a smoother, sweeter flavor with chocolate and sugar notes. Most of the time, they also contain hints of fruits or berries.

Step 2. Pour in your espresso

Add your two (2) shots of espresso into a cup with 75-100ml hot water.

Slowly pour in your espresso to keep the crema on top of your drink. And just like that, your long black coffee is now done.

The high espresso-to-water ratio of the resulting drink may be too intense and thick for some drinkers. If you have a sweet tooth, you could add in a simple syrup to personalize the taste.

Yes, long black coffee with milk can be a thing. 

How to make iced long black coffee

What’s better than long black coffee? Iced long black coffee! Well, at least for me on a cold day!

What do you need

Here are a few things you need to make iced long black coffee:

  • Two (2) Espresso Shots
  • 2 oz (60ml) of cold water
  • Ice cubes
  • Simple syrup (Optional)

Step 1. Make your espresso

Prepare two (shots) of espresso like usual with your trusty brewer as you prefer.

When done, set your espresso aside to cool.

Some people recommend keeping your espresso shots overnight in the refrigerator for an easier preparation time. Buut! This is a NO for me because then, the crema will be all gone! And the taste also gets milder. 🙅

Step 2. In goes the ice

Fill a glass halfway with ice cubes and cold water.

Putting the ice and water first is important. This is because you are just basically following the hot long black recipe: Water first followed by espresso. Intended?

Step 3. In goes the espresso

Slowly pour the cooled espresso shots into the prepared glass of cold water.

And your iced long black coffee is ready to be served!

  • Using Ristretto

Some people would replace the espresso in long black with a double ristretto. Some would prefer its more concentrated shots over espresso. This is because they want a more pronounced body and aroma from their coffee. 

Ristretto is made with the same amount of ground coffee, but with a finer grind and half the water. A short shot may look like a ristretto, but it is actually a weaker, more diluted espresso shot.

  • Using only a single espresso shot

If you want something milder, you can definitely bring down the number of shots added to your long black coffee. It is just another variant to tone down the flavors from its rich brew. No biggie.

So, instead of using two (2) shots as recommended in most long black coffee recipes, using only one (1) works well if you want a milder version of it.

Just like the hot variant, you can sweeten it up the way you like. However, if you really want to make the most out of long black coffee it is best to enjoy it as it is.

This way you will be able to taste the richness of the coffee beans. Also, being one of the healthier caffeine choices available, saying no to that sweet syrup and fattening coffee creamer is a great decision.

But still, some might prefer to alter the basic long black recipe and consider some additives like half and a half or blueberry syrup.

Personally, I won’t consider that long black anymore. Long black coffee with milk would be making it into a macchiato

How to drink long black

Long black coffee is intended to be consumed without milk or any other shebang.

It is also highly suggested to be enjoyed by sipping slowly. This is to appreciate and savor the rich taste of the coffee’s flavors.

Er, you know —like wine!

The quality of the coffee beans used in this drink is crucial and could very well make or break its resulting flavors. And that’s why I recommended single-origin Arabica coffee beans in the earlier sections. Quiet boujie, if you ask me!


What is a long black coffee called in America?

Still long black coffee. Yup, this flavorful cup is still referred to with the same name. Some also call the drink “Upside Down Americano.”

In the same way, other coffee lovers in America would add “upside down” to any other drink order name. This is just their way of telling the barista to reverse the order of the ingredients when they make the coffee.

How much does a long black coffee cost?

Long Black Coffee is usually priced around $3. You can buy long black coffee at Starbucks for between $1.95 and $2.65.

How much calories are in long black coffee?

If you are trying to lose weight, you’ll be happy to know that the long black only has 3 calories.

Are all roasted coffee beans suitable for long black?

You can definitely use whatever coffee and whatever roast for your long black.

But Arabica will be the best coffee bean to use. Finely ground Arabica beans are the usual and most suitable to extract from for long black coffee. This is for whatever type of coffee where the bells and whistles of creamer, sugar, or syrup aren’t there to distract you.

As for the type of roast, dark roasts will be best suited for espresso drinks or those that use milk and cream.

Why a long black espresso is fire🔥

If you want a slightly different coffee fix than usual while also wishing for it to be healthy, long black coffee is a good choice.

Yes, some find it very similar to an americano, but there’s a subtle difference between them simply because of the chronological order in which the ingredients are added.

It may like not to be a big deal. But it happens to be a huge determining factor for the intensity of flavor your delicious morning cup can offer. Hope you learned a lot about how to make long black coffee.

About the author
Joana Regulacion
Joana is an engaging content writer and dynamic virtual assistant. ✍️ She helps business owners and entrepreneurs deliver a clear message to everyone and attract and engage the perfect audience. She is a proud wife, mom, and animal lover.‍ She believes that her love for learning new things is her key to writing engaging content.

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