Long Black VS Espresso (A Straightforward Comparison)

Espresso is a way of preparing coffee by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans.

Long black coffee in comparison is an espresso-based drink prepared by pouring the espresso over hot water to extract a strong-flavored drink with more crema. 

Coffee is a basic commodity not only in American households and adults rely on it to jumpstart their day.

With its increasing demand, coffee connoisseurs experiment with different varieties to create new blends and update well-loved ones to satisfy and excite consumers.

While long black and espresso are both favored worldwide and contain some common ingredients, they differ in many things including taste, nutrition, and serving size. 

Let’s explore how these two drinks are different even though they come from the same variant.

What goes in a long black?

A clear shot glass of long black coffee.

If you want to enjoy a classic specialty espresso roast, go for a long black.

It’s prepared with some extra water which lets the flavors open up a bit, giving you more in terms of serving size. That means you have time to enjoy and savor your cup of coffee much longer.

A long black is very popular in New Zealand and Australia.

It’s prepared with double shots of espresso which gives the drink a strong flavor.

Interested to know more about long black coffee? I have an interesting post you can check out right here.

What is an espresso?

A clear cup containing a double shot espresso.

Espresso originated in Italy as a way to make great coffee in the least amount of time.

It’s also called a short black.

Right now, espresso is famous and has become the base of many coffee drinks all around the world.

Originally espresso can’t be made without an espresso machine as high pressure is the key for an espresso brew.

The machine extracts a concentrated yield called a “shot”.

You’ll find approximately 30 ml of liquid in a single shot of espresso while a double shot contains 60 ml of serving.

The difference in taste

Both drinks carry a strong taste, but the water in long black dilutes the espresso in the drink, making its taste less powerful than that of an espresso.  

Espresso is an undiluted strong drink made from ground coffee beans.

Though there is a certain flavor that all espressos have, their taste can vary depending on the kind of beans the espresso is made up of. I have an in-depth post you can read for the best beans for making the perfect espresso.

Generally, espresso has a very strong taste, more on the bitter side and a bit tart as lemon.

If it’s made correctly, it gives a naturally sweet finish.

The taste will get deeply bitter, sour, or watery if it wasn’t made properly.

The bitter flavor of espresso is because it has nothing except coffee and water

Some choose to enhance its flavor with milk, cream, chocolate, or other additives. 

Long black coffee has a similar taste and flavor profile to the Americano, but it tends to be slightly stronger because of the espresso at the top.

It also has a different taste because 2 shots of espresso are poured directly over hot drinkable water diluting the espresso thus less strong in flavor compared to an espresso.

The difference in caffeine content

A long black has about 25.67 mg of caffeine per fl oz – that’s about 86.79 mg per 100 ml. 

If you’re drinking a 6 fl oz mug of long black coffee, that means you have a total of 154 mg of caffeine in your cup.

An espresso has 63 mg of caffeine in a single shot which contains 1 ounce of liquid. 

Due to its small size, espresso is usually served double which has roughly about 125 milligrams of caffeine.

Though both of the drinks carry the health benefits of coffee, their nutrition values differ due to their preparation method and add ons.

Two shot glasses of expresso side by side.

If you’re a health-conscious person and want to choose between the two drinks, it’s better to compare their nutrition values.

Refer to the following table for a brief nutrient comparison between an espresso and a long black.

Nutrient ContentLong black (per 290 ml) Espresso (per 100 grams)
Sugar17 grams0 grams
Fats11 grams0.2 grams
Caffeine154 mg212 mg
Protein12 grams0.1 grams
Calcium40 percent of a day’s worth2 mg
Nutrient comparison of a long black and espresso.

How to make an espresso?

Many espresso machines come with adjustable settings. If your local barista’s espresso is your standard, I suggest you get one.

Some machines though offer a simpler setup with a pre-set option.

When you get this kind, you’ll just need to set up its preset setting and press the go button when you want a cup.

Ingredients and equipment you will need:

  • Espresso machine
  • Finely ground coffee beans
  • Filtered water
  • A tamp
  • A portafilter
  • An espresso cup

Steps to Make

  1. The first thing you have to do is preheat your espresso machine and do a ‘blank’ shot. This means filling up and running the machine without adding any coffee to it yet.
  2. Next, fill your portafilter with finely ground coffee beans, the actual quantity may vary depending on your portafilter and machine, but it is generally around 20g of coffee.
  3. Give your beans a pressured, firm tamp to compress them.
  4. You can twist the portafilter into the machine once it’s ready to go. Press the right button for your desired espresso.
  5. Before pressing the go button, make sure to place an espresso cup beneath the portafilter so you don’t end up losing your espresso!

If you want to take your coffee to the next level, I recommend you invest in an espresso machine that has a milk steamer attachment to froth up some milk.

How to make a long black?


  • 2 shots of espresso
  • Hot water

Steps to Make

  • Grab a medium-sized mug.
  • Pour in hot water (not boiling but pretty hot) from the tea spout in your espresso machine. The amount of water you add will depend on the desired strength of the final drink. Use your kettle if your machine doesn’t have a tea spout, but make sure to give your water a good 30 seconds to cool down a bit.
  • Pour the double shot of espresso directly over the hot water.
  • Serve immediately to maintain the crema and appearance of the drink.

You can watch the video to learn more about how you can make a perfect cup of long black coffee.

How to make a long black coffee?

To sum it all up

Espresso is a technique of brewing coffee by running pressurized and really hot water through finely-ground coffee beans while long black coffee is an espresso-based drink prepared by pouring the espresso over hot water to extract a strong-flavored drink with more crema. 

A short black is basically a shot of espresso with just the amount of water that was poured in it for coffee extraction.

Meanwhile, long black is prepared by pouring two shots of espresso over hot water.

An espresso shot has a very bold taste and contains thick crema because it has not been diluted with much water. It then retains the original, bitter taste of coffee.

Long black on the other hand has less strong flavor because the espresso has been diluted.

Some people aren’t fans of strong and bitter coffee so they prefer adding dairy and sugar syrups to their drinks. While the add-ons level up the taste, they tend to add on more calories as well.

Whatever and however you like your cup of joe, it’s important to be watchful of your consumption as too much can have adverse effects on your health.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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