long black coffee

Are you a coffee lover who wants to know the key differences between two classic coffee drinks - long black and latte? In this post, we're comparing the brewing methods, milk, and taste profiles of these two drinks. Get ready to discover which one will be your new favorite for a bold and smooth coffee experience!

Long Black and Latte: Origins and Differences

Long Black

The long black originated in Australia and New Zealand as a stronger and more concentrated version of the Americano. The drink consists of two main ingredients: espresso and hot water. To make a long black, a ristretto or regular espresso shot is poured over hot water, resulting in a strong and aromatic coffee with a noticeable intensity compared to its counterparts. In terms of caffeine content, a long black contains approximately 154 mg, which is slightly higher than a latte.

With its bold flavor and straightforward preparation, long black has become a popular choice for those who appreciate a no-nonsense approach to their coffee. The drink's strength can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the amount of water used, giving coffee aficionados the opportunity to customize their experience.


The latte, on the other hand, traces its roots to Italy and is known for its smooth and creamy texture. The key components of a latte are one or two shots of espresso, a generous amount of steamed milk, and a thin layer of frothed milk on top. With an average caffeine content of 128 mg, it is a bit milder than a long black.

The latte has gained worldwide popularity due to its velvety mouthfeel and the way it expertly balances the robust taste of espresso with the creaminess of steamed milk. The versatility of this drink has led to numerous variations, such as flavored lattes or those topped with latte art.

In summary, the long black and latte have distinct characteristics that cater to different preferences:

Long Black Latte
Origin Australia/New Zealand Italy
Main Ingredients Espresso, hot water Espresso, steamed milk, frothed milk
Caffeine Content Approximately 154 mg Approximately 128 mg
Flavor Profile Strong, aromatic Smooth, creamy

Both the long black and latte offer unique coffee experiences for aficionados, and their differences in origin, ingredients, and flavor profile cater to a wide range of tastes.

Key Components of Long Black and Latte

Coffee Beans and Roast

The foundation of both long black and latte depends on the quality and roast of the coffee beans. Typically, espresso-based drinks like these use a medium to dark roast, which contributes to the bold flavor profiles. Choosing the right beans and roast level is essential to achieve the best taste possible.


Espresso is the base for both long black and latte drinks. A long black is made of two ingredients: espresso and hot water, resulting in a stronger scent and taste compared to an Americano. A latte, which means "milk coffee" in Italian, contains at least one shot of espresso along with steamed milk. In both beverages, the proper extraction of the espresso shot, using a quality espresso machine, plays a crucial role in the final taste, aroma, and balance of flavors.


Crema is the layer of rich, creamy foam that forms at the top of an espresso shot due to oils and gases released during the brewing process. It signifies a quality espresso extraction and adds depth to the taste of the coffee. In a long black, the crema is more prominent, as it is not mixed with milk. However, in a latte, the crema tends to mix with the steamed milk, creating a creamy and smooth texture.

Milk or Cream

Milk is the distinguishing factor between a long black and a latte. While a long black only consists of espresso and hot water, a latte has a significant proportion of steamed milk, giving it a creamy mouthfeel. Lattes may also have a layer of milk foam on top, creating a velvety texture that complements the strong espresso flavor. The choice between milk and cream depends on personal preference, but using high-quality dairy or dairy alternatives is crucial for the best taste.

To summarize, the key components that differentiate a long black from a latte are the coffee beans, roast, espresso, crema, and the presence or absence of milk. Both drinks have unique characteristics resulting from their respective combinations of ingredients, making them popular choices among espresso-based coffee lovers looking for different flavor profiles and textures.

Preparation and Presentation

How Long Black is Made

A Long Black, a popular black coffee drink, is created by pouring a double shot of espresso over approximately 100 to 120ml of hot water. This method brings out the flavors of the coffee and produces a rich, aromatic beverage. The use of less water compared to an Americano results in a more concentrated flavor, with the espresso's taste more pronounced. Notably, a Long Black should not be confused with a Lungo, which is an espresso shot extracted using more water than usual.

How Latte is Made

Lattes, on the other hand, are milk-based coffee drinks made by combining one or two shots of espresso with steamed milk. They are typically topped off with a thin layer of frothed milk, adding a creamy texture. Lattes are known for their smooth and creamy flavor, contrasting with the stronger, more bitter taste of a Long Black.

Common Variations

There are several other coffee beverages related to or derived from Long Blacks and Lattes, each with their unique preparation methods and flavor profiles:

  • Macchiato: A small, strong coffee drink made with a shot of espresso and a dollop of frothed milk. The milk adds some creaminess to the coffee, but less so than in a Latte.
  • Cappuccino: Similar to a Latte, a Cappuccino is made with espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. However, it contains equal parts of each component, resulting in a more balanced flavor and texture.
  • Flat White: This drink originates from Australia and New Zealand and features a double shot of espresso, topped with a smaller amount of steamed milk and a thin layer of froth. The end result is a stronger coffee flavor compared to a Latte or Cappuccino.
  • Drip-brewed Coffee: Traditionally made with a drip coffee maker, this type of coffee doesn't include espresso. Instead, hot water is poured over ground coffee beans, allowing it to drip through a filter and into a carafe.

When it comes to caffeine content, Long Blacks and Lattes both contain espresso shots, but the presence of milk in a Latte may dilute the caffeine slightly. Specialty coffee drinks, such as those mentioned above, may have varying levels of caffeine depending on the number of espresso shots used and the specific brewing method.

In conclusion, Long Blacks and Lattes offer distinct flavor profiles and preparation methods that cater to different tastes and preferences. Whether you prefer the strong, bold taste of a Long Black or the smooth, creamy texture of a Latte, these beverages provide a unique way to enjoy your coffee experience.

Taste and Aroma

The taste and aroma of long black and latte coffees are quite distinct due to the differences in their preparation and ingredients. A long black is a strong, espresso-based coffee made by pouring a double shot of espresso over hot water. This results in a concentrated and full-bodied flavor with a bitterness that coffee enthusiasts often appreciate. The aroma of a long black is notably more intense, which can be attributed to the combination of the espresso's natural oils and the hot water releasing the coffee's aromatic compounds.

On the other hand, a latte is a milder and creamier coffee beverage that starts with a single shot of espresso and is then combined with steamed milk and a small amount of milk foam. The result is a less intense taste, as the milk cuts through the bitterness, revealing an overall sweeter profile. The addition of steamed milk also gives a latte a luxurious mouthfeel, contributing to its perceived creaminess.

In comparing the two, it is essential to remember that the quality of the espresso extraction plays a significant role in determining the actual taste and aroma of both drinks. A well-extracted espresso or ristretto, which is a shorter and more concentrated shot, will have a noticeable impact on the taste of both the long black and the latte. The flavor notes present in good-quality coffee are more pronounced in a long black, given the absence of milk to mask them. However, in a latte, the same individual flavor notes could still be present, albeit, subdued by the milk.

To sum up, the taste and aroma of a long black coffee are characterized by its bold, strong flavor and pronounced bitterness, as well as a more intense aroma, making it a coffee purist's choice. In contrast, a latte possesses a milder, sweeter profile with a smoother mouthfeel, catering to those who appreciate a more balanced coffee experience with a creamier texture.

Caffeine Content and Ratios

When comparing the caffeine content in popular coffee drinks such as long black and latte, there are noticeable differences. The long black coffee, which is made by pouring hot water over a double shot of espresso, contains approximately 154 mg of caffeine in a 6 fl oz cup. This type of coffee is known for its strong taste and high caffeine level, originating from the espresso shot at its base.

On the other hand, the latte is a milder coffee drink that combines a single shot of espresso with steamed milk and a small amount of foam. The average caffeine content in a latte is around 128 mg per 16 fl oz cup. The milder taste and lower caffeine content of a latte can be attributed to the higher ratio of steamed milk to espresso within the composition of the drink.

To provide a clearer comparison, let's look into the caffeine ratios in long black and latte coffee types:

Coffee Type Caffeine Content Volume Caffeine per fl oz
Long Black 154 mg 6 fl oz 25.67 mg
Latte 154 mg 16 fl oz 9.62 mg

As shown in the table above, a long black contains 25.67 mg of caffeine per fl oz, while a latte only contains 9.62 mg per fl oz. This signifies that long black coffee has a higher concentration of caffeine compared to a latte.

In addition to long black and latte, there are other coffee drinks such as ristretto and espresso which impact the caffeine content. A ristretto is a more concentrated form of espresso, containing less water and, consequently, a higher caffeine level per fl oz. Espresso, on the other hand, typically contains around 63 mg of caffeine in a 1 fl oz shot.

In conclusion, the caffeine content and ratios vary significantly between different coffee drinks. While long black coffee provides a higher concentration of caffeine, lattes offer a smoother and less intense experience due to the higher amount of steamed milk mixed with the espresso. When selecting a coffee beverage, these caffeine variations should be considered according to individual taste and preferences.

Size and Serving

When comparing the sizes and serving styles of long black and latte, it is important to understand the different components of each espresso-based drink. The long black and the latte have distinct tastes and textures due to the varying ratios of espresso, water, and milk.

A long black is created by combining two shots of espresso with 3 oz. of hot water. The result is a strong, robust coffee with a thick layer of crema on top. The long black is typically served in a 6-8 oz. glass coffee mug. It is important to note that the long black has a stronger concentration of coffee compared to other espresso-based drinks like the Americano, which uses only one shot of espresso.

On the other hand, a latte is made by adding steamed milk to a shot of espresso. The milk is frothed into a creamy, velvety texture and poured over the espresso, resulting in a mixture with a lighter taste and a smoother mouthfeel compared to the long black. Lattes can vary in size, but they are often served in 8-10 oz. cups or even larger, depending on the preference of the coffee shop or customer.

Some other notable espresso-based drinks include:

  • Ristretto: A more concentrated espresso, made with half the amount of water used for a standard espresso
  • Macchiato: A shot of espresso "stained" with a small dollop of frothed milk
  • Cappuccino: A 6 oz. coffee made with equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk, resulting in a creamy and full-flavored espresso-based drink

When choosing between a long black and a latte, factors such as flavor intensity, serving size, preferred textures, and even the presence of milk play a significant role. Long black is more suitable for coffee enthusiasts who prefer a bolder, more intense flavor in their coffee, while individuals who enjoy a softer, creamier texture might opt for the milder taste of a latte. Whichever your preference, the quality of coffee largely depends on the machine used. Investing in a commercial quality espresso machine can make all the difference. Whether you run a bustling café or want to elevate your home brewing experience, the right equipment ensures a superior cup every time. Consider browsing our collection if you're thinking to buy a commercial grade espresso maker.

Popular Drinks Comparison

Long Black vs Americano

The Long Black and Americano are two popular espresso-based drinks, each with its own unique preparation method. A Long Black is made by pouring espresso over hot water, while an Americano is created by pouring hot water over the espresso shot. This difference in preparation allows the Long Black to retain more crema than the Americano, giving it a distinctive appearance and taste.

Long Black vs Drip-Brewed Coffee

Comparing Long Black and Drip-Brewed Coffee, we find that these two types of black coffee have different brewing methods. Long Black is an espresso-based drink, while Drip-Brewed Coffee is created by letting hot water pass through coffee grounds. This results in a milder, less concentrated coffee in the case of Drip-Brewed Coffee. The Long Black, on the other hand, has a stronger, more robust flavor due to its espresso base.

Latte vs Cappuccino

When comparing Lattes and Cappuccinos, we can observe that both are espresso-based drinks, but they differ in the way milk is incorporated. A Latte consists of mostly steamed milk and a small amount of foam, maintaining a smooth and creamy texture. In contrast, a Cappuccino has equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam, resulting in a frothy and airier consistency.

Latte vs Flat White

Lattes and Flat Whites, while similar in components, have a noticeable difference in their milk-to-coffee ratio. A Latte has more steamed milk, which creates a lighter, creamier beverage. The Flat White, on the other hand, has a higher concentration of espresso with a small amount of steamed milk, yielding a stronger coffee taste and a velvety texture.

Latte vs Macchiato

Distinguishing between a Latte and a Macchiato is done by examining their milk and foam content. A Latte has more steamed milk and a thin layer of foam, while a Macchiato is essentially an espresso "marked" or "stained" with a small amount of frothed milk. This results in a bolder, more intense coffee flavor for the Macchiato compared to the Latte.

To summarize the caffeine content in these drinks:

Drink Caffeine Content (Approx.)
Long Black 154 mg
Americano 126 mg
Drip-Brewed Coffee 95 mg per 8 oz cup
Latte 128 mg
Cappuccino 127 mg
Flat White 150 mg
Macchiato 65 mg (single shot)

In conclusion, this Popular Drinks Comparison highlights the key differences between Long Blacks, Americanos, Drip-Brewed Coffees, Lattes, Cappuccinos, Flat Whites, and Macchiatos. Understanding these variations will help coffee enthusiasts make informed decisions when choosing their preferred espresso-based drinks.

Iced Coffee Versions

Iced Long Black

An iced long black is a popular variation of the traditional long black coffee, made by pouring a double shot of espresso over ice, and then topping it with cold water. This type of iced coffee maintains the strong, bold flavors and higher caffeine content of a hot long black, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a refreshing and robust iced coffee drink.

In comparison to other iced coffee beverages, the iced long black has a more intense flavor profile, given its higher concentration of coffee. This drink is preferred by individuals who enjoy the rich taste of espresso without the dilution of milk commonly found in lattes.

Iced Latte

An iced latte, on the other hand, is a creamy and lighter alternative to an iced long black. It is prepared by adding a shot of espresso to a glass of ice, followed by a generous serving of cold milk. The milk helps to mellow the strong taste of espresso, creating a more balanced and smooth flavor.

In terms of caffeine content, the iced latte typically has less caffeine than an iced long black due to the milk-to-espresso ratio. According to the search results, an ounce of espresso in an iced latte has 30 mg of caffeine, whereas an ounce of coffee in an iced long black contains 8 mg of caffeine.

Here's a brief comparison between the two iced coffee versions:

Iced Coffee Version Espresso/Coffee Content Caffeine Content Flavor Profile
Iced Long Black Double shot of espresso Higher Intense, bold
Iced Latte Single shot of espresso Lower Creamy, balanced

In conclusion, both iced long black and iced latte offer unique flavors and caffeine strengths, catering to different preferences. The iced long black is perfect for those who prefer a more robust coffee experience, while the iced latte offers a milder, creamier taste.

Coffee Machine Selection and Grind

When considering the preparation of long black, espresso, ristretto, and latte, selecting the right coffee machine and understanding the importance of grind size are essential factors. Choosing the perfect coffee machine for making these beverages begins with understanding their distinct characteristics.

A long black is a milder, larger version of the espresso. It consists of hot water poured over a double shot of espresso, resulting in a more delicate flavor compared to the traditional espresso. On the other hand, a ristretto is a concentrated, smaller version of an espresso, known for its intense flavor. Latte is a popular espresso-based beverage, consisting of steamed milk and a single shot of espresso, topped off with a small amount of frothed milk.

Different coffee machines cater to specific aspects of making these beverages. Ensure that the coffee maker you choose is designed to accommodate the specific requirements of the beverage you wish to prepare. A few examples from the search results include the Cuisinart Grind & Brew Single-Serve Coffee Maker and the De'Longhi Dedica Style EC685. These machines offer a range of features, from grinding whole coffee beans to brewing single cups of coffee or espresso.

Grind size plays a crucial role in determining the flavor of coffee beverages. The optimal grind size varies for each type of coffee:

  • Espresso: Fine grind
  • Ristretto: Fine grind, similar to espresso but slightly finer
  • Latte: Fine grind, akin to espresso
  • Long Black: Fine grind, consistent with espresso

It's essential to experiment with different grind sizes to find the ideal balance of extraction and flavor. Too fine a grind may result in over-extraction, leading to a bitter taste, while too coarse a grind can cause under-extraction and produce a weak flavor.

To help illustrate the differences in grind size, consider using a coffee grind size chart, which serves as a visual representation of the various grind sizes and their impact on coffee flavor. This can be an invaluable tool when trying to create the perfect cup of coffee.

Lastly, it's important to remember that factors such as water temperature, brewing time, and coffee-to-water ratio also contribute to the final taste of your beverage. Choosing a coffee machine that offers customization options allows you to craft the perfect cup every time, regardless of whether you're making a long black, espresso, ristretto, or latte.

Coffee Shop Etiquette and Ordering

When visiting a coffee shop, it's essential to be mindful of some common etiquettes, which include not being indecisive at the counter and giving the barista your full attention by putting any calls on hold. Let's dive into the differences between two popular coffee types: the long black and the latte.

A long black is a coffee beverage that originated in Australia and New Zealand. It consists of a double shot of espresso or ristretto, poured over 100 to 120ml of hot water from the espresso machine. The primary difference between a long black and an Americano, which is more commonly known in the US, is the process of mixing hot water with espresso. An Americano is made by pouring hot water over the espresso, while in a long black, the espresso is poured over the hot water.

On the other hand, a latte is a popular coffee option that combines espresso with steamed milk and a thin layer of milk foam on top. The ratio of espresso to milk in a latte is usually 1:3, making it creamier and milder than a long black. The thickness of the milk foam can vary, but it generally creates a silky texture and a balanced coffee flavor.

When ordering either of these drinks at a coffee shop, try to be familiar with your choice before reaching the counter. Here are some useful ordering etiquettes:

  • Review your options on the menu board and make a decision so as not to hold up the line.
  • Give the barista your full attention when placing the order, and use polite phrases like "please" and "thank you."
  • Specify whether you want a long black or latte, and any other customization preferences, such as milk type, size or additional flavors.

In conclusion, it's vital to understand the differences between a long black and a latte, as well as the coffee shop etiquette involved in ordering them. Both beverages cater to different personal preferences, with the long black offering a more intense, espresso-forward taste and the latte providing a creamier, milder alternative. By knowing their distinctions and ordering manners, coffee enthusiasts can enjoy their preferred cup to the fullest.

Coffee Culture in Different Countries

The coffee culture varies greatly among different countries, and the way people consume coffee is influenced by factors such as history, cultural preferences, and local innovations. In this section, we will explore how long black and latte coffees are understood and appreciated in different parts of the world.

In Australia and New Zealand, the long black has become a popular choice for coffee lovers who enjoy the strong, bold flavor of espresso. A long black is made by pouring two shots of espresso over hot water, which results in a rich and intense coffee experience. This style of coffee originated in Australia and New Zealand as a response to the American-style black coffee, which was often regarded as too weak and watery.

In contrast, the latte is an Italian creation that has taken the world by storm. It is made with espresso and steamed milk, resulting in a creamy and smooth beverage that appeals to those who prefer a milder and less bitter taste. The popularity of the latte has grown significantly over the years, and it is now a staple in coffee shops all over the United States and Europe.

Coffee culture in Italy has played a significant role in shaping how coffee is consumed globally. As the birthplace of espresso and cappuccino, Italy has a strong focus on these beverages. The espresso originated in Milan and is typically served in small cups with a concentrated, intense flavor. It is also used as the base for several other drinks, such as the ristretto - a shorter, even more concentrated espresso shot - and the aforementioned cappuccino and latte.

During World War II, US soldiers stationed in Italy were introduced to espresso, which led to a demand for similar coffee styles back in the United States. The Americano, a diluted version of espresso with added hot water, was one such adaptation that catered to the American palate, while still retaining the bold flavors of Italian espresso.

Other countries also have their unique takes on coffee. For example, in Sweden, the focus is primarily on filter coffee, while Switzerland leans more towards automatic machine long black coffees, also known as café creme. As coffee culture continues to evolve and spread globally, the appreciation for diverse coffee styles, such as long black and latte, only grows stronger.

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Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

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