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Hello Darkness, My Old Friend (Long Black & Americano!)

If you are a fan of black coffee, you might have ordered one of these before – Long Black and Americano, but do you know what’s the difference between them?

Left: Americano Right: Long Black

Both of them are some of the most identifiable drinks on the menu but they appear to be exactly the same – a combination of espresso and hot water. To dig out the differences, we have to jump through history to the Second World War.

During the war, American soldiers stationed in Italy were served espressos but they simply couldn’t get used to the sheer intensity of it. Instead, they got chefs to pour hot water into the espresso, diluting its strength to something more reminiscent of the coffees they had at home.

After the war, the legacy of that diluted espresso continued, in the form of the ‘Americano’.

On the other hand, Long Black was created by pulling a shot of espresso directly onto a cup of hot water. That’s right, it’s a matter of the order in which you add your ingredients!

When it comes to coffee though, you might be thinking about the most important part of this equation – What is the difference in taste?

Surprise surprise, there isn’t much of a difference in taste - But the presentation is what sets these drinks apart.

Remember crema, the golden layer formed atop an espresso? In an Americano (pictured below, left), the rush of water dissipates the crema and releases the carbon dioxide back into the air. However, in a Long Black (pictured below, right), the crema is retained delicately on the surface of the drink.

Left: Americano Right: Long Black

With that minor variation, most cafes today usually adopt one method or the other, instead of featuring both on their menu as two separate drinks.

So don’t be too alarmed when one or the other is off the menu, we’re sure that you’d love it either way!

If you do not love it either way then perhaps what you’re looking for is a milky, white coffee!

Stay tuned to our next post!

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