The long black coffee is too often misunderstood by baristas (both at home and in the café), so it is important to have a thorough knowledge of what it is and how to prepare it!
A good long black will have some crema, and it will be the perfect temperature to drink immediately. So how do you achieve this?
Read on to discover the secret to preparing a great long black with one of our specialty blends or single origin coffees. Try our Modena Blend as a long black to experience the stone fruit, salted chocolate and butterscotch flavours or any of the unique flavours from our monthly single origin showcase coffees.
Step 1: Prepare Your Water
Always pour your water first. Some cafés will pour hot water from a tap on the espresso machine and rely on the cup to take the heat out, while others use temperature-controlled urns to pour water that is about 70 degrees Celsius.
If you're creating a long black at home, you can use boiling water – but add a small amount of cold water to bring the temperature down. Just make sure you leave enough room in the cup for your shot!
The amount of water to espresso will vary depending on personal preference. A common ratio in cafes is approximately 80ml of water to a double shot of espresso, which is 60ml of coffee. Try different amounts for yourself until you find the perfect long black coffee.
Step 2: Pull Your Shot
If you feel like pulling a good espresso shot seems to be the basis of every decent coffee, you’re right! Make sure you don’t spend too long extracting your shot – keep it to a maximum of 30 seconds; otherwise you will over-extract it and end up with a cup of coffee that tastes burnt.
Pour your shot directly into the cup of water. This ensures the crema and flavourful oils both remain intact, letting the drinker experience the full potential of the coffee. Make sure you use quality freshly roasted coffee beans as there is no milk to distract from the diversity of flavours you’ll enjoy with the right beans.
Avoid the Common Mistakes
There are a couple of things that will ruin your long black faster than you can say “I love coffee”.
1. Try and make sure the water is a good temperature – if a long black is too hot, it may scald the mouth of an unsuspecting drinker. It may also delay them drinking it. If they are getting coffee with friends, this can mean they are the only one left with coffee in their cup.
2. Don’t swap the order around and add water to the shot – if you do this, you are likely to end up with limited flavour in your long black. Water first, then espresso!
A good long black will let you enjoy specialty roasts and lighter blends as the water opens up the flavours nicely when prepared well.
Alternative brewing methods are another great way to enjoy black coffee; the more delicate extraction process of drip filter or pour-over brewing delivers a deeper and more complex tasting experience, particularly when using specialty grade single origin coffee.
What’s your favourite coffee to use in long blacks?