Coffee Debate #1: Usefulness of the Americano/Long Black

Americano, Long Black, whatever you call it essentially its a dilute espresso. Or is it?

K well actually it is, but the question is not in the naming or what it is but rather whether it should be drunk or not.
Like Jeremy said, we tend to have the same interests but look at things with a different perspective. This is one of those times where we have different perspectives.
Espresso: Hot, pressurized water going through a packed puck of coffee grinds. The pressure and heat allow certain flavours and chemicals to be extracted that normally would not be if it were say pressed or filtered through.

Americano/Long Black: Take the espresso and serve it over some hot water so that the final coffee his more volume and more dilute flavour.
My perspective

Espresso is intense. There are so many variables that need to be deconstructed when tasting it. Body, acidity, sweetness, flavour profiles. All in all its very intense as a process and the experience is quick and intense as well. Enter the long black. Now I think that the long black serves 2 purposes.

1) It is more dilute. This allows you to sip on it and enjoy it for longer. Also if you cannot handle the intensity of the espresso, then you can taste it for longer and enjoy it longer.
2) This is more an extension of 1), now the dilution not only allows you to enjoy it for longer, but allows you to deconstruct the flavours more. You may be able to pick up certain profiles that would normally be masked by the acidity, body, sweetness etc.

Jer’s perspective

It is dilute espresso where you lose flavours. I agree that certain things are lost, like body, due to the nature of the drink. But I think that the flavours do not dissipate, rather they are just less intense and therefore allowed to be enjoyed in a different manner (not in any way inferior). This gives the drinker an opportunity to deconstruct the drink.

Please, weigh in on my thoughts readers and Jeremy.

3 thoughts on “Coffee Debate #1: Usefulness of the Americano/Long Black

  1. I commonly drink americano’s because it’s cheaper than latte’s, and lasts longer than an espresso.

  2. I have to agree with Jeremy on this one. Any good roaster, when designing an espresso, has a few drinks in mind, but ultimately focuses on the glory of the shot served alone. All the above mentioned characteristics, such as body, acidity, etc, are designed in mind with a service method in mind as well—espresso. Some thought is placed into how the shot will taste in milk (i.e. macchiato or cappuccino), but the americano is not as often thought of.

    While I am not a fan of americanos, I do believe there are many methods of extracting coffee into larger portions which utilize coffees designed for such a purpose. French press, clover, vacuum pot, and even a simple Melitta pour over system create wonderful, larger portion coffees that take advantage of a single origins characteristics without the style of an espresso getting in the way of its character. Espresso should remain espresso, and a good Bodum should follow you around wherever you go.

  3. Pingback: Coffee Debate #1: Usefulness of the Americano/Long Black [revisited] « Life is Enjoyable

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