Next to the Flat White, the Long Black must be the most confusing drink on many cafes’ menu. What exactly is a long black? Is it the Americano? Is it the Italian Lungo? Is it merely espresso + hot water? Of is it espresso over hot water?
What the heck is a Short Black then? The opposite of Long black?
I always believe that words should have its appropriate meaning. As words are used for communications, it should have a defined meaning.
Allow me to propose that the Long Black be the opposite of the Ristretto. Ristretto with the meaning “Restrict” attached to it… we literally restrict the flow. Either tamp a bit harder, dose a bit more, grind a bit finer OR/AND pulled a bit SHORTER (in volume).
Hence, the Long Black should be tamp a bit lighter, dose a bit lesser, grind a bit coarser OR/AND pulled a bit LONGER. And you have the word LONG black.
Americano on the other hand, let it be Espresso with water. Does not matter whether the espresso is on TOP or Bottom.
There are some slight difference whether you pull the espresso on top OR add hot water to the espresso.
The former will give a better visual presentation, aroma a bit stronger and the first sip a bit bitter (due to the floating crema).
But once you stirred, both of them tasted the same to me.