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The Ultimate Americano? (Long Black)

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  • The Ultimate Americano? (Long Black)

    Hey everyone!

    I recently converted from a DeLonghi EC860M to a BES920 Dual Boiler.

    Because I intermittent fast, in the mornings I can only have black coffee without sugar or milk.

    Cafes in the Gold Coast where I work in Southport are generally pretty bad at making Long Blacks. For instance, the last time I ordered one the cup was so bloody hot it was obvious they used hot water from the machine and burnt the entire drink! The espresso was ruined instantly (and to make matters worse it took like an hour to cool down to drinking temperature!).

    Now that I have a proper coffee machine Im looking for your help on how to make the ultimate long black (aka the "americano").

    Would love to get your feedback on:

    - Grind size;
    - Pour time ;
    - extraction ratio;
    - temperature of the hot water used, and your preference on how much water to add; and
    - beans!

    PS I am not looking for advice on using an aeropress, pour over like the V60, etc, as I am already acquainted with making black coffee that way

    Alright Coffee Snobs, give me your best tips on making the ultimate americano!

  • #2
    An americano typically is a shot that then has hot water added to it. Some places in America will make them by running the shot until the cup is full. Seriously. If you wonder why this is a bad idea try it sometime, but be within spitting distance of the sink when you do. A long black is typically hot water that has a shot pulled onto/into it. The ultimate americano is a long black.

    To improve your long black try scooping the crema off the top, it's pretty but tastes pretty awful usually.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yep I'd try just extracting a normal shot (1:2 ratio) over hot water, but the temp of the water poured onto the shot/before the shot shouldn't have any effect on the flavour.... drinking it too hot will be tricky (and will be harder to detect flavours), but it doesn't burn the espresso at all. Only if the shot wasn't extracted right then taste will be off (eg the water going through the coffee grounds is too hot, extraction will change).

      Just let it cool and it'll be good to go

      And interesting about the crema, I've never scooped it but I'll give that a go, yeah it isn't the tastiest stuff hey hehe

      Comment


      • #4
        Then of course you have the Lungo, my brew of choice.

        18 grams of beans ground to give me an extraction of approx 90 ml's in 30 seconds.

        Some describe it as over extracted, however the extra degree of bitterness is very much to my liking.

        Far more flavour, complexity and viscosity and quite a bit shorter than either an Americano or a long black, and of course the crema remains intact, it really lies between a shot of espresso and the Americano/long black.

        Re the crema, stir it in, it's all part of the extraction and adds to the flavour of the coffee.

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        • #5
          My gf drinks the long black and likes it HOT.
          I use around 200g water, then use the steamer to near boil the water in the cup (dual wall borosilicate), then drop a double shot on the top. 15.5g in 30g ish out.
          I just changed to a vst 18g and first thing she said was it's a bit stronger than usual.. (and she says she isn't a coffee aficionado, but can pick that with 2 weeks between her last visit. Not bad!)

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          • #6
            I start by pouring about 100ml of boiling water into the cup.

            Then I add a dash of cold tap water to knock off some heat. This brings it down to about 75-80C.

            Finally I pour a short double shot over the top, stopping after around 20 seconds.

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            • #7
              Just use the hot water outlet on your machine to top up your shot. The water is nowhere near boiling point, no need to fuss with kettles.

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              • #8
                Thanks for the tips everyone, looks like I will have to start experimenting!

                @ Yelta, I also enjoy Lungos. Do you grind coarser to extract 18 grams into 90ml in 30 seconds?

                @herzog, definitely a good call. This is my method at the moment.

                @ simonsk8r, I would have to respectfully disagree sir (with your comment on the temperature not affecting the taste). Pouring water which is at boiling temperature (ie, at 100C) in my view, ruins the flavour. I have heard similar things with pour over coffee preparations, as youre not supposed to let your goosneck kettle reach boiling temp, or if it does, you let if set for 3 minutes before pouring it over the coffee grounds. To each their own, I guess. But you may have a valid point, the coffee shop may have also not extracted the coffee properly. I think we have both raised valid points and that there could have been many contributing factors

                @erimus yes my BES920 should have water come out at only 92C since that boiler for the hot water spout is the same one for the grouphead, so I can also adjust the temp

                Thanks for the feedback everyone.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jasonthegreat View Post
                  Thanks for the tips everyone, looks like I will have to start experimenting!

                  @ Yelta, I also enjoy Lungos. Do you grind coarser to extract 18 grams into 90ml in 30 seconds?
                  Yes I do, by a couple of graduations on the Mazzer, doesn't take much, experiment.

                  Have mentioned the Lungo previously with little or no interest, IMHO a far superior brew to either Long Black or Americano, as I said earlier much closer to an espresso shot than either one, if you enjoy very good black coffee do yourself a favour and experiment with the Lungo.

                  Certainly not difficult to do, however don't ask for it in a cafe, 95% of barista's have never heard of it and them that have won't (understandably) mess with their grinder settings to make one for you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jasonthegreat View Post
                    @ simonsk8r, I would have to respectfully disagree sir (with your comment on the temperature not affecting the taste). Pouring water which is at boiling temperature (ie, at 100C) in my view, ruins the flavour. I have heard similar things with pour over coffee preparations, as youre not supposed to let your goosneck kettle reach boiling temp, or if it does, you let if set for 3 minutes before pouring it over the coffee grounds. To each their own, I guess. But you may have a valid point, the coffee shop may have also not extracted the coffee properly. I think we have both raised valid points and that there could have been many contributing factors
                    Ah yep, bit of a misunderstanding. I tried to clarify in my post that absolutely water that's too hot and poured on the coffee grounds will definitely affect flavour and the outcome. I'm referring to pouring water onto an already brewed espresso (liquid).

                    Temp of water in the actual brewing process (coffee grounds to water contact) it has a massive impact, but to the already brewed liquid coffee it won't have an effect (when you drink it too hot it will be hard to discern the flavours, but letting it cool will fix that). Hope I cleared that up ok!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The best tip for an exceptional Black is quality Water Filtration.
                      In a 150g Long Black 95% is water ....your water.

                      I have tasted Long Blacks from one Roaster in my area with multiple sites
                      using the one Roast / Blend. All Using the same shot recipe.
                      Yes variation in machines on site. Same class of Grinder 70-80mm flat blade class.

                      The one site that has 3 stage filtration is wow you can feel the difference on your tongue.
                      The Roaster commented its crazy the high percentage of Blacks this site does in comparison
                      to the average number per site.

                      This sites owner (partner) is a Food Tech type.
                      The extra filtration he added is a step up from Coffee Class water filtration,
                      - which is generally 12-15micron single stage filtration.
                      Which will generally take care of the Scale issue in regards to maintaining the machines lifecycle.

                      He has added to the std setup with a 1st stage Softener ....which is a Mineral Salts Conditioner.
                      Then added a 5micron filtration 3rd stage, which is after the std Brita C150.

                      If your in Brisbane and want to taste what I've tasted, PM me.

                      BTW I prefer the following ...as Per Yelta's Traditional Italian Lungo Recipe ...Or
                      As per Herzog above with
                      100-110G of water at around 80deg base in the cup
                      with the triple dose ristretto 20-22g dose with 20g out in around 20sec
                      dropped onto the top of the hot water base...
                      Good Luck with it...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Always interesting to hear others favourite preparation methods.
                        I'd forgotten what a "lungo" was.
                        Sent me off to measure my cup capacity so I knew what proportions I was using.

                        My favourite is a Long Black. A 45ml double-shot over 100 mls of water straight out of the Group.
                        Very little Crema ever - just the way it comes out - which suits me as I don't much like the flavour of the Crema although I wouldn't bother to spoon it off.
                        Just hot enough to be the right temp when I get it out to the verandah.

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                        • #13
                          Rocky yes holding the cup so that the spouts fall on the upper sides of the cup
                          will generally allow the Crema to hold up during the pour.
                          I reckon it presents beautifully and many like the in your face first sips !
                          Like you I've found if the shot is dropped directly onto the top of water most of the Crema dissipates
                          rather quickly.

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                          • #14
                            Try pulling the shot directly into a shot glass and then carefully pour the shot into the water.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Erimus View Post
                              Try pulling the shot directly into a shot glass and then carefully pour the shot into the water.
                              Or use the bartender’s trick of pouring the shot onto the back of a spoon and directing it onto the wall of the cup.

                              This is a way of making those layered cocktails, but works great with espresso too.

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