Non-Milk Based Espresso Drinks | Comparing differences between Short Black, Long Black, Ristretto

​Your guide to the different styles of coffee, short blacks, long blacks, macchiato, affogato and vienna.

Short Black

The short black is the foundation of any espresso drink. The term 'short' refers to the fact that this is simply an espresso shot, no extra water is added apart from what is used to brew the coffee. Black of course comes from the colour of the drink due to the fact that there is no milk added.

A short black is a 30ml shot of espresso served in a demitasse cup, and a good/fresh short black will have a thick golden crema on top. This is of course the basis for almost all espresso coffees.

Short Black Espresso

Long Black / Caffe Americano

A long black is usually served in a taller glass or mug, this is based on a 30ml shot of espresso. Hot water is then added to this and served black. The term 'long' here refers to the fact that the volume has been increased by adding hot water. For larger drinks a double shot of espresso may be used to maintain the ratio of water to coffee.

Long Black or Americano


A vienna is simply a long black served with whipped cream as a replacement for milk and sugar.



A ristretto is a similar style drink to a short black, the difference however is that rather than allowing water to pass through the coffee grounds until you have 30mls of espresso (a single espresso), the extraction would be stopped when you have half that amount - 15mls (single ristretto). The purpose behind this is that by stopping after 15mls, what has been extracted from the coffee grounds is the best tasting components of coffee. After the first 15mls have been extracted anything after this will start to add more acidity, caffeine and generally negative flavours to the drink.