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What is a Short Black Coffee? (With Recipe)


The coffee world is full of mysterious terms that you practically need to be a barista to understand. But if you just want to be able to understand the menu at your local coffee shop, you don’t need to sign up for barista training!

Here’s what you need to know about short black coffee, including where the name comes from and what separates it from long black coffee. After that, we will show you how to make a short black coffee. Let’s get started!

The Short Answer
Short black coffee is a regular shot of espresso. It doesn’t have any extra water beyond the water needed to pull the shot.

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What is a short black coffee?

If you order a short black coffee at a coffee shop, you’ll enjoy a simple shot of espresso. Short black coffees contain roughly 30 milliliters, or 1 ounce, of water and about 7 grams of coffee.

The name actually comes from this drink’s opposite, the long black coffee. A long black is a single or double shot of espresso poured over 4 to 6 ounces of water. This makes it similar to an Americano — a drink closer to classic American drip coffee.

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What does a short black coffee taste like?

Above all, short blacks are strong, concentrated cups of coffee. This drink features rich, complex flavors that vary depending on the coffee beans you use. If you love intense espresso, you’ll enjoy the short black. However, if you’re more of a drip coffee drinker, you may want to try a long black instead.

What is espresso?

How to Make a Short Black Coffee

Short black coffee is a simple shot of espresso. Whereas long black coffees are tempered by extra water, the short black is bold, dark, and delicious. Here's how to make one!
5 star average
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 6 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 1 drink(s)
Calories 5 kcal




  • Grind your coffee beans finely. Use approximately one part coffee for every two parts of water, or about 7 grams of coffee per shot. Tamp the grounds tightly into your espresso machine’s portafilter.
  • Put the portafilter into your espresso machine and place an espresso cup beneath the brew head. Start pulling the shot and start a timer at the same time.
  • Allow 30 milliliters of water to flow through your grounds for 25 to 30 seconds. Stop brewing once you hit the water amount and time frame.
  • Enjoy your short black coffee plain or with a sugar cube!


Calories: 5kcal
Keyword espresso, short black coffee

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Final Thoughts

Now that you understand the short black coffee, why not give it a try? Pull a perfect shot of espresso or turn it into a long black by adding extra water. This drink is delicious, rich, and simple! In other words, it is time to start brewing!


Featured Image Credit By: Fatima Akram, Pixabay


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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