Let’s Talk About – ‘What is an Americano Coffee Drink?’

If you are one of those people who gets confused by the menu cards in coffee shops, we are here for the rescue. Do not panic when you’re handed a black cup of coffee. What is it? An Americano? So what is an Americano then?

Cafe Americano which is also known as American or just Americano, literally an American coffee in the espresso category. It is a kind of coffee beverage made by diluting an espresso with warm water. Giving it a strength similar to, but flavor-wise different from, any traditionally brewed coffee. The strength of an Americano coffee can vary with the number of espresso shots and the quantity of water added. The name itself has also spelled with different capitalization as well as the use of diacritics café americano.

In Italy, cafe americano could mean either filtered coffee also known as caffè all’americana, or espresso with hot water.


What Is An Americano Coffee Drink?

The Americano coffee, simple in construction, made of just water and espresso. The ratio of these elements is typically either 1:2 or 1:3 of espresso (1 to 2 shots). Meanwhile, the rest is water. Generally, chain coffee shops will have more water than espresso. Because many Americans still find hard espresso difficult to their palate. This is one of the reasons that the popularity of drinks over time such as a latte or the cappuccino peaked. 

An americano offers a bolder espresso drink. Perfect for those who like to get their caffeine charge from a source that is more concentrated. An americano is mostly a popular choice in North America. The Americano coffee stands out amongst its other espresso cousins because it does not require milk in it.

A Little History

The story goes back to the World War II era. American soldiers who were stationed in Italy were not exactly affectionate about the shockingly strong espresso that the Italians liked to drink. So, in an effort to recreate their drip-style coffee back home, soldiers started to add water to this iconic Italian espresso shot. And voila! The Americano coffee was emanated.

With its origin story that straightforward, it looks like there should not be much debate around or even variations for this drink. Well, you will be wrong! In the upcoming sections in this article, we’ll discuss the basics of this drinks’ making process and its variations. And finally some differences with other espresso drinks and controversy around the americano.


How To Make Americano At Home

How To Make Americano At Home

Looking for a fun way to shake up your morning coffee routine? Why not go for an Americano?

Making an Americano at home consists of really simple steps. You will require two things. Boiling/hot water and an espresso machine.

Instead of steamed or frothed milk and espresso, you need to go onto mixing equal parts or a 1:1 ratio of espresso and water. The result will be a drink that still has that wonderful espresso feature, but might also feel a bit more refreshing. As well as less heavy than a conventional cappuccino or latte. Try to double the quantity of water per shot (2:1 mixture) if you are looking to have something less powerful.

Here’s how you can make an Americano in 5 easy steps:

  1. Have a coffee mug, or latte mug ready first. Optional move: preheat your mug by adding water. Then boil it in your microwave.
  2. Pull a 3 ounce or more espresso shot into a separate glass if you like to have your coffee drink turn out stronger.
  3. Take about 3 ounces or so of warm water and pour it into the mug you want to drink from. Simply warm up the water in your microwave or you can even use an espresso wand also.
  4. Pour the espresso shot into your mug. Many will suggest pouring the water into the espresso shot. But it will break apart the espresso shot. But again, if you want to experiment, go ahead.
  5. Finally, now you can enjoy your Americano coffee! You can add other condiments like sugar, honey, cinnamon, etc. Or, just acquire the “classic” taste with no added condiment.


How To Make An Iced Americano Coffee

Gather the ingredients below for making an iced americano at home:

A double espresso shot. A triple shot in case you like a bolder taste, water, ice cubes, a tall glass.

Here are the three steps on how to make an iced Americano.

  • Prepare your glass and fill the tall glass of yours with the ice cubes.
  • From the previous recipe, either follow the steps of pulling the espresso or apply an espresso pod for brewing your desired quantity of espresso.
  • Now to combine the ingredients, add your espresso to the tall glass of ice. Fill the rest of that glass with chilly water. Blend to your coveted consistency and just enjoy!

Ideal for Home Brew?

The great side to consider about an Americano coffee is that its taste profile grants itself to manual brewing processes. While not every one of us home-baristas can afford a precious semi-automatic espresso machine, most people can at least go for an Aeropress, Moka Pot, or French Press.

While these techniques of making espresso aren’t perfect for straight shots. But they’re ideal for drinks that are purposefully diluted. And meanwhile, the espresso taste might be lost in a milk-based macchiato or latte, it’s relatively uncomplicated to strike a nice parity with the water-based Americano in just a couple of trials and errors.

The Crema Debate

Crema is a tan, thin layer of foam. It forms on top of an espresso shot. While some people assume it has relatively inconsequential to do with the resulting savor of the drink, there is also a faction that thinks it does really have an impact. Whether that’s a bad or a good one is another different debate for another day.

Nonetheless, the crema is an aftermath of the mixing of carbon dioxide and oils that naturally happens during the pulling process of the shot. The crema mixes into your drink if the barista puts in water to your drink after pulling the shot. This is usually the preferred result. As it matures the flavor of your drink, making it even more kindred to a conventional “American” cup of joe.

Americano Coffee Vs Other Black Coffees

You could be sipping a black coffee and yet have no real idea about what it is. Maybe it is a drip coffee? Or, maybe a long black? Or, is it an espresso? That’s confusing, right? Let’s once and for all dive in and clear up the differences. So next time you will know exactly what to order!

Americano Vs Drip Coffee

So you know that the Americano is brewed using an espresso shot. A drip-style coffee is a filtration. But apart from their brewing methods, you might be thinking, what is the actual difference?

Let’s see through some points below. It’s easier to see and dissect this way.

TopicAmericano  Drip  
FlavorDeep, intense coffee notes. Earthy, nutty flavors, lighter and floral notes are demolished by the high temperature.Lighter, subtle flavor. Sweeter and more floral. Also, delicate flavors are permitted to build with time.
Caffeine40 mg per espresso on average. Common to use two shots for 12 ounces of serving. So 80 mg in each cup on average.10 mg per ounce of coffee on average. 120 mg by dint of an average 12 ounce of serving.
CremaYes. But if the espresso is not broken.No crema for drip coffee.  
GrindFine grind coffee for espresso.Medium-Coarse level.

Caffè Americano Vs Long Black

When you pour hot water over your espresso shot, the caffè americano is made.

The moment you pour the espresso shot over the hot water, the long black is made.

You’ll get an identical drink. But when you spout the hot water over your espresso, you’ll break the crema layer. In reality, there is no distinction. The Long Black is what they coined in Australia. Enough said about, right!

Americano Vs Espresso Vs Latte

Caffè Americano vs Espresso: If you are reading this part, we must warn you that, we have talked about Americano in detail throughout this article. And this should help you understand the difference between these two easier. An espresso shot is just a form of pressurized coffee. It forms the base of Americano itself as well as many other popular coffee drinks.

Caffè Americano vs Latte: A latte is another type of espresso topped with foamed, creamy milk. It’s a totally different, milk-based, and creamy drink.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much water do you put in a double shot Americano?

    The generic espresso to water ratio for an Americano is 1 is to 2. That is about 30 to 50 ml or, 1 to 2-ounce espresso to 60 to 100 ml of water. That means a single shot espresso will have 30mL espresso and is adjoined with 60mL of water. So, a double shot of espresso will have 60mL and will require 100 – 120mL of water.

  • How do I order an Americano?

    Americanos are typically ordered in the same sizes compared to the regular orders of black coffee. That is between 12 to 20 ounces.


Wrapping Up

If your typical morning routine includes drip style and you are looking for a chance to up your coffee game but also not interested in a bunch of sugar and milk, the Americano is a great pick to add to your go-to cuppa. You can order it at most of the coffee shops or even easily brew it at home. This is a simple, classic drink either way which is not going to let you down.

Enjoy Your Coffee!

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