Coffee lovers, welcome to your one-stop guide to brewing the perfect Americano coffee – one of the most popular types of coffee drinks in the world.
I’m a barista based in Bucharest and I’ve been making Americanos for a long time. From understanding what constitutes an Americano to its distinct taste; making one at home or unearthing its rich history, this is the ultimate article on Americanos.
Let’s start with how to make Americano and then I’ll get into answering all your burning questions about this delicious classic.
My Americano Recipe: How to Make an Americano Coffee Step-by-Step
Ready to try an Americano? Here’s how you can make an Americano coffee at home.
What you will need to follow this tutorial
- Freshly roasted coffee beans
- Warm water
- Espresso machine or coffee maker
- A coffee grinder if you’re using whole beans
- Mug or cup
1. Coffee should be medium-coarsely ground.
You may skip this step if your coffee is already pre-ground. Otherwise, pull out your coffee grinder and get goin’.
2. Pre-warm your espresso machine and boil hot water.
Make sure your espresso maker is turned on and you’ve tamped the grounds appropriately into your portafilter. Boil water until it reaches a temperature of 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C).
3. Brew your shot of espresso.
Strive for a stronger, more potent coffee foundation. If you have an espresso maker, extract one or two shots of espresso. If you don’t own one, consider using a coffee maker or popular alternatives like a Moka pot or even a French press to get that espresso shot.
In the case of an Americano made with a coffee maker, use a higher coffee-to-water ratio than normal. This will produce a more concentrated coffee that tastes like the proper strength of an Americano.
4. Add water to the espresso.
Once the espresso is ready in the cup, add hot water until it is about two-thirds full. This balances the strength of the espresso shot and gives the Americano its signature taste.
The standard practice is to go for a 1:2 ratio of espresso to water, but feel free to adjust based on your preference!
5. Congrats, you just made a traditional Americano!
Enjoy it and be careful not to burn yourself. Because Americano is made using super hot water, it is thinner so will be very hot for a while until it cools down fast.
Unmasking the Americano: What is an Americano Coffee?
An Americano coffee is an espresso-based coffee drink popular in coffee shops, brewed by adding hot water to an espresso shot.
The caffe Americano is great for those who enjoy strong, black coffee but with an additional touch of water to taper down its potency.
The Traditional Americano
The conventional Americano is identified by a double shot of espresso mixed with six ounces of hot water. However, the beauty of this drink is in its flexibility to be tailored to individual tastes, making it a universal favorite among coffee aficionados!
Americano vs Regular Coffee: What’s the Difference?
While coffee, ground coffee, or drip coffee is made by pouring hot water over coffee grounds, an Americano is made by adding water to the espresso. The difference between an Americano and regular coffee largely lies in flavor intensity and texture.
Espresso is basically brewed coffee at high pressure. An Americano is an espresso coffee, so has a stronger, deeper taste compared to the often milder brewed coffee.
The Americano Consists of Just Espresso Shots and Hot Water
The classic Americano formula is simple – it’s all about the combination of espresso and hot water. Use a double shot of espresso to every six ounces of hot water and adjust to match preference.
Taste of Americano Nuances
The taste of an americano is predominantly robust, bitter, and slightly acidic, though this can vary depending on the coffee bean used and your ratio of water.
Despite the assertive intensity, the water smoothens the overall flavor, making it an amazing coffee experience that’s both strong and easygoing.
Exploring the History of Americano Coffee
“Caffè Americano” stands for “American coffee” in Italian.
The Americano was created during World War II when American soldiers stationed in Italy found the local coffee shop espresso too strong for their liking. At the time, espresso was the only coffee available.
To mimic their familiar American drip coffee back home, they diluted the espresso with water. And thus, the Americano came into being!
The Great Americano Goes Global
From there, Americano coffee went global, as the soldiers returned home with their new favorite coffee recipe in tow.
Today, it is a staple in the world of coffee. If you find yourself craving an Americano, just about every coffee shop here in Bucharest and around the world will know what it is and how to make one.
Demystifying the Difference Between an Americano vs Long Black vs Latte
Unsure about the difference between an Americano, Long Black, or a Latte? Let’s demystify these popular coffee choices.
Are an Americano and a Long Black the Same?
An Americano and a Long Black are very similar coffee beverages and are both made with water and espresso. While each is a variation on an espresso drink with hot water, the major difference is when the water is poured.
For an Americano, hot water is added first, then the espresso.
For a Long Black, the espresso is added to the water.
Americano vs Latte
Caffè americano is espresso with hot water. The key difference between an Americano and a Latte lies in the addition of steamed milk in the latte, which gives it a smoother and creamier taste.
If you prefer strong coffee, stick with the Americano. If creaminess is what you’re after, the latte could be the right coffee for you.
Drip Coffee vs Espresso
If you’re a coffee drinker already (and I am guessing you are since you are here!), you’re likely well-acquainted with standard drip coffee. It’s a coffee brewing method that usually relies on a drip coffee machine, like a 5-cup coffee maker or pour-over.
In comparison to standard drip coffee, the caffé Americano taste is deeper and bolder—even if you make your Americano with a single shot.
The choice between drip coffee and espresso as the foundation for your Americano ultimately depends on your personal preference. Espresso provides a rich and bold flavor, while drip coffee lends a more subtle and mellow character.
Ways to Tweak the Taste of an Americano Coffee Drink
Making a good Americano may be simple, but it’s all about curating your cup of coffee to perfection. Here are some factors to consider and ideas to curate your Americano at home:
Adjust the espresso.
Adjusting the shot of espresso by making it a single shot or a double shot changes your Americano’s the intensity.
Try it over ice.
To make an iced Americano, replaced the hot water with cold water and serve it over ice. This offers a refreshing twist on the classic that tastes somewhere in between an iced coffee and cold brew.
Experimenting with the ratio of water can also make an Americano either stronger or weaker. Feel free to tweak the flavor to your liking.
To fully appreciate and take advantage of all that coffee has to offer, I would advise against adding any sugar, sweetener, or any syrup to the beverage. But to add milk or not is a personal choice. Though the classic Americano is served without milk, there’s nothing stopping you from dolloping some frothed milk on top for a Caffè Americano vs cappuccino hybrid.
Similarly, a splash of steamed milk can transform your regular Americano into a White Americano so it tastes more like a latte or coffee with milk.