Americano Coffee- Facts About This Coffee Drink

Americano coffee

Americano coffee is an intense and flavorful coffee drink that is enjoyed in many different countries around the world. But some people wonder what’s the point of making café Americano when you can just use a drip coffee maker or pour-over. Isn’t it basically the same?

Americano coffee is made by adding water to a well-made espresso. It has the flavor profile of espresso without all the intensity. This makes the Americano taste significantly different from black coffees brewed by different methods.

In this post, we’re going to go over

  • How the Americano came about,
  • A few different ways you can make it at home, and
  • Several variations you can try

So, if you’ve never tried an Americano and want to know what it’s all about, you’re in the right place!

Let’s jump right in!

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Americano vs Coffee: What’s The Difference?

Regular brewed coffee is usually made by letting hot water drip down through ground coffee beans. An Americano on the other hand is made by diluting a properly made espresso with hot water.

Since a cafe Americano is made from one or more espresso shots, the taste tends to be richer and more robust than regular drip coffee.

And if the espresso is done right, the Americano also includes crema which you definitely don’t get in regular coffee!

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Why Is It Called Americano?

The story goes that during World War II, American soldiers stationed in Italy weren’t too fond of the robust Italian espresso found in the coffee shops.

So, to transform it into something similar to the American-style drip coffee they drank back home, they would pour hot water into the espresso to dilute it.

Because of this practice, the diluted espresso became known as the “cafe americano”, or American coffee, in Italy.

Does An Americano Have Crema?

No. Although Americanos are made using espresso, a prepared Americano most likely won’t have crema.

This is because a cafe Americano is made by pouring hot water into a cup of espresso. So the crema (and any carbon dioxide bubbles floating on top) will be blended into the coffee drink as the water and espresso mix.

But what if you just pull the espresso shot on top of the water? Won’t you have an Americano with crema then??

Well, yes, but that’s what’s called a Long Black. (More on the Long Black later).

Americano coffee

How is Americano Coffee Made?

To make an Americano, all you need is a properly brewed espresso and hot water. But just how much water do you need?

In the average coffee shop, your Americano will most like be made with 2 parts water for every 1 part espresso. But there are some people who use less water and prefer to go with a 1:1 espresso to water ratio.

But honestly, there’s no official ratio of water to espresso you need to use. You can use however many shots of espresso you want – the only requirement is that you add water to the espresso!

Just keep in mind that since your final goal is to have an Americano, make sure you prepare your espresso something larger than a demitasse cup!

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Can You Make An Americano Without An Espresso Machine?

Yes, you can make an Americano without an espresso machine.

After all, there are ways to approximate an espresso without a machine.

Espresso is so intense because it’s made with pressure. And if you want to brew strong black coffee similar to espresso, you need a brewing method that uses pressure.

Here, we’ve got two options for you – the Moka Pot and the Aeropress.

FYI: I wouldn’t recommend trying to make espresso in a french press. First of all, french presses don’t use the pressure needed to make a strong cup of coffee. And second, a french press is made to use coarse grinds while espresso uses fine grinds.

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Moka Pot Americano

Some say that the Moka Pot can’t create a true espresso, because it doesn’t generate enough pressure. The coffee brews also have a reputation for being bitter with a different taste than true espresso.

But the Moka Pot is a staple in Italian kitchens and can brew amazing coffee that’s very close to espresso if you know how to use it.

Once you dilute your Moka Pot coffee with hot water, you’ll have something very similar to an Americano coffee.

If you don’t have a Moka Pot, we recommend Bialetti. Bialetti is the inventor of the Moka Pot and is known for being able to make rich, robust coffee in just a few minutes.

Americano coffee

Aeropress Americano

An Aeropress also uses pressure to brew coffee. So, the cup it produces does have a similar taste profile and caffeine content to machine brewed espresso. But the texture is a bit different.

The Aeropress can’t generate as much pressure as an espresso machine. But when you dilute the coffee, you’ll have something close to an Americano.

If you’ve never tried an Aeropress, you’re missing out! It’s a very popular brewing method that uses total immersion followed by pressing to brew coffee.

The smooth, dark brew produced by an Aeropress makes an amazing drink.

Espresso Machine – The Coffee Shop method

The Moka Pot and Aeropress are two great ways to brew a cup of strong, dark coffee. But if you really want a true espresso for your Americano you can invest in a machine.

Luckily you don’t have to buy the same expensive machine found in your local coffee shop! There are several machines out there that can make good espresso without breaking the bank.

For example, if you want a good coffee at the push of a button, you can invest in a super-automatic machine like the Nespresso Vertuo.

Or if you want to put a little more effort into making the espresso, I’d highly recommend a Breville Barista Express.

With either of these espresso makers, you can prepare amazing coffee drinks.

Americano vs Other Diluted Espressos

An Americano is a diluted espresso made to approximate black coffee made with a drip maker. But there are plenty of other similar drinks.

Let’s take a look at a few!

americano coffee

Americano vs Long Black

A Long Black is a drink common in New Zealand and Australia. It’s basically the same drink as an Americano – with one slight difference!

You may remember that an Americano is prepared when you add hot water into a shot of espresso. But a long black is prepared by pouring the shot of espresso into the water!

This might seem like a trivial difference, but it does affect the aesthetics and flavor of the final drink.

By pouring the water into the espresso, in the case of the cafe Americano, you’re mixing the crema in with the final drink.

But by pulling the espresso on top of the water, the crema will end up floating on top of the drink. This makes the aroma and flavor of the long black stronger.

Iced Americano

Normally, a Cafe Americano is made using a single or double-shot espresso and hot water. But there’s a variation called the Iced Americano.

Instead of using hot water, the recipe calls for cold water. You can also through in a few ice cubes for good measure!

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A Lungo is another variation on the diluted espresso. Normally, an espresso is made by pulling 1 oz of water through ground coffee. This single espresso shot takes about 30 seconds to pull.

But if you double the water and the time taken to pull the espresso, it’s called a Lungo.

Since there’s twice as much water used, the Lungo isn’t as strong as a single shot, but it is more bitter.

The extra bitterness comes because double the water is running through the coffee beans, which extract the bitter flavors that normally remain in the bean.

Now compare this to the Americano. Since it’s is made by diluting one or more shots of espresso, you don’t get those bitter flavors associated with the Lungo.

Café Crema

A cafe crema is an espresso-like drink that’s made with more water and a coarser coffee grind.

So, while a normal espresso uses about 1 oz of water, a cafe crema will use around 6 oz.

To prevent too much coffee from being extracted, a coarser grind is used. And the extraction time should be around 30 seconds; the same as for a single shot of espresso.

Americano coffee

What is an Americano With Milk Called?

There’s no official name for an Americano with milk because they are generally served black.

If you want the Barista to add milk, your best bet is to describe the drink you want instead of trying to call it by a name that isn’t widely known.

Case in point, someone wanting to add milk to their Americano told the barista to make a “White Americano”.

The person was then surprised when the barista interpreted that as an Americano with steamed milk instead of plain milk.

By trying to attach an unrecognized name to the drink, you run the risk of getting something you didn’t really want.

Americano vs Latte

An Americano is an espresso drink that’s been diluted by adding hot water, while a latte is an espresso drink that’s been diluted by adding steamed milk.

Although espresso is the base for both drinks, they couldn’t be more different. A cafe americano has a thin consistency (as it’s mostly water) and has a robust flavor.

A latte, on the other hand, is rich, creamy, and topped with milk foam.

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The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, a Cafe Americano is simply a shot of espresso diluted by adding hot water.

Although the Cafe Americano started out as an attempt to approximate drip coffee, the flavor profile is completely different from regular brewed coffee – which is why it’s still so popular!

Ever since the Americano was first made, several new variations on the diluted espresso have been created, such as the Lungo, the Cafe Crema and the espresso topped Long Black.

Each of these drinks is prepared differently and is popular in coffee shops all over the world.

If you’ve got your own take on the Americano or one of its variations, let us know in the comments below!


Idalmis Holmes signature- coffee break lovers