A Caffe Americano or Americano is a simple coffee beverage composed of espresso and water. This drink looks like a regular drip coffee but is actually made with the use of an espresso machine–quite the quicker option for the coffee lovers if they cannot wait a couple of minutes for a fresh brew.
The usual response when someone orders “black coffee” in a coffee shop is to serve them drip. But did you know that there is a popular espresso-based alternative to a simple brewed coffee?
The Americano is a type of beverage made by adding water to espresso. The water dilutes the espresso’s concentration, thus making it less bitter and intense. Nowadays, many cafes use Americano as a base for more customized beverages. Not only does it easily go well with other inclusions, but it also has the least amount of calories, making it a healthier coffee choice.
In this article, we are going to learn more about the Americano – its origin, components, and even a step-by-step recipe on how to make an Americano at home!
What is Americano?
There is a common misconception that an Americano is a type of brewed coffee–it is not. This popular black coffee combines espresso and water and is made using an espresso machine instead of the usual coffee maker or pour-over.
Despite its simplicity, the Americano is as popular as other coffee favorites, such as lattes and cappuccinos. Every coffee shop has it on the menu, and several innovations have been made to make the espresso drink exciting – the iced Americano and white Americano, to name a few.
What is an Americano made of?
An Americano is made up of just two main ingredients–water and espresso. However, regardless of how simple its composition may be, there are still different ways to create this beverage.
Usually, the Americano is made by pouring water on espresso shots. There is a version of this classic beverage popular in Australia and New Zealand and is called the Long Black. This is made the other way round, where water comes first before the espresso to retain more of the crema.
The History Of Americano
While the Americano has a very “Americanized” name, the beverage did not originate in the United States. The term was actually made by Italian baristas to describe a type of coffee served to American World War soldiers more than eighty years back.
Who invented Americano?
The American soldiers deployed in Italy found the nation’s version of black coffee, the espresso, too strong for their taste and liking. Most of them request a cup of hot water on the side of their espressos to tone down the coffee’s intense flavors. Later on, Italian baristas made it a standard practice to mix water and espresso in a larger cup and call the beverage “Americano”, which translates to American coffee.
Where does Americano originate?
Coffee was very difficult to get during the Second World War. However, some American GIs were lucky enough to have a decent cup for themselves, especially those stationed in the most coffee-loving country–Italy. And this is also where the infamous Americano coffee originated.
How Much Caffeine Is In An Americano?
A single shot of espresso has about 47 to 75 mg of caffeine. Generally, an order of an Americano contains two shots, which means that the total caffeine would be approximately between 94 and 150 milligrams.
How Many Calories Are In An Americano?
An Americano is composed of only espresso and water, which will somehow determine how many calories it will have per serving. A 12 oz cup of Americano contains around 18 calories only. This is why it’s a favorite amongst people who are conscious about their diet and health. However, adding milk to your Americano will contain approximately 65 calories.
How To Make An Americano
There are only two main components in making an Americano–coffee and water. Below is a complete guide on how to make the perfect Americano.
- >Choose your coffee: begin by choosing high-quality coffee beans that are roasted medium or dark. These will give you a bold and rich coffee flavor.
- Grind the beans: grind the beans medium fine to ensure complete extraction of flavors.
- Brew the espresso: dose the portafilter with your ground coffee and tamp accordingly. Insert the portafilter into the grouphead of the espresso machine. Position your shot glasses and start brewing your espresso.
- Pour the coffee into the cup: pour two shots of espresso into the cup. You can use only one shot of espresso if you want to minimize your coffee intake.
- Add hot water: add desired amount of water into the cup. To preserve the crema, tilt the vessel when pouring to allow the water to slowly slide down the wall of the cup instead of going directly into the espresso.
- Serve your Americano: you can serve your Americano with sugar or a splash of milk to lessen the bitterness of the coffee.
How Much Water Is Used In An Americano?
There is no standard recipe on how much water is used in an Americano. The coffee-to-water ratio used really depends on a cafe’s standards or a coffee drinker’s preference. Coffee shops serve the typical Americano with ⅓ espresso and ⅔ water. You may ask your barista if you’d like to request more or less water added to your Americano.
- 2 Shot Glasses
- 1 serving vessel
- 1 steaming pitcher (optional)
- espresso beans
- hot water
- Prepare your coffee and grind them medium-fine.
- Dose, tamp, and brew two shots of espresso on your espresso machine.
- If you plan to add milk to your Americano, you can heat up some using your steaming pitcher and the wand of the espresso machine.
- Take the two shots of espresso and pour them into the cup.
- Tilt the cup and slowly pour the desired amount of water into the beverage. Make sure the water slides down the inner wall of the cup to avoid breaking the espresso’s crema.
- Serve your Americano with some milk and sugar on the side.
- Note: If you want an iced version of an Americano, simply replace the hot water with cold water and serve the coffee with some ice cubes.
What Is The Difference Between Americano and Other Coffee Drinks?
Americano vs. Drip Coffee
Despite looking too much alike, Americano and drip are two very different beverages. The Americano is made by combining espresso and water with rich, intense flavors. Drip coffee is derived from brewing coffee grounds in a coffee maker or pour-over. The utilization of a paper filter makes drip cleaner in terms of taste.
Americano vs. Espresso
When we say espresso, it’s simply a concentrated type of coffee served in small demitasse cups. When you add water to espresso, then it becomes an Americano. Basically, the main difference is the dilution of espresso in water.
Americano vs. Macchiato
Both drinks are espresso-based, but the major difference lies in the inclusions added to the coffee. The Americano is a combination of espresso and water. Meanwhile, a macchiato is an espresso topped with milk foam.
Americano vs. Long Black
An Americano and a Long Black are pretty much the same. Both contain the same ingredients; espresso and water. However, in making an Americano, you pour hot water into espresso. In preparing a Long Black, it’s the other way round–the water comes first and is topped with two shots of espresso.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an Americano just black coffee?
Americano is a type of black coffee made by combining espresso shots and water.
Is an Americano stronger than regular coffee?
If we’re talking about caffeine content, an Americano has fewer caffeine amounts than a regular drip. A cup of an Americano has around 94 to 150 mg of caffeine, while a drip of the same size contains about 95 to 200 mg.
What is the difference between regular coffee and Americano?
Regular drip coffee is made by infusing coffee in water. On the other hand, an Americano is created by combining brewed espresso and water.
What is an Americano with milk called?
An Americano topped with a splash of milk is called a white Americano.
Is Americano the healthiest coffee?
We can’t say for sure if the Americano is the healthiest coffee. However, this beverage is lower in calories and less detrimental to one’s health as compared to other coffee drinks made with sugar, milk, and cream.
Do you add creamer to Americano?
Many people prefer adding creamer to their Americanos to tone down the coffee’s bitter taste.
Is Americano good for weight loss?
Because of its low-calorie count and sugar content, Americano is a go-to coffee beverage for those who want to lose weight.
How do you sweeten Americano?
Sweetening an Americano can be as simple as adding sugar syrup and milk. Some even go for fancier inclusions such as white chocolate, half-and-half, etc.
Is Americano supposed to be sweet?
An Americano has a robust, bitter taste as it’s only made up of espresso and water. However, one can add sugar or other flavoring to make this beverage sweet.
It’s so amazing how coffee can be so simple yet have so much depth. We’re not only talking about flavor here but also stories connected to the very cup we are holding. Who would’ve imagined that the same coffee American soldiers were consuming during World War II, you can easily recreate at home!