Do you want to learn how to make an Americano that rivals that of Starbucks? The answer to that coffee bliss lies in a Cafe Americano.
Sure, milk-based espresso drinks such as cappuccinos are delicious. But, really, nothing compares to the pure taste of an Americano. In many drinks, the bold aromas and flavors of espresso are often masked with milk. But if you dilute espresso with water, you can keep that espresso flavor through an Americano.
As a professional barista, I’m here to give you the tips and tricks about how to make cafe Americano coffee and share some of this history behind it, including:
- Why is it called an Americano?
- What’s the difference between an Americano and regular drip coffee?
- What’s the ratio of espresso to water in an Americano?
- What coffee beans should you use for Americano?
- How do you make an Americano at home?
- Extra tips on how to make an Americano
Now you can become a barista yourself and brew one of these popular drinks in the comfort of your own home. Let’s get to it!
Why is it called an Americano?
The Americano is thought to have been invented by American soldiers during the Second World War. Soldiers that were stationed in Europe could not handle the strong taste of Italian espresso so they diluted it with hot water.
Not only did this help with the taste but it stretched out their rations during the difficult times. So the Italians named the diluted espresso drink, an Americano which simply means ‘American’ in Italian.
What’s the difference between an Americano and regular drip coffee?
An Americano is a bold espresso-based drink, while regular drip coffee doesn’t use any espresso.
Instead of using milk, like a cafe latte, an Americano uses hot water to dilute the strong taste of espresso. Milk often overshadows the powerful flavor of the espresso, by contrast an Americano enhances it.a. Drip coffee may use the same beans as Americanos, but they are ground more coarsely. To brew drip coffee, hot water is slowly filtered over the grounds to extract the delicate flavors of the coffee beans. There are various ways to brew and everyone has their preference from using Chemex to preferring a french press.
As for flavor profiles, Americanos use a shot of espresso, resulting in a more concentrated taste and flavor, whereas drip coffee is often more subtle and delicate.
The caffeine levels differ depending on whether you use a double or single shot for your Americano. An 8oz cup of drip coffee contains around 95mg of caffeine. In contrast, a single shot Americano contains 47-75mg of caffeine and a double shot contains 94-150mg of caffeine.
What’s the ratio of espresso to water in an Americano?
Generally speaking, around a 1:1 ratio of espresso to hot water is used. But, the amount of water to coffee also depends on if you use a single or double shot of espresso.
In some coffee shops, there’s a greater split of 1/3 espresso to 2/3 water. If you find an Americano hard to drink using these ratios, by all means, add more water. There is no fixed recipe on how much water you use since it depends on your personal taste.
You can also drink an iced Americano coffee by using cold water instead of hot and adding a few ice cubes.
What coffee beans should you use for Americano?
There is no set recipe with specific coffee beans you have to use for your Americano.
You can use dark roasts or light roasts depending on your preference and each one will produce a different cup of coffee.
Lighter roasts are generally sweeter and can have hints of sourness like tart berries. Darker roasts have more body and earthiness.
Mixed with hot water, either one is great, it just depends on your taste!
How to make an Americano
- Espresso machine
- Steam wand
- Moka pot
- Coffee mug
- 20 grams Espresso
How to make an Americano at home
- Step 1 - Heat up your mug. Pour hot water into your cup or latte mug to prevent the Americano from going cold when finished.
- Step 2 - Pull your espresso shot. This can be a single shot or double shot.20 grams Espresso
- Step 3 - Clean your espresso machine. Clean your group head and tamper for the next espresso shot.
- Step 4 - Pour your shot into your mug. Discard the hot water in the mug and pour in your espresso shot.
- Step 5 - Pour in your hot water and enjoy! Pour hot water into your coffee mug. The ratio of hot water to espresso is up to you but you can follow my guide of 1:1. Enjoy and drink to your heart's content!
Tips on how to make the perfect Americano
Here are four other things to consider before you make an Americano.
Can you make an Americano without an espresso machine?
If you don’t have an espresso machine at home, I recommend buying a Moka Pot. This uses finely ground coffee beans to make dark coffee that tastes very close to an espresso shot. It’s a quick and inexpensive alternative to espresso machines.
Another alternative is to use an Aeropress, which can also produce espresso-like beverages. This method uses air pressure to filter water through your coffee beans. Although you don’t get crema like an espresso machine, it is very close in taste and is much cheaper!
If you want an instant Americano you can always try Nespresso! It won’t taste as good as making an Americano by hand, but it is convenient!.
To crema or not to crema?
Crema is the delicious brown froth that lies on top of espressos. Some people believe crema has no effect on the resulting flavor but others believe that it does. There is a debate on whether you should pour the water into the espresso or the espresso into the water. . If you pour the water into the espresso, the crema mixes with the whole drink, resulting in a balanced, full-body americano.
What water is best?
I always make sure to use filtered soft water when I make an Americano. The tastelessness of filtered soft water doesn’t mask the espresso. There is nothing worse than going through all the effort of making a tasty shot of espresso only to go and ruin it with water that takes away its flavor.
Consider trying an iced Americano!
On a hot summer’s day, there is nothing better than an iced coffee drink. Americanos are great iced and all you need is to fill a glass with ice cubes, pour in your espresso shot (or shots), and then some cold water. Mix and enjoy!
Takeaways on making an Americano at home
Making an Americano is a great way to expand your coffee drinking experience while enjoying that delicious espresso taste in a whole new way. With my tips and tricks as a professional barista now you can make and enjoy Americanos in the comfort of your own home. It’ll have you saying, Starbucks who? In no time! If you are looking for a more in-depth article on pulling espresso read our “How to Make The Perfect Espresso Shot.”