On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing quite as soul-satisfying as sipping an iced Americano. Especially if you’ve brewed it yourself! The dark and subtly sweet espresso mixed with iced cold water is the perfect way to unwind and beat the heat. Even better? We’re going to show you how to make iced americano at home!
To tap into your inner barista and get started on your iced Americano-making adventure, we’re going to give you the scoop on:
- What’s in an iced Americano?
- How to make an iced Americano at home
- How to make an Americano without an espresso machine
- What is the ratio of espresso to water in an Americano?
- What is the difference between an iced Americano and ice coffee?
- Is an Americano stronger than drip coffee?
- What’s a white Americano?
- Key takeaways on making an iced American at home
What’s in an iced Americano?
An iced Americano consists of espresso shots, water, and ice. The method is similar to a hot Americano, but often the ratio between water and espresso is changed. It is typically drunk without sugar or milk, however, every barista has their own recipe.
The origin of the Americano is said to have started during the Second World War. American soldiers who were stationed in Europe could not handle the bitter taste of Italian espresso. To make it more palatable, they diluted it with water, reducing the strength of the espresso. This gained the name ‘Americano’, which means American in Italian.
We have a full post on how to make an Americano here.
How to make an iced Americano at home
How to make an iced Americano
- Espresso machine
- 2 shots espresso
- 4 ice cubes
- Decide what coffee beans you would like to use. A lighter roast bean will produce a more acidic tasting cup of coffee, while a darker roast will be bitterer. We recommend getting hold of fresh beans as the flavor and aroma are much stronger. Pro tip: A great coffee shop will have its roasting date written on its packaging ensuring you can get fresh beans.
- Grind your coffee beans. We recommend using a Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder so your beans are ground evenly. This is vital for an equal extraction and reduces the chance of your coffee being diluted.
- Place your fresh coffee grounds into the portafilter and tap on the sides to loosen it. Put the tip of the portafilter on the edge of a counter or table and then tamp down. Keep your arm 90 degrees perpendicular to apply even pressure to the coffee grounds. This will help with even extraction when you pull your shots.
- Insert your portafilter into your espresso machine group head and pull your shot (or double shot) of espresso.
- Discard the coffee grounds and wipe your portafilter and espresso machine clean. Pro tip: Maintaining the cleanliness of your espresso machine and equipment helps you pull consistently flavorful shots of espresso!
- Fill a glass with water and ice cubes. Pour in your espresso shots and stir.Pro tip: If you would like your Americano with a stronger espresso taste, use less water or add more shots!
How to make an iced Americano without an espresso machine
Don’t worry if you don’t have your own espresso machine at home. You can still make an iced Americano.
Our top recommendation is to use a Moka pot, which produces coffee with a concentrated espresso-like flavor.
Other alternatives are to use a French press or Aeropress to brew strongly concentrated drip coffee.
Once you brew your espresso-like coffee with a Moka pot, Aeropress or French press simply pour in cold water and ice and you have an iced Americano! No fancy equipment is needed!
Pro tips to perfect your Americano
Americanos require two ingredients: espresso shot and water. For the best iced Americano, it’s key to perfect your espresso-making game. Here’s what you need to know.
The grind size of your coffee beans matters when you make espresso! Grind them too coarse and you’ll create a sour under-extracted shot. Grind them too finely and you’ll pull a bitter shot thanks to over-extraction.
= Every coffee bean is different so a good barista will experiment with pulling, or ‘dialing in’, their espresso by using varying grind sizes.
The amount of coffee makes a big difference too. Make sure you use a scale to measure your coffee. We recommend hyper-sensitive ones that can measure to one decimal point.
Finally, tamp as evenly as possible! If you apply too much pressure, then the water will not be able to flow through the coffee grounds causing over-extraction. Tamp too lightly and the water will flow too fast causing under-extraction.
Pro tip: Baristas use around 20-30 ounces of pressure for their tamping.
As a professional barista, I always use soft filtered water for my Americanos. The clarity of this water doesn’t mask the bold shot of espresso.
Hard water has high mineral content that overpowers the flavors of the coffee.
Use soft filtered water in your espresso machine and diluting your espresso shots.
What is the ratio of espresso to water in an Americano?
A hot Americano typically usually uses a ratio of 2:1 water to espresso, whereas an iced Americano may use slightly less water. This is due to the ice cubes further diluting the drink as they melt.
How strong you like your coffee determines how much water you’ll use.
In some coffee shops, you can find baristas using a 2:1 ratio but in others, they might be using a 3:1 ratio. There’s plenty of room for you to experiment with your Americano.
Is an Americano stronger than drip coffee?
There is a misconception that espresso-based drinks have more caffeine than regular drip coffee. The reality is that while espresso is stronger, the amount of it you actually drink compared to drip coffee is less. A single shot espresso Americano contains 47-75mg of caffeine and a double shot contains around 94-150 mg.
An 8oz cup of drip coffee contains around 95 mg of caffeine. So, really, it’s drinking drip coffee that increases your caffeine intake!
Do Americanos taste different than drip coffee?
Yes, Americanos taste different than drip coffee.
Espresso has a more intense and concentrated flavor, which, when diluted, becomes a little milder. The dark, robust taste can be too strong for some, which is why an Americano is such a popular drink. The lighter flavor of Americanos makes them a top choice for coffee drinkers who are new to trying espresso.
Drip coffee tends to be sweeter and has more of a natural coffee bean flavor. The grind size is much coarser and the extraction time is much longer than espresso, helping it to extract more full-bodied flavors.
What is the difference between an iced Americano and ice coffee?
An iced Americano is made of a single or double espresso shot with cold water and ice cubes. Iced coffee is strongly brewed drip coffee that has been diluted with ice and often contains sweeteners, flavor shots, and dairy or plant-based milk and creams. There are many different ways to make iced coffee, such as chilling a hot drip coffee, specifically cold brewing the coffee, or by using a French press.
What’s a white Americano?
A traditional Americano recipe uses only espresso shots and water. The dark espresso taste can be hard too intense for some coffee drinkers so some people add o sweeteners or milk to their Americanos. A white Americano is one of these variations.
It’s similar to a classic Americano, but it is topped with milk, hence the “white” in its name. The addition of milk creates a lighter and creamier drink, making it easier for those who find the espresso taste too strong.
What’s a long black Americano?
This is another Americano variation we recommend you try!
A long black features the exact same Americano recipe but instead of pouring the hot water into the espresso shot, it is the other way around!
This maintains the crema from the espresso, creating a slightly darker and sweeter espresso taste. Read our guide on making espresso to find out what crema is.
Key takeaways on making an iced American
Brewing up an iced Americano is an excellent way to take your espresso-infused coffee elixirs to the next level! Whether you’re looking for something chilling and subtly sweet to sip on to beat the scorching summer heat, or are looking for a way to impress your coffee-loving friends with your at-home barista skills, there’s no better drink to try your hand at than the classic iced Americano!