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What is an americano coffee? All you need to know.

An Americano is a very simple form of coffee. It consists of Espresso and hot water, layered in that order. It’s usually served in a ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 (1 – 2 shots of Espresso and ⅔ of water). A cup contains 103 mg of caffeine and is served in a 10 – 12 oz cup.

So what’s the deal with a Caffè Americano? Where did it come from and is it the same thing as a Long Black coffee? Does it taste any different than your normal drip coffee? Let’s have a look

What is an Americano coffee?

It’s actually very easy. An Americano coffee consists of only two things, Espresso, and hot water. This is typically done in a ratio of ½ or (1 – 2 shots of Espresso and of water). A cup consists of around 103 mg of caffeine and is served in a 10 – 12 oz cup. Usually, the drink gets served with a lot of water since the Americans have difficulty getting Espresso down. This is why milky and creamy drinks like the Latte and Cappuccino are much more popular in the US.

It’s an interesting drink due to it not having any milk at all. Also, sugar and other additives are typically not used in a traditional Americano. So when you order this you can expect your normal Espresso taste, just less intense because of the water that’s added.

You can also drink this as an iced coffee. Simply start with the base, Espresso. Then add cold water and some ice cubes and you’re done!

Caffè Americano

So it’s a Long Black?

Not quite.

If you’re not familiar with a Long Black coffee, it’s a popular drink in Australia & New Zealand and is very similar to the Americano. It’s basically the Americano in reverse. You have a glass of hot water and pour your Espresso into the water and this is the main difference between the two. Some people claim it’s the same thing as the Americano, but I don’t, and let me tell you why.

It’s all in the crema

Crema is the beautiful thin, tan layer of foam you get after brewing a shot of Espresso. It’s considered a sign of great and flavorful beans. But in an Americano there is no crema. This is because water added after the Espresso destroys the crema, mixing them together. Meanwhile, in a Long Black, you get a beautiful crema as long as you pour the Espresso close enough to the water.

Americano vs Drip coffee

They might be the same drink at first sight but what are the main differences between the two? I’ve made a table to make it easier for you.

AmericanoDrip Coffee
FlavorDeep rich flavor due to the Espresso. Intense and incredible aroma.Strong and bold, but still tasty and savory.
CaffeineEspresso shots pack more caffeine than your regular coffee. An estimate of 103mg for an Americano but could be higher.Regular drip coffee contains about 95mg of caffeine. 
CremaMaybe, but mostly not.No crema.
GrindFine grind for Espresso.Medium grind.

The main difference here is in the ground coffee beans. Espresso is different from your normal ground beans and therefore makes the Americano have a deeper flavor and aroma.

The history of the Caffè Americano

This coffee has a short story behind its back. During World War II, American soldiers in Italy were not a big fan of the strong Espresso that the Italians loved to drink. They were much more used to their good old drip coffee and thus in an attempt to recreate that, they came up with adding water to the iconic Italian espresso shot. The Americano was born and loved straight away for its simplicity and less bold flavor, while still having a rich aroma.

Making an Americano at home

While having an espresso machine at home would be ideal for making the Americano. You can achieve somewhat of a great espresso shot with only an Aeropress, French Press, or Moka Pot.

It’s not hard to hit the right spot since you’re just working with water. Milkier drinks like the Latte or Macchiato need a lot more practice to get right, which is why you don’t necessarily need an espresso machine for the Americano. It’s relatively easy to hit a nice balance with the water-based Americano in just a couple of tries. Make sure to not add the water too fast to the Espresso, this will give you a bit of crema on top.

The bottom line

The Americano coffee uses two ingredients, Espresso and hot water. The Espresso shot is put into a cup and then water is poured over it. The ratios of this are either 1:2 or 1:3 (1 – 2 shots of Espresso and of water). It’s essentially the opposite of a Long Black coffee.

Even though crema is not a thing on an Americano, you could get it if you slowly add the water to the Espresso. This gives you a more flavorful experience since the crema adds to the taste.

The Americano was founded during World War II when the Americans stationed in Italy were not a fan of the iconic Italian Espresso. They decided to add water to the Espresso and so the Americano was born.

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