Everything You Need To Know About The Classic Drink-Americano

7 min read MAY 12, 2023

The simplicity and the rich flavor of Americano are any procrastinator's best friend. There's so much more to this drink than just being a diluted espresso.

Americano is one of the drinks among coffee enthusiasts worldwide. So, let's look at what makes this drink so special, how it originated, how you make it, and what it is even. And more.

What Is An Americano?

What Is An Americano?

Americano simply means espresso with added hot water. The word translates into "American" in Spanish or Italian. Hence, it is obvious that the drink was made famous by Americans.

Depending on your mood, you can drink either hot or cold Americano. This drink's versatility allows you to add ice cubes and enjoy a cold drink on a hot summer day or a hot cuppa in winter.

Nevertheless, you can even adjust how strong you want your Americano to be depending on the amount of water you add.

What Is The History Behind Americano?

What Is The History Behind Americano?

When you think of this drink's history, it's a very simple yet interesting one.
It goes back to World War II. The story has it that American soldiers who were stationed in Italy during WWII wanted a coffee drink that tasted like filter coffee back home.

The espresso was what they found in Italy, but since they found it to be very strong, they simply added water to dilute the taste. And voila. The Americano was born.

The drink quickly gained popularity among the locals, too, and eventually all over the world.

However, there's another story to the history of Americano. In the 1920s, Somerset Maugham mentions the drink "Americano" in one of his short stories collection. The character in the book orders a drink called "an Americano" in Naples during the First World War.

But given that these stories surround the World Wars in Italy, the American connection to the drink may be valid. It might only be the timeline that needs revision.

How To Make An Americano? Who Comes First?

How To Make An Americano? Who Comes First?

Now, going back to how this magic drink is formulated- there's much debate on who comes first. Which means, should hot water be added over espresso or vice versa?

Firstly, we all know that Americano is just a mixture of two components-espresso and water. So, what does it matter which ingredient you add in first, right?

Well, truth be told- only a coffee lover could tell. When you add espresso first and then pour hot water, you lose the rich and thick crema of the espresso. But your Americano drink will have thick crema on top when it's the other way around.

The taste won't differ; hence it is a matter of personal preference. Both methods work perfectly fine.

How Do You Make One?

How Do You Make One?

So are you wondering if there's a hard and fast rule to how to make an Americano? Well, no, there isn't any.

As mentioned above, you only need two ingredients to make an Americano.

Start by grounding approximately 18-21 grams of fresh coffee beans. Keep about 120-150 ml of hot water in a mug.

Brew a double shot of espresso and pour it into the mug with the hot water. Your Americano is ready to be served.

If you are unsure how much water to add, a good rule of thumb is to use a 1:2 ratio of espresso and water.

You can adjust how strong you want your Americano to be by increasing or decreasing the quantity of hot water.

What's The Difference?

There are many other types of black coffee, such as long black or drip coffee, or French press. While they may look very similar to an Americano, the way they are made and their tastes are strikingly different.

Most people consider any black coffee as Americano, but here's the truth. Americano is one of the simplest ways of drinking coffee in contrast with drip coffee or French press.

Every coffee drink has a charm of its own. So, let's look at how Americano differs from each drink.

Americano Vs Long Black

Americano Vs Long Black

If you keep a cup of Americano and long black next to each other, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. And this is if you are somebody who likes to add espresso later in your cup of Americano.

A long black is another black coffee drink that is much stronger and rich in flavor than the Americano. It is made by pouring double shots of ristretto into a cup of hot water.

A ristretto is a more concentrated form of espresso, hence a long black's strong flavor. Also, in a long black, you need to pour water and then add ristretto later to get the rich and thick crema on top.

But this isn't the case with an Americano. You make an Americano with a single or double shot of espresso, and it doesn't matter which ingredient you add first.

Americano Vs Drip Coffee

Americano Vs Drip Coffee

While both are black coffees, one can tell the difference between the two by looking at the layer of crema on top. Drip coffee does not have a layer of crema, but even Americanos made by pouring water later will not have crema.

However, coffee aficionados will be able to tell at a glance. So, how do these coffee drinks differ? Are they very different?

Yes, the taste of an Americano and drip coffee is different. Despite using the same coffee beans for both, you'll find that both have distinct flavors mainly because of the way they are made.

As the name suggests, drip coffee is brewed by pouring hot water over freshly ground beans placed on filter paper. It is a slow process where you gently pour the water, wait for the coffee to drip, and give you a full cup.

The result is a highly aromatic brew, maybe sweet or fruity, depending on your coffee beans with a lighter taste.

As you can tell, the process is very different from an Americano. In an Americano, the espresso is brewed through an espresso machine where hot water is gushed through the coffee under high temperature and high pressure.

The flavor of the espresso is rich, deep, and earthy, which eventually translates into becoming what an Americano tastes like.

Americano Vs French Press

French press is very similar to drip coffee to an Americano. Their tastes are also similar, but the main difference is in the brewing process.

French press is made by immersing ground coffee in hot water and then separating the grounds by pressing down the filter-hence the name.

It is time-consuming, like drip coffee; the flavor is light and highly aromatic. It is very different from an Americano, whose flavor profile is rich and earthy, like an espresso.

How Much Caffeine In An Americano?

How Much Caffeine In An Americano?

To know this, you must know that a single shot of espresso, which is 30 ml contains 64 mg of caffeine. Most places use double shots of espresso to make an Americano. Hence a cup of Americano will usually have about 120 to 134 mg of caffeine.

You can adjust the caffeine level by diluting it with water or using either one or double shots of espresso.

While an Americano may taste stronger in caffeine than drip coffee, the caffeine content in drip-brewed coffee is slightly higher. An 8 oz of brewed coffee has 96 mg of caffeine, much higher than an Americano.

However, these figures are not set in stone and vary depending on a lot of factors. The coffee beans and the kind of roast are major factors that can affect the caffeine level of a drink. For example, a dark roast has a lower caffeine level than a medium roast.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many cups of Americano can I drink in a day?

According to the FDA, 400 mg of caffeine in a day is not associated with any health risks in healthy adults. This would come up to about 4 to 5 cups of Americano, depending on if you have a single or double shot. However, this level of caffeine will differ among each individual and especially among those who are sensitive to caffeine.

Is Americano the same as black coffee?

No, it isn't. While they may look the same, Americano is made using espresso, which is very different. Espresso is a different coffee drink altogether. At the same time, black coffee can be any type of brewed coffee that isn't espresso.

What is white Americano?

The term 'white Americano' may not be very commonly used in cafes, but white Americano is simply Americano with milk. This isn't to say that it tastes the same as a latte or cappuccino. Many people may like their Americano with a little bit of milk which is a white Americano.

Is Americano a healthier option?

Yes. Americano has less caffeine content, and the drink has no sugar. Since it is also diluted in water, the calorie content is very lower.

Should an Americano have crema on top?

No, an Americano doesn't need to have a cream layer since you can have your Americano any way you like. You'll have a cream layer by pouring espresso on top of hot water, while you won't have cream if you do the opposite.

Will adding ice cubes dilute my Americano flavor?

No, it won't. You can adjust the water level in your Americano if you plan on adding ice cubes.

Final Thoughts

Americano is a favorite drink among many people, and it's simply made by adding espresso and hot water. The drink is versatile because you can add other things, such as ice cubes or milk, and the drink would still be an Americano.

The flavors of an Americano are rich, deep, and intense, like an espresso, while the caffeine content is lower than other brewed coffees.

Check out Lifeboost Coffee Espresso.

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