Decided to procrastinate doing your work by procaffeinating with a shot of espresso but it lasts too short? Lengthen the divine break and diversify its appeal by making and having an americano instead.
In this article, I will help you be your own barista on How to Make an Americano at Home along with Iced Americano’s using various methods aside from an espresso maker.
Other than the recipes, I’ll also show you a few ways to spice things up and learn the difference between this coffee drink and regular coffee.
- What's An Americano?
- What Is The Flavour Of The Americano?
- What Is The Ratio Of Espresso To Water In An Americano?
- How Do You Make The Perfect Caffe Americano?
- How To Make An Americano With Other Coffee Makers
- How Is An Iced Americano Made?
- What Is The Difference Between Regular Coffee And Americano?
- To Close
What’s An Americano?
How Is An Americano Made?
An Americano is an espresso drink made with a double shot of espresso and added hot water.
It can also be brewed with a single or triple shot of espresso and more or less water as well, depending on the drinker’s caffeine need and strength preference. As you can see, the ingredients are very straightforward.
Who Invented The Americano And Why Do They Call It An Americano?
The story dates back to World War II, when the American troops were stationed in Italy, Europe.
The Americans weren’t used to the intense flavors and bitterness of the classic Italian espresso as their go-to coffee drink in the States is drip coffee.
So, in an attempt to dilute the intensity of the local cup of Joe to make it taste closer to their favorite at home and meet their preference, the Americans added water.
The espresso-based recipe caught on and was referred to as Caffè Americano, or Caffe Americano, and shortened as Americano, which means American coffee in Italian. Most people can probably figure it out as it can’t get more straightforward than that.
What Is The Flavour Of The Americano?
At its base, the coffee flavor is from the shot of espresso. So it will taste similar to the espresso drink that it’s made with, just less intense and concentrated.
Depending on the blend of coffee beans, the roast profile, and the grind size you use, the flavor notes and body of your espresso base can vary.
Generally, you can expect deep nutty coffee notes with earthy undertones from a cup of Caffe Americano.
What Is The Ratio Of Espresso To Water In An Americano?
The typical espresso to water ratio of a Caffe Americano is 1:2 to make it a lightened form of espresso yet still preserve the dark flavors.
If you like it even smoother and less intense and bitter, go for a 1:3 ratio, which is most likely the recipe for Americano at Starbucks.
How Do You Make The Perfect Caffe Americano?
Since the recipes are so simple, you can easily make an Americano at home to enjoy a fresh, fulfilling brew, as long as you have an espresso machine. Below is a more detailed list of what you should prepare for the best cup of Caffe Americano.
What You Need
An Espresso Machine
The below recipes will be explained using the Breville Barista Express espresso machine. You can use any espresso machine, be it semi-automatic or automatic, as long as it can pull an espresso shot that meets your preference.
If you’re looking for one, check out my latest reviews of the best espresso machines in the market for baristas at home.
Whole bean coffee can preserve freshness better than pre-ground coffee, which can affect the flavors, aromas, and quality of the final cup.
So get your favorite espresso whole bean coffee and grind them yourself right before brewing for the best coffee experience.
Specialty coffee drinkers and baristas favor 100% gourmet Arabica beans for their mild, sweet, and fruity flavor profile.
But the traditional espresso recipes call for a blend of both Arabica and Robusta beans for the best balance of boldness, bitterness, and flavor complexities.
You can also use regular coffee beans but they won’t taste as good because espresso beans have a darker roast profile to bring out more intense flavors.
A Coffee Grinder
All coffee brewers should invest in a quality burr grinder to get an optimally consistent grind for a more balanced cup of Joe.
If you’ve already owned an espresso machine with a grinder, there’s no need to pull out a separate grinder if yours works well enough.
The other of the two main ingredients. It’s best to use filtered water to minimize mineral build-ups inside the espresso machine as possible.
If your espresso machine doesn’t have a function to dispense hot water to make an Americano, you need to have access to a heat source to boil the water to add later on.
For water to be added afterward, boiling water isn’t necessary. Around 150 degrees Fahrenheit (66 degrees Celsius) should suffice.
Use a scale to gauge everything more accurately.
How To Make An Americano
The below 7 steps will explain exactly how to make an Americano.
Step 1: Prepare
- Add water to the water reservoir.
- Add dark-roasted beans to the bean hopper.
- If you use a separate coffee grinder, weigh around 14 -18 grams of coffee beans for a double shot of espresso.
Step 2: Preheat
- Turn on the espresso machine to preheat it.
- Add hot water to 2 cups to preheat it. Discard the water after around 1 minute.
Step 3: Grind
- Finely grind the beans into the double shot filter basket in the portafilter. For the Breville Barista Express, select grind size setting No. 5.
- Grind the previously prepared coffee beans if you use a separate grinder. Add the ground coffee to the filter basket in the portafilter.
Step 4: Tamp
- Lightly tap the portafilter on the counter and use your finger to wipe and get rid of excessive coffee grounds.
- Use the tamper to firmly tamp down the ground bed.
Step 5: Brew
- Place one of the preheated cups below the group head.
- Insert the portafilter into the group head to pull a double shot of espresso.
Step 6: Water
- If your espresso machine doesn’t have a hot water tap, prepare 4 oz (118 ml or 118 g) of hot water. You don’t need boiling water as it can take longer for the drink to cool down.
- Add hot water to the other preheated coffee mug.
- Slowly pour the cup containing espresso shots into the hot water cup to preserve the espresso crema and prevent flavor disruption.
Step 7: Customize
Can you put milk in Americano coffee? Yes! Each person has their own taste preference. It’s always okay to add ingredients that can uplift your coffee experience.
After all, that’s exactly what happened to the Italian shot of espresso and the iconic Americano drink was born.
Feel free to add milk, sugar, cream, and so on to your Americano, be it at home or the coffee shop. Don’t let the judging eyes of the coffee snobs prevent you from living your best coffee life.
How To Make An Americano With Other Coffee Makers
How To Make An Americano With A Moka Pot?
The Moka Pot uses steam pressure to brew, resulting in a full-bodied and rich coffee resembling espresso. Check my previous article and look for the Stovetop methods for detailed steps and instructions on how to make espresso-like coffee using the Moka Pot.
Depending on the size of the Moka Pot, you can produce one shot of espresso or more. Keep in mind that one shot is equal to 1 oz (30 ml).
You can then add hot water according to the 1:2 or 1:3 ratio if you want the Americano coffee drink more diluted and last longer.
How To Make An Americano With An AeroPress?
The AeroPress is another manual coffee brewing method that can produce a drink with espresso taste and a medium body. This “espresso” maker also utilizes pressure and a very short brew time, which explains the similarity of these 2 coffees.
According to the brand, AeroPress can brew up to 3 shots or 10 oz (296 ml) of espresso-style drink. Check the recipe for making an AeroPress espresso and add hot water to make an Americano drink.
How To Make An Americano With A Nespresso Machine?
If you have a Nespresso machine, a coffee maker that utilizes coffee pods, you can try making Americano with it. Nespresso coffee is weaker in comparison with the kick of an espresso shot, but it’s much easier to prepare as well.
Does Nespresso Do Americano Coffee?
No, they don’t have a coffee pod for Americano, specifically. But you can always make the Nespresso version of Americano by adding hot water, as you would in the previous How to make an Americano section.
Which Nespresso Pod Is Best For Americano?
According to Nespresso, its Arpeggio capsule is most suitable for brewing an Americano. All the user has to do is brewing a cup of Arpeggio and pour it over a cup containing 125 ml (4.2 oz) of hot water.
How Is An Iced Americano Made?
To kick your Americano up a notch, try making an iced Americano for the hot weather at home.
Iced Americano is not as complicated as the Cold Brew recipe that can take up a whole day to make so definitely give one a go.
So, what do you put in an iced Americano? Other than ice cubes, which is obvious, you should use cold water rather than hot water to get a cool serving of Americano right away. The cold water also prevents your ice from melting too fast.
After brewing the shots of espresso, pour them over a cup of cold water and ice cubes to best savor the crema, texture, and flavor of espresso. Doing the opposite may not give you an iced Americano as good.
Another thing to keep in mind when making an iced Americano at home is adjusting the ratio of espresso to water to 1:1.5 instead of 1:2 as the ice will melt overtime to compensate for the omitted amount of water.
What Is The Difference Between Regular Coffee And Americano?
If you’re still wondering whether you can make an Americano and iced Americano with regular drip coffee or if an Americano is just black coffee at home, the answer is no.
As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, Americano is made from shots of espresso. And espresso is an Italian coffee brewing method that involves shooting hot water through a tightly packed bed of finely ground coffee to produce a concentrated and rich espresso shot.
Normal drip coffee that’s more watery and less bold cannot replace the espresso shots that are the base of the Americano drink. The differences between regular coffee and Americano are essentially the differences between regular coffee and the espresso drink, which lie in the following factors:
- Brewing method
- Coffee beans
- Roast profile
- Grind size
For more details, you can read my deep dive into what makes espresso different.
In terms of caffeine content, although espresso is considered an energy shot due to how much caffeine is packed in such a small amount of drink, water dilutes that concentration remarkably.
According to Caffeine Informer, an Americano only has 12.8 mg of caffeine per oz and an iced Americano from Starbucks has 14.1 mg of caffeine per oz.
On the other hand, a regular cup of Joe can have 20.4 mg/oz. That’s not to mention a serving of Americano using my recipe only gives you a 6 oz (177 ml) drink size, whereas a typical serving of coffee is around 8 – 12 oz (237 – 355 ml).
With my recipe for Americano and iced Americano, make one glass to spice up your black coffee routine with espresso drinks at home without having to visit Starbucks or other cafes.