So lets start with: What is an Americano Coffee? Its is simply one or two shots of espresso with hot water added either before or after the coffee.
At the coffee shop I would often have people ask me what are the differences between certain types of coffee. For example, they would ask about a Latte Vs. Cappuccino or a Macchiato vs Latte etc. But one of the questions that was asked the most was “What is an Americano coffee” and then quickly follow with “how is it different from Drip coffee” or ” what is difference between an Americano and a Long Black”?
I will now go over in more detail what an Americano coffee is and what makes it different from other similar yet vastly different coffee drinks.
The Invention of the Americano
For better or worse, ts really not a long, complicated or mysterious story. The Americano, which comes from the Italian word for – a person from the United States, came about at an interesting time in history.
The story has it that During World War 2 the American soldiers who were stationed or passing through Italy at this time, thought the coffee that was served to them was too strong compared to the black coffee they were used to drinking. Therefore, since they were not used to such strong tasting coffee, they asked if there was any way to make it taste less strong.
So what did the Italians do? They did what was logical and easy to make it less strong tasting and that was simply to add hot water to the espresso. And that’s it! The Americano was born!
How To Make An Americano Coffee
As I mentioned at the end of how this drink came to be, an Americano coffee is simply a combination of espresso and hot water. It is made this way so that the espresso doesn’t taste as strong but at the same time, you still get that espresso “feel” and taste in your mouth when you drink it. The standard Americano is usually made using 2 ounces of espresso to 3 ounces of hot water, making them seem similar to regular drip coffee.
So how to make an Americano? Its simple and can be done in 5 easy steps:
- Grab your kettle and put it on the stove and turn the burner onto high. You want your water temperature to be between 195 – 205F or if you don’t have a temperature gauge, 30 seconds off boil.
- Depending on how strong you want your Americano have your espresso machine make a Single (1oz) or double (2oz) shot. If you use an alternative espresso maker, then measure out either amount after brewing.
- Grab your favorite coffee mug and pour in the 1 or 2 oz’s of espresso into it.
- Then pour in the correct ratio of water, so for the 1oz you’ll put in 1.5 ounces of water and for the 2oz of espresso you’ll use 3oz of water. If you find the coffee too strong just add more water. (There are no right and wrongs in coffee just guidelines)
- And here is the best part : Sit back and enjoy!
What is the Difference between an Americano and a Long Black
When people would come into my shop and ask for an Americano, I would sometimes ask them if they want an Americano or a Long Black. Naturally, they would ask what is the difference.. I would go on to explain that its basically the same drink the only difference being the order in which the espresso is poured into the cup.
With an Americano the espresso is poured first and then the water is added, whereas with a long black, which, by the way was created in Australia, is just the opposite. The water is poured first and then the espresso is added.
What is the reason for this? Well, the theory goes by adding the espresso second the crema stays on top of the drink and you therefore avoid burning the taste of the espresso. Personally, I cannot tell the difference between the two even when I did a side by side taste test but hey what do I know?
What is the Difference between an Americano and Drip Coffee
They are two completely different coffee drinks and since they are prepared so differently, they taste nothing like each other. Here are a few key differences between the two drinks:
- Grind size
- Water to coffee ratio
- How long it takes each to brew
The Americano, as I mentioned above is made with espresso which takes highly pressurized, hot water and forces it through small pucks made out of tightly packed finely ground coffee. The whole process takes about 30 seconds (I have a whole article on espresso if you are interested in learning more) and translates into a stronger tasting coffee then the Drip method. In addition, the flavor of the coffee beans are more pronounced due to the high pressure brewing method and you get a little more oiliness since there is no filter paper.
Drip Coffee on the other hand, (not pour over methods such as the Chemex and V60) which I am sure you have seen made a thousand times before, takes medium ground coffee and puts it through a coffee brewer then lets gravity do its thing. You end up with brewed coffee is say a 5 minute period (depends on the brewer). With this type of brewing method, typically you get more sweetness and clarity of flavor
If you have come this far, I hope you now have a better understanding on what an Americano coffee is and how it is different from similar types coffee drinks like Drip Coffee and the Long Black. In the end you just have to Try both, and figure out which one tastes better to you.
If you have anything to add or have a preference for any one of these methods, let me and others. know!