What is an Americano?

Americano coffee is often confused with traditional brewed cups, but they are worlds apart in how they are made. Here’s everything you need to know about the classic coffee.

what is an americano


Sometimes, to be effective going forward, you need to look back. Americano means American. You can trace it back as far back as the 1970s from Italy. It is said that American soldiers, in world war II, would drink espresso and dilute it with hot water. Coffee had become wildly popular in America, especially after locals staged the Boston tea party protests. 

As people began to drink more coffee, it soon became a staple. Members of the military were not exempt from this new craze. So when they went off to war in Italy, it was necessary to have their coffee with them. However, they were more accustomed to the drip coffee they would have back in America, and the new version they were getting in Italy, was a tad too strong for their taste buds. So they decided to dilute it to their taste, adding water and making it more acceptable and not as strong.

The new flavor was closer to what they knew to be coffee, so it was called the Americano, which means American. This is how Americano, the popular black drink, came into being.

What’s in an Americano?

An americano is a type of coffee that allows people who don’t like strong coffee to enjoy it still. It is made by mixing espresso and water to dilute the coffee. There are just two things involved in making an Americano. Water and coffee. It’s the ratios that separate it from all other types. 

You can either add equal amounts of espresso and water, such that the quantities are half and half, or you can add two-thirds water to one-third espresso. So this means to make a 120ml cup of americano, add 90 ml of water to 60 ml of espresso.

 Typically it is not made with milk or any sort of dairy. It is served black like espresso is.  Some prefer milk, and so they add it. Just like any recipe, you can tweak it. Also, it can be served both hot and cold, depending on your preference. You can also ice an Americano. 

Americano vs black coffee

While americano is a type of coffee, not all coffees are the same. At first glance, it could be easy to confuse the two. However, they are made differently, and this is one of the major differences. It gives a different taste. Also, different grounds are used, which contributes greatly to determining the taste of an Americano and in that of black coffee.

The other difference is the amount of time taken to make them. Black coffee will need about 4 to 5 minutes. At the same time, Americano will only take about 30 seconds to make. Black coffee is mostly made using a drip coffee machine. On the other hand, Americano is made of espresso and water, and the espresso comes from espresso beans. These are roasted for longer, and they are ground much finer than black coffee beans.

To make Americano, you will need fine ground, where black coffee will use between medium and coarse grind.  A drip coffee machine will use filtration to make the coffee. Americano has a more bitter flavor than black coffee. But you can tweak its strength by changing the water ratios. You can either use equal parts of water or one part espresso. The major distinction between the two types of drinks is how they are made. 

The other difference between the two beverages is that black coffee does not have crema at all. Americano, on the other hand, is made of espresso, which has a natural crema. The smoothness from the crema comes through and makes all the difference in the way they taste.

Americano vs long black

The long black is very similar and has a strong resemblance to Americano, but the two are not the same, even though they originate from Italy. The Americano is mostly an American drink whilst a long black is more popular in Australia and New Zealand. Long black has a bold flavor. It can be described as being full-bodied. 

It is also made of espresso and water like an Americano, but the ingredients are added differently. This is what makes the two drinks different. As such, the flavor also differs. An Americano is made by adding water to espresso. The long black is when you add espresso to water. The difference will then come in that the long black preserves crema better. The order in which you add the ingredients makes all the difference.

How to make an americano

Making an Americano is quite simple, so much that you may have probably made one at home unknowingly. It’s all about adding espresso to water. The first thing you want to do is make sure that you have an Americano mug and a shot glass close by. Grind 16.5grams of espresso. Then pull 2ounces of espresso into the glass. 

Then pour  3ounces of water into the mug that you will be drinking from. This is if you want to use the equal parts recipe. Or you can use the one-third espresso and two-thirds water recipe. Now, pour the espresso into the water. If you are making hot Americano, use boiling water. If you are making iced Americano, use ice water. The next step is to sit back and sip up. 


Does it have crema?

Americano does have crema since it is made of espresso. However, there isn’t too much of it. 

How much water is in an americano?

You can either have equal parts of water and espresso, such as half and a half or have one-third espresso and two-thirds water.

Can you add milk to an americano?

As a matter of personal preference, you may, but it is not necessary. The drink already has a full-bodied taste.

Is Americano stronger than drip coffee?

Drip coffee has a lighter, more subtle coffee flavor which is also sweeter, whereas Americano is stronger. 

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