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What Is Americano Coffee

Americano coffee is not an American hot drink, but an Italian specialty. Since the preparation takes more practice than initially assumed, here’s how to prepare a stylish Americano coffee.

If history is to be believed, Cafe Americano (also spelled Caffè Americano) owes its name to American soldiers who were stationed in Italy during World War II. The espresso was supposedly too intense for them. That’s why they simply diluted the drink with hot water. This was the hour of birth for Cafe Americano.

What is Coffee Americano?

With this drink, an espresso is diluted with hot water. This reduces the intensity of the espresso but does not lose its characteristic taste. The water you use to prepare a Cafe Americano shouldn’t boil and should be around 90 ° C. The result is similar to filter coffee in terms of strength and espresso in terms of taste.

There is no fixed mixing ratio between hot water and espresso for the preparation of a Cafe Americano. It’s a matter of taste. The following measure gives you an initial orientation during preparation: There are three parts hot water for one part espresso. For example, there are around 90 ml of hot water for every 30 ml of espresso – depending on your taste.

We advise you to use around 50 to 60 ml of hot water at the beginning and then slowly work your way towards the right mixing ratio. If the taste is too intense for you, increase the amount of water as needed.


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Properties of Americano coffee

Espresso instead of coffee beans is a must for a stylish Americano coffee. In principle, an Americano coffee is an espresso diluted with water. However, there is more to the preparation than just simple infusion. The method of preparation is crucial and has a significant effect on the taste of the coffee. The following factors are essential:

  • Variety of espresso beans
  • Fineness of the grind
  • Amount of espresso powder
  • Mix ratio with water

The four Ms of Americano coffee

The preparation of Americano coffee is analogous to that of an espresso. You should note the 4 M’s here:

Macchina – the machine
Macinatura – the grinding
Miscela – the bean mixture
Mano – the hand

With regard to the machine (“la macchina”), we recommend a portafilter machine for really good espresso, which every Italian swears by when preparing espresso. Alternatively, you can also use a decent fully automatic coffee machine.

The grind (“la macinatura”) of the beans should be very fine. Because in the portafilter or fully automatic coffee machine, the brewing water is shot through the espresso flour with pressure, so it only has a short contact time. In order to still get the best flavors, a fine grind is important, as it increases the surface of the powder. When it comes to quantity, the more flavor you want, the more grams you should use. We recommend 6.5 g per espresso shot.

The beans (“la miscela”) should be as fresh as possible. The freshness refers to the period of time that has passed since the coffee was roasted. By the way, the difference between espresso and coffee lies mainly in the roasting of green coffee beans. For the Coffee Americano you should definitely use espresso beans and not coffee beans. Because espresso beans have a more intense taste.

Now all that’s missing is a little dexterity (“la mano”). Because the basic principle of the preparation of a Cafe Americano is simple: the right temperature water (88-94 ° C) is pressed through the brewing chamber so that 25 ml of espresso are produced in approx. 25 seconds of extraction time.

what is coffee americano

The best machine for Americano coffee

In the best-case scenario, use a portafilter or espresso machine for the preparation, which has a corresponding brewing pressure of around nine bar to prepare espresso. If you don’t have a coffee machine, you can use an espresso maker.

How do I use an espresso maker?

  • First, preheat the water to be used and fill it just below the valve of the stove.
  • Fill the funnel insert with the extra finely ground espresso powder and press it down.
  • Place the assembled espresso maker on the stove over medium heat. The plate should not be too hot so that the espresso does not burn.
  • As soon as the espresso flows continuously into the top half of the cooker, you can remove it from the stove.
  • After a few more seconds, you can pour and enjoy the finished espresso.

The amount of ingredients for Americano coffee

For a full-bodied espresso, you need 6.5 grams of espresso powder. However, this can also be varied depending on the desired taste intensity. The mixing ratio with water is one to three. Around 90 milliliters of water are therefore added to 30 milliliters of espresso. Here, too, can be varied to meet personal taste. If possible, the water should have the same temperature as the espresso – 88 to 94°C is ideal.

You shouldn’t vary too much in the amount of water. If you add too much, the result will taste like water. Too little water, on the other hand, results in the drink tasting too bitter.

How to prepare Coffee Americano

There are two ways to prepare the Cafe Americano.

1. The water is first filled into the cup. Then a single shot or a double espresso is poured on top. With this preparation variant, the crema floats on top. That looks nice too. We use this method to prepare our Cafe Americano at home.

2. Alternatively, the espresso is poured into the cup first. Then the hot water is added to the espresso. The crema is somewhat destroyed when the water is poured in and mixed with the actual espresso. This makes the Cafe Americano taste a bit bitter. The reason for this is that tiny bits of ground coffee, which are contained in the crema of the espresso, make the drink more bitter. The remaining crema can now be removed with a spoon. If you remove the crema on the Cafe Americano, the taste will be softer.

We recommend that you prepare a Coffee Americano with an espresso machine with a portafilter. Because we are of the opinion that a portafilter machine delivers better espresso quality than a fully automatic coffee machine or a capsule machine.

what is coffee americano

Simple preparation of Americano coffee

When all the requirements for preparing the coffee have been met, the only thing that matters is the ideal implementation. How to do it right:

  • Brew the espresso with the machine. The extraction time should be 25 seconds for around 25 milliliters of espresso. Alternatively, use an espresso maker.
  • Prepare a cup or glass in which the Americano coffee will be served and add three times as much water as espresso. For a standard amount of espresso, the ratio corresponds to 25 milliliters of espresso to around 90 milliliters of hot water.
  • Now carefully pour the espresso onto the hot water. The more carefully you proceed, the more crema is retained.

The history of the origins of Americano coffee

The exact history of the origins of Americano coffee has not been confirmed with certainty. But it is plausible that the drink was created by the Americans during World War II. The typical Italian espresso was too strong for them, so they simply diluted the drink with hot water. This approach was initially strange for the Italians, but later they began to offer the modification of their beloved espresso themselves. Americano coffee was born.

Differences between Coffee Americano and Cafè Crème

A coffee Americano and a Cafè Crème hardly differ from each other in terms of appearance and are both made from the same beans. The small but significant differences are only revealed in the preparation and taste.

Coffee Americano:

  • The mixing ratio of espresso and water for Americano coffee is 1: 3.
  • The coffee powder is very finely ground.
  • Between six and seven grams of powder are required for the drink.
  • The amount of pure espresso is around 30 milliliters.
  • The preparation is done by hand.

Cafè Crème:

  • In the case of Cafè Crème, four times as much water is added to the espresso.
  • The coffee powder is ground more coarsely than espresso powder, but finer than filter coffee.
  • 17 grams of powder are used for the preparation.
  • The amount of coffee is at least 120 milliliters.
  • The coffee can be completely prepared in the machine.

what is coffee americano

Coffee Americano is not a Cafe Lungo – we explain the difference

A Cafe Americano and a Cafe Lungo have one thing in common. Both are milder in taste than a single shot and yet the two coffee specialties are fundamentally different. With a Cafe Americano, hot water is either poured into the cup or directly into the espresso directly before or after the brewing process. This dilutes the espresso and reduces the intensity. Nevertheless, the characteristic taste is not lost.

Basically, the preparation of a lungo is the same as for espresso. But there is one crucial difference: The brewing time for the Lungo is longer than that of the espresso, which means that more liquid is extracted accordingly. Compared to espresso, a lungo tastes milder.

Iced Coffee Americano – a drink for warm days

If you are longing for something caffeinated and ice-cold, an Iced Cafe Americano will definitely taste good on a hot summer day. To make this, the brewed espresso is poured directly onto ice cubes. Instead of using hot water, it is diluted with cold water. This is how you can cool off nicely.

Julie Gabriel
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