What Is An Americano?

What Is An Americano?

If you’ve ever walked into a coffee shop without much coffee knowledge, you’ll probably feel a little overwhelmed with options.

What Is An Americano?

From the cappuccino to the latte to the americano, each coffee has its own unique recipe and taste – so how can you choose? 

If you’re still on the hunt for your favorite coffee (or you want to expand your coffee knowledge), we’re here to talk about all things Americano. What exactly is this coffee, what makes it, and what does it taste like? 

What Is An Americano Coffee? 

An Americano coffee is simply espresso and water. The American is a way of serving your coffee, rather than a way of brewing it, and it tends to be pretty strong compared to other coffees, such as lattes and mochas(see also: What Is Mocha?). 

To make an Americano, simply pour hot water over two espresso shots, and you’ll end up with something of similar strength to your average cup of joe.

Some coffee shops will use different ratios, however, the average americano is made up of either ½ and ½ (espresso and water) or ⅓ espresso and ⅔ water. Espresso is usually added first, to create a richer and more even taste. 

Traditionally, the Americano won’t contain milk, but some people may add it depending on their preferences. 

The History Of The Americano 

The Americano is thought to have its roots in the second world war. When the American soldiers were stationed in Italy, they struggled to find a coffee they enjoyed.

At the time, espresso was the most commonly served coffee in Italy, but the soldiers decided to experiment. They poured hot water over their espresso to create a flavor more suited to their palette, and so, the Americano was born (now you can understand the name!). 

What Does The Americano Taste And Smell Like? 

As the saying goes, you often have to kiss a lot of frogs to meet your prince. The same can be said for coffee. You probably won’t like every variant you try, so you’ll have to work your way through the different types to find your go-to cup of joe.

If you’ve never tried an Americano before, here’s what you expect from its flavors and aromas: 

Americano Taste 

Compared to your average cup of coffee, Americanos are stronger and bolder. Traditionally brewed coffee (see also: What Is Amaretto?)has a rather complex, but delicate flavor profile, and you’ll be able to pick out multiple flavors in your brew.

However, the Americano has a different kind of depth to it, but the overall flavor will depend on the quality of the espresso used. 

If you use a poor-quality espresso, your Americano will probably end up tasting bitter, or even acidic. Because Americano’s are served without milk, there’s nothing to disguise the flavor – so, if you’re using poor espresso, you’ll notice it. 

Espresso has a short extraction time, which means it holds onto the oils roasted from the coffee beans. This will give your espresso a ‘crema’, or a foamy layer that appears when you pour hot water over it.

So, when you make your Americano, it’ll have a silkier, smoother feel than your average coffee, which many people enjoy. 

Americano Aroma 

Americano’s have a pretty distinctive aroma. They usually have a high ratio of espresso to water, which gives them a stronger aroma than regular coffee, and a similar aroma to espresso. It’s strong, heavy, rich, and totally moreish. 

How Much Caffeine Is In An Americano? 

What Is An Americano?

Believe it or not, espresso’s don’t actually contain that much caffeine (a common misconception). The average shot of espresso has approximately eighty milliliters of caffeine, whereas a cup of brewed coffee has around one hundred and twenty.

This means your Americano will probably have less caffeine than your traditional cup of joe. However, most coffee shops will use a double shot, so if you buy your Americano on the go, it could contain as much as one hundred and sixty milliliters of caffeine.

If you’re trying to reduce your caffeine intake, as for a single shot of Americano, or make it yourself at home.

How To Make An Americano  

Want to make an Americano at home? It’s pretty simple. Here’s exactly what you’ll need to pull it off: 

  • Two shots of espresso 
  • Five ounces of boiling water
  • Your favorite mug 
  1. Boil your water, and allow it to cool for one minute.
  2. Pull two of your best espresso shots. If you’re using a coffee pod machine, this will be a bit quicker, and you can extract a double shot in one go. 
  3. Now, pour your pulled espresso slowly into a mug. Pour it slowly to maintain the crema on top of the espresso. 
  4. Pour your boiling water slowly over the espresso. Pouring it slowly will avoid disturbing the crema, and prevent it from dissolving in the water. 

And that’s it! You’re now ready to enjoy your Americano. 

Everyone enjoys their coffee differently, so feel free to experiment. Add sugar, other syrups, or even a dash of milk if you need it. However, for the most authentic Americano experience, we’d recommend enjoying it as it is! 

Do I Need An Espresso Machine? 

No, you don’t need an espresso machine to create an Americano. If you have a coffee machine or an Aeropress, this will do the job just as well. However, if you have one, we’d recommend using it.

An espresso machine will help you get the correct amount of pressure needed to pull the best flavor from your coffee beans. 

Final Thoughts 

The humble Americano is one of the least complex coffees out there, and we have our American troops to thank for it. If you enjoy rich, complex flavors and the creamy feeling of a frothy coffee, you’ll love everything about the Americano.

This beautifully rich-bodied coffee is nothing more than espresso shots and water, proving that sometimes, less is more! 

Specialty Coffee Drinks Explained - What is an Americano?