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The Americano Coffee: A History

Dave Carter

June 17, 2020

Americano coffee is called by many other names by different people and one of which is Caffe Americano. Its beginnings are believed to have originated during the Second World War when “Americanos,” American soldiers stationed in Italy, found the coffee too strong and started adding hot water in their espresso to make their coffee a little more subtle.

How to Make an Americano Coffee​

Making this coffee is easy but not very simple because you first need to create your glass of espresso, which is the trick and can be a challenge, especially if it is your first time to make one. But once you have your espresso, the rest of the process is a breeze because it is just adding warm H2O onto single and double shots depending on how strong or how subtle you want your coffee to taste. Stationed in Italy or the UK, a coffee shop would add about 455 mL of warm water in their double shots.

The first step in making this type of coffee is by pulling a glass of espresso, filling your cup with warm water, and lastly, pouring the coffee over it. “What is an espresso” deserves a separate discussion. Definitely, it is not “american expresso”, another misnomer. You may get the warm water either from the coffee machine or from a separate heater. Some machines have a separate hot spout for this use, while others have the steam wand for dispensing H2O. For practicality in a coffee shop, a separate heater is preferred, as this does not disrupt the brewing water temperature.

What is an espresso? This word means quick and is a method in coffee-making that is of Italian origin. It is also a base for so many types of coffee beverages. These include macchiato, mocha, flat white, latte, long black, and cappuccino, which is made of double espresso and warm milk with a foamed milk on top and can be done using a cappuccino machine.

How to make espresso: an espresso shot is done when a small amount of nearly boiling H2O is forced and used under pressure through finely-ground coffee beans. The result is a type of coffee that contains more caffeine than the regular ones due to the higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids with a crema on top. It can be created by using different types of coffee beans and roasts.

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How Many Shots of Espresso are in an Americano?​

Depending on people’s preference is how much is a shot you can put, but generally, you may use single and double shots of espresso to warm your H2O to create this kind of coffee. As for some other types of espresso-based drinks, milk is added instead of H2O like a macchiato. To answer the question, “What is a macchiato” deserves its own space.

Terminologies: Americana Espresso​

The Americano is a toned down caffeine. It has the same caffeine content, temperature, and a diluted taste, but it is still a masculine drink, as far as language is concerned. Languages which originated from Latin have a gender and for the Italians, “espresso” is masculine. Necessarily, the phrase the masculine form “Americano espresso” is the proper term, even if it is a misnomer. There is only the Americano, coffee Americano or Caffe Americano, which are all one and the same.

What is an Americano: The Basics​

An Americano is a kind of espresso-based coffee in which warm water is added to a single and double shots of coffee. It comes with other variations, so you are not just limited to the hot drink version. You may also try Iced Americano in which you add cold water instead of hot, and there is also Lungo, which is made by extracting a shot for longer if you want more volume and a little bitter flavor. The long black is also an espresso-based drink which is popular in Australia, and it has different origins.

Before you can make a nice cup of this coffee, the first step is to make a perfect glass of espresso. In coffee shops, a big investment goes to the commercial espresso machine as it needs to be reliable and must have its basic features such as having built-in steam wands, adjustable cup size, boiler auto-fill system, waterline connectivity, flexible liquid jet, and multiple, independent coils that allow for brewing different drinks simultaneously.

Is Americano Black Coffee?​

It is more than just a black coffee because, to begin with, its base is an espresso, whereas black coffee, whether it is brewed, drip, or pressed, is just pure water and coffee and nothing more. These two are often confused with each other because, at first glance, they seem to look the same. But looking at them closely, their taste and texture are different because they are prepared in different ways.

Black coffee is brewed in a drip coffee machine and uses regular coffee beans, while espresso shots are done in a machine and use beans, which have finer grinds and are roasted longer than the usual beans.

Is there Milk in an Americano?​

The thing with this coffee drink is that it is really up to you how you want it to taste like. Though generally, you do not add milk to it, you are free to add milk or sugar if that is how you would prefer yours. Adding milk to your coffee also gives it a more robust flavor with a hint of bitterness. However, if instead of adding water, you add milk, the result is a Latte. Served at home, the caffeine drinker is at liberty to add milk or cream to taste.

What is The Difference Between Regular Coffee and Americano?​

Regular coffee or brewed coffee is produced by allowing hot water to drip down through the coffee grounds while Americano starts with an espresso shot. Each has its distinct tastes, though its caffeine content does not differ much. It has a richer taste and a fuller-bodied texture because of its espresso base.

Americano vs. Drip​

Drip coffee is the preferred method of home brewed coffee. An American home does not have an espresso machine. Home coffee is a straightforward drip to the carafe, where it is kept warm and ready to drink.

Drip coffee can be made either by using an auto-drip machine or through manual pour-over. The process is simply letting the hot water drip down through the grounds. On the other hand, it is a diluted espresso drink and still has the flavors of the caffeine menu. It is stronger than a drip coffee and sometimes tastes sour depending on the beans used. Drip coffee has a more subtle flavor which depends on the coffee to water ratio used.

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Conclusion: Enjoying an Americano​

For people who enjoy the flavor and menu of different espresso mixes at home but are not really into having a too strong taste, Americano coffee is the perfect drink. And though the traditional drinkers may frown upon adding milk in it, the bottom line is it does not matter whether you add milk or sugar into your brew menu if that’s what makes you happy.


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