How To Make An Americano: Recipe Tips And Hacks

A Caffè Americano is a simple drink that can be served hot or cold. Yet getting it just right takes some practice. Here we explore how to make an americano.

A Caffè Americano, or just Americano coffee, is a simple espresso-based drink that can be served hot or cold. A basic Americano is nothing more than water and espresso, but many people choose to add steamed milk, cream, or flavoring.

Depending on the combination of extra ingredients, you might create a different beverage, but learning how to make Americano is a great start to enjoying a powerful, pure espresso beverage.

After a lot of practice, you can eventually make the perfect Americano suit your taste buds.

1. The Caffè Americano

Although you might think all espresso beverages have their roots in Italy, that’s not true for an Americano.

Americanos, so far, are popular only in North America. As a matter of fact, if you order an Americano in Europe, you’re likely to get a shot or more of espresso and you’ll need to add your own water to get the final product you want.

Diluted espresso just isn’t what a European coffee drinker craves.

While you can head to the nearest coffee café to order an Americano, it’s also a relatively simple drink to make at home, as long as you have ground coffee (espresso grounds) and an espresso coffee machine.

It’s a bit different to make than regular coffee and takes a bit of practice to make the perfect cup.

An Americano is a perfect beverage to “cut your teeth on” when it comes to espresso. This applies to making and drinking. It’s not as intense as drinking straight espresso. It’s also not complicated to make because it’s just espresso. If you master the short shot, you can master an Americano.

In their most basic form, they are nothing more than shots of espresso with water. You get a full-size coffee beverage comparable to what you’d get with drip coffee with the boldness of espresso. It’s not quite the flavor of an undiluted espresso, but it’s more intense than a regular drip coffee.

2. Step by Step Guide

Freshly brewed coffee and roasted coffee beans. - How to make an Americano
The simple but classic Caffè Americano

Caffè Americano Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes


  • Coffee grinder
  • Scale
  • Espresso machine
  • Kettle


  • Coffee beans
  • Hot water


  • Grind coffee beans to fine grind for espresso.
  • Measure 14 to 18 g of coffee for a double shot.
  • Fill the portafilter with coffee and tamp it.
  • Pull a double shot on the espresso machine.
  • Heat the water to between 160°F and 170°F.
  • Pour the espresso into a mug and top it with water.

3. Who Likes Americanos?

Just about anyone who enjoys espresso should like an Americano, although some people will prefer the richer, creamier test of traditional espresso.

Many people find the Americano to be the perfect blend between a regular cup of coffee and an espresso shot. It’s something they are able to sip all morning or drink as they would a traditional cup of coffee, but it gives them the smooth flavor of espresso. They consider it the best of both worlds.

If you’ve had a hard time enjoying a straight espresso or you are always disappointed in how little drink you get, or you are looking for something that’s a bolder choice than a regular cup of coffee, an Americano might be right for you.

4. Can an Americano Be Decaf?

Absolutely. You just need to make decaf espresso and blend it just as you would a regular Americano. Some people have the same criticisms of decaf Americanos as they do any other type of decaf coffee – too bitter or too acidic are just not right for them.

However, if you are looking for the great taste of an Americano, and it’s too late in the day to go caffeinated, a decaf version of the drink is a great option. It’s also possible to do a half-caff Americano if you want to cut back without completely eliminating caffeine.

5. Can Americanos Be Fancy?

Multiple cups of americano coffee.
How do you take yours?

Yes and no. Most people would prefer to make their “fancier” espresso drinks with undiluted espresso.

The great thing about lattes and cappuccinos is their creamy, bold taste. This is something an Americano isn’t going to provide as the intensity of the espresso is already diluted.

Most coffee aficionados would tell you the drink you’ve created isn’t really what you think you’re making. A latte made with diluted espresso isn’t a latte.

However, if the usual sweet and creamy coffee drinks are too rich for you, adding water will cut through the richness and might even reduce the calories a bit.

You’ll get the same volume, but you might be drinking fewer calories (depending on how much sweetener you add).

The Final Word On How to Make An Americano

The bottom line? Play around with variations of a standard Americano until you find something you like. When all said and done it’s about enjoying your beverage. As such, there is no absolute wrong or right.

Who knows, it might even turn out your recipe is a hit with other people.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.