During my visit to Rome, I entered a crowded cafe and ordered an Americano. There was silence for a few seconds as people wondered what I had just ordered. The barista smiled and handed me my cuppa. Interestingly, not many people know Americano and those who do confuse it with an espresso.
What is the difference between Americano and Espresso coffee? An Americano or American Coffee is made with the same coffee beans and uses the same brewing method. The key difference lies in the consistency. Take a mug, pour two shots of espresso, and add hot water to it. You get a large cup of weaker and diluted espresso that is called by a new name– Americano!
However, calling Americano a watered down version of an espresso is certainly under valuing its potential. Despite being weaker in strength, Americano retains an amazing flavor, which makes it one of my favorites. So, while espresso forms the base of Americano, the two have distinct personalities.
The difference between these two amazing concoctions traces their roots back in history. Apparently, when the US Generals were stationed in Italy during theWorld War II, they once stopped in a local coffee shop to get a good cup of Joe. What they got was a shot of espresso, a concentrated brew enjoyed by the natives.
Now, espressos are usually served in smaller cups and they have a richer flavor while the American generals were raised on drip coffee that came in standard sized mugs. To compensate that, they hit upon an idea and added hot water to espresso – thus, Americano was born.
Why You Should Try An Americano
An Americano is cheap, tastes heavenly,
If you like an espresso, but the strong flavor leaves a bitter and burned taste in your mouth, you should try an Americano. Some people find the concentrated and strong flavors of an espresso overpowering. Similar to a shot of Scotch, you can unlock the real flavors of an espresso by adding hot water to it.
When you add water, just a little, not a lot, the concentrated espresso releases a floral taste mixed with dark chocolate and citrus effects in the background. It really helps in coaxing out the flavors from within an espresso and it will make you wonder what you were missing all this while!
Next time you are at the café, order an Americano to experience that rich flavor that translates into a lingering texture that haunts you
There is something more elegant and immersive about the taste of an Americano that makes it different from an espresso and other coffee styles. What’s more? You also get a higher level of caffeine in a cup of Java that tastes just so good.
What Happens To Crema In An Americano
The high-quality beans that are carefully roasted and ground contain a lot of flavorful coffee oils. When an espresso is brewed, the high pressure forces the oils out of the fine grounds. This leaves you with a crema, which is the light colored creamy substances floating over your dark coffee.
Coffee aficionados often relate crema as a mark of expertise achieved perfectly only by the highly experienced and versatile baristas. If you wish to earn the title of a home barista, you may want to concentrate on getting that layer of crema over your homemade espresso.
So, does the crema dissolved in an Americano? What happens to it? Well, an Americano as already mentioned is an espresso mixed with hot water. Good news is, the crema des not get affected by this. It only rises to the top and lets you enjoy the experience longer with all the rich coffee oils intact!
What About the Taste Of An Americano
Just because espresso forms the base for an Americano, does not mean it will taste like one. Many people confuse this and expect Americano to taste like a diluted espresso, but both the beverages actually have distinct personalities. An Americano tastes more like a richer and stronger version of black coffee.
The texture of an espresso is thicker than a typical drip coffee,
Another point of difference is the level of heat. As you are adding hot water to an already hot espresso, expect your Americano to be hotter than a regular cup of coffee.
How To Make An Americano At Home
I love making Americano at home every now and then when I am in the mood for a longer indulgence. If you are used to an espresso to rise and shine, an Americano may not give you the same effect. However, it works great for those weekends when you love to binge on your coffee a little longer!
Here is a step-by-step guide to prepare a homemade Americano
Step 1: Get good espresso beans
The taste of a coffee depends upon the type of beans you use, so always get good quality espresso beans to make delicious Americano. I emphasize this more because when you dilute the espresso shot with water, it also highlights flaws in the beans quality so get the one that you know is really good.
Step 2: Measure the beans
Next, you need to measure your beans to hit the right ratio. It depends on whether you like a single shot or double shot espresso. I personally prefer a double shot (14-18 grams) and if you are a true Americano fan, you will too crave for more.
Step 3: Grind them
Now, you need to grind the beans (my favorite grinder) and the consistency will depend on three things – your espresso machine, coffee beans, and personal preference. The recommended grind consistency for a good Americanos fine.
If the grind comes out too fine, don’t worry. That’s how it is meant to be. If you try making an Americano with the a coarse grind, you will lose the real essence and result in a fiasco. Your grinder is the first important tool
Step 4: Tamp well
After grinding your beans, make sure you tamp it really well, which is another significant part of the process. Some espresso machines tamp coffee ground automatically while others don’t, so you will need to do that manually. A little bit of extra work can give you great coffee so don’t forget to tamp well.
So, whether you have an automatic espresso with all the bells and whistles or an old-school champ, you need to tamp in this step.
Step 5: Put in the portafilter
After you are done with tamping properly, now is the time to put the portafilter into the espresso machine.
Step 6: Get the espresso shots
You are done with the preparations and now you need to make an espresso. As every machine has a different mechanism, follow the instructions to get that flavorful concentrate of the
Step 7: Heat water
The step to add hot water is
After several trials and experiments, I feel 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit works best. You may boil water in a kettle to reach that level or use hot water from the steam boiler tap.
Step 8: Mix hot water to espresso
Now, it depends on you whether you want to add hot water to espresso or pour your espresso into hot water. The typical ratio is to mix 1 part of espresso with 2 parts of water. While many Americano fans recommend adding water to espresso, I prefer the other way round (this helps in keeping the crema intact).
I like adding my espresso to hot water because I feel the Americano blends better in this method. My personal experience says that pouring water into espresso may
Step 9: Top up with sugar and cream
The typical Americano is black but there are no restrictions. If you like adding sugar and cream to your beverage, go ahead. Now sit back and enjoy your delicious Americano.
An extra tip:
If you wish to make cold Americano, there is just a tiny tweak in the process. Use iced water instead of hot water, in the ratio of 1.5 to 1 water to espresso (considering that ice will melt and water down further).
Frequently Asked Questions On Americano
Q1. What is the correct ratio when making an Americano?
A. To brew a tasty Americano, work with a ratio of 1:2 which is one part espresso added to two parts of water.
Q2. Does it matter whether you pour hot water into espresso or vice-versa?
A. Yes, it does. Adding hot water does not give you a uniform mix. I recommend adding espresso to water to get a perfect blend. This also helps in preserving the crema, which may be spoiled if you add hot water over it.
Q3. Should I get a fine or coarse grind?
A. Always opt for a fine grind just like espresso because to make an Americano, you will first get double shots of espresso and then mix it with water.
Q4. What is the caffeine content in Americano?
A. An average espresso contains 40 mg per serving so if you use two shots of espresso, it will be 80 mg in each Americano serving.
Q5. What should be the ideal water temperature?
A. The recommended water temperature is 160 to 170 F. Just make sure it is not too hot or too cold. This may depend upon your preference.
5 Health Benefits of Americano Coffee
Now that you know how to make an energizing and delicious Americano at home, here are some more reasons to brew in this method. Americano coffee has some amazing health benefits that are worth checking out!
1. It promotes weight loss
If you are aiming to lose inches around your waist, an Americano can be a great addition to your diet plan. This type of coffee contains natural acid that is known to break down the food faster. Studies have shown that people who drink coffee daily lose more calories than non-drinkers…Yay!
2. It improves productivity
I prefer an Americano to perk me up in the afternoon when I feel the urge to snooze. As the drink contains a lot of caffeine, it makes the mind and body alert. It also boosts the energy levels to help you perform better at work.
3. It is great for digestion
An Americano coffee can help in breaking down food into smaller parts for easy digestion. I prefer a cup of Americano after a heavy meal to stimulate the body to work faster in breaking down food and lose extra calories. It also reduces the pressure on your digestion systems so it hurts less.
4. It works like a natural detox!
The health and wellness industry is going berserk over ways to detox the body. People use strange juices and even starve themselves to purge out toxins from the body. Why not relax and let coffee detox for you?
An Americano is weaker than espresso. It works like a cleaning agent to stimulate the liver to work better at breaking down things that enter the body. It also helps the colon to remove wastes accumulated inside the body.
5. It has a ‘happy effect’
Caffeine is psychoactive is nature, hence it stimulates the production of neurotransmitter. Drinking Americano can boost your mood and have a positive effect on you. It can make you happy instantly. Harvard School of Public Health says 4 cups a day can make you positive about life.
The Final Words
If you are a pure espresso fan, you may not like its diluted cousin because Americano loses the kick you get from sipping on a rich cup of espresso. People like me who don’t like that bitter and sour taste an espresso leaves in the mouth will love an Americano. Adding hot water helps in bringing out the sweet flavors and makes your Java less bitter!
More than anything else, I love the feeling of being able to sip on my favorite cup of coffee longer than usual on cold mornings. While espresso has an indelible champion, the Americano has managed to carve its own special place in the world of coffee. It’s worth trying!