The Americano is more than just a cup of plain black coffee. Read on to learn why Americano coffee is the underdog and deserves a chance to prove itself.
Once you start appreciating black coffee, there’s no going back. The drink has been a loyal companion during times of stress and has stuck with me ever since.
Sadly, this black coffee never gets the same love as the other espresso-based drinks. According to the National Coffee Association, only 13% of coffee drinkers prefer the Americano, with the milkier cappuccino and latte leading. Hopefully, those numbers will increase after sharing these reasons why Americano coffee is underrated.
1. It Is The Most Balanced Black Coffee
One drawback of drip black coffee is its unpredictable taste; it can taste too bland or too bitter. Granted, it can also happen when brewing espresso, but you will still get an intense and balanced flavor. The Americano also emits a much more delightful aroma than the regular drip.
Americano is a mixture of water and espresso shot, so the strong flavor of the latter is diluted but not compromised, giving you that ideal cup of Joe that you can sip comfortably without wincing at the espresso’s bitterness.
2. It Has The Same Bold And Robust Flavor With Less Caffeine
You would think that because Americanos are made with an espresso shot, they have more caffeine, but that is simply not the case. A serving of Americano usually contains around 65 to 120 milligrams of caffeine compared to the usual black coffee, which has around 90 up to 200 milligrams.
The water essentially dilutes the espresso shot. Even so, because the espresso’s concentrated, the Americano will give you a more palatable flavor even when diluted. There is also room for adjustment; you can add extra espresso shots if you love a bold flavor or need a strong pick-me-up.
Of course, a quality coffee bean will make or break your Americano. You can check out our list of tips for picking the best coffee for your espresso.
3. It Is Widely Available
I have never encountered a coffee shop, big or small, that doesn’t offer an Americano. I have seen some that don’t serve flat white or other common espresso-based drinks, but an Americano is always on the menu.
Not to mention, it’s usually cheaper than lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, and the other milky drinks on the menu.
If you have an espresso machine, it won’t take much effort to brew an Americano, Simply slide in your coffee beans, bring out the freshly-brewed espresso shot, mix it with water, and serve it hot or iced.
You can read our guide on how to make a mean Americano at home.
4. It Has Many Variations You Can Enjoy
A classic Americano can be served hot or iced, but you can also add a myriad of things to the beverage without losing that distinct robust flavor. A trending variation that has captured the hearts of Gen-Z is the White Americano. It is created by adding a small amount of milk that can either be cold, steamed, foamed or frothed.
Another interesting take on this black coffee is the Americano Con Crema, a drink conceptualized by Starbucks a few years ago that has now been discontinued. Using the Americano as a base, brewers will incorporate orange syrup and foamed milk into the drink, giving the Americano a well-balanced citrus tang and creamier texture.
My favorite version is the easiest one, a Hazelnut Americano. Just add a shot of hazelnut syrup and mix thoroughly. This is best served cold and blends well with milk if you want it creamier.
5. It Has An Interesting Origin
Coffee has seen its fair share of wars and is a must-have drink for soldiers. So it isn’t surprising that the Americano emerged during World War II. Though the story is hard to corroborate, it was said that American soldiers stationed in Italy disliked the usual espresso shot as they preferred the flavor of drip coffee they regularly drank back home.
These soldiers started diluting the espresso with hot water to combat this bold flavor. The locals started referring to the drink as an Americano, and the rest is history.
FAQs On Why Americano Coffee
Can You Make An Americano Without An Espresso Machine?
Yes, you can! The Aeropress and Moka Pot are great alternatives for making an espresso shot. A disadvantage to this is that you won’t be able to extract the full flavor of the espresso and thus will lose some of its trademark rich taste.
If you have a Keurig or Nespresso machine, there are K-cups and pods you can use to make your Americano base. I would recommend Illy’s Forte Extra Dark Roast for the K-cup, while for the pods, you should opt for the Arpeggio.
Is Americano Healthy?
Americanos are one of the healthiest coffee beverages out there as it only consists of an espresso shot and water – unless you add sugar, milk, or creamer. You should be wary of the number of shots you add per serving and your caffeine tolerance.
Your body can take up to 400 mg of caffeine per day. That is six to seven cups of Americano with one espresso shot each. Overdoing it with caffeine is unlikely to be fatal, but the effects are far from pleasant.