What Is an Americano? And How to Make One

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If you love coffee and want to explore espresso, start with an Americano. It’s the perfect introduction!

What’s an Americano? Imagine your favorite black coffee, but with a twist. It’s like a gentler version of a strong espresso shot, still packed with all the rich flavors you love, minus the added extras you’d get in a latte.

So, What Is an Americano Coffee?

An Americano, an espresso drink diluted with water

An Americano mixes espresso with water, usually in a 3:1 ratio. This simple blend is what makes it amazing. It’s easy to whip up, won’t pack on the pounds, and has a smooth taste that every coffee fan can fall in love with. Perfect for beginners and aficionados alike! 

Where did Americano come from?

Just like the long black coffee, Americanos came to be because Italians noticed American tourists struggling with the strong taste of espressos and cappuccinos, the usual Italian coffee offerings. These visitors craved the familiar taste of their regular black coffee.

Italian baristas came up with a clever solution for those who found espresso too strong. They created the Americano by mixing hot water with espresso. This made a drink that’s as potent as American coffee. The magic formula? A 3:1 ratio, which perfectly balances espresso to mimic the taste of drip coffee.

Americano Calories

A single espresso shot contains just three calories, thanks to water being its only other companion. So, an Americano, crafted with one shot, also has three calories, but double it to six for a two-shot version. Remember, adding any sweeteners or extras will bump up the calorie count significantly.

Caffeine in Americano

Coffee beans spelling out caffeine

Dive into an espresso shot and you’re sipping on about 65 mg of caffeine. Love your Americano? That’s 65 mg with a single shot, or double up for a 130 mg buzz. But remember, the caffeine kick can vary. It’s all about the beans you choose, how you mix your coffee and water, and a few other tricks. These numbers are good starting points to guide your coffee journey.

Other Names for an Americano

  • Americano
  • Americano coffee
  • Cafè Americano
  • Caffè Americano

Comparisons to Other Coffees

Discover how Americanos stand out from other coffee and espresso drinks and clear up any confusion.

Americano vs coffee

Discover the secret behind Americano and regular coffee – it’s all in the brewing! Americano comes to life when espresso, crafted from water forced through finely-ground coffee, meets hot water. Regular coffee, however, is more laid-back, with water gently flowing through medium-ground beans, no pressure needed. Dive into the brewing magic!

Espresso packs a bolder, deeper taste compared to drip coffee. So, when watered down into Americanos, they still burst with more richness and flavor than regular drip brews. 

Americano vs espresso

An Americano coffee and a shot of espresso, showing the size difference

An Americano is like a milder espresso, made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso. While a single shot of espresso is about 1 ounce and packs a strong flavor punch, adding water makes an Americano less intense. Espresso boasts a creamy foam on top, called crema, but when you mix in water to make an Americano, this frothy layer mostly disappears.

Americano vs long black

Americanos and long blacks are like coffee twins, both made from espresso mixed with water. The main difference? Long blacks have a 2:1 water-to-espresso ratio, unlike Americanos’ 3:1, making them a bit richer in flavor. Perfect for those who love a strong coffee kick!

When making a delicious cup of coffee, the sequence of adding ingredients matters more than you’d think. Take the long black, for example: espresso is poured into water, not the other way around. This might seem like a small detail, but it’s crucial for preserving the crema – that creamy layer on top of your coffee. In a long black, the crema stays intact, adding to its rich flavor, while in an Americano, it blends into the drink.

A thick crema makes every espresso sip a delight for coffee lovers.

Americano vs cappuccino or latte

An Americano and a latte, showing the color difference from the milk

Some of you might already know this, but let’s break down the key difference between an Americano and a latte (or cappuccino): Lattes and cappuccinos are all about that creamy steamed milk, whereas Americanos keep it simple with water. If you’re looking for an alternative to your usual drip coffee, try an Americano. But for something entirely different, dive into the world of lattes and cappuccinos.

Lattes and cappuccinos are creamier and richer than Americanos, with more calories.

Starbucks Americano

If you’re not into DIY Americanos, here’s the scoop on what Starbuck offers.

Starbucks’ Americano comes in different sizes, each with its own mix of water and espresso. Compared to a classic Americano, these can be a bit more on the watery side, especially the smaller ones. If you’re after a bolder kick, try the Blonde Americano for a stronger taste. For even more options, check out these strong Starbucks drinks.

Total volume (ounces)Espresso shotsEspresso-to-water ratioCaffeine (mg)Calories
Short817:1755
Tall1225:115010
Grande1634:122515
Venti2044:130020

Your neighborhood coffee spot (not Starbucks) might surprise you with unique takes on your favorite brews. They often pack a stronger punch than a Starbucks Americano and stick to the classic 3:1 water-to-espresso ratio.

How to Make an Americano at Home

  1. Pull an espresso shot (or a double shot). If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can try AeroPress espresso as a budget alternative. You can also use Nespresso pods.
  2. Add 3 ounces (6 for a double) of filtered water. The water doesn’t need to be boiling or even near-boiling. Aim for about 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Enjoy your cup of coffee!

What Is an Iced Americano?

An iced Americano coffee, made with cold water instead of hot water

An iced Americano might sound like it’s just an Americano poured over ice, but there’s a twist. Instead of hot water, you mix cold water with your espresso shot. Sure, you can add ice too, but starting with cold water means less melting ice, keeping your espresso’s rich flavor intact and strong.

Simplicity Itself

The Americano is a super simple espresso drink to whip up. It’s quick, needing just espresso shots and water. Perfect for those who aren’t fans of straight espresso shots, the Americano offers a delightful alternative. It’s an easy, tasty way to enjoy your espresso differently.

The Americano is a perfect and simple way to explore coffee beans from different countries and find your new favorite. Its pure form lets you taste the unique flavors of each bean, like the fruity notes of Costa Rican coffee or the earthy tones of Sumatran coffee. Dive into the diverse world of coffee flavors with the coffee flavor wheel and start your taste adventure!

What is an Americano? and how to make one

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