So, you're standing in line at a coffee shop and you're staring at the menu. You may have gone in for just a quick cup of coffee, but the numerous choices in front of you may have thrown you off entirely. You may have left without ordering anything at all. Sound like you?
Our goal here is to help you feel more confident the next time you are faced with a massive list of all different coffee drinks. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, we want you to have confidence when you tell that barista you would like an iced Americano coffee!
These are just some of the coffee drinks you will be confronted with, so feeling confused at the offerings available is quite natural. The choice you make should depend on your personal preference, so it is worth taking a risk and tasting a variety of coffee drinks.
If you're a fan of black coffee, one of the first you should try is an Americano coffee. You might also decide to make one with an espresso machine at home if you own one. But what is an Americano coffee and how is it different from your usual cup of coffee? Let's take a closer look!
What Is An Americano Coffee
Simply put, an Americano, or Cafe Americano as some call it, is a shot of espresso (a concentrated form of strong coffee using finely ground coffee beans) that has been diluted with an extra dosage of hot water. This gives it a similar strength to regular brewed coffee, although the flavor will be different.
According to legend, the Americano was born during World War 2. Raised on drip coffee, American soldiers stationed in Italy balked at the popular espresso drinks that were being served to them in the country, so they added more hot water.
This watered-down version of espresso was similar to the coffee they drank back home, and their creation quickly became known as the Americano or Cafe Americano.
If you want something different from a regular coffee or an espresso yourself, it might be that an Americano could be your next drink of choice.
Americano Vs Coffee
At first glance, an Americano looks a little different from a cup of freshly brewed coffee. But they are in fact, very different. That is because of the ingredients and the extraction technique. We use Caffe Americano and Cafe Americano interchangeably as they are the same thing.
As we have established, the Americano contains a mix of espresso and hot water. Espressos have a higher concentration of caffeine in them than regular coffee, which gives the Americano, or Caffe Americano, a fuller-bodied texture and a richer taste.
On the other hand, brewed coffee uses medium ground coffee and hot water to extract the delicious nectar from the grounds. Unlike the quick method of extracting a shot of espresso for an Americano, regular coffee drinks are often made using the traditional pour-over or drip methods.
How To Make An Americano
An Americano is one of the easiest alternative coffee drinks to make at home, especially if you have an espresso machine. While it contains only two main ingredients - hot water and espresso - you can also add bonus ingredients if you want to customize your drink.
For example, you can add milk and sugar if you wish, and there are a range of flavored shots available that can give your Americano a fresh new taste.
You might also want to experiment with other items from your pantry. Some people also enjoy an iced Americano, so if you like your coffee chilled, you have another variant to try. You will find many Americano recipes online, so have a look!
Here's how to prepare and create your Americano at home;
- An espresso machine
- Hot water
- A cup to catch your espresso shot
- A coffee mug or travel cup
- Fresh whole coffee beans
- A coffee grinder
- A kitchen scale
- A tamper
With everything at the ready, here are the steps you need to take to make your Americano.
1. Turn On Espresso Machine
Turn on your espresso machine to give it time to heat up. As bad as you want that Americano drink, you'll need to wait for the espresso machine to wake up itself. If you can't do that, you could always use a manual espresso machine.
2. Measure Coffee
Use your kitchen scale to measure out the number of coffee beans needed to make a single, double, or triple shot of espresso (depending on your personal preference and the size of your espresso machine's portafilter).
3. Grind Coffee
Grind your coffee beans using the built-in grinder of the espresso machine and use the lowest setting available. Wait until the beans have been ground to a fine powder, and double-check the weight on the scale to ensure you have the right amount for your Americano.
4. Fill Portafilter and Tamper
When your espresso machine has warmed up, remove the portafilter (ensure it is clean and dry), and pour the freshly ground coffee into it. Then use the tamper to pack the coffee grounds tightly.
5. Pull Espresso Shot
Create your espresso according to the settings on your machine, and use your now warmed coffee cup to catch the espresso. If you find your espresso shot taking too long, use less coffee, a coarser grind or apply less pressure on the tamp. If the shot is extracted too quickly, do the opposite!
6. Add Hot Water
Decide how much hot water you want to add to your espresso. This will depend on how strong you want the espresso to be and the size of your coffee mug. Traditionally, the amount of hot water used is double the amount of espresso used, so you might want to heat up 2 ounces of water for every ounce of espresso.
7. Add Espresso
Add your espresso to the hot water (and not the other way around), as this will give you the creamy foam many people like to have on top of their espresso. This will also allow the water to improve the texture of the espresso, giving you a much smoother mixture.
8. Add Extra Ingredients
You now have your Americano to enjoy, but if you want to add flavorings, now is your opportunity to jazz up your beverage. You could squeeze some honey into it, for example, or add a dollop of whipped cream. Use your imagination and experiment with a range of toppings and flavors until you find something you really enjoy.
Drink up! While creating an Americano can be a rewarding process, the true pleasure comes from drinking the final result!
Cafe Americano Verdict
There are many types of coffee drinks, so don't be afraid to move away from traditional beverages. The Cafe Americano is a firm favorite for many, so use your espresso machine to whip one up and try it for yourself. Like the American soldiers back in World War 2, you might discover that this delicious drink is something that is perfectly attuned to your taste preferences. So, go find what you like!