What is an Americano? - Learn More about this Classic Coffee Drink

5 min read JAN 18, 2023

For some, the dawn of coffee culture is an exhilarating experience. Yet for others, deciphering the extensive menus at their local specialty coffee shop can be a daunting task; it's almost like trying to read Ancient Greek!

One of the most popular coffee drinks is an Americano. But what exactly is an Americano? To answer this question, let's dig a little deeper into the history and the making of this classic coffee drink.

An Americano was first created during World War II when Italian soldiers used espresso to make their coffee taste more like what they were used to at home. In this drink, espresso is mixed with hot water to create a mellow and subtle flavor similar to the taste of brewed coffee but with a stronger kick.

Crafting the Perfect Americano

Crafting the Perfect Americano

The Americano is a classic and straightforward mix of water and espresso. Coffee houses typically blend either equal proportions or 1/3 espresso (1-2 shots) with 2/3 water. Not surprisingly, many coffeehouses in the US tend to add more water than espresso since some Americans find it difficult to stomach pure espresso flavor. This explains why drinks such as lattes or cappuccinos have become increasingly popular.

The Americano is a unique espresso-based beverage that stands out from the rest due to its lack of milk, allowing for a refreshing and stimulating caffeine kick. Although some people prefer to add milk, Americanos are generally served without dairy or any kind of alternative.

Unlike its espresso cousins, the Americano stands out for one main reason: it does not have milk in it. While some people might choose to add their preferred plant-based alternative or dairy products, you will typically never receive an Americano with any milk in it.

Not only that but an Americano can also be served chilled! The process is the same, but you can simply add ice cubes to the brewing process for a cool, refreshing beverage.

A Controversial Discussion

A Controversial Discussion

Things start to become slightly tricky when it comes to the Americano since only two ingredients are used. The problem is determining which order they should be added in. The traditional Italian way is to first add the espresso and then pour it into hot water. But some baristas feel that adding the water first, followed by the espresso, is more efficient and flavorsome.

Though there are passionate views on whether to pour espresso before water or vice versa, the prevalent opinion is that one should begin with the espresso and end with water. The reason is that pouring the espresso first and then the water creates more foam and a richer flavor to your cup of coffee.

Should You Sip or Skip The Crema?

If you're unfamiliar with the world of espresso, crema is a thin layer of foam that forms atop a shot. Some may think it does not influence flavor, yet others insist that it adds depth and complexity.

The crema results from the natural mixing of oils and carbon dioxide that occurs during the shot-pulling process. If water is added to the drink after pulling the shot, then the crema mixes in with it. This usually results in a mellower flavor that tastes more like traditional "American" coffee.

Long Black

Interestingly, an alternative to the Americano exudes a remarkable resemblance - the Long Black. The Long Black is an inverted Americano, in which water is added to the cup, and then espresso shots are poured over. Because of this process, the Long Black has a slightly stronger flavor but is less creamy than the Americano.

It is believed that the Long Black was created in Australia, where it tends to be a popular choice of coffee. It has since gained popularity worldwide, especially as people become more familiar with espresso-based drinks.

Can You Brew it at Home?

Can You Brew it at Home?

An Americano is such a versatile coffee that it pairs perfectly with any manual brewing method. If you're looking to brew top-notch espresso at home but don't have the budget for a semi-automatic machine, then an Aeropress, French Press, or Moka Pot will do the job just fine!

Although these methods of espresso-making don't guarantee an intense, robust flavor when drinking a shot straight, they are perfect for beverages with the intent to be watered down. A latte or macchiato that consists primarily of milk may lose some of its strong notes and the aroma of espresso. Still, it doesn't take too many attempts to create a balanced Americano if water is used as your base liquid.

To conclude

If you want to add a touch of sophistication to your daily cup of coffee without the fuss of milk and sugar, an Americano is just what you need. Whether sipped at a café or prepared in the comfort of home, this classic drink will never disappoint!


What is an Americano?

An Americano is a type of coffee beverage made by diluting espresso with hot water, creating a richer flavor and foamier texture than regular drip coffee.

How much caffeine does an Americano contain?

A single shot of espresso contains around 65 milligrams of caffeine, so an Americano made with two shots would contain around 130 milligrams of caffeine.

Does an Americano contain milk?

No, an Americano is not typically served with milk or cream. If you'd like your coffee to have some creamy flavor, you can try adding a splash of non-dairy milk, such as coconut or almond milk.

How is an Americano different from a latte?

A latte is made with espresso, steamed milk, and often flavored syrups or other ingredients. An Americano contains just espresso and hot water.

Does an Americano have more caffeine than a regular coffee?

Yes, since it's made with espresso shots, an Americano typically has more caffeine than a cup of regular drip coffee.

What is the best way to make an Americano?

For best results, start by pulling two shots of espresso into your cup. Then add hot water in equal parts until you reach your desired strength and flavor. Stir your drink to combine the flavors before enjoying it.

Check out Lifeboost Coffee Blonde Espresso.   


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