Caffè Americano, or Americano (English: American coffee) is a style of coffee prepared by adding hot water to espresso, giving it a similar strength to, but different flavor from regular drip coffee. The strength of an Americano varies with the number of shots of espresso and the amount of water added. The name is also spelled with varying capitalization and use of diacritics.
Americano Recipes and Ratios
Americano can be pulled into various size shots, example: solo, doppio, or triplo. The amount of water added varies from a 1:1 espresso to water ratio, to 1:8 espresso to water. A short Americano is a 1:1 ratio, and is sometimes called Italiano in the US.
Most commonly, an Americano is made with a doppio, (a double shot espresso), in a 1:3 espresso to water ratio, which makes it the equivalent of a drip coffee.
In Australia, Long Black is an Americano variant. The main difference is that water is added in the cup before pulling the espresso shot. The long black has the advantage that it doesn’t disrupt the layer of crema, maintaining the aspect of a typical espresso.
Americano and Long Black differ from caffe crema which is another espresso only coffee drink. The difference is that caffe crema is pulled into a longer drink to match a drip coffee strength. The different brewing method gives caffe crema a different taste profile, different from both espresso and Americano.
Drip Coffee vs Americano
Americano is a drink that was invented in the attempt to normalize espresso drinks to the strength of a drip coffee. Assuming someone likes the taste of an espresso but they find it too strong, this is the best way to enjoy it.
The two coffee drink have a completely different taste profile. There are a few reasons for that, the most important being the brewing pressure. Drip coffee uses gravitation to extract the coffee, while espresso uses pressure. The added pressure draws compounds and oils from the beans, that are not present in a drip coffee. Another factor is the brew time. Espresso is brewed under 30 seconds. Drip coffee takes minutes to brew. The longer we keep the coffee grounds in contact with the water the more compounds we extract from the beans. These compounds have a lower solubility and they can only be extracted with prolonged exposure to water. These compounds create a different taste from espresso, which is brewed very fast.
A drip coffee cup contains about the same amount of caffeine as a double shot espresso.