What is Americano coffee: History, Types, and Recipe?

What is Americano coffee: History, Types, and Recipe?
Americano coffee

Americano or Caffé Americano is a popular coffee drink included on the menu of coffee shops. True coffee lovers love this espresso drink. If you are one of those who want to get a caffeine kick without adding milk, then Americano is your thing. But what is an Americano coffee or Caffé Americano? It is a type of coffee drink that is a mixture of hot water and espresso. After diluting the espresso with hot water, the resultant product is similar in strength to brewed coffee but different in flavor. In this guide, you will learn how to make an Americano coffee drink. Moreover, we will also talk about its various variations, history, and differences with drip coffee.

What is Americano?

Americano is a coffee drink made with hot water and a single or double shot of espresso. It is similar to machine-made brewed coffee as the shot of dark espresso is diluted in hot water. It is a way to enjoy a shot of espresso without the intensity of straight strong dark espresso. 

It offers a rich aroma when you compare it with regular coffee. Single or double espresso can be used to make this coffee drink. However, most coffee shops use a double shot of espresso as the base and dilute it with 5 to 6 ounces of water. The coffee to water ratio may vary, and the high ratio gives it a similar aroma profile to the shots of espresso themselves. 

Americano coffee
Americano coffee

History of Americano

The origin of this espresso drink is not certain, but most people assume that it originated during World War II when American soldiers were stationed in Italy. Espresso coffee was served at that time as a regular coffee, and that was not the same in taste as American soldiers were used to at home. They found it too strong because the cup of hot water was served with a shot of espresso. They poured the hot water over the espresso to create a familiar taste that they were used to. This story may or may not be true, but Caffé Americano is quite popular in Italy, which means ‘American coffee” in Italian.

Variations of Americano

There is some traditional Americano variations that every coffee enthusiast will love to try. The different water to coffee ratios makes different tasting coffee drinks such as iced Americano, long black, and lungo coffee.  

Iced Americano: 1:4 ratio of coffee grounds to water

The recipe for iced Americano is the same as Americano. The only difference is the water temperature, as iced Americano is made using cold water instead of hot water. To make an iced Americano, take a glass and fill it with ice, then pour cold water over the ice. Pour dark espresso over the top once your glass is about half full. 

A long black: 1:2 ratio of coffee grounds to water 

A long black coffee is a bit different from traditional Americano and offers a whole new experience of enjoying black coffee. To make long black coffee, espresso is pulled extra-long. Unlike traditional Americano; hot water is poured first into the cup, then add espresso on top to make long black coffee. When the strong espresso shot is mixed with hot water, it produces an aromatic black coffee with crema that offers great taste.

Lungo Coffee: 1:3 to 1:4 ratio of coffee grounds to water. 

Originated in Italy, Lungo coffee is a coffee beverage with a single or double shot of espresso with more water. In Italian, the word ‘lungo’ means long which means it involves pulling the shot of espresso longer. The taste and flavor of lungo coffee are different than Americano. It is soft yet bitter coffee with a mellow taste of crema.

How to make Americano?

What you’ll need:


  • 6 ounces of boil water
  • Double shot of espresso

Choose high-quality coffee beans.

The richness of the drink relies on the flavor added to the beans, type, and grind of coffee beans. Even the roast level of coffee beans can change the flavor profile.

Not all coffee beans are good for making espresso. Understand your personal preferences and choose the high-quality coffee beans that help you pull the perfect shot of espresso. 


Measuring your coffee beans using a scale helps you create a more consistent cup of coffee. So, measure out beans to make your Americano. Some people usually make Americano with a double shot of espresso as Americano with single-shot espresso is not strong enough.

Grind your coffee beans

Grinding the coffee beans allows the extraction of espresso more evenly. If you grind them right, they will make better-tasting coffee. To make an Americano coffee drink, use finely ground coffee beans. Less-fine grind beans don’t work to make this espresso drink.


Now it’s time to tamp. With evenly compacted coffee, tamp creates resistance that forces the water to saturate the coffee optimally.

Pull espresso shots

Pull double shots of espresso in an espresso machine. You can make it with a single espresso shot, but two espresso shots give you more depth and punch.

Boil water

Boil 6 ounces of water in the electric kettle. To make espresso, the standard coffee to water ratio is 1:2. But it is important to know that this ratio is not a hard rule. You can go up as much as you like. 

Prepare your cup

Pour hot water into your cup or mug until it fills three-quarters full.

Dilute the espresso and enjoy:

Now pour the espresso into your cup of hot water but make sure not to disturb the crema and serve immediately. If you pour hot water over espresso, crema (cream foam on the top of espresso) might dissipate. Slowly pour hot water and avoid pouring it at once to preserve crema. Enjoy your Americano!

Americano coffee


What is the difference Between a Latte and an Americano?

Latte and Americano are very similar drinks. The key difference is that the latte is a blend of foamed milk and a shot of espresso while an Americano is made with espresso and hot water. Both coffee drinks are made using the same process. To make the latte, 2/3 foamed milk and 1/3 espresso are used.

However, Americano is similar to black coffee, and latte is a milky coffee drink. You can also add milk to Caffé Americano, but it will lose its bitter and intense flavor when you add milk and sugar. You can also add a dash of foamed milk that will bring a slightly milky flavor. This drink will be more like drip coffee with milk, which differs from a latte.

How hot should the water be to make Caffé Americano?

There is no exact water temperature to make Americano. However, most experts believe that water should be heated to 185°F. Some people shoot for 200°F as they believe that it makes a better Caffé Americano. 

What is the coffee to espresso ratio in Americano?

The coffee to espresso ratio in Americano may vary, and it depends on how many espresso shots you like and where you live. There will be a higher espresso to water ratio for those who love espresso. People usually love milky and sugary coffee drinks in the US, so their Caffé Americano may taste a little water down. There are the standard ratios of coffee to espresso in Americano: 

Traditional Americano ratio: 2:1

To make a typical Americano, the ratio is 2:1, which means you need two parts of hot water and one part espresso. The drink will be bitter and dark with this ratio. You can say it is a lightened form of espresso.  

Americano like bitter drip coffee with a 3:1 ratio

With a 3:1 ratio, the resultant product will be milder and smoother coffee, and it will taste like a bitter drip coffee. This ratio gives the Caffé Americano more volume. If you order Americano at Starbucks, this coffee will taste the same.

Customize your ratio

You can customize the coffee to espresso ratio to make Americano. Every coffee shop and barista makes it differently. 

How much Caffeine content in Americano coffee?

You might be wondering how much Caffeine a cup of Americano serves. You may be surprised if it is stronger than other coffee drinks. Most people think that Caffé Americano is similar to drip coffee, but drip coffee is slightly stronger.

If you use two espresso shots to make Americano, then the amount of Caffeine in it is 94 to 150 milligrams. In standard drip coffee serving, there are 95 to 200 milligrams of Caffeine content.

Drip Coffee vs. Americano Coffee: What’s the difference?

The key ingredient to make Americano is espresso. The preparation time of Americano coffee is less compared to drip coffee. Americano is a dilution of an espresso shot in hot water. Generally, it contains double shots of espresso, which are around one ounce each.

Americano and drip coffee may look similar, but both are prepared differently. To make drip coffee, a manual pour-over or drip machine is used. Hot water is slowly poured over the coffee grounds to brew drip coffee. Gravity provides the pulling force during the brewing process and pulls the water through the coffee grounds.

What is in an Americano at Starbucks?

When you order Americano at Starbucks, it is a regular Americano. At Starbucks, they use a single shot of espresso to make short Americano, while two-shot of the espresso is used to make tall Americano. Grande Americano is made using three shots of espresso. There are four espresso shots to make venti Americano. If you are a fan of stronger coffee, you can ask for more espresso shots.

What is in an Americano at Starbucks?

Can I add milk to Americano?

The simple answer is ‘Yes. ‘If you like its intense flavor but find your Caffé Americano bitter, you can add milk and sugar. Even you can add honey if you are diet conscious. You can tone down the bitterness of your Americano coffee when you add milk and sugar. Latte is much similar to Americano, but it has lots of milk. Add a small amount of milk to your Americano.

What is Americano vs. Espresso?

The difference between these two coffee drinks is small, but both are served differently. Espresso is a strong and concentrated brew, while Americano is a coffee drink for those who are not as much into the coffee. The only difference between these drinks is the hot water added to Caffé Americano to dilute the espresso. The dilution of espresso changes its taste and makes it less intense. Espresso is made from a single serving of beans. If you want to enjoy an intense coffee drink, order a single or double shot of espresso.

Bottom Line:

If you are looking for a coffee with a subtle taste while giving you the flavor of espresso, Americano coffee is the best coffee drink. By adding hot water, you can enjoy a larger cup of coffee instead of drinking a couple of slurps of coffee. We hope you enjoy our guide on how to make Americano coffee, and that helps you while brewing this delicious drink at home. Have you ever had Caffé Americano? Let us know in the comment below!

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