What is an Americano?
The Americano is a delicious and strong coffee drink made with hot water, espresso (espresso beans), and varying amounts of water. It can be either one or two shots of espresso diluted by any amount the individual wants to make it more like drip coffee – but this diluting brings out its sweet flavor while still keeping that hearty dark roast taste!
The origin behind the term “Americano” comes from how these drinks are closer in strength to an American-style drip coffee, though they originate from Italy/Spain where “Americano” means just “American”. These tasty beverages have been all over Europe for decades so many places may call them different names including.
What is the difference between Americano and Cappuccino?
Both are espresso-based, foamy drinks with a similar look and mouthfeel. I usually order an Americano when in doubt or when I want to enjoy the taste of pure, unsweetened coffee.
The difference between these two popular coffee beverages lies in the brewing and preparation stages. Both consume Arabica beans — a species of coffee bean known for its exquisite aroma, flavor, and acidity. The most common method is as follows:
Americanos are made by extracting water through over-steaming finely grounded Arabica beans (espresso). The water saturates the grounds so that all or most flavor components can be extracted from the grounds over one long shot (pull). This single shot of strong espresso is then watered down with hot water.
Cappuccinos use wet, frothed milk instead of hot water to dilute the espresso extract. This results in a drink with a creamy texture and much less caffeine than Americano. The word cappuccino comes from the Italian words “cappuccino” which means “little hood.” Thus, the drink resembles a monk’s hat! Cappuccinos are typically enjoyed while savoring your dessert or as an alternative beverage for breakfast (at least in Italy).
Step by Step on How to Make an Americano?
How to make an Americano?
If you want to make an Americano at home, simply Follow the instruction below:
1. Decide the size of your drink: Do you need a single shot or double shot?
2. Prepare and measure the coffee beans: Choose a great bean that you love and start to measure the beans. We think that we need around 7-9 grams coffee to make single shot and 14-18 grams for double shot.
3. Make the espresso: Use the espresso machine to make espresso.
4. Boil the water: You can use the teapot to boil the water. The standard ratio is: 2 Water: 1 espresso but you can apply the ratio 3:1.
5. Mix the espresso and boiling water together: pure the boiling into espresso and enjoy.
How to make a Cappuccino?
Cappuccinos are usually made using an espresso machine as well. Some people use automatic machines or filter drip makers to brew their cappuccinos at home while others prefer hand grinding their own beans! If you decide to hand grind your own coffee beans, I suggest roughly grinding them for stronger flavor and shorter extraction time (espresso vs filter).
Modern machines use a pressure system to force the water through the coffee grounds. The espresso machine forces boiling water through finely ground, compacted coffee at high pressures (90-120 psi). This is why you should usually grind your beans no finer than “fine” or semi-fine.
Cappuccino uses two shots of espresso for each serving: one shot and approximately 50 ml (1.7 fl oz) of hot milk frothed by the steam wand on most machines. Some recipes call for 1/2 cup (~70 grams) of steamed milk with only one shot of espresso.
If you prefer stronger coffee flavor, go for a single shot instead of a double! Remember, select top notch arabica beans and brew it using a fine grind to maximize the taste.
What are common mistakes when making Americano?
There are two common mistakes when making any espresso based drink. One is letting the water run too long down the coffee bed, causing over extraction and bitterness in the beverage. The other mistake is pulling shots that are too short or not using enough coffee grounds within the portafilter basket, resulting in under extraction of certain flavors and sweetness underlying a shot of espresso.
The Americano, because it is made with hot water, has a tendency to be bitter if you let the hot water run for too long at first contact with the coffee grounds before shutting off your machine’s steamer output valve. If this happens you will notice that your shot will have an almost syrupy consistency instead of being light and frothy.
The other mistake is using too much or too little coffee grounds. Again, because the Americano is made with hot water, it can be difficult to get just right without a lot of practice. Not enough coffee and you will find that the beverage lacks depth and body to allow for that sweet underlying flavor profile needed in an Americano.
The opposite problem occurs when not enough water is used and the espresso shots are allowed to run through the machine’s steamer output valve with no dilution from the hot water being delivered by your machine’s boiler. This usually results in a bitter brew which unfortunately doesn’t have as many layers of flavors within each sip as it does when brewed correctly.
My suggestion would be to practice as much as possible until you get that sweet spot of how much hot water to use and also how many coffee grounds to use for a perfect Americano. My apologies if that is the most annoying answer I could give you, but hopefully it will help you because this question is asked almost every day in our stores.
Is there anything else we should know about making an excellent Americano?
Firstly, I think that we should follow the guide above.
Secondly, using a quality hot water delivery system (like with our GS/3 machines) will help to deliver an optimal cup of brewed coffee. Using the hot water function on your machine can also be helpful in making the best Americano possible.
Thirdly, choosing good quality of coffee also contribute to have a great Americano. It
is a significant fact that the type of coffee beans and its origin has an important impact on the final result.
Fourthly, I suggest using a machine with separate steamer function (specially when you are making two shots at the same time) to avoid pouring hot water into the first shot cup, which will create unwanted temperature drops inside your cup and reduce extraction yield as well as dilution factor. Of course it can be done without, but it’s not my preferred way.
Fifthly, choosing good quality of water also make up for a great Americano! Don’t underestimate the importance of this topic. Using top quality water makes huge difference in all part of your drink preparation process. We use reverse osmosis water because it don’t have chlorine that might affect the taste of drink.
Americano is a popular and delicious espresso-based coffee drink. It’s one of the most basic drinks you can order at any cafe or restaurant that has an espresso machine, but it might not be as straightforward to make as you think! We’ve compiled some tips on how to best prepare your own version in the comfort of your home kitchen.
What are some common mistakes people make when ordering this beverage? In what ways can making my own Americano help save money and time? Please feel free to contact us if you have a question. Thanks for reading and have a great Americano coffee!