For the uninitiated, coffee shops can be overwhelming places. Choices abound. Lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, flat whites… the list will go on as long as the arms of several people. If the above resonates with you in any way, you’ll find solace in the no-frills staple of the Americano.
Beauty comes with simplicity, and with the Americano being made up simply of espresso coffee diluted with hot water, it is the drink of many who want the morning hit without the fuss of too much variety.
The Origin Story of the Americano
The Americano’s superhero origin story doesn’t include the untimely demise of any people in a dark alley, or an ill-judged experiment with gamma radiation in a lab. It does, however, hold an interesting, widely believed tale of where the classic coffee found its roots.
Back in World War II, American soldiers were stationed in Italy and found that espresso coffee was too strong and they wanted something that tasted a little closer to home. To achieve this, the soldiers watered down the espresso coffee to make what you and I can find today in just about any coffee serving establishment in the Americano.
The Americano’s humble beginnings speak to the “average Joe” who just wants a cup of …well, Joe, without the fanfare. That’s what sets this classic beverage apart from the crowd.
Ingredients and Brewing: What You Need to Know
Here, we’ll talk you through how to make an Americano with some assumed knowledge that you have and know how to use an espresso machine.
What you’ll need:
- Espresso roast coffee beans (We recommend Puro Coffee)
- Hot water
- Espresso machine (View our range of espresso machines here)
- Coffee mug
1. Get Your Equipment Ready
Gather your coffee making equipment including your espresso machine, a coffee mug and freshly ground coffee beans
2. Grind and Measure Your Coffee
The amount of coffee you will need depends on your personal taste preferences. The standard water to espresso ratio is around 2:1 (stronger) or 3:1 (weaker). For this Americano, we will use a double shot of espresso, which is 3-4 tablespoons (18-21 grams) of ground coffee.
3. Brew Your Espresso
Make your espresso with your espresso machine, remembering to tamp your coffee evenly to ensure the water flows through all the grounds at the same rate.
4. Heat the Water
Now we have prepared the espresso coffee, we need to heat the water that will make up the rest of our much anticipated Americano coffee. It is generally considered to be best practice to heat your water up to just below boiling point (80°C) to ensure the coffee isn’t too hot to drink and the taste is not affected.
4. Fill Your Cup With Water
Remember we spoke about water to espresso ratios earlier? This is where you need to decide whether you would like a stronger coffee (2 parts water, 1 part espresso), or a weaker one (3 parts water, 1 part espresso). Fill your cup up with the above in mind to leave the required space for your espresso.
5. Pour Your Espresso Over the Water
The order of water and espresso into the cup is important. The espresso should always be poured over the water, and not the other way around. This is to keep the rich crema of the coffee unscathed.
6. Optional Customisations
If you would like to spice things up and pull away from the plain spirit of the classic drink, you can add milk, sugar or syrups to flavour the Americano. This may offend purists, but there is always room for flare.
How Does an Americano Compare to Other Coffees?
You may want to deviate from the classic black Americano coffee by adding milk and other elements. If that’s the case, you may want to see how the Americano stacks up against other popular coffees.
A cappuccino is a popular Italian coffee drink made by combining equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. It’s known for its rich and creamy texture.
A latte, short for “caffè latte” in Italian, is made with espresso and a larger quantity of steamed milk, topped with a small amount of milk foam. It’s milder than a cappuccino and often served in a larger cup.
For those of you with a sweet tooth and an affinity with chocolate, this coffee is for you. Short for “caffè mocha,” this coffee combines espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate. It’s a delightful blend of rich coffee and cocoa flavours, often topped with whipped cream.
A macchiato, which means “stained” or “spotted” in Italian, is a simple coffee consisting of a shot of espresso “stained” or “marked” with a small amount of frothy milk. It strikes a balance between the intensity of espresso and the creaminess of milk.
During the summer months, us coffee lovers may not be able to bear our favourite hot drink in the heat of the sun. That’s where iced coffees come in! As you might have guessed, there are many types of iced coffee, just as there are regular types of coffee, but we’ll just cover the iced latte here.
An iced latte is a chilled coffee drink made with espresso and cold milk, served over ice. It’s a creamy and milder coffee option compared to black iced coffee. You can add flavour syrups or sweeteners to create variations like vanilla iced latte or caramel iced latte.
How Healthy is an Americano Coffee?
Coffee lovers will be pleased to know that the Americano is a great option if you’re watching the calories. A black Americano is free of saturated fat and cholesterol. The caffeine also helps to improve blood flow and prevent strokes. Americano coffee is also a significant source of antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
There’s also the well known mental alertness benefit that all caffeinated coffee brings, enhancing cognitive functions including concentration and mood. Who doesn’t feel better after their morning coffee!
It’s important to note, however, that as with anything in this life, you can have too much of a good thing. While Americano coffee offers potential health benefits, excessive consumption can lead to negative side effects such as insomnia, nervousness and increased heart rate. We would suggest, as a general rule, sticking to no more than 3-4 cups of coffee per day.
The Perfect Dessert Partners to an Americano
Now we’ve talked about the Americano and all of its benefits and features, it’s time to partner it up with the perfect companion. Think of your Americano as a blank canvas, ready to be adorned with sweet flavours and textures to bring together your work of art.
1. Americano and New York Vanilla Cheesecake
Americano means American in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, so what better partner for this coffee than a New York Vanilla cheesecake. The rich, bitter flavour of the coffee blends majestically with the creamy, soft sweetness of each bite of New York vanilla cheesecake.
2. Americano and Lemon Drizzle Cake
The fruity sweetness of a lemon drizzle cake is a perfect companion for the bold and rich flavour of your Americano. Lemon drizzle cake is topped with a sweet lemon glaze, avoiding the cream that is also absent from your Americano.
3. Americano and Coffee and Walnut Cake
Now, if you’re the on-the-nose type of person, this might be the combination for you. The cake is moist and tender with coffee undertones, complementing the sweet, slightly bitter taste of the walnuts. Enjoying this whilst sipping your Americano with its bold and robust flavours is a combination any coffee lover would find hard to resist.
Where to Source the Best Coffee for Your Americano
Here at Miko coffee, we have the experience, passion and expertise when it comes to coffee and related products. From hand-roasted coffee to professional coffee machines, we are the go to coffee experts.
In 2005, we created the 100% Fairtrade certified coffee brand, Puro. From income generated from the sales of Puro Fairtrade Coffee, 2% helps buy and protect precious rainforests and ensures that third-world growers get a fair and sustainable deal. Find out more, discover a range of coffees for your business, and book a free tasting here.
If you want to try our delicious coffee for free and find the right blend for you and your customers, get in touch with our friendly team.
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