Select Page

What Is an Americano Coffee?

You can walk into virtually any coffee shop and hear someone order an Americano. It’s both classic and trendy, but what is an Americano coffee?

While it’s sometimes mistaken for regular coffee or a long black, the Americano has a style all of its own. Initially concocted as a way to appease American soldiers who disliked espresso — more than 75 years later, it’s still going strong.

This beverage may sound fancy, but it’s a surprisingly simple coffee drink. However, sometimes simplicity with ingredients leads to delicious results. What’s so special about the Americano? Let’s take a look:

What Is an Americano?

While many people have heard of an Americano coffee, not everyone knows what it is. The short explanation is that the Americano, or at times called caffe Americano, is a single or double shot of espresso, with hot water added on top. 

Using espresso, not regular coffee, an Americano has most of that intense flavor you expect with the former, yet it’s slightly diluted with water. This diffuses the bitterness, but still leaves a rich taste.

What is Whipped Coffee

History of the Americano

So where did the Americano espresso beverage come from? As its name suggests, there is a connection with America, although it wasn’t created in the United States.

As the story goes, the Americano originated during World War II, when the American military was stationed in Italy. The troops missed coffee, but Italians drank mostly espresso, which they found too strong. Americans were used to sipping drip coffee, not ultra-strong espresso.

To solve this dilemma, Italian cafes started serving espresso in a different way to the US troops. After pulling a shot of espresso, they filled the rest of the cup with water. This adaptation, which Italians sometimes referred to as ‘dirty water,’ resembled the coffee that Americans drank back home.

Obviously, this drink lasted far beyond the end of the war.

How to Make an Americano at Home

The Americano coffee recipe is straightforward and uncomplicated. You’ll need a coffee grinder, espresso maker, coffee beans, water, cup or mug, and a kettle for heating water.

Step 1: Using medium or dark roast coffee beans, grind them finely, enough to brew a single or double shot of espresso.

Step 2: While grinding beans, heat water in a kettle. The recommended water temp should be 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius), but some people prefer a slightly lower temp.

Step 3: The proper ratio for an Americano is 1 part espresso, 2 parts water. If you’re using one shot of espresso, that’s 1 ounce, so you’ll need at least 2 ounces of heated water. Two shots equal 2 ounces, so at least 4 ounces of heated water if you’re using a double shot.

Step 4: Pull a single or double shot of espresso directly into your cup or mug.

Step 5: Pour the hot water over espresso. Remember the ratio: 1 part espresso to 2 parts water. You can stir it lightly or drink it as it is!

What is Whipped Coffee

Long Black vs. Americano vs. Drip Coffee

An Americano is often compared to or even mistaken for a long black or drip coffee, but java aficionados will quickly point out that they’re not the same.

While the Americano and long black share ingredients, it’s the order of those ingredients that differentiates the two. In an Americano, the espresso shot is pulled first, then water is added. With a long black, the reverse happens. The espresso shot is pulled on top of hot water. For more on the differences between an Americano and a long black, you can check out this Long Black vs Americano comparison.

Because water is layered on top of espresso in an Americano, you may find less crema than with a long black. However, if the espresso remains unbroken in the mixture, a crema can make an appearance.

The Americano has nothing in common with drip coffee. Drip coffee is, well, regular coffee, while an Americano uses espresso and water. The brewing methods, the brewing time and how long coffee grounds are exposed to hot water also differ.

Americano Coffee Top Tips

It can take a little trial and error to create an Americano that you love. Fortunately, we have some tips that can help your progress with that.

  • Brew the best espresso.
    • Use quality coffee beans.
    • Medium or dark roast is ideal for espresso.
    • Grind beans just before brewing, to ensure fresh flavor.
  • Use the right water.
    • Filtered water works best. Minerals and other additives can change how the beverage tastes.
    • Water temperature should be around 185℉ or 85℃.
Coffee Madagascar


What is caffe Americano? This beverage was originally created to appease American soldiers during World War II, after they found Italian espresso to be too potent for their palate. However, it’s still going strong, decades later, and remains a firm favorite with coffee aficionados.

Made with only two ingredients — espresso and hot water — an Americano is a simple beverage enjoyed by many. It’s sometimes confused for a long black or even drip coffee, but it stands on its own.

Granted, it’s straightforward enough to order one at any cafe, but you can also easily make it yourself in your own kitchen. Particularly now that you know the answer to ‘What is an Americano coffee?

What Is an Americano Coffee? FAQs

Is an Americano Stronger than Coffee?

No, it’s not necessarily stronger than coffee. An Americano is made with a single or double shot of espresso and water. One espresso shot has 40-60 mg of caffeine, while a double shot has 80-120 mg of caffeine. A cup of regular java has approximately 95 mg of caffeine.

Does Americano Have Milk?

No, a classic Americano doesn’t contain milk — simply espresso and hot water. Of course, you can add whatever you like to it — ice, milk, or sweetener. You just may be creating a different drink.

What’s an Americano Coffee?

Espresso and hot water are the only ingredients in the classic Americano. The shot of espresso is pulled first, and then hot water is poured on top.

Is an Americano Made with a Single or Double Shot?

The Americano can be made with either a single or double shot. However many ounces of brewed espresso you use, you should add twice as much hot water to keep the proportions correct.

What Coffee Is Best for Americano?

Medium or dark roasted coffee is recommended for making an Americano. These roasts are particularly well-suited to espresso. However, coffee should be ground finely.

What’s the Difference Between Espresso and Americano?

An espresso is just that, a shot of espresso. It’s brewed with an espresso machine, using that pressure to force water through coffee grounds. An Americano is made by adding a layer of hot water atop one or two espresso shots.

What Does an Americano Taste Like?

An Americano tastes similar to espresso, although it won’t be as strong as straight espresso, since water is added. It will still taste rich and full-bodied, though.