What is an Americano?

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In the diverse world of coffee, the Americano holds a special place as a simple yet sophisticated espresso-based drink that offers a bold, smooth flavour profile.

The Americano is the perfect choice for those who appreciate the intensity of espresso but prefer a milder, more balanced coffee experience.

In this Coffee Expert guide, we’ll explore the origins, characteristics, and variations of the Americano, helping you better understand and appreciate this timeless coffee classic!

The Origins of the Americano

A Tale of World War II

The Americano, also known as Caffè Americano, is believed to have originated during World War II, when American soldiers stationed in Europe sought a coffee experience that was closer to their familiar drip coffee.

By adding hot water to a shot of espresso, they created a beverage that resembled the taste and strength of drip coffee, and the Americano was born.

A Global Favourite

Over time, the Americano gained popularity around the world, becoming a staple in coffee shops and cafes from Rome to Sydney. Its simplicity and versatility have made it a favourite among coffee lovers of all tastes and preferences.

The Components of an Americano


The foundation of an Americano is a single or double shot of espresso, which provides the rich coffee flavour and aroma that characterises the beverage.

Hot Water

The key component that sets the Americano apart from other espresso-based drinks is the addition of hot water. The hot water dilutes the espresso, creating a milder, more balanced flavour profile that is closer to that of drip coffee.

The Classic Americano Ratio

Balance of Flavours

The traditional Americano is composed of a carefully balanced ratio of espresso and hot water. This ratio creates a harmonious flavour profile that allows the coffee components to shine through without overpowering one another.


A classic Americano is typically served in a 180-240ml (6-8 oz) cup, ensuring that the espresso-to-water ratio remains consistent and the drink maintains its characteristic strength and flavour.

How to Make an Americano

1. Pull Your Espresso Shots

Begin by pulling a single or double shot of espresso using freshly ground coffee beans. Aim for a rich and balanced extraction, as the espresso will provide the core coffee flavour in your Americano.

2. Add Hot Water

Fill the remainder of your cup with hot water, ensuring that the espresso and water blend smoothly and evenly.

The ratio of water to espresso can be adjusted according to personal preference; more water will create a milder, lighter flavour, while less water will yield a stronger, bolder taste.

Enjoying and Pairing Your Americano

Sipping and Savouring

When enjoying an Americano, take your time to appreciate the rich aroma, bold flavour, and smooth texture of the drink. Notice the nuances of the espresso as they meld with the hot water, creating a well-rounded and satisfying coffee experience.

Pairing Suggestions

An Americano pairs well with a variety of sweet or savoury treats, such as pastries, muffins, or a slice of fruit-filled tart. The bold yet balanced flavour profile of the Americano can complement and enhance the taste of these accompaniments.

Variations of the Americano

Iced Americano

For a refreshing twist, the Americano can be served over ice, creating an iced Americano. To make an iced Americano, simply pour the espresso over ice and then add cold water, stirring to combine.

Long Black

The long black, a popular variation of the Americano in Australia and New Zealand, is similar to the Americano but prepared differently. In a long black, the hot water is poured into the cup first, and the espresso is poured over it.

This method helps to preserve the crema on top, resulting in a richer and more aromatic beverage.

Red Eye

The red eye is a variation that combines a shot of espresso with drip coffee instead of hot water. This combination creates a highly caffeinated, full-bodied coffee experience that is perfect for those who need a strong pick-me-up.

The Americano in Modern Coffee Culture

Specialty Coffee Scene

As specialty coffee culture continues to thrive, the Americano remains a popular and beloved beverage for its simplicity and versatility.

Its ability to showcase the nuances of high-quality espresso and accommodate various flavour preferences has made it a favourite among both coffee connoisseurs and casual drinkers.

Americano vs. Other Coffee Brewing Methods

The Americano is distinct from other coffee brewing methods, such as drip, French press, or pour-over, due to its espresso base and dilution with hot water.

While these other brewing methods can produce delicious coffee, the Americano offers a unique balance between the intensity of espresso and the smoothness of drip coffee.

Our Conclusion on the Americano

The Americano is a timeless and sophisticated coffee creation that combines the rich flavours of espresso with the smooth, balanced profile of drip coffee.

By understanding the origins, components, and variations of the Americano, you can better appreciate this classic beverage and confidently order or create it at home.

Whether you’re a seasoned espresso aficionado or a newcomer to the coffee scene, the Americano offers a bold yet smooth experience that is sure to satisfy your coffee cravings and elevate your daily coffee ritual!