The Cafe Americano, a coffee that’s often referred to as just an Americano, is a classic drink that’s been around for at least seven decades—if not longer. It’s basically an espresso that has a little bit of added hot water to it. Its simple presentation makes many people think that it’s a simple coffee to make, but that’s not exactly true. This is a drink that can be messed up quite easily if the coffee lover doesn’t take his or her time making it or don’t make it properly.
We feel that this is such an iconic drink we just can’t resist helping some of our readers rediscover it. This is a drink that was originally enjoyed by Americans traveling Europe and later by those same people wanting that drink from their local coffee shops. Since we understand what an important role coffee can play in people’s lives, we’ve decided to write this very guide on how to make an Americano. Now everyone can make and enjoy this iconic coffee in the privacy of their own home.
What Is A Cafe Americano?
A lot of people have asked us what a Cafe Americano is, so we’d like to preface this blog article by talking about exactly what makes an Americano. This is probably one of the simplest coffee drinks currently enjoyed, so that’s a question that’s easy to answer. An Americano is a drink that’s made with hot water and espresso at a ratio of 1 to 1. Yes, it’s just a watered-down espresso triple shot that’s made with 3-ounces of espresso and 3-ounces of hot water.
The History Of The Cafe Americano
Unfortunately, the history of the Americano has been lost to history, but there are some theories as to when and how it was invented. Most coffee experts seem to agree that the Cafe Americano can trace its origins to World War II. The widely accepted story says that American soldiers disliked the intense flavor of European espressos, so they would ask for hot water to be added to it. This made the espresso more like the coffee that they enjoyed back home.
Of course, since there’s no documentation to back up this account, then we can’t verify if that was truly the origin of this coffee drink. There’s just not enough information available. However, we will say that this is the most likely origin of this drink.
With that being said, we would like to address a popular origin story for this drink that we feel is the least likely one for people to consider. Some people have claimed that the Americano originated during the 1920s because it was mentioned in the book “Ashenden: Or the British Agent” by W. Somerset Maugham. However, we don’t feel that the drink in that book is the same coffee drink. Instead, we think that it is probably a different coffee drink, or more likely, a bright red cocktail that was popular during that time and was made with Vermouth, Campari, and seltzer.
How To Make A Cafe Americano
Now that we have somewhat of a better idea of where the Americano came from and why it was created, it’s time to fulfill the promise of this blog post and talk about making one for ourselves. As we stated earlier, making this drink is easy, but it does require the consumer to be methodical in their preparation of this drink. After all, just because this drink is easy to make doesn’t mean that it isn’t also easy to mess up.
Equipment & Supplies Needed
The first thing that you will want to do before you try to make an Americano is to make sure that you have the correct supplies assembled. Below are some of the things that you will want to have on hand to make your Cafe Americano.
- The Best Espresso Machine Available
- 18-Grams Of Whole Espresso Coffee Beans
- A Coffee Bean Grinder
- Filtered Water
- A Coffee Cup
Step One: Grind Your Coffee Beans
The first step to making a great Americano is by starting with fresh espresso coffee beans. Sure, if you don’t have coffee beans, then you can always use coffee grounds, but it’s our opinion that starting with fresh coffee beans makes for the best espresso and a great espresso forms the foundation for an Americano.
It’s important that the coffee beans are ground to about the same consistency as salt. Although some methods of making coffee require a coarser grind of coffee, espresso is made with a very fine grind, so be sure to dial in your grinder to the proper consistency. Once the beans are ground, set them aside.
Step Two: Dose & Tamp The Grounds
Place the appropriate amount of coffee grounds into the espresso machine’s portafilter and be sure to give it a good tamp to make sure that the coffee grounds are distributed evenly. If the coffee grounds aren’t evenly distributed, then that could result in over-extracted coffee. Tamping the portafilter on a tamp-mat will ensure that the coffee settles. This will result in a better-tasting espresso.
Make sure that you also tamp down your grounds using your tamper. You should tamp straight down on the coffee grounds and be sure to apply the appropriate amount of pressure to them. If you do it correctly, then you should end up with a dense amount of coffee grounds. When that’s done, be sure to use the tamper to create a polish on the grounds. This is done by spinning the tamper. This will result in a smooth surface on the coffee grounds.
Step Three: Setup The Machine & Pull A Shot
Add filtered water to the espresso machine and add the portafilter into the machine. This is also the time that you should make sure that the machine is set to pull 3-ounces of espresso. When the machine is set up, then pull the 3-ounces of espresso and set aside.
Step Four: Add Hot Water To A Cup
Now it’s time to take your favorite coffee cup and add filtered hot water to it. This hot water can be pulled from the machine’s steam wand or heated in a microwave. If heating plain filtered water in a microwave, just be sure to place a wood chopstick into it to prevent it from overheating to the point of becoming superheated. Superheated water can explode when removed from the microwave and this can result in serious injury. It’s also a good idea to never overheat the water in a microwave and to take all precautions necessary to protect yourself from such an injury.
Step Five: Pour The Espresso Into The Water
The final step to making a great Cafe Americano is to pour the espresso into the water. It’s our opinion that this creates the best Americano. However, we do understand that some people prefer doing it the other way and adding the water to the espresso. Feel free to try it both ways and see which works best for you. Decide for yourself which way is right for you. Congratulations! You just made a great Americano that you’re sure to enjoy.
Making A Cafe Americano Fizz
The above method is the correct way of making an Americano, but there is a variation that on it that we especially like. It’s called a Cafe Americano Fizz. This is a drink that’s perfect for brunch or even as an afternoon coffee drink that’s enjoyed during the summer months. And fortunately, it’s also a drink that’s extremely easy for just about anyone to make. Let’s take a closer look at it.
To make a Cafe Americano Fizz, you have to follow the first three steps we’ve outlined for making quality espresso. The only difference is that you will be making a double shot of espresso. Once you have the espresso shot pulled and ready, then it’s time to move on to the next step of the process.
For the next step to making an Americano Fizz, you don’t need filtered water at all. All you need is your favorite club soda. Personally, we enjoy Canada Dry, but any club soda will work just fine. Just make sure that it’s cold and ready to serve.
Once you have your espresso double shot and your club soda, the rest of the process is easy. All you have to do is add ice to a glass, pour in the double shot of espresso and then add club soda. You now have a refreshing drink that we imagine will become your favorite summer coffee drink.