What Is An Americano? Americano vs. Drip Coffee, Long Black

What Is An Americano

When it comes to ordering coffee, things tend to become quite confusing due to the myriads of options available and the fact some beverages look quite similar to others.

One such coffee type is the Americano and despite its immense popularity, it is still often confused with other coffee beverages like the long black and even regular drip coffee.

But, the main reason why some coffee lovers will mistake the Americano for other coffee types despite its popularity is the fact that they do not know what it is all about or even the taste to expect.

Whether you just want to know a little more about Americano and the hype around it or are new to coffee drinking and are wondering which type to start with, this piece is for you.

Overview and Origin

Americano is simply just espresso that has been watered down, and it will be made by adding hot water to a shot or two of espresso. Hence, it is a super easy beverage to make provided you have some espresso and hot water.

The term Americano translates to American in both Italian and Spanish, and this should give you some ideas on where the name comes from or at least what it implies.

According to several accounts on the origins of Americano, the coffee type can be traced back to Italy during the Second World War. American soldiers stationed there did not have easy access to the regular black coffee they were used to back at home as Italians were fond of drinking stronger coffee, more specifically espresso.

To try and recreate the coffee they would have back at home, the American soldiers started adding hot water to the espressos served in Italy.

Soon the trend of adding hot water to espresso spread and this type of coffee came to be known as Americano given that it was more popular with Americans. After the war, the soldiers brought the trend back home and in the years that followed it caught on as a new way of making coffee that soon spread across the USA.

How to Make an Americano at Home

How to Make an Americano at Home

There is nothing much that you need to make an Americano besides espresso and hot water, and so provided you get the ingredients right, you should not break a sweat making this coffee. But, it is still worth knowing what you need and what to do.

What You Will Need

  • 1 or 2 shots of espresso
  • Filtered water
  • Kettle for heating the water
  • Coffee mug or glass

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Start by heating water in a kettle to between 190 and 205 degrees

Step 2: Once the water is hot you should then pull 1 or two shots of espresso into your coffee mug depending on how strong you want the coffee to be

Step 3: Next add hot water over the espresso (about 3 ounces should be enough for double shot espresso)

Step 4: Serve and enjoy

Note: For the best Americano coffee you should keep the espresso to hot water ratios at 2:3 or in other words 3 ounces of water for every 2 ounces of espresso.

How Does It Taste?

If you have never taken an Americano before, it is natural to want to have an idea of how it tastes like before you order it in your favorite restaurant or make it at home.

Americanos might be made from espressos but you should not expect them to taste the same. Instead, the addition of water makes it taste like a richer and bolder version of black coffee as the water dilutes the espressos boldness and richness.

However, the Americano still maintains some smoothness and if you are very keen when making it, you can also get an extra taste dimension from the crema at the top.

What is Its Caffeine Content?

With most coffee lovers, the amount of caffeine that a beverage provides is one of the key determinants whether they will try it out or not.

But, if you are trying to keep your caffeine intake down, you will be better off ordering an Americano instead of other coffee types like the regular drip black coffee.

An ounce of espresso will have as little as 47 mg of caffeine, and so making your Americano with one shot means your coffee will only have 47 mg of caffeine compared to at least the 95 mg of caffeine you would get on a standard 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee.

Can You Add Milk to Americano?

Can You Add Milk to Americano

Although many Americano lovers will prefer to take their brews black, you can still add milk to it if you want. Adding milk is a great idea for those that enjoy the intense espresso flavors but do not like the bitterness as it helps to tone down some of the bitter taste.

Americano vs. Drip Coffee

While Americano and drip coffee might look the same when looking at them side by side, they are two completely different drinks that will be prepared using different methods.

Drip coffee is made in a drip coffee maker while an Americano is made with an espresso maker and then hot water is added to it. Also drip coffee has more sweetness and clarity of flavor when compared to Americano which still has some of the richness and boldness of espresso.

Americano vs. Long Black

The Americano and long black are some other coffee types that many coffee drinkers tend to have a hard time telling apart. And this is justifiably so given that they look the same and the taste is quite similar.

Americano and long black are made with the same ingredients which are espresso and hot water with the only point of departure being the order at which the ingredients are added. Unlike the Americano where hot water is added to 2 shots of espresso, the long black will entail adding espresso to hot water.

For the long black, espresso is added second to ensure the nice crema stays on top, but many coffee lovers can still not tell the two apart even when they are placed side by side.


The Americano is a classic coffee type which has some interesting origins and if you are looking for a more interesting way to enjoy black coffee or want to drink espresso that is not overly strong or bitter, it will be a perfect beverage choice for you.

Better yet, Americanos are super easy to make as you will only need to add some water to your espresso. And you can also lighten it with some milk or sugar to further reduce the bitterness.

With Americano you can also adjust the flavor easily by simply changing the type of bean you use and the roast type, and so it will give you a great opportunity to try out different coffee profiles and flavors.

But, because it is also quite similar to other drinks like long black and the drip coffee, it is a great idea to try the three and decide what works best for your taste buds.

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