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  • Emily

What's an Americano?

Possibly your new favorite coffee preparation? You just don't know it yet.



I'll get right to the point: I had no idea what an Americano was. So I never ordered one.


I stuck to the coffee preparations with which I was familiar -- drip, latte, mocha, maybe a cappuccino.


But I once told Connor, 70N's master barista, that I like my coffee HOT! And this is how the conversation unfolded that led me to my now favorite coffee prep:


Connor: "Why don't I make you an Americano?"

Me: "Oh . . . ? What's in an Americano?"

Connor: "It's just espresso with hot water."

Me: "Huh . . . (thinking: that's it? How is it different than drip? That doesn't sound very interesting. And espresso? Too strong for me. I'm not a fan).

Connor: (seeing my wheels turning) "It's like drip. But a little different, better. And I can make it really hot."

Me: "Oh, . . . okay . . . sure . . . "

Connor: "You want milk?"

Me: "Sure, low fat please. Thanks."


Within a minute or 2, Connor put a cup of coffee in front of me.

  1. It was steaming hot.

  2. It had a smoother, richer, fuller flavor than drip.

  3. It didn't have all the calories of a latte or mocha or cappuccino.

  4. It had more coffee flavor than my usually go-to coffees, which are diluted with steamed diary.

  5. It was really quick. And really hot.


I'm hooked. So now I had to learn more about the Americano.


But to understand an Americano, it helps to understand espresso. Coffee can be brewed using various methods, all of which involve the extraction of "coffee" by merging water & coffee grounds, to varying degrees. "Drip" involves water being run through coffee grounds, using gravity. French press involves coffee grounds being submerged in water. And espresso is made by forcing a small amount of water, at high pressure, through grounds. The short, brief extraction period of espresso insures more coffee flavor as the espresso retains more of the oils from the coffee. These oils can be seen as the crema -- a reddish / brown / tan foam -- on the top of the espresso.


The Americano was born during WW2. American soldiers, stationed in Italy, didn't like espresso. So they diluted it with water, hoping to make it more akin to the coffee back home. Lo & behold, the Americano!


Now, onto Americano specifics:

  1. An Americano is espresso diluted with hot water, in a ratio of about 1:2 or 1:3. If you become an Americano aficionado, you may find a ratio that you love.

  2. An Americano has the rich, full flavor nuance of espresso without the bold, powerful taste of espresso that is often too much for many coffee drinkers.

  3. With an Americano, the water is added to the espresso, not to the coffee; thereby keeping the espresso flavor & oils intact. You really get to taste & appreciate the coffee!

  4. An Americano includes the espresso crema (ie, the oils from the coffee beans), which not only yields a richer flavor, but also creates a silky, smoothy mouthfeel.

  5. An Americano can be made really hot by adding near-boiling water to the espresso.

  6. An Americano is quite quick to make which is lovely when I'm in a hurry but want a special cup of coffee.

  7. An Americano is more calorie friendly, without all the foamy diary.

  8. An Americano lets beautifully roasted coffee beans, like Wayfarer's, really shine!


Drinking Americanos has increased my appreciation of well-roasted coffee beans. It allows me to really taste & feel the different types of beans. I might become a coffee snob yet!



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