How to Make Americano Coffee

Are you looking for a fun change in your everyday morning coffee? Why not try a cup of Americano coffee otherwise called Caffe Americano? Have you ever wondered how people make Americano coffee?

How To Make Americano Coffee
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Americano coffee is very popular. It is a type of coffee that contains one shot of espresso drink filled with hot water instead of milk in the ratio 1/3 espresso to 2/3 water.

It is said that American soldiers on station in Italy during world war II couldn’t withstand the typical concentrated espresso coffee of the Italians. They diluted it with water, and it became known as the American-style coffee or ‘Americano’.

Although the basic quantity of the americano coffee is two parts of hot water to one-part espresso, there are alternatives. You can make your americano with 1 or 2 espresso shots with the addition of flavored syrup or milk.

You can also use a double quantity of water for each shot of espresso if you want a watered-down effect. In this article, we are going to look at the basics step by step methods in making your own cup of americano coffee at home. 

If you prefer learning by video, this article is also explained here.

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What You Will Need

Espresso machine.

Espresso coffee beans.


Weighing scale.

Boiled water.

Espresso tamper.

Step by Step Method

Video: Making Americano At Home

This video will show the various steps in making Americano Coffee at home.

Step One: Get Your Coffee Beans

For a perfect americano coffee drink, you need to get the best espresso coffee beans. It depends on your preference. You can use any other coffee beans, but you won’t get the typical espresso taste.

This is because the brewing process removes the flavors of the coffee beans into your drink. This is amplified whether you use good quality coffee beans or not. It is very important you get coffee beans you like. 

Step Two: Measure Your Coffee Beans

Using the weighing scale, measure out between 14 to 18g of coffee beans. This will make two shots of espresso which is the recommended quantity. 

Note: One espresso shot is about 7 to 9g of coffee beans. This is not strong enough except you prefer a lighter concentration.

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Step Three: Grind Your Espresso Beans

It is important you use a high-grade grinder to finely grind your espresso beans. This makes a good espresso. Using a less-fine coffee ground to make the americano coffee drink changes the taste and flavor of the americano coffee.

The grinding process can take a couple of minutes. After grinding the espresso beans, measure again to be sure you are using the correct quantity of coffee grounds.

Step Four: Tamping the Grounds

Tamping is a very important procedure in the making of an americano. If your machine does not automatically tamp grounds, you will do it yourself manually. It is a fun and very relaxing process. Just apply gentle but even pressure to the coffee grounds.

Step Five: Making the Espresso Shot

Place the tamped portafilter into its spot in your espresso machine. Follow the instructions of the espresso machine you have and brew as many shots of espresso that you desire. 

Step Six: The Hot Water

After brewing your espresso shots, it is time to make your americano coffee drink. Normally you should use boiled water but if it is too hot, it will burn your tongue or mouth. Allow your boiled water to cool down a bit.  

It all depends on what you want. Know that if the water is too hot, it will take a longer time for it to cool down and this affects its taste. When the water is too cold, it reduces the quality of your espresso. So instead of using a 200oF water (ideal temperature of hot water) use water at about 160 to 170oF.

Step Seven: Add Water into Espresso Shot

Pour two parts water to a one-part espresso shot. There has been an argument about whether you should pour the espresso into water or pour water into espresso. 

Some say that pouring water into espresso burns the coffee or spoils the crema formed during espresso brewing and changes the taste of your americano. 

You should try both ways and make a choice depending on which one you love. The differences between both are insignificant. 

Step Eight: Serve

There you have it, your cup of americano is ready! You can serve it black or add sugar and cream for a creamy sugary taste.  Enjoy it!

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Making Americano Coffee Without an Espresso Machine

Although the traditional americano coffee is prepared with the espresso machine, you can use other methods to make yours if you do not have the espresso machine. They include:

The AeroPress

This can be used to make a coffee concentrate which is close to an espresso shot. But the pressure applied during brewing is not enough. Because of this, the coffee won’t have the rich flavor and proper crema found in a typical espresso shot.

Notwithstanding, an AeroPress is a better substitute for Nespresso machines and stovetop espresso makers.

Nespresso Machine

Nespresso machines use small quantities of ground coffees to make a very strong cup of coffee. This is a great alternative to the espresso shots.

It applies pressure up to about fifteen bars pressure, but they are usually not consistent. It also varies though the coffee brewing process.

As a result, they don’t make good espresso shots, but they are not entirely bad. Most restaurants and hotels in Europe use the Nespresso machine as an alternative to a typical espresso machine.

Moka Pots Espresso Maker

The Moka pot or stovetop espresso makers were created by Luigi di Ponti in the year 1933. It has a working mechanism like a typical pressure cooker. 

Stovetop espresso makers boil water from the bottom chamber to create pressurized steam that runs through the coffee grounds inside the filter basket above the Moka pot.

This makes a thick and very strong coffee that looks like a typical espresso. However, it does not meet the nine bar stipulations, but the pressurized steam generated and used imitates the espresso shot process.

Americano Coffee Variations

The process of making the americano coffee is quite simple, you can create your variant. These are:

Lungo Coffee

You can make a larger Americano coffee by diluting your espresso shot with more water. This variant is has a lower concentration and it is usually bitter. 

This is because the additional quantity of hot water dissolves the coffee grounds that normally remain undissolved after a brewing process.

Caffe Crema

For a more concentrated Americano, leave your espresso shot to brew for a longer time than the lungo variant. 

In addition, you can top your espresso shots with some quantities of black coffee if you so desire.

Iced Americano Coffee

The process of making iced Americano coffee involves brewing the espresso drink first. That is making the hot Americano coffee first. After which the iced coffee procedure begins. 

  1. Allow the hot Americano to cool down.
  2. Pour the coffee over a cup filled with ice cubes. Another method of making americano coffee is filling a cup with ice cubes. Then add cold water to the ice cubes and pour the espresso shot over it.   

The quantity of water is a little different from the hot Americano. Basically, the iced Americano is a lighter coffee drink. The addition of more cold water makes the coffee drink less concentrated. 

When you add less cold water, it will make your coffee drink more concentrated. You can add sugar, syrup or milk if you wish.

The difference between an iced americano and iced coffee is that a typical iced americano is drunk without sugar or milk. Iced coffee has its unique taste from making fresh cold brew coffee to keeping it in the fridge. Then pour it over ice cubes later that same day and adding different ingredients. This is simply delicious. 

Final Thoughts

Coffee has different brewing methods depending on your preferred taste and concentration. While espresso shots are energy and flavor-packed, not everyone loves it. 

Americano coffee is easy to make since it involves making an espresso first before adding hot water to dilute the espresso typical taste. The resulting product (Americano coffee) can be more appetizing as well as providing the same satisfaction.

Serving your Americano coffee just as it is (plain) is very good as it retains its original taste and flavor. Other serving variants are cool too if you love them. Some people add sugar, honey, syrup or any other sweetener as well as milk or other dairy products.

Whichever way you like it, just brew, mix and drink up and start your day energized!