Americano coffee, or why they dilute espresso with water

Americano coffee, or why they dilute espresso with water

Americano coffee was invented in Italy in the middle of the 20th century. Since then, this recipe, which involves diluting espresso from the coffee machine with boiling water, has become very popular.

History of the drink and its special features

The Italian espresso was not liked by the American military during the Second World War: they were not used to small, concentrated portions, and asked for a larger cup of less rich coffee in the coffee houses. Bartenders diluted their favorite espresso with boiling water and offered it to foreign visitors. Italians spoke disparagingly of such a “tainted” beverage, an “americano. The name stuck and entered the menus of bars and coffee houses.


The composition of Americano coffee includes espresso (30 ml) and hot water (from 30 to 200 ml). Milk and sugar can be added as desired. An easy to prepare drink in large quantities will appeal to those who find the Italian version too strong. By adding boiling water, the taste becomes watery, loose. The amount of caffeine in a portion is relatively small (50-65 mg), and this recipe is acceptable to make coffee even in the evening.


The caloric value of an Americano coffee without additives is only 2-2.5 kcal per serving. A slightly sweetened version carries 20 kcal. And if it is made with the addition of milk and two spoonfuls of sugar, the caloric value increases to 50 kcal.

Difference from filter coffee

In addition to Americano, there is also an American-style coffee, or filter coffee. This type of coffee is prepared in a drip coffee maker. The coffee portion size is 200-300 ml, and caffeine content is high enough because coffee powder is heated longer and gives it off completely. Despite the similar names, the drinks are very different. Filter coffee has a more pronounced bitterness.

Choice of Beans

Not every coffee bean is good. The taste of diluted coffee is softer, but it brings out notes that were imperceptible in the concentrated form. Any weaknesses – excessive bitterness or acidity – will be felt more clearly.

Мешок с кофе

An Americano is best made with washed Arabica, which has a mild flavor and medium acidity. Kenyan and Indian Arabica can be included in the mix. These grains give the drink a richness and density that is retained even when water is added. Robusta has its weaknesses in Americano: it leads to bitterness. It is acceptable to add 10% of beans of Robusta, which creates a denser foam.

Medium roast (Viennese or full city) is preferable. Dark roasting (French or Italian) has a more pronounced bitterness, which when diluted with boiling water will be too strong. Milk or sugar can help balance the taste in this case.

An Americano is made using a “fine espresso” grind. With coarse powder, the coffee will turn out quite watery. Fine powder will make it bitter.


It is not necessary to have a coffee machine with an Americano function. If the device allows you to make a delicious espresso, you will get a less strong drink based on it.

Carob coffee makers have been in the kitchens of coffee aficionados for a long time. Such a device is quite suitable to make Americano coffee at home. The most important characteristic is a pressure of at least 9 bar. The water temperature in the machine is 86-92 °C.

Such heating combined with pressure allows maximum extraction of aromatic substances from the beans, while bitterness and a significant part of the caffeine remain in the powder. It is good if there is a special tap for hot water. If not, you can use an electric kettle.

Non-fermented coffee from a turkey, French press, or filter is not an Americano! The amount of caffeine is higher with these brewing methods.

Classic recipe

For the preparation you will need:

  • 7-11 grams of ground coffee
  • (2-3 tsp;)

  • 30 + 200 ml of water;
  • sugar and milk to taste.

Prepare espresso in a coffee machine (extraction time 25-30 seconds). Dilute with hot water in the desired proportion. If desired, add sugar and milk. Pour both the coffee and the boiling water into thick-walled, heated cups to keep the beverage hot longer.

The recipe for Americano coffee is supplemented with many additives: it is made with milk, cream, cognac, cinnamon, ice, chocolate or marshmallow. Milk Americano recipe is common.


With milk

Lovers of a milder flavor can make an Americano with milk. After making the drink according to the standard recipe, simple heated milk (20-40 ml) is added to it. To get the foam, as in a cappuccino, nonfat cream is pre-whipped with a cappuccinator. But the froth settles quickly, because the density of Americano is low. The cream partially neutralizes the tonic effect of the caffeine.

If you want a large cup of an Americano that is strong enough, you need to make two espressos, using fresh coffee powder each time. In coffee shops, this is called a “double Americano”. Do not increase the extraction time: after 40 seconds of heating there will be a smell of burnt beans and the coffee will be bitter.

Methods of blending

There are many ways to blend espresso and hot water, and the way you blend it affects the taste of the final beverage:

  • Italian.
  • One part of coffee is poured into 1 part to 3 parts of water. The crema disappears completely.

  • Swedish (Scandinavian).
  • Water is poured into the cup first, and then the cup is put into the tray and the espresso is made. The froth remains and the espresso tastes better.

  • European.

The guests are served large cups with a rich coffee and water separately in order to dilute the drink in the necessary proportion.

Taste Harmony and Serving

When making coffee in a coffee machine, the sour components are extracted from the powder first, then the sweet, chocolatey notes, and finally the caffeine and the accompanying bitterness.

The taste of an unbalanced drink can be influenced by not making it from all the coffee produced by the coffee machine. Sourness can be reduced by placing the cup 2 to 3 seconds later. A less bitter americano will turn out if you cook the espresso for 4-5 seconds less.

You don’t drink a large portion of an Americano in a rush, so you serve it with something else. This can be cheese, chocolate, pastries, or cookies. A classic accompaniment is donuts sprinkled with powdered sugar.

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