Of all the variety of coffee drinks, espresso and americano are considered the most popular. Each recipe has its own connoisseurs and admirers. The differences between an Americano and an espresso are significant, even though one is based on the other.
Choosing which coffee beans to use
For a delicious espresso, special blends are made from several varieties. Arabica dominates, while the strength of the Robusta beans may be as much as 15-20%. The beans are roasted to perfection: preferably Italian or French roasts.
The choice of variety for an Americano is even more important. With the addition of hot water, all the shortcomings of the blend will become apparent. To avoid unnecessary bitterness, only 10% Robusta is added to the mix. You can make do without it, but then the density of the beverage will be insignificant and the foam will be very weak. The roasting differs as well: it is lighter in color – Viennese or, less frequently, French.
There is no difference in the grind – it is a fine fraction that resembles fine salt in particle size. The coffee powder should be as fresh as possible for both drinks.
The first thing that catches your eye is the difference in volume. A portion of the classic espresso is 30 ml. In some establishments, it can be increased to 50 ml. It is served in 60 ml cups, because there is foam on top.
An Americano is a 30 ml espresso with 120 to 170 ml of hot water added. Thus, a serving is 150-200 ml (rarely up to 400 ml).
The difference between espresso coffee and Americano is in the preparation. The former is made in a coffee machine. Ground coffee beans are poured into a cone, and then the appliance is turned on. The water is hot, but not boiling (86-92°C) and pressurized at 9 bar. It extracts essential oils, flavourings, colourings and partly caffeine from the powder. The extraction time is 25-30 seconds. The result is a thick, completely opaque liquid with a rich aroma and a dense golden brown foam.
Americano is made on the basis of espresso by adding hot water from a kettle or a special tap of a coffee machine. As a result, the coffee has a weak crema (the Swedish way) or no crema at all (the Italian way). The version with the foam is considered more tasty and pleasant in consistency. The density is low, there is no stiffness. The subtleties of technology entail differences in taste, consistency, flavor and strength.
Espresso is a favorite in the coffee world for a reason: this sugar-free black coffee has a concentrated flavor and aroma. Coffee drinkers call it a “dense body.” Both acidity and bitterness are pronounced. In a properly prepared drink, all the notes harmonize and complement each other. There is no need for sugar, milk, or other additives.
Espresso tastes better than an Americano because the diluted version is watery, soft, and neutral. To make the taste more interesting and rich, milk, cognac, chocolate are used.
Certainly espresso is stronger than americano in taste. The dosage of coffee is the same – about 9 grams. But the espresso has this amount dissolved in 30 ml of water, while the Americano has 150 ml. It turns out that the amount of caffeine in a serving is the same and is 50-65 mg. The difference is the relative caffeine content: 100 ml of espresso contains 4 times more caffeine than 100 ml of Americano.
If you cook both without milk and sugar, there is no difference in calories – about 2.5 kcal per serving. But if espresso is drunk in its pure form, the Americano is usually supplemented with milk and sugar. In this case, the energy value increases greatly and can be 50 kcal.
An essential difference is the way it is served. Espresso is offered with a glass of clean, cool water. You should drink it first, to prepare your taste buds for the noble beverage. The portion is only a few sips, so you should drink it right away, hot.
No sweets or pastries are served, this drink is good on its own. It is consumed in coffee houses on the way to work in the morning. And in this case you don’t sit down at a table, but wait for the ordered cup right behind the bar. This recipe is also appropriate during business meetings.
Americano is served ready-made or in two cups: one contains coffee and the other hot water. An important distinction: you can drink it chilled or even with ice. A large portion is topped with chocolate, cheese, or doughnuts. This version is often used as a “coffee to go,” so it is sold in cardboard or plastic cups with a lid and a straw, so it is easy to drink on the go. It is also suitable for friendly gatherings.
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The difference between espresso and americano is significant, and true connoisseurs of the coffee world can never confuse them. Gourmets prefer the classic recipe. The diluted version is liked by those who do not like an overly rich flavor and aroma, and prefer to add other ingredients to their favorite drink.