How To Make Americano With (And Without) An Espresso Machine?

While you may think that an americano is just a fancy term for regular black coffee, you could not be more wrong. It is not made using a drip coffee machine at all but an espresso machine. The best thing is that you can make it at home too.

So, how to make americano with an espresso machine when you have no special barista training? Easy, just make espresso and combine it with hot water. Stay with us as we will take you through the whole process one step at a time.

What Is An Americano?

“Americano” or a “Caffe Americano” is essentially an espresso diluted with hot water. It can be made using a single or a double shot of espresso and different water ratios.

Americano – Origin & History

The true origin of Americano is not 100% clear. However, it is believed that US soldiers were the first to make it during World War 2 while they were stationed in Italy. As they were far away from home, they were looking for a beverage resembling drip coffee. The espresso was too short and too strong so they decided to pour hot water over it in a large coffee mug. This is what we know today as an Americano.

What Does It Taste Like?

Since it has espresso as a base and is diluted with hot water, it has a slightly weaker taste than pure espresso. The high temperature of the water affects the lighter floral tones, so, the final brew has more earthy and nutty flavors.

What Is A Double/Triple Americano?

The number before the “americano” tells you how many espresso shots are in the beverage (double shot/triple shot).

Large Americano

What Do You Need To Have To Make Americano At Home?

Americano is fairly easy to make even if you have no experience. Everything you need to have to make a delicious brew is:

  • an espresso machine
  • dark roast espresso coffee beans – you can use other roasts too, however, you won’t get the same flavor out of them.
  • a coffee scale – it is important that you weigh your coffee grounds to get the optimal consistency.
  • high-quality coffee grinder – it is always best to grind beans freshly before you start the brewing process. A conical burr grinder provides the best results, however, if you do not have one you can use any coffee grinder. Just make sure that you give the grinder a rest every few seconds to ensure that it does not burn your grounds.
  • a tamper – you are brewing espresso as a base so you need to tamp the coffee inside the portafilter.
  • hot/boiling water – you will combine it with espresso to make an americano.
  • espresso cup and a coffee mug – you will brew espresso directly into a cup and add it to the mug with the hot water.

Brew A Perfect Americano – Step By Step

Now that you know what an Americano is, it is the time to roll up your sleeves and brew a cup. Here is a step-by-step process:

  1. The first thing to do is turn on your espresso machine. It will need some time to heat up to the optimal brewing temperature so it is best to do this as you prepare everything you need.
  2. Grind the beans into the espresso fine grind size. Make sure that you adjust the amount of coffee accordingly. This amount is for 2 cups and you need 0.63-0.74 oz.
  3. Remove the portafilter from the machine. Add coffee to the filter basket and tamp it down. Place the portafilter back into its position and make sure to lock it in.
  4. Once your espresso machine is ready, pull an espresso shot.
  5. Heat the water you need to dilute the espresso using an electric kettle or a stovetop pot and pour it into your coffee mug.
  6. Add an espresso shot into the water, and not the other way around. This is to ensure that the top creamy foam from espresso remains on top of your americano. If you pour hot water into espresso you can burn your brew.

How Much Water Is In An Americano?

The amount of water you need to add depends on how strong you want your americano to be. The best ratio is 1:2,  one ounce of espresso to 2 ounces of hot water. As a result, you get a brew with a dark and slightly bitter flavor but much lighter than espresso.

How Hot Should The Water Be?

It is recommended that you use water at around 160°F. If the temperature is any higher, you can burn the espresso. On the other hand, if it is not hot enough, your brew will cool off and have a sour and acidic flavor.

Can You Make An Americano With A Keurig?

Yes, you can. There are even specially made americano K cups that allow you to enjoy the optimal flavor.

How To Make An Americano With A Nespresso?

Nespresso is another pod brewer you can use to make americano. Everything you need to do is pop in the desired coffee pod and start the machine. You will have a perfect americano ready to sip in a few seconds.

Does Americano Taste The Same When Made With Coffee And Pods?

While you can get a good americano with a pod brewer, we need to be realistic and say no, your americano won’t have the same flavor as it would if you made it using fresh coffee grounds. This is because the grounds contain all the fresh aromas and coffee oils from the coffee beans.

What If You Do Not Have An Espresso Machine?

There are a few options you can try out to brew an americano without an espresso machine. These include:

Using A French Press To Make Espresso

Any of these options can come in handy if you don’t own or can’t currently buy an espresso machine. However, you must know right away that you won’t get the same results as there is no extraction pressure that is usually used to pull the espresso shot.

Americano Variations You Can Try

If you are already used to the flavor of a regular americano, there are many different variations you can try to spice things up:

Little Budy

“Little Budy” americano version is made using less water. To make it you want to combine the same amount of espresso and hot water (usually 2 ounces both).

Iced Americano

There is no point in giving up on americano once the temperatures go up. You can simply replace it with an iced americano. It is just as easy to make. The only difference is that instead of hot/boiling water you use cold water and then add ice cubes to make it perfect.

White Americano

In case you find the classic americano a bit too strong, you can add a pinch of milk to it and make a white americano. You need to do this as a last step in the brewing process. When making a hot americano use warm milk and for an iced americano use cold milk.

Red-Eye Americano

Both “hammerhead”, and a “shot in the dark” are the names often used for the “red-eye americano”. To make this version you need to switch the hot water for drip coffee. Yes, that is right, you need to combine espresso and regular coffee. It is often used when you need to pull an all-nighter and now you know why.

Fat Americano

Now, this is something you might not have heard of but to make a “fat americano” you need to replace the step with hot/boiling water with ice-cold coca-cola. Yes, you read that right. You should even cool your glass cup and add ice cubes to it.

Fat Americano

The most important thing is to follow the order: first, you add ice to the cup, then you add the soda, and finally, you top it off with an espresso shot. You can try and make this with diet Coke and Pepsi too. For this kind of brew, dark roast with a nutty, chocolate, or caramel flavor profile is the best option.

How Is Americano Different From…

Here we explained how americano is different from other hot beverages:

…An Espresso?

The two are very similar to each other. The only difference is that the americano is made by adding more hot water to it so it has a bit more diluted flavor. As a result, americano is larger, has a much smoother texture, and has a less intense flavor.

…Drip Coffee?

Americano has a much richer and stronger flavor than regular drip coffee.

…A Latte?

An americano has a full-bodied flavor and is essentially much stronger than a latte (as a latte is mostly made out of steamed milk with a bit of espresso.

FAQ: The Answers You Need To Have

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about the americano:

Is An Americano Just Black Coffee?

No, the two are not the same. The first and the most important difference is the brewing process itself, an americano is extracted using an espresso machine whereas black coffee is made using a drip coffee machine.

Is An Americano A Watered-Down Espresso?

Basically yes, but this is a very crude way to put it. It deserved respect as a specialized espresso-based beverage just like all other brews.

Do you put milk in Americano?

Originally, no, but you can. By doing so you will make it slightly less intense.

Do you put sugar in Americano?

Again, the original Americano does not have any sugar in it. However, you can add it if you like to have a somewhat sweeter cup. If you want to add sugar, we recommend that you add it right into the espresso cup before you pull a shot. That way, it will be able to dissolve completely.

Is An Americano Healthy?

It is one of the healthiest beverages you can have. This is because it is made using only espresso and water. Once sup has approximately 9 to 15 calories (and no sugar unless you add it yourself) so you can enjoy it even while on a diet.

Does Americano Have More Caffeine Than Coffee?

This depends on the espresso to water ratio you use to make an americano. In general, an americano has less caffeine when compared to the same size coffee brew (an 8-ounce americano has about 75 mg of caffeine whereas the 8-ounce drip coffee has 185 mg of caffeine).

Can You Make A Decaf Version?

Yes, you can. To make it you need to replace the coffee grounds you would usually use with a decaff coffee. The rest of the process is the same.

To Wrap It Up

Now you know everything there is about americano. It is very easy to make using an espresso machine and you can enjoy it even if you prefer pod coffee. Additionally, there are many variations to it so you will easily find the one that works the best for you.

Remember, to make a perfect americano you need to assemble it in proper order, espresso always goes into the water and not the other way around. Follow our instructions step by step and you will get a delicious brew with every use.

As a former cook and a pastry chef, Patricia knows how to recognize fresh ingredients and appreciates their quality above all else. Her ideal day is spent at a local farmer’s market looking for the fruits, vegetables, and herbs she can combine and use to make meals for her loved ones. She is also a big coffee enthusiast and enjoys trying out different coffee brews while traveling.