How To Make An Americano – A Complete Step-By-Step Guide

person making an americano coffee

You might think Americano is just a fancy term for regular black coffee.

Think again.

It’s not made by the drip coffee maker you have sitting on your counter. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it at home. 

Want to know how? 

You’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll show you how to make an Americano that’s at par with the ones you buy at your local coffee shop. 

Let’s dive in.

What Is An Americano?

americano coffee in a cup

In short – an Americano is espresso topped with hot water. Well, that’s what it was originally. Nowadays, you can find different variations, which we’ll cover in a little bit.

The exact origin of the drink is not 100% clear, but it’s believed that it was made by US soldiers stationed in Italy during World War II

When US soldiers were serving in Italy, they were in search of the drink that reminded them of the drip coffee they were used to drinking back home.

The ever popular Italian espresso was too short and too strong for their liking. But then, one person had a eureka moment, and decided to pour hot water over the espresso in a large cup. 

And the rest is history.

How To Make An Americano: A Basic Americano Recipe

Ready to give this popular espresso based drink a go? 

While coming up with this type of coffee was obviously a tough task, making it is no rocket science. 

Just follow these simple instructions to make a great cup of java.

What You Need

Before you get started, gather the following things:

  • An espresso machine
  • Hot, almost boiling water
  • Freshly ground coffee
  • An espresso cup
  • A mug of your choice
  • A tamper
  • A kitchen scale

The Method

Now that you have everything you need to make the perfect Americano coffee, roll up your sleeves and proceed with the task. 

Here’s what you need to do, one step at a time.

  1. Turn on the espresso machine. It takes a while to heat up, so you’ll want that happening while you’re preparing other things.
  2. Grab your kitchen scale and measure the espresso grounds. Around 0.63 to 0.74 ounces will do for a double shot of espresso. But you can also opt to brew a single or triple espresso shot instead.
  3. When your espresso machine is hot and ready to go, pour your grounds into the portafilter. Tamper them with even pressure. 
  4. Let’s put the espresso maker to work. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making a single, double or triple espresso shot, it all takes the same amount of time to brew, which is no more than 30 seconds. 
  5. Next, you need to heat up some water. The exact amount depends on the strength of your espresso. Typically, the amount of water you need to make an Americano is double the amount of espresso you’ve used. In other words, that’s 2 ounces of hot water for every ounce of espresso.
  6. To make the Americano, add the espresso to the hot water. It should never be done the other way around. That way, the crema (that creamy foam) sits on top of your coffee, instead of getting blended in with the drink.

And that’s pretty much it! 

You can always add sugar, milk, vanilla… anything you like to spice up your java, or leave it as is. I’m sure baristas and coffee snobs would roll their eyes reading what I just said, but hey – it’s your coffee, your rules. If an extra ingredient makes your coffee taste better, then go for it!

how to make an americano

Americano Variations

Basic coffee simply doesn’t do it for you? 

That’s okay. 

There are some great Americano variations out there that you might like better. 

But a warning to those who enjoy the classic:

Once you try these, the basic version might become too boring.

Iced Americano

You know those hot summer days when you can’t even enjoy your favorite drink because you can’t stand any more heat? 

Well, what if I told you a nice, frosty cold iced Americano could cool you down?

Making this drink is a piece of cake. 

The steps are pretty much the same, except you replace hot water with ice cold, and add a few ice cubes. 

And that’s pretty much it. 

iced americano in a tall glass

White Americano

If you find a classic Americano to be a bit too strong for your taste, don’t write it off your list just yet. 

A pinch of milk can turn this strong caffeinated drink into something that’s much easier to swallow.

Basically, what you need to do is add a splash of milk as your last step. Use warm milk for a hot Americano and cold milk if you’re making an iced Americano.

Red Eye Americano

And then there are those who are always down for another shot of caffeine. 

This Americano variation reminds me of college and long nights of binge studying. In fact, the name comes from the kick needed to stay awake through an overnight red eye flight.

In some states, this variation is called a hammerhead or a shot in the dark. I think we can safely agree that all those names suit this coffee well.

To make this Americano coffee variation, you just need to switch hot water for drip coffee. 

I know, it might sound like much, but when you’ve got 500 hundred pages to skim over before tomorrow, nothing can help you read through the lines like a fresh cup of red eye can.

Fat Americano

The first time I heard about this variation I was sure it was an April Fools’ prank. 

I mean, who on Earth mixes coffee and Coca Cola? 

Well, this girl does, after I’ve realized how amazing it is. It’s both refreshing and sweet – perfect for practically any time of the year.

To make this cool drink, you just need to switch hot water for ice cold Coca Cola. 

You should also cool your glass and add some ice cubes. Just make sure to put them in your mug before you pour soda and espresso in. Remember, order matters when you’re making an Americano. Even if it’s an Americano with Coke.

You’re not limited to just regular Coke in this case. If you prefer diet Coke or even Pepsi, you can use those instead.

Another thing worth noting is that you can use any type of coffee bean. But darker roasts with caramel, chocolate or nutty flavor profiles pair best with Coca Cola. 

glass mug full of americano

Classic Americano

An Americano that's just like the one you can get at your local coffee shop.
Prep Time 4 mins
Cook Time 1 min
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 1

Equipment

  • Espresso machine

Ingredients
  

  • 18-21 g freshly roasted coffee finely ground
  • 120-150 ml water hot

Instructions
 

  • Brew a double shot of espresso using an espresso machine
  • Pour the hot water into a mug
  • Pour the double shot of espresso over the hot water
  • Enjoy!

Notes

1 part espresso to 2 parts water is a good rule of thumb to follow, but you can always add more or less water for a milder or stronger Americano.

To Sum Things Up

If you like your coffee strong and quick to make, look no further than the good ol’ Americano. 

It takes you no more than a minute to make, and it gives you the caffeine kick you need to make it through the day.

And the best thing about it? 

There are tons of variations. 

So if you’re not the type to drink black coffee, you can try a white Americano instead. 

But, if you’re quite the opposite – searching for the strongest coffee drink in the world, then try the red eye variation. You won’t be disappointed.

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