Americano is a lighter coffee drink, and many prefer something that packs a bit more kick. However, I’ve found that by learning how to make an Americano, I’ve added some well needed diversity to my coffee menu.
In short, an Americano is hot water added to Espresso of a caramel-like texture.
What You Need to Know
The Tools and Ingredients
- Coffee Beans – If you’re going to make an Americano, then the first thing that you’re going to need is some good espresso coffee beans. Sure, you can use regular coffee beans but for that true Americano experience you’re going to want to use espresso beans.
- Espresso Tamper – You’re going to need to tamp if you’re making an espresso, so naturally you’re going to need an espresso tamper.
- Espresso Machine – How else are you going to make an espresso?
- Hot Water – Remember, to make an Americano you’re going to need to add hot water to the espresso.
- Coffee Grinder – Any coffee aficionado will tell you that a quality grind is needed for a quality brew.
- Coffee Scale – You don’t want to add too much or too little.
Here are the basic instructions for how to make an Americano.
- Carefully measure out enough beans to make a double shot.
- Grind your beans until they are very fine.
- Tamp the ground beans by hand or using your espresso machine.
- Create your espresso.
- Heat your water to around 160 °F
- Add your espresso to the hot water at a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part espresso.
How to Make an Americano: An in-depth look
Buy the Best Beans
Remember, espresso comes before Americano. So, you’re going to need to pick up some espresso beans that you love if you want to love your Americano. Even though you’re going to be diluting the espresso the taste will still matter.
I’m not here to tell you which beans should be your favorite, that decision is wholly up to you. However, you can check out a few of our favorite espresso beans here, if you’re in need of some ideas.
Unless you’re some kind of savant that can forgo measuring tools and eyeball an exact gram, you’re going to need to measure those beans. I recommend that you measure out enough beans for a double if you’re planning to make an Americano. In my experience, a single is never strong enough.
14 – 18 grams is usually enough for a double shot.
Get Your Grind On
If you’ve already had experience making your own espressos, then you should already know just how important grinding truly is. If you’re truly an Americano amateur, then put an asterisk next to this step – because this is one vital but often overlooked step that you don’t want to skimp on.
You’re going to need to grind those beans really fine if you want to make the perfect Americano. My personal rule: “If you think your grind is fine enough, make sure to grind some more.”
Tamp it Up
When you’ve got your grind perfect, the next step is to tamp. Tamping is essential because it is the step that stands between either getting a rich flavor or having a bitter taste left in your mouth.
Tamping compacts the coffee that you’ve already ground so that the water has to fight to get through it – this is what creates that rich espresso flavor.
Nowadays, there are countless espresso machines for sale that will automatically do your tamping. However, if you have an old school machine then you’re going to have to give your hands a light workout.
Pop that portafilter in and brew up that espresso.
I won’t get into the details about how to make the perfect shot right now but you can check out our beginner’s guide on the topic.
Is it Getting Hot in Here?
This is another step in the how to make an Americano guidebook that is also completely up to personal preference.
You’re going to need to add hot water to the espresso to turn it into an Americano but just how hot that water is depends on you. Make it too cold and the espresso’s quality will be negatively affected. Make it too hot and the taste will be affected while you wait for it to cool down.
I recommend that you heat your water to around 160 °F.
Espresso + Water = Americano
The recommended ratio for an Americano is 2:1, that is 2 parts water to 1 part espresso. Again, you can deviate from this measurement based on your personal preferences.
One thing that is however not up for debate is the fact that its espresso into water and not the other way around. Water into espresso screws up that charming crema and also undermines the overall taste.
How to Make an Americano – The Finale
You’ve ground, tamped, heated, and mixed, what else could there possibly be left to do?
Drink up and enjoy your homemade Americano!
If you’re in the mood for something frosty you could always sway the hot water for some cold water and ice. Just make sure that you tweak that water to espresso ratio to 1.5 to 1.