What is an americano? Espresso, hot water & history

An Americano is an espresso-based coffee drink made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso. Typically the drink is prepared at a ratio of 2:1 hot water to espresso. It presents in the cup similarly to a drip, or filter-brewed coffee, but retains the more intense flavor notes of espresso along with a sheen of the espresso’s crema on the surface.

Was the Americano invented in America?

No. According to lore, the Americano was invented to please the tastes of American GIs stationed abroad during World War II. American soldiers in Italy wanted a coffee that more closely resembled an American-style (drip) coffee, but the dominant style of coffee in Italy is espresso. The resulting coffee compromise was thus named after its audience.

Why wouldn’t I just drink a filter coffee?

Great question! Many people prefer to enjoy espresso in this form. Americanos are said to “open up” an espresso, allowing for a more nuanced and aromatic expression of its flavor characteristics. Also, there are some circumstances (like if you are overseas during a war) where a filter coffee simply isn’t available, but espresso and water are.

Do I have to capitalize it?

Yes, you should capitalize Americano. You capitalize “Polish sausage,” don’t you?

Can I add milk or milk substitutes?

Absolutely! Adding regular milk, cream, or a milk substitute can be a delicious addition to your Americano. Note that while cappuccinos and lattes are based on espresso as well, they typically include only steamed milk and espresso, and no additional water. If a thicker, creamier texture that includes a base of espresso is what you seek, then you should just order a cappuccino or latte.