Americano vs. Black Coffee

Americano vs. black coffee are both black coffees. You brew Americano with an espresso machine or moka pot, black coffee can be brewed with a variety of methods.

Black coffee has been part of the american culture for many years, you can find many artist who wrote songs, literature, plays and film including Black Coffee (1931 film), a British detective film based on Agatha Christie’s play.

If of history we are speaking, and since americano is black coffee, and it is an espresso-based drink we’re going back in history to 1884 when the first espresso machine was patented by Angelo Moriondo from Turin.

If your only experience of americano is at Starbucks, try one of these long, black coffees elsewhere.

Why do we say this?

Well, Starbucks uses extremely dark roasted espresso beans. They also use water that’s too hot for an americano, resulting in a scorched and unpleasant drink.

What Is an Americano?

An americano is a black coffee, and you always serve without milk.

In effect, consider an americano as a diluted espresso. As you’ll see below, espresso and hot water are all you need to rustle up a café americano.   

So, how did this drink spring into being, and why should you care?

History of the Americano

The americano was reputedly born when American GIs stationed in Italy pined to taste drip coffee from home. In response to local coffee too strong for their palates, the soldiers supposedly watered down espresso.

And this, as the story has it, is how americano sprang into being.

Regardless of its origins, americano is a drink typically enjoyed by coffee lovers who appreciate great espresso beans and prefer a longer, less intense drink.

So far, so good.

How do you make an americano at home, though?

How To Make a Great Americano

The ingredients for a lip-smacking americano couldn’t be more straightforward.

Before anything else, though, a good espresso machine is a pre-requisite for making americano. You can use espresso from a single-serve machine or a Moka pot – although this is not technically espresso – but we would strongly recommend investing in a dedicated espresso machine.

Assuming you have a means of making your short, stiff shots, here’s all you need for americano the Italian way…

What You Need

  • 1 to 2 shots of espresso
  • Hot water

The success or failure of the americano in your cup will hinge on two factors:

  • The quality of the espresso
  • The temperature of the water you use

Luckily, it’s not tough to achieve both of these goals. Here’s how you do it…

What To Do

  • Start by making a single or double shot of espresso to suit. For authentic espresso like the Italians drink it, use a semi-automatic espresso machine
  • The optimum water temperature for americano is from 90F to 94F. Heat some water to this temperature band
  • Pour your espresso into a long glass then add the hot water. Either combine these ingredients 1:1 or use 1/3 espresso to 2/3 water. Experiment until you find what works

Note: if you pour the hot water first and add the espresso shot, you won’t get the same crema. The crema is that thin layer of foam you see on top of an espresso. This occurs when the oils and carbon dioxide in the beans mix as the shot is pulled.

What’s The Difference Between Americano and Black Coffee?

An americano is not merely regular black coffee served without milk.

If you ask for a black coffee or house coffee in a restaurant, you’ll get coffee made in a drip machine.

With americanos, by contrast, you have a shot of espresso diluted with hot water.

Final Thoughts

Be sure to bookmark BrewingJava before you head off. We’re just underway with a large chunk of informational content, so come back soon for more brief studies of the different types of coffee.

Next, we’ll be examining the exotic Turkish coffee. We’ll see you soon when we show you how to make this delicious drink the easy way.

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