If you want to get your motor running, few beverages will do it better than an americano, which is an espresso drink. You’d love to begin brewing americanos at home to save time and money, but how do you do it?
Here’s how to make americano at home:
- Finely grind espresso beans
- Tamp the beans
- Brew espresso
- Warm up water
- Pour in water according to the coffee-to-water ratio
Of course, making an americano has plenty of nuances that we’ll describe in detail throughout this extensive guide. We’ll also share plenty more useful information, including the equipment needed to make Americanos at home and tips for success.
What Is an Americano?
An americano isn’t exactly your standard coffee drink even if you see it on every café and coffee house menu. Thus, we thought we’d start this guide with an explanation of this beverage.
An americano, aka caffe americano, is a type of espresso that’s diluted with just the right amount of hot water to make the beverage about as strong as your standard cup of coffee.
Of course, if you want a stronger americano, that option is certainly on the table. You can brew a single shot or double shot of espresso depending on how caffeinated you need to feel. Triple shots are not common.
Where did the americano come from? No one is quite sure.
The prevailing rumor is that American soldiers passing through Italy during World War II poured hot water into espresso to make it taste more like American coffee. Thus, supposedly, the americano was born.
There are several beverages like an americano that aren’t quite the same thing. For instance, the Long Black may have espresso and water, but the preparation of the beverage begins with hot water and then espresso. When brewing an americano, you make it the other way around.
The Italiano, a beverage that’s popular in the western United States, has the same amount of water and espresso. Thus, it too is not a true americano despite using the same ingredients.
That said, this espresso beverage does not have to be ordered the same way every time. Here are some americano variations you may wish to try!
- Coffee Creama
- Iced Americano
A two-shot serving of americano coffee has a caffeine content of 94 to 150 milligrams. As you’ll recall if you’ve read this blog, espressos have a more concentrated quantity of caffeine compared to coffee, so an americano is right in line with that.
What Do You Need to Make an Americano?
If you want to start your mornings with the same luxury you’d enjoy at a high-end coffee shop, then try making an americano at home. It’s simpler than you think, especially once you have the right equipment.
Here’s what we recommend.
In the intro, we mentioned how you must tamp down the espresso grounds to make a proper americano. This is another way of referring to packing in the grounds.
To make tamping an easy task every time you brew americano at home, buy a tamper. A tamper is a kitchen tool with a long, often wooden handle that’s curved so your hand has an ideal place to grip.
On the opposite side of the handle is a flat metal attachment. You press on the espresso grounds with the tamper to pack them together.
There’s a point to this. The compaction of the espresso grounds makes just enough space between the portafilter screen that when they get wet, the grounds only swell as much as needed. This prevents your americano from tasting sludgy.
Further, tamping the coffee grounds forces the water to push through the entirety of the grounds, something that wouldn’t happen if the espresso grounds were too loosely-packed.
Getting the coffee-to-water ratio right when making an americano at home is critical. Too much water and your caffeinated beverage will taste bland and flavorless. Too little water and you could get such a caffeine buzz that you’ll be bouncing off the walls.
A coffee scale will allow for more precise measurements. One we recommend is the KitchenTour Digital Kitchen Scale. If you don’t want to run out and buy a coffee scale, then a regular kitchen scale should suffice.
Coffee Bean Grinder
Admittedly, this next piece of equipment is optional. You can always buy fine pre-ground espresso beans, but coffee purists might prefer to grind their own beans. If so, that will require a coffee bean grinder.
Can you make americano at home using a regular ol’ coffeemaker? You could probably finagle something out of your coffee machine, but an espresso maker is worlds better. Later in this guide, we’ll share our favorite espresso machines for brewing americanos.
Mug or Cup
Americanos may contain only two espresso shots, but if you add a lot of water, the volume of the beverage goes up. You’ll need a full-sized coffee glass or mug for enjoying your freshly brewed americano.
Americano Recipe at Home – A Step-by-Step Guide
You have your supplies, so gather the following recipe quantities and you’ll be ready to brew tasty americano at home.
- Hot water
- Whole espresso beans (14 to 18 grams)
Now let’s get brewing!
Step 1 – Measure Your Coffee-to-Water Ratio
The standard americano coffee-to-water ratio is 2:1, which means two parts water for every one part espresso. The americano will come out darker with a bitter flavor, which is what americano is supposed to have.
That said, some coffee lovers might prefer a milder flavor. In that case, then increase the coffee-to-water ratio. This time, the ratio should be 3:1.
Since you’re adding more water (now three parts water for every one part espresso), the flavor is nowhere near as bitter. The espresso will taste nice and smooth too!
Step 2 – Grind the Espresso Beans
If you’re starting with whole espresso beans, then insert them into your grinder now and grind them. The consistency of the beans should be very fine.
Of course, as we talked about before, you can always buy pre-ground espresso beans, but double-check that the grind is fine.
Most coffee lovers will use a dark roast coffee of making a great americano.
Step 3 – Tamp the Espresso Beans
It’s time to dust off your tamper, as you get to use it now. Tamp those espresso grounds so they’re tightly packed.
The way you tamp matters, by the way. You want to be firm yet gentle.
The pressure you apply should be even across the entirety of the grounds. If you press too little on some of the grounds and then too much on others, you will notice a varying degree of quality and thus flavor when you pour your americano into a mug.
Step 4 – Add the Tamped Espresso Beans to the Portafilter
Espresso machines include a portafilter, which is sometimes also called a group handle.
The portafilter looks like a spoon and has a hidden basket in which the coffee grounds go. Add your ground, tamped espresso beans now.
Step 5 – Brew the Espresso
You’re all ready to begin brewing by this point. Remember that you can choose between a single shot or double shot of americano espresso.
Step 6 – Warm up the Water
Some espresso machines can heat water for you. If not, then you’ll have to put a pot of water on the stovetop, fill it with water, and allow the water to reach temperatures of at least 194 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a thermometer to determine the water temperature. Be sure not to use boiling water (212 degrees F). If your water begins to boil, take your kettle off the heat and let sit for 35-45 seconds to cool.
Step 7 – Pour the Espresso into the Water
Now that you have both parts of the americano ready separately, it’s time to combine them to make this iconic espresso drink. You need to pour the espresso into the hot water rather than vice-versa.
Step 8 – Serve
With that, you’re finished. Enjoy!
Related Reading: Is an Americano Stronger than Regular Coffee?
What Are the Best Coffeemakers for Making Americano?
To reiterate our point from earlier, we recommend an espresso maker rather than a coffee machine when brewing americanos and other espresso-based beverages. Here are 6 of our favorite espresso machines courtesy of Amazon.
De’Longhi ECP3120 15-Bar Espresso Machine
To start, the De’Longhi 15-bar espresso machine is a lean, mean espresso maker that also brews cappuccinos and lattes.
Select from single shots or double shots of espresso (just as an americano should be).
Using the Advanced Cappuccino System, the temperature of the De’Longhi espresso machine doesn’t deviate as it brews one cup to another. You can quickly whip up several mugs of delectable americano!
The De’Longhi espresso machine has a bottom tray that you can take out if you want to fill a tall mug with americano or cappuccino. The water tank comes out as well so you can dump it, clean it, and put it back.
Even the drip tray is removable so cleanup after brewing at home is as easy as one, two, three. Plus, De’Longhi designed the 15-bar espresso machine to be sleek and compact. It’s perfect for any kitchen counter!
Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine
If you are indeed short on counter space, the Nespresso Essenza is another great espresso maker to consider. Measuring 8.1 inches wide, 12.8 inches tall, and 4.3 inches deep, it’s nice and tiny.
Produced by De’Longhi, the Essenza runs on Nespresso capsules. Included is a starter kit with 16 such capsules so you can begin making americano and other espresso beverages the Nespresso way.
Program two different cup sizes for your espresso. Once you hit brew, the heat-up system warms fast, and the high-pressure pump gets right to work brewing perfect americanos.
An eco-mode reduces energy consumption once your machine is idle for three minutes. Then, if the inactivity extends to nine minutes, the Essenza turns itself off.
Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
The Café Barista by Mr. Coffee is one of the best espresso makers on the market, and we think you’ll agree.
The control panel requires a single touch to activate. You can brew lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos like americanos, selecting between single and double shots. You can also choose the type of grounds you want to use.
The water reservoir of the Café Barista detaches for rinsing out residue after every brew. This 15-bar pump system is a semi-automatic machine so you can take a more hands-off approach to brewing espresso every morning before work.
Gaggia R19380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine
With its brushed stainless steel exterior, the Gaggia Classic Pro espresso machine will look incredible in your kitchen. It’s no wonder the Gaggia is an Amazon’s Choice product!
An updated control panel allows you to select between steaming, brewing, and power modes. Two heating elements allow the boiler to warm up fast, and the Classic Pro can begin producing steam in only 30 seconds.
Vibration pumps reduce the amount of sound your espresso maker will produce so you can start your morning in peace.
A three-way solenoid valve is like something you only see in commercial espresso machines. The Classic Pro includes the valve to control pressure when brewing espresso.
The portafilter is also commercial-quality, as it’s chrome-plated brass.
Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
Yes, you read that right. The Philips 3200 Series is a fully automatic espresso maker that’s sure to take the pressure off your morning routine.
This Amazon’s Choice espresso machine brews espresso five unique ways. A touch display makes it easy to select the coffee you want, as does the immersive My Coffee Choice menu, where you can choose the quantity and strength of your beverage.
Ceramic grinders included in the Philips 3200 espresso maker can grind beans down to an ultra-fine powder, so you should be able to make great-tasting americanos every time.
The AquaClean filter keeps your water clean for 5,000 cups, then you need to use a descaler.
Calphalon BVCLECMP1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine
An Amazon’s Choice product, the Temp iQ includes an auto-shot option for brewing between one and two shots of espresso.
The cup-warming tray ensures your mug is ready for that americano or any other espresso beverage.
The Temp iQ has a bigger-than-average portafilter to ensure all the espresso grounds get evenly saturated. Once they’re wet, precision heating technology will warm the grounds.
With PID temperature control and Thermoblock heating, you can rely on the heating technology included with this Calphalon machine.
By pre-infusing the espresso grounds, their flavor comes out that much more plentifully.
Tips for Making Delicious Americano
As we said we would, here are some tips for making five-star espresso every time from the comfort of your home.
Never Pour Water into the Espresso
Going back to what we mentioned earlier, when combining the brewed espresso and water to make a traditional americano, you should never add the water into your mug of espresso.
If you do, you could accidentally scald your perfectly brewed espresso. Pour espresso into the water instead.
Mix-Ins Are Allowed
Okay, in the strictest sense, an americano is nothing more than water and espresso.
However, black coffee is not every person’s preference. If that’s true for you as well, then you’re allowed to add some mix-ins. It’s your coffee, after all, so make it how you like it!
So which mix-ins go best with americano? You can try whipped cream, vanilla flavoring, sugar and milk, honey, or cinnamon.
Spring for High-Quality Espresso Beans
Whether you’re making coffee, espresso, or any other caffeinated beverage, when you have high-quality, fresh beans, you’re in for a richer, more flavorful beverage.
Related Reading: Can you Make Espresso with Regular Coffee Beans?
Invest in Good Equipment
Could you use your regular coffeemaker, measuring spoons instead of a coffee scale, and a meat press rather than a tamper? For your first time making americano at home, sure.
If you find that you enjoy home brewing more than you do waiting in line at the café, then buying the proper equipment will lead to even higher-quality results.
The americano is an espresso beverage with more water than espresso. Caffeinated, delicious, and authentic, making café-quality americanos at home could become your new favorite part of your morning routine!
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