What is an Americano: Definition and Varieties

What is an Americano Coffee

In this article, you will learn what is an Americano? Also, there are a few variations of this coffee. What are they? How can you order them? How to prepare Americano coffee at Home?

After you’ve read this guide, you’ll be able to quickly determine the difference between how Americanos compare to latte, espresso, and flat white coffee.

Without further ado, let’s get started.


  1. What is an Americano?
  2. What is the Ideal Water Temperature?
  3. How to Prepare Americano at Home?
  4. Expert Tips for Americano Coffee
  5. Caffe Americano at Starbucks
  6. Iced Americano Coffee
  7. Differences Between Americano Coffee And Regular Black Coffee 
  8. What is a Long Black?
  9. What is an Americano Misto?
  10. What is a White Americano?

What is an Americano?

The origins of the Americano isn’t yet known, but there’s a common tale that people tell. It began during World War II. American soldiers stationed in Italy did not like the intense espresso drink Italians were known to drink. So, to recreate their drip coffee back home, they included water in the famous Italian espresso shots. And the Americano was born.

This story could be true, or it could be real. In the years of WWII, coffee would have been difficult to find in Italy. Even if there was coffee available, it certainly was restricted. We know “Caff e Americano” is “American coffee” in Italian.

Americano: Definition

Americano Coffee

Here’s the thing about an Americano:

Americano is an espresso-based drink consisting of an espresso shot mixed with warm water. The water to Espresso ratio is usually 1/2 or 1/3 espresso (1-2 shots) and 2/3 of water. Baristas serve it in cups of 5 oz up to 7 oz (150 ml to 200 ml).

It has an extremely, very thin crema on the top.

Particular coffee drinkers think that diluting espresso enhances the bitterness the beverage perceives, which can cause a less-than-balanced taste.

The crema contains coffee fines that are trapped within it.

The fines can be bitter, which is why some people enjoy trying to get rid of the crema.

In some cafes, when you request an Americano, the barista makes an espresso shot in a cappuccino cup and serves the drink with a glass of hot water to the side.

What is the Ideal Water Temperature?

The ideal temperature for hot water to dilute the espresso lies between 160 degrees F (71.1 degrees C) and 185 degrees F (85 degrees C). However, baristas could dilute the espresso shot in certain cafes using water from the hot spout on the machine.

This isn’t the best option, as the temperature is typically too high.

Additionally, if you’ve never utilized the tap of your machine for some time, the water flowing from it could also be slightly bitter.

Using a separate kettle to warm the water while making your Americano is always advisable.

RELATED TOPIC: Best Water For Coffee: Beginner’s Guide

How to Prepare Americano at Home?

  1. Prepare the hot water. You can use a kettle. 
  2. Prepare 1-2 Espresso shots. (depending on the caffeine level you want) On top, you will see a thin crema layer. Make coffee by grinding it and then utilize an espresso machine (or Nespresso or Keurig) to make espresso. It is possible to pour the espresso directly into the mug or in a small cup and add it to boiling water.
  3. Slowly pour over the Espresso shots 5 to 6 ounces of the hot water.
  4. Enjoy!

EXTRA TIP: It is recommended to fill the cup or mug first with hot water, then add the espresso to ensure the crema may be sat on the top.

Expert Tips for Americano Coffee

  1. Any cafe with an espresso machine can make an Americano. Some places may not include it on the menu. However, if you request it, the baristas will likely be able to prepare it.
  2. Americanos are trendy drinks in America but are not as well-known in other countries. You’ll need to describe precisely what you’re looking for if you’re buying from outside the U.S.
  3. There’s no standard on the number of shots that go into an Americano. However, the majority of coffee shops serve the drink with 2 shots.
  4. An Americano could also be a drink made of Campari sweet vermouth, Campari, and club soda. It’s not common to mix the two, but when you’re ordering coffee at brunch, it’s best to clarify what drink you’re referring to.

Caffe Americano at Starbucks

In Starbucks, you can find Cafe Americano in 4 different sizes: Short, Tall, Grande, and Venti. 

How does Starbucks do it? Their Espresso shots are topped with hot water to produce a thin layer of crema, resulting in this vibrant cup full of depth and subtlety. 

Total Fat0 g0 g0 g0 g
Cholesterol0 mg0 mg0 mg0 mg
Caffeine75 mg150 mg225 mg300 mg
Espresso Shots1 shot2 shots3 shots4 shots
Caffe Americano at Starbucks and its Nutrition stats

Iced Americano Coffee

There are also Iced Americano coffees. They are made from one shot of espresso, and cold water served on Ice cubes.

The cold drink is a popular drink at Starbucks and other cafes that are popular with customers.

When we talk about Starbucks, they offer the classic coffee-based drink called “Caffe Americano.”

You can choose from Tall (12 fl. oz., 2 shots), Grande (16 fl. oz., 3 shots), or the Venti (24 fl. oz., 4 shots) cup size.

Total Fat0 g0 g0 g
Cholesterol0 mg0 mg0 mg
Caffeine150 mg225 mg300 mg
Espresso Shots2 shots3 shots4 shots
Starbucks Iced Americano Nutrition Stats

RELATED TOPIC: Full list of Starbucks Iced Coffee Drinks and their Calories

Differences Between Americano Coffee And Regular Black Coffee 

Espresso vs Coffee

Americano is made with espresso, while black brewed coffee is made in a drip machine. 

Americanos have a noticeably heavier weight and more pronounced flavor. 

If you’re unsure about the quality of your Americano, ask your barista about the number of espresso shots.


The addition of milk can enhance Americanos as well as black coffee.

Size of a drink

Americanos typically come in 5 oz to 7 oz sizes. 

In contrast, Black coffee ranges from 12 to 20 Ounces.


Since espresso is extracted with pressure and heat, a layer of crema may form at the top of the Americano. In comparison, you will not see crema on top of brewed coffee.

What is a Long Black?

What is a Long Black

The Long Black and the Americano contain the same ingredients: hot coffee and hot water.

In the case of the Americano, the barista is the one who adds hot water in the last step. In contrast, Long Black is made by taking an espresso shot and then pouring it over the hot water.

It’s a popular drink. Long Black is popular in New Zealand and Australia and typically contains a double espresso shot instead of just one. This means it’s usually more caffeine-rich in comparison to an Americano.

However, it’s always possible to tell the barista how many shots you’d like included in your beverage.

A Long black typically has more crema.

It also has a more robust aroma and a more intense taste than an Americano.

Remove the crema from the very top of the Long Black if you want to reduce its bitterness!

What is an Americano Misto?

Americano Misto

Americano Misto is prepared by cutting an espresso shot using equal amounts of hot water and steam milk.

If you’re looking for a more creamy drink, request the barista to use the half-and-half method instead of regular milk. (this is called “breve”)

Adding cream to your Americano is another great idea, mainly if you are an avid coffee concoction.

However, I would never order an Americano Misto. You have a few choices if you feel like having one or two espresso shots mixed with steaming milk. You can go for an espresso, a cappuccino, a Flat white, or the lattes.

What is a White Americano?

White Americano

The White Americano contains an espresso shot and hot water. However, instead of filling your cup up to its top level, the barista makes some space in it.

Consumers often fill up the area by adding a dash of creamer or milk.

A lot of people mistakenly think that the White Americano contains milk. The cup is white because the cup isn’t full, and there is a white portion inside.

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