If you want to learn how to make an Americano at home, you are in the right place. The caffè Americano is a delicious way to enjoy the flavors of espresso less intensely. It uses hot water to dilute the espresso into the strength of normal black coffee.
So assuming you understand the basics of Americano coffee, this article will teach you an easy recipe for making it at home, both with and without an espresso machine. Even without a proper espresso shot, you can still make a great Americano with brewed espresso on devices such as the AeroPress, Moka pot, French Press, and even instant coffee.
And if it is summertime and you want to learn how to make Americano iced, jump down to the section about the iced Americano to learn about that refreshing cold version of Americano coffee.
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How to Make an Americano at Home: The Basics
If you already know how to make espresso at home—either with an espresso machine or some other espresso maker—then the Americano is one of the easiest coffee recipes.
Try to find espresso coffee beans—the roasting style of an espresso bean is different from coffee beans meant for drip coffee—so that you maximize the espresso flavors. If you are already a coffee lover who enjoys the flavor of a dark roast, the best coffee beans for an Americano will likely be a darker roast that mimics Italian espresso.
Since you are masking those intense flavors with hot water, they blend into a smoother flavor compared to brewed coffee.
What is Americano Coffee?
In short, Americano is an Italian name for American coffee, and it is a popular drink in the United States. The drink allows you to enjoy the bold flavors of espresso in a smoother ratio that resembles drip coffee. Instead of diluting espresso with steamed milk, you add hot water to take away some of the espresso’s intensity.
When you make it correctly, an Americano will still have a light crema on the top, and the taste should be much more intense than drip coffee.
And for those who want to geek out further check out our article dedicated to the caffè Americano. We explain the history of this beverage and how it is different from regular coffee.
The Americano ratio is the relationship between espresso and hot water. Doubling or tripling the amount of water to espresso is common (1:2 or 1:3 ratio), but you can add more or less as you experiment with this recipe. There is no exact ratio that you must follow, and ultimately it is up to your taste.
The less water you add, the more espresso’s intensity will dominate.
How Do You Make an Americano: Step-by-Step Recipe
Learning how to make an Americano taste perfect for you will likely take some experimentation since everybody has personal preferences. You might find adding less hot water preserves the intensity of the espresso. Or you might prefer the smoother flavor of espresso diluted with more water.
Either way, the following steps will get you close, and you can adjust the amount of hot water to taste over time.
1. Heat Water
Boiling water takes the longest, so start that process first. With an espresso machine, you just have to turn it on and wait long enough. And if you are brewing on devices like AeroPress, make sure your hot water is as close to boiling as possible. And since you will be adding hot water to the espresso at the end, heat extra water!
2. Measure Beans
There are various recipes to make espresso, and if you already have one that you like, stick with it. But if you are new to the espresso world, we recommend measuring 18 grams of coffee per shot of espresso. If you do not own a scale, use 3 level tablespoons instead (1 tablespoon of whole beans is approximately 5-6 grams).
You should also keep in mind that the best coffee beans for an Americano will likely be an espresso roast or something darker. While any roast style can work, the Americano tastes best with a more intense espresso flavor.
3. Grind Coffee Beans Right Before Brewing
Espresso grounds are especially vulnerable to aging quickly. They are extremely small and contact the air with lots of surface area. When you keep a coffee bean whole, it has less surface area exposed to oxygen. So when you grind your beans right before brewing, you will get the freshest taste.
For espresso, you should grind extremely fine.
4. Pull Espresso Shots
For an espresso machine, level the grounds in the portafilter and tamp firmly and evenly (try to approximate 30 pounds of pressure). The measurements for espresso shots should be approximately 1 ounce for a single and 2 for a double. We recommend a double shot for the Americano, but it depends on your taste and caffeine preferences.
5. Combine Espresso and Hot Water
The last step for a Cafe Americano is to dilute your espresso with hot water. We recommend starting with a 2:1 ratio—2 parts water to 1 part espresso—and adjusting from there. But 1/3 espresso and 2/3 water is another common Americano ratio.
While some have strong claims about the proper order, we think you can either pour the espresso into the hot water or vice versa. As long as you pour gently, you will preserve the espresso’s crema.
How to Make an Americano with Nespresso
Can you make an Americano with Nespresso machines? If you have a Nespresso machine, you can easily modify your usual recipe to produce a delicious caffè Americano espresso drink. We recommend the bold flavor of a dark roast espresso coffee like the Arpeggio capsule. After you have your espresso, just add 2-4 ounces of hot water to taste.
Also, you can use the rinse cycle on a Nespresso machine as your source of additional hot water. But note that Nespresso foam is different from real crema. These Americanos will have a different taste and texture than you get from a true espresso machine.
How to Make an Americano Coffee Without an Espresso Machine?
Even without an espresso machine, you can still get close to the proper Americano flavors with other brewing methods. Let’s explore the options!
Americano Coffee with AeroPress
Making espresso on the AeroPress is one of the best ways to make espresso at home without a machine. The directions included with your AeroPress already produce an Americano, and you can try that first if you want to experiment.
But we prefer this AeroPress recipe for espresso, which uses boiling water and produces a more intense flavor. We recommend adding 2 ounces of water to the 2 ounces of espresso. Be sure to plunge your AeroPress through the hiss to squeeze as much out of the grinds as possible.
AeroPress Espresso Maker
Moka Pot Americano
Like AeroPress, a Moka pot does not technically make espresso. But the result is close enough that we still consider it a way to make espresso drinks at home. Preheat all of your equipment, including your mug. Then Moka pot Americano is as easy as adding hot water to the espresso.
The benefit of the Moka pot, especially if you have a big one, is that you can make multiple Americanos at once, perfect for having guests over.
How to Make an Americano with Instant Coffee
Americano Instant Coffee
To be honest, making an Americano with instant coffee will not be the most satisfying coffee drink. But sometimes you have to make the best of what you have, and you can still make an Americano with instant coffee, both regular and iced.
Use a 1-2 ratio of the instant coffee granules to hot water. And for iced Americano, use room temperature water and add 4-5 ice cubes.
French Press Americano
To make French Press espresso, make the coffee grounds finer than usual. You will not go quite as fine as normal espresso but aim for something similar to AeroPress grind. And you will follow the normal espresso ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part coffee. For 18 grams of coffee, pour 36 grams of water into the press.
Start with a 3-minute brew time, but do not be afraid to adjust the grind and/or brew time to achieve a better flavor. Pour the French Press espresso into your cup and add the desired amount of hot water.
How to Make an Iced Americano
The iced Americano is super refreshing, and the basic idea is to use cold water and ice cubes to dilute your espresso shot. In this method, we recommend gently pouring the espresso over ice cubes to properly cool it, later adding the cold water.
You can even try making iced Americanos with concentrated cold brew, although it will not taste nearly as good as a proper espresso shot. Compared to iced coffee, the iced Americano has a bolder and fresher taste.
Check out our iced Americano recipe for the complete details on making this drink at home.
How to Make Americano Coffee: Final Thoughts
The Americano is a popular espresso drink because it allows you to taste the unique flavors of espresso without too much intensity. The hot water enables a smooth taste that more resembles the strength of drip coffee, and you can alter the amount of hot water to your specific taste.
So if you are bored with your drip coffee maker at home, do not assume you have to go to a coffee shop to make an Americano—you can quickly do it at home with this easy recipe. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
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