Sometimes you want that rich espresso taste, but a small shot just isn’t enough. The solution? A delicious cup of Americano coffee.
A Caffè Americano is an espresso shot with boiling water added to it, giving it the same flavor, but allowing you to enjoy it the same way you would a regular coffee.
Getting the balance of flavors right can be tricky, so we’ve put together this handy tutorial for how to make an Americano.
What You’ll Need
- An espresso machine or a Moka pot:
We recommend an espresso machine for its finer-tuned controls and more accurate results, but a Moka pot is great for stovetop espressos if you’re on a budget.
- Espresso coffee beans
- A coffee scale
- A grinder
- Boiling water
- An espresso tamper
- A cup
Making an Americano: Step-by-Step Instructions
If you know how to make a shot of espresso, making an Americano is easy. Even if you don’t, with these instructions, you’ll have a perfect cup in no time. Let’s get started.
Get an Espresso Machine or Moka Pot
If you don’t already have one of these, this is a necessary first step. You can’t make an espresso, the base of an Americano, without an espresso maker.
The electronic espresso machines can deliver higher pressure with exact temperature controls for more precise and consistent results, but a decent espresso machine can be a little on the pricey side.
A Moka pot, while less accurate and less able to deliver very high pressure, is perfect for anyone on a budget.
You can check out our guide of the Best Espresso Machine Under 200 or our tutorial on How To Make A Stovetop Espresso to see which works best for you.
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Get Your Favorite Espresso Beans
Pick out whichever beans that you like the best, but make sure they’re Espresso beans. Any other beans, and it won’t taste right. You won’t actually be getting an Americano out of it..
We recommend getting a high-quality bean that you’re already a fan of. A good Americano can deliver rich flavors but can magnify anything you might not like about a particular bean.
So make sure you go for something that you like and that has the quality behind it to make a proper cup of Americano.
Measure Your Beans
Using your coffee scale, measure out your beans.
You can make a single shot, but we recommend a double. A single shot will make a very weak Americano, which you might like, but most coffee-lovers won’t enjoy.
A double shot will give you a richer, stronger flavor that is much closer to a classic espresso even after it’s been diluted.
For a double shot of Espresso, measure 14-18 grams of your espresso beans. Set these beans aside.
Grind the Beans
Use your grinder to grind the beans you’ve set aside. Grind them as fine as possible for the best flavor.
As with espresso, you need really fine beans to bring out the richest flavor of an Americano. Too coarse, and it’ll just taste wrong. If you’ve ever had poorly-ground beans in espresso, you’ll understand.
Grind them good, and grind them fine.
Tamp the Grounds
This is where your espresso tamper comes in. If your machine doesn’t have an automatic tamper, you’ll have to do it manually.
Tamp the beans into the portafilter. Tamp it lightly at first to get an even bottom layer. Then, use firm pressure to tamp the rest until the portafilter is filled evenly to the brim.
Once you have a flat surface of espresso grounds that fills your portafilter, you’re ready for the next step.
Be careful not to apply too much pressure. The grounds need to be packed in tightly, but it’s very important that they’re even. Too much pressure and you might tamp inconsistently.
Consistent tamping is more important than using strength because you need an even layering of grounds for the steam pressure to push through. If it’s uneven, the flavoring of the espresso will be off.
Go as slowly as you need until you have a smooth, uniform packing.
If you’re using a Moka pot, you’ll be tamping into the filter rather than the portafilter, but the process is the same.
Place the Filter in your Machine
Put the filter into the machine. Or, if you’re using a Moka pot, place it into the bottom chamber.
How you need to do this will depend on what kind of machine or pot you’re using. If you’re new to your particular Espresso maker, check any instructions it has if you’re unsure.
Make an Espresso
If you’re using an Espresso machine, input whatever settings you want or any you usually use.
Essentially, you’re just making the Espresso you like. To get the perfect Americano for you, you’ll need to make your favorite kind of Espresso. Go nuts!
If you’re using a Moka pot, keep an eye on it until it’s boiling – or until it’s the right temperature for you, and the coffee has made its way into the top chamber.
Heat Up Some Water
The next ingredient for a great Americano is some piping hot water. Using a kettle or whatever else you have on-hand, heat up your water to your desired temperature.
The ideal temperature for an Americano is somewhere between 160 and 170 Fahrenheit, but if you prefer hotter or colder, who are we to judge?
Just be careful when choosing a temperature, because making it too hot or too cold can affect the overall flavor of the finished product. You don’t want your coffee sitting for too long by making it too hot, and you don’t want to accidentally cool your coffee down, either.
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Some kettles have exact temperature settings, so we recommend one of those if you want to get that exact Americano experience, but if you’re not too fussy then almost anything will work. We just highly recommend using a thermometer.
Pour the Hot Water into a Cup
Pour the hot water into an empty cup. Don’t pour it into the espresso just yet.
Pouring the hot water into the espresso itself can sometimes burn the coffee and affect the flavor, so we recommend doing it the other way around.
Of course, if you don’t want to make too many dishes, you might be able to get away with pouring the hot water into the espresso – but you won’t get that perfect Americano flavor.
Pour the Espresso into the Cup
Pour your espresso into your cup of hot water. Use a slow and steady pour to avoid the flavor being disrupted.
A slow, steady pour will also allow the espresso and the hot water to mix more evenly and will deliver the best results.
The ratio of hot water to espresso is entirely up to personal preference and may take some experimenting to get right. It will depend on how strong you want your Americano to be and how much coffee you want to drink.
Add Any Extras
Many coffee fans prefer their coffees black for the purest flavor profile. But, some people out there prefer something a little sweeter or more creamy – and that’s okay!
Add any sugar or milk you want until your americano tastes just right for you.
There are lots of things to experiment with when making coffee, and Americanos are no different.
Experiment with the ratio of espresso to hot water, any extras you’d like to add, or anything else you can think of. You can even try out different kinds of espresso beans to find which you like the best.
If you find yourself on a hot summer’s day but still craving the rich flavor of an Americano, you can also experiment with making an iced Americano. Instead of using hot water, use cold water and some ice.
The water to espresso ratio will be a little different here because of the ice, but there’s potential for a delicious, cold coffee for when you need it.
In short, figure out what you like – and roll with it!
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An Americano is a delicious, versatile drink for those coffee-lovers who adore that rich espresso flavor, but don’t want to limit themselves to just a shot or two of coffee.
Hopefully, by following these steps, you can make yourself a delicious cup of Americano right at home – the perfect way to enjoy the espresso flavor while still having a big cup of coffee.
Which step did you find the most useful or interesting? Do you have any other tips for making a great Americano?
Let us know in the comments, and we hope you enjoyed this how-to on making your own Americano.