How do you drink an Americano?

What is an Americano?

According to popular legend the Americano was first created in WWII by American soldiers who found Italian espresso too strong. By simply adding water to their espresso it weakened the intensity of the coffee. Once the drink became popular in America people began to discover that while the simple act of adding water to espresso seems easy enough, how you actually make the perfect Americano is entirely up to each individual drinker.

The Perfect Blend

According to We Dream of Coffee many people find that there are certain blends of espresso that are simply too overpowering. Using these blends to make an Americano is the perfect way to enjoy them without being overwhelmed by the taste. However, just like every other piece of the Americano puzzle, the type and potency of the espresso used is solely up to you. 

In addition to the strength of the espresso, the amount of espresso and water, and the ratio of each completely depends on taste. According to Victor Vitaly on i Food Blogger there are many different mathematically tested ratios that make a perfect Americano, but for me it all comes down to this:

Too little water = strong Americano

Too much water = diluted Americano

The trick is to try combinations as many times as it takes for it to taste just right for you. 

Too hot? Not hot enough?

Another question asked by many at home Americano drinkers is just how hot should the water be when adding the espresso to it? Victor Vitaly also touches on this subject by saying that a lower temperature water will yield a better initial tasting cup of coffee while the higher temperature brings out the bitterness of the espresso but tastes better as the drink cools down. There is also an option to make an Iced Americano using cold water and pouring the drink over ice. All these choices can create a fantastic Americano, you just need to decide which is best in your mind and in your mouth.

Which comes first?

The final great debate between Americano drinkers is which should come first, the water or the coffee? While it can absolutely be done either way, most believe that the espresso should be poured on top of the water. The reason, according to this YouTube video by Mike Jones with Third Rail Coffee, is because water poured on top will break apart the espresso creating an inferior taste. Pouring the espresso onto the water also help to preserve the crema that forms on top of the Americano. 

No matter how you like it, hot or iced, water or espresso poured first, every option yields a different Americano. The only way to make an Americano wrong is to not make one at all.