First, not only do the words sound nearly identical in English, but they also come from similar roots. The name “Espresso” comes from a combination of Italian and Latin words meaning “pressed out."
The word “Americano” was coined in 1878 according to columbia.edu with its root meaning being “American.”
This suggests that while both drinks have slightly different meanings today, their names reflect a hidden history between these beverages
The main difference between these two drinks is the preparation process they require. While an Americano calls for espresso and hot water, Espresso typically only requires a shot of strong coffee and water.
In this Article
What is espresso?
Espresso is a quintessential Italian drink that has now been adopted by coffee lovers worldwide. It is a strong coffee drink made from finely ground coffee beans and hot water poured over the ground beans.
While some do use milk, it is generally not added to the final product. The end product is a concentrated coffee with a rich, mellow flavor.
It can be consumed in various ways. For example, espresso may be served as a shot in a small cup, or as a longer drink called caffè latte.
Espresso is all about bringing out the flavor of the bean itself. The beauty lies in its simplicity and synergy with companion foods.
It can be prepared in a variety of ways; the method of preparation depends on the amount of time it takes for the drink to brew and its strength.
What is an Americano?
An Americano is a mixture of espresso and hot water. It is also known as the “Americano-style coffee" or “Italian-American coffee”.
The name comes from American soldiers stationed in Italy during World War II who were introduced to the beverage.
They enjoyed the drink so much that they brought it back with them when they returned home. A more conventional version of this drink now calls for 1/2 espresso and 1/4 hot water which can be mixed together in any proportion according to taste.
Americano is traditionally served in a shorter time than the traditional Espresso.
The Americano is typically used as a morning drink; it is lower in caffeine than espresso and one-third of the time period needed to brew an espresso.
Espresso Vs Americano
So are these drinks Espresso vs Americano? In order to better understand how these two beverages are similar, it helps to know their history.
According to wikipedia.org, the espresso beverage was invented by Achille Gaggia in the late 19th century.
The Americano was created by the Italians in America during WWII who admirably adopted it and enjoyed it so much that they brought it back with them.
Espresso Vs Americano: Taste
Espresso and Americano both have different brewing methods. Both can be consumed at any time of the day. But there’s a subtle difference in the preparation of each drink.
Espresso tends to have a darker, richer taste since it has less water to caffeine. In addition to this, Espresso also adds just enough water to make things perfect while Americano calls for more hot water.
Some people tend to prefer Americano over Espresso as adding hot water to espresso tends to bring out coffee flavors and reduces the Espresso bitterness.
Espresso Vs Americano: Caffeine Content
When looking at total caffeine content. Espresso and Americano both have the same total caffeine content as Americano is Espresso + Hot Water.
But it is important to note that these drinks are consumed in different quantities so the total caffeine content isn't the same as a percentage of volume.
Americano obviously has lower caffeine content than Espresso when looking at total volume of drink consumed.
Espresso Vs Americano: Presentation
Espresso tends to be much denser than an Americano, though a simple Americano can easily be made after the Espresso is already made. But the presentation of both drinks is what seals the deal for most people.
HOW DO YOU MAKE AN AMERICANO?
Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing Americano:
1. Get good Espresso beans.
The taste of a coffee depends upon the type of beans you use, so always get good quality espresso beans to make delicious Americano.
Ideally, the beans should be roasted within 24 hours before they are roasted for Espresso. Try to get whole and unprocessed beans. The higher the quality of beans, the better the Americano will taste.
2. Measure the beans
Also, measure the number of beans for a cup of Espresso as this will tell you how much espresso powder to add in order to brew Americano.
For each cup of Espresso, you need 4-5 grams of whole beans and a coffee percolator or espresso machine.
The beans should be ground to a fine powder first. If you don’t have a grinder then use pre-ground espresso powder or store-bought ground coffee as they are also used for making Americanos.
3. Grind the beans
Grind the beans using a coffee grinder or with an espresso machine. If you grind your own coffee, make sure that all parts of the grinds are removed and dosed to avoid bitter taste.
4. Tamp well
You need to pack the coffee powder in the filter tightly and lightly tamp it down to remove any air bubbles.
The evenness of the tamping process avoids water passing through faster or slower, which can influence the flavor of the Americano.
5. Put ground coffee in the filter.
If you are making Americano using an espresso machine, the instructions would be different for different machines.
The typical amount of ground coffee for the standard-sized shots is 1-2 tbsp, this again may vary depending on your taste.
So measure 2 tbsp of ground coffee into a filter and shake it well to level it out before placing it on the espresso machine portafilter (the part that holds the grounds after they're tamped).
6. Begin brewing the Espresso shots.
Brew the Espresso shots to an appropriate strength. You can also adjust the amount of freshly brewed water or the amount of hot water in your Americano shot as per your taste.
Make sure that you keep a check on your paper filter or basket so it doesn’t overflow during brewing. Take out the Espresso shot from the portafilter and pour it into a cup.
7. Pour hot water over the coffee.
Pour hot water into a cup of espresso and stir well to mix the two ingredients. This will help release the aromatics of coffee beans.
8. Brew it up and serve it hot
The Americano may be served as an espresso shot, like traditional Espresso, or as a longer drink with or without milk in it.
The traditional way to serve espresso is in a short-sized glass in a single portion with a spoon and a saucer.
WHICH DRINK IS BETTER?
In terms of taste, it depends on the choice of an individual. If you prefer a short, full bodied, somewhat bitter kick of caffeine then go for espresso.
If a mellow more flavourful, less bitter and less acidic drink is your choice then go for an Americano.
The bitterness in Espresso depends upon the amount of beans, while the sweetness in Americano depends on the amount of hot water added.
If you are a beginner at the barista, espresso is the more obvious choice as it delivers a richer flavor.
However, in the long run, Americano may prove to be your best bet as it is easier to handle and less expensive in comparison.
Hence, both drinks have their own benefits. Look for a drink that meets your individual tastes and preferences!