The Americano and its magic. There’s something special about it. I love a good Americano — for awhile it was my go-to drink. It’s not only delicious (particularly for those who love the nutty flavor of espresso), but it also has a pretty fascinating story behind it.

a top view of a black americano in a white mug

So what is an Americano anyway? In short, it’s espresso diluted with water. The story goes like this: Following World War II, the American soldiers stationed in Italy thought that the Italian coffee — espresso — was too strong. Americans were used to drinking filtered coffee, like the typical American cup of joe that we know and love.

They added hot water to their espresso to dilute it, and the rest is history. This turned the small shot of espresso into a larger cup of coffee and diluted the flavor. By doing this, the Americans had a drink more similar to their drip coffee back home. This drink eventually developed the name “caffe americano,” which directly translates to “American coffee.”

When the soldiers returned home, they brought this recipe with them. Coffee shops still serve Americanos throughout the United States today as an alternative to filtered coffee. Coffee critics complain that the taste of an Americano is “inferior.” Diluting the espresso does slightly increase the bitter taste of it. Nevertheless, the drink remains a staple and is quite delightful for those who enjoy the strong flavor of a good espresso. It’s also a useful alternative when filtered coffee isn’t readily available.

As for me, once upon a time my favorite drink was an iced americano. I’ve always had a fondness for drinking iced coffee in all its forms, which probably stems from my weird satisfaction with eating cold foods. Nevertheless, Americanos are delightful both hot and over ice. They’re not as heavy as a caffe latte since the base is water rather than milk. They also usually have more espresso than a latte. I love that extra caffeine kick.

the text "americano" written in script

Americano

Course Drinks
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 2-4 oz espresso
  • Hot water
  • Cream and sugar to taste

Instructions
 

  • Pour fresh, hot water into a cup, then pull the espresso directly into the hot water. Add cream and sugar to taste.
  • To make an iced americano, pull the espresso over room temp-cold water, then add a scoop of ice. Add cream and sugar to taste.

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