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Caffè Americano, or Americano (English: American coffee) is a style of coffee prepared by adding hot water to espresso, giving it a similar strength to, but different flavor from, regular drip coffee. The strength of an Americano varies with the number of shots of espresso and the amount of water added. The name is also spelled with varying capitalization and use of diacritics: e.g., café americano.
In the United States, "Americano" is used broadly to mean combining hot water and espresso in either order, but in a narrower definition it refers to adding water to espresso (espresso on the bottom), while adding espresso to water (espresso on the top) is instead referred to as a long black.
The term 'Americano' means 'American', and comes from Italian or American Spanish, dating to the 1970s. The 'Caffè Americano' specifically is Italian for 'American coffee'. There is a popular, but unconfirmed, belief that the name has its origins in World War 2 when American G.I.s in Europe would dilute espresso with hot water to approximate the coffee to which they were accustomed.
The drink consists of a single or double-shot of espresso combined with between 1 and 16 fluid ounces (30–470ml) of hot water.
An alternative of the same ingredients is encountered with the Long Black. The Long Black is the same as an Americano but prepared almost oppositely. A Long Black is created specifically by adding double espresso to a sitting cup of equally portioned hot water leaving the crema intact, this allows the tannins in the espresso to remain in the drink, giving the drink a slightly more full bodied flavor. Adding water to already sitting espresso annihilates the crema, and is called an Americano.
Due to the wide variation in volume, it is prudent to inquire before ordering one. The term Italiano is sometimes used in the Western United States, meaning a short Americano, specifically a 1:1 espresso/water ratio.
The hot water can be drawn directly from the same espresso machine that is used to brew the espresso, or from a separate water heater or kettle. Using the same heater is convenient, particularly at home, not needing a separate heater, and the water can in fact be drawn directly into the glass, either before or after pulling the shot of espresso. Some espresso machines have a separate hot water spout for this purpose, while others allow the use of the steam wand for dispensing hot water. Using a separate water heater is more practical in a commercial setting, as it reduces the demands on the espresso machine, both not disrupting the temperature of the brew water and allowing an inexpensive water heater to be used for hot water, rather than the substantially more complicated espresso machine.
Most commonly, an Americano is used when one wishes a brew-coffee sized drink from an espresso bar.
Americanos—particularly short, long black style Americanos—are also used within artisanal espresso preparation for beans that produce strong espresso. This is particularly used for single origin espresso, where many find that undiluted espresso shots can prove overpowering. This is particularly used of lighter coffees and roasts not generally associated with espresso, such as beans of Ethiopian or Sumatran origins. For this preparation, generally a ratio of 1:1 espresso to water is used, to prevent excess dilution, with the espresso pulled directly into a cup with existing water to minimize disruption to the crema.
- The iced americano is made by combining espresso with cold water instead of hot water.
- A lungo is made by extracting an espresso shot for longer giving more volume, but also extracting some bitter flavours.
- A caffè crema is also made by extracting an espresso shot for longer, significantly longer than a lungo.
- A red eye is made with drip coffee instead of hot water, and may be called a shot in the dark.
- "Americano". Collins English Dictionary. 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
- "Americano". Oxford English Dictionary. 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- It may also have been invented in the United States itself. Americano Coffee - What is Americano coffee and how do I make it
- Espresso: Questions and Answers – Italiano drink order, 2005, Portland, OR; Regional: United States West – espresso profeta in westwood?, Los Angeles, CA, 2009