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Caffè americano

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Caffè americano
A caffè americano in Bangalore
Alternative namesLong black
Region or stateItaly or Latin America
Main ingredientsSteaming hot water and espresso

Caffè americano (Italian: [kafˈfɛ ameriˈkaːno]; Spanish: café americano; lit.'American coffee'), also known as americano or American, is a type of coffee drink prepared by diluting an espresso shot with hot water at a 1:3 to 1:4 ratio, resulting in a drink that retains the complex flavors of espresso, but in a lighter way.[1] Its strength 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 Italy, caffè americano may mean either espresso with hot water or long-filtered coffee, but the latter is more precisely called caffè all'americana (lit.'American-style coffee').[2]



Americano means 'American' in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.[3] Some assert the term entered the English language from Italian in the 1970s.[4][5][6][7] Caffè americano specifically is Italian for "American coffee".[8] There is a popular belief that the name has its origins in World War II when American G.I.s in Italy diluted espresso with hot water to approximate the coffee to which they were accustomed.[9] However, the Oxford English Dictionary cites the term as a borrowing from Central American Spanish café americano, a derisive term for mild coffee dating to the middle of the 1950s. Its first use in English appears in the Jamaican newspaper, the Sunday Gleaner, in 1964. The term caffè americano entered Italian later than the English or Spanish uses, perhaps as a borrowing from one of the two languages.[10]


Caffè americano as served in the Philippines

The drink consists of a single shot of espresso mixed with added water. Typically about 120 millilitres (4 imp fl oz; 4 US fl oz)-180 millilitres (6 imp fl oz; 6 US fl oz) of hot water mixed with the espresso.[11]

Long black is an Australasian drink similar to the Americano (in contrast to short black for espresso), with an emphasis being placed on the order of preparation, adding water to the cup first before pouring one or two espresso on top.[12][13]

In the western U.S., Italiano sometimes refers to a short Americano with equal amounts of espresso and water (lungo).[14][15]

The hot water can be drawn directly from the machine used to brew the espresso, as water or steam, or from a separate water heater or kettle.



Most commonly, an Americano is drunk as prepared. 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; and with 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.


  • A long black is made in the reverse order, by pouring an espresso shot into hot water. This helps keep the espresso's crema intact.[13]
  • The iced Americano is made by combining espresso with cold water instead of hot water.
  • A red eye is made by combining a shot of espresso with drip coffee instead of hot water, and may be called a shot in the dark.[16]

See also


Media related to Caffè americano at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of caffè americano at Wiktionary


  1. ^ Tom (28 July 2023). "How to Make an Americano the Barista Way". bigcupofcoffee.com. Archived from the original on 8 December 2023. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  2. ^ Caucci, Raffaella (6 February 2019). "Caffè americano e caffè all'americana. Qual è la differenza?" [American coffee and American-style coffee. What is the difference?]. Dersut Magazine (in Italian). Archived from the original on 18 October 2022. Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  3. ^ "Americano". OED. Archived from the original on 29 December 2023. Retrieved 5 January 2022. Chiefly representing the usage of Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese speakers: a native or inhabitant of the United States
  4. ^ "Americano". Oxford Dictionary of English. Archived from the original on 29 December 2023. Retrieved 5 January 2022. (from Italian)
  5. ^ "Americano". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 22 March 2014. Word origin; C20: from Italian (caffè) Americano American (coffee)
  6. ^ "Americano". Merriam-Webster. Archived from the original on 8 December 2023. Retrieved 5 January 2020. Etymology; borrowed from Spanish café americano or Italian caffè americano, literally, "American coffee"
  7. ^ "Americano". Lexico. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  8. ^ Allerton, David J. (2010). I Only Have a Kitchen Because It Came with the House. The Foodies Handbook. p. 26. ISBN 9781446130018. Retrieved 19 October 2014. An espresso coffee diluted with hot water and containing no milk. An Italian term literally meaning 'American coffee'
  9. ^ Coyle, Cleo (2009). Holiday Grind - a coffeehouse mystery. Berkley Publishing Group. p. 228. ISBN 9781101151143. Retrieved 2 November 2016. caffe Americano, Americano—The Italian answer to American-style drip coffee. An espresso diluted with hot water. It has a similar strength to drip coffee but a different flavor. The drink's origin dates back to World War II when American GIs stationed in Italy added hot water to their espressos to create a drink closer to the type of coffee they were used to back home.
  10. ^ "cafe Americano". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  11. ^ Bellis, James (13 April 2023). "Flat White vs Cappuccino vs Latte vs Americano vs Macchiato". Balance Coffee. Archived from the original on 5 October 2023. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  12. ^ "Why You Should Stop Drinking Long Blacks and Start Drinking Black Coffee". Perth Coffee Project. 26 February 2014. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Coffee Recipes – Long Black". Breville. Archived from the original on 7 June 2023. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  14. ^ "Espresso: Questions and Answers – Italiano drink order". coffeegeek.com. 11 November 2005. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  15. ^ "Regional: United States West – espresso profeta in Westwood?". coffeegeek.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  16. ^ "Red-Eye Coffee Recipe: How to Make a Red-Eye Coffee". MasterClass. 24 June 2021. Archived from the original on 3 January 2022. Retrieved 29 December 2023.