What is an Americano? The Americano is an espresso based coffee drink consisting of espresso and water.
Not so exciting when said like that, but the truth is that it is very comparable to drip coffee, except maybe better. And there are variations on the ingredients and preparation that can change the drink quite a bit.
It was thought that the Americano originated during World War 2 as American servicemen who were used to the drip coffee they had back home in America – and asked for the same in Europe. Of course, in Italy and the rest of Europe, the espresso is what they were offered and they needed to dilute it.
To those servicemen, espresso was too potent, so they ended up diluting it with water or with hot water – and the Americano was born. Nobody knows if this is true, especially since this also happened and was described in some literature back in World War 1.
However the Americano came about, if you are looking for a great cup of coffee, not as subtle as the standard drip method coffee, but also not as strong as espresso, then this drink may be for you. A good way to look at it… is that the Americano falls between an espresso and drip coffee in intensity and boldness.
The Americano recipe.
So, to say it again, the Americano is a coffee drink composed of espresso and water.
The Americano recipe is: 2 espresso shots and one hot water shot on top – the water is added last.
The Americano recipe does not include milk or dairy, like you might see in a latte. Although, you certainly could add milk or cream to an Americano as you might with any cup of coffee.
The Americano and crema.
What really makes the Americano different from filtered or drip coffee is the crema. Crema is that oily coffee foam that settles on top when making espresso and espresso drinks.
Drip coffee and filtered coffee end up filtering the crema out. The crema adds a distinctively bold taste to the coffee.
Even though the crema is included in an Americano, you may not see it, as you would with an espresso. It is usually mixed into the cup of coffee when the hot water is poured over espresso.
Comparing the Americano to other similar coffee drinks.
What is an Americano vs Espresso?
Well, this should be obvious. The Americano is just espresso diluted with water. All of the good things about espresso are there, minus the crema, just watered down. Almost always, you want to use hot water, unless you are trying to make an iced Americano.
The espresso is brewed with fine ground, robust, darker roasts of coffee. And the Americano will just be a watered down version of the espresso that is brewed.
What is an Americano vs Drip Coffee?
This comparison here is that drip coffee is made with medium grind coffee that may be light or dark roast and may not be as robust in taste. Then you have to also remember that drip coffee is filtered and the crema components are lost altogether.
You can expect a very robust, intense cup of coffee with earthy and nutty tones when you have an espresso. But with drip coffee, you can expect a more subtle, lighter, sweeter flavor from your cup of coffee.
Don’t expect more caffeine in an Americano. In fact, you will probably find less caffeine in an American vs drip coffee. Why? Because the drip method allows for more extraction of the caffeine part of the coffee in the lengthened brewing process.
What ia an Americano vs Long Black?
So, what is a long black? The long black is another espresso drink associated with Australia and New Zealand with exactly the same ingredients as an Americano. The difference is that a long black is made by pouring the espresso over the water – by adding the espresso to your cup last. When done right, this preserves the crema intact on the top.
Also, the long black is usually made with less added water, making it a little more bold than an Americano.
Can an Americano be made at home?
If you can make espresso at home, or if you can make something close to espresso that contains the crema, then yes, you can make an Americano at home.
How to make an Americano at home:
Americano home recipe: It is easy. Just make 2 espresso shots and add them to your mug. Then add 1 hot water shot, or 1 steamed water shot to your mug. To maintain the crema on top, you may want to reverse the process and add the hot water shot to your mug first, then add the 2 espresso shots.
Variations to this are to add less espresso or more hot water. Typically, in Europe, anywhere from 1 oz to 16 ounces of water are added to double espresso shots.
If you can’t afford a complex and expensive espresso machine, then there are many affordable and compact espresso machines that will probably work well to make this drink at home.
When is the Americano preferred to espresso?
There are certain coffee bean varieties that can produce overpowering espresso, so bold and strong that it just isn’t desirable to drink straight as espresso.
But, when diluted into an Americano or a Long Black, it becomes yet another coffee experience. Varieties of coffee beans that are this potent are associated with the Ethiopian and Sumatran origins.
The Americano is really good if you want a stronger, bolder and more intense cup of coffee than the normal drip coffee from a standard coffee maker. You will find more coffee flavor and earthy tones in your coffee cup.
If you tend to like espresso, but it sometimes a little overpowering, then the Americano may be a great coffee experience for you.
Another thing you might like about the Americano over espresso is that the volume of coffee. If you like a bigger cup of coffee because you like to enjoy it just a little longer, then that is also a plus for the Americano.
Try an Americano and see for yourself what you have been missing.
What is pour over coffee? Where did pour over coffee originate? And how do you make pour over coffee?
Let’s take a detailed look at pour over coffee.
Pour over coffee is a popular manual coffee brewing method. What do we mean by manual brewing? It means there is very little equipment, if any, involved in the brewing process. It is all done by hand and every part of the method is controlled by the user.
Pour over coffee is really just a cup, a filter, a cone shaped funnel, and you, the barista. There are no machines to make things complicated.
The pour over method, when done right, will bring out subtle flavors compared to other brewing methods. If you are savoring coffees from a single origin, single place or producer, the pour over method allows the flavors and nuances to come out and really be experienced.
How pour over coffee brewing started.
Pour over coffee isn’t a new idea. It has been around since the late 1800s.
In 1908, a woman named Amalie created a type of coffee brewing device after being very disappointed in the coffee from her percolator. She experimented until she found that by using a filter and a cone shape she could produce a great cup of coffee.
Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz began building Melitta Pour Overs which became a hit back in the 1930s. Melitta is a name known today for quality coffee making products.
This brewing method design of Amalie’s evolved into what is known today as the pour over coffee brewing method. It always involves a funnel or cone shaped filter placed above the final coffee receptacle.
The unique funnel and filter of pour over coffee brewing.
What is pour over coffee? It is generally called pour over because the apparatus used to make pour over coffee sits over a mug or carafe. And hot water is poured into the funnel and filtered into the mug or carafe below using simple gravity.
The apparatus or set for pour over coffee is almost always some type of funnel and filter combination.
It is the funnel that really makes the difference with pour over coffee.
The funnel or cone shaped filter of the pour over method means that the filter area is much larger than the typical drip method or other methods. This larger filtration area gives a very “clean” cup of coffee consistently, meaning that the hot water extracts the oils and fragrances but the filter then traps a lot of the bitter oils away from the final cup.
The typical set for pour over coffee sits atop a mug or some systems have larger equipment for sitting above a carafe of some type.
This method of making coffee is a very hand on, manual, method. It allows the coffee drinker to control many of the factors involved with making their coffee
There are some commercial systems that utilize the same basic method but scale up to allow for multiple cups to brew through at the same time.
An infusion method of coffee brewing is where the coffee is steeped in water before filtration. The pour over method in an infusion method which produces a milder brew with more acidity.
Where pour over coffee has some downsides is related to human error. Bad pouring technique can produce a very poor cup of coffee. There is a definite recipe to making a good pour over cup of coffee. Doing it incorrectly or rushed can ruin the final result.
Getting an even extraction is one of the biggest challenges with the pour over coffee method. If the poured water does not allow the grounds to be evenly distributed in the extraction, you won’t get the most out of the pour over brew.
Yes, you have more control over the final result, but it also comes with more risk of ruining a good cup of coffee.
Single serve pour over coffee.
There is also a variation of the pour over coffee set used on a small scale. It is referred to as the single serve pour over coffee system. Single serve refers to the fact that is only used on a mug by mug basis – only for a single serving.
This single serve method of pour over coffee allows the funnel and filter to sit down into the mug. This submerged coffee is allowed to steep for a little while before removing the filter and allowing the funnel to drain into the mug before drinking.
Some of these systems – as we will look at in a moment, are just a paper filter funnel combo that can easily be pulled out and discarded.
Pour over coffee brewing sets or systems.
There are varied systems or sets for pour over coffee.
Remember that pour over coffee, at its most basic, does not involve machines. Pour over systems or sets are just basic manual coffee brewing hardware
The most seen and most used involves a screened funnel that has a platform where it allows the funnel to sit on top of a coffee mug. Some of these little units may require the user to use a paper filter along with the screened funnel.
Some of the units combine the funnel and filter into one unit – the funnel also acting as the filter with a fine screen – usually as a stainless steel filter
There are sets that have a platform or rack that hold the funnel and filter above a mug or carafe.
This funnel and filter combination is the norm. It is usually just a matter of size as to whether the pour over set is used for just a single mug or for some type of carafe. Those for use with a carafe, usually provide the carafe in the system.
All of these sets are very basic, always composed of a funnel and filter over a receptacle of some sort.
As we hinted at earlier, there is a variation of the pour over set that allows the funnel to sit down into, or be slightly submerged into the coffee in the mug. These sets are only used for a single mug and is why they are called single serve pour over.
This type of pour over allows the coffee in the funnel to brew in the mug for a period of time before removing. Once removed, the remaining liquid is allowed to drain into the mug as much as possible.
This can produce a slightly bolder cup of coffee.
There are single serve sets that are all paper. They are essentially filters shaped as a funnel that have wings which pull out and hold the funnel at the top of the mug.
There are some coffee brewers that pre-package their coffee into these single serve pour overs. All you need to do is pour hot water into the filter.
Then there are single serve filters with wings that you can buy that allow you to put your own coffee into the filter. This seems like a very eco friendly and easy way to make a cup of coffee
The best pour over coffee grind size.
So, what coffee grind size is the best for pour over coffee?
The best way to know this is to experiment. But, generally, medium to medium-fine grind is considered the best for pour over coffee making. We prefer the medium-fine grind as it will help bring out more of the soul of the coffee.
To make your pour over coffee a little bolder, grind the coffee finer. For a lighter cup with more flavor tones, try a coarser grind.
The best water temperature for pour over coffee.
The ideal temperature range for brewing pour over coffee is going to be the same temperature as with brewing using most other methods. That temperature is 195°F to 205°F (90.5°C to 96°C).
Some experts will tell you that water right off the boil (212°F / 100°C) is the best temperature for pour over coffee.
Of course, you can try cooler temperatures that may work for better taste at 176°F /80°C.
With all of these temperatures, remember they are still hot! The heated water is what helps to extract the flavorful coffee oils.
Pour over coffee to water ratio.
There is supposed to be a golden ratio for making coffee that should work with most brewing methods. However, we have found this to be somewhat inaccurate and misleading.
The golden ratio recommends a ratio of 55 grams of coffee per liter of water. That breaks down into about 24 grams of coffee per 15 fl oz of water. That works out to about 4.8 tbsp of coffee to 15 fl oz of water (based on our measurement of 5 grams per tbsp of medium-fine ground coffee).
With other brewing methods we have tried, 3 tbsp of coffee or less usually works for a 15 fluid oz cup
As a quick rule of thumb, the best pour over coffee ratio is 1:4 -or- 1 tbsp of coffee for every 4 ounces of water. So, for a 15 fl oz cup of coffee, a little less than 4 tbsp of coffee will do.
How long to let pour over coffee brew.
Brew time for pour over coffee varies with how much water is needed for the brew. Brew time consists of allowing the filter to drain and the coffee to settle. For a standard 15 oz cup of coffee, You will want about 3-4 minutes of brewing time. Of course, longer for larger brew sizes and slightly less time for smaller brews.
The secret to great pour over coffee.
What is the secret to great pour over coffee? The answer is simple… the filter. As stated, the large filtration of the cone shaped funnel and a paper filter allow for much of the bitter oils to be filtered out, allowing the nuances of the coffee to pass through. So don’t ignore the filter.
Components of great pour over coffee:
Good, clean, filtered water
Proper water temperature
Cone shaped funnel
A good paper filter
Fresh ground coffee
Correct coffee grind size
Following the correct process and brew time
How to make pour over coffee instructions (recipe) – step-by-step.
Step-by-step (for a standard 15 oz mug brewing straight into the mug)
1] Add a fresh paper filter to the brewer funnel (or ready your stainless filter / funnel).
2] Place cup under the brewer.
3] Wet the paper filter (not needed for stainless filter) to reduce any paper taste.
4] Drain cup of initial water from wetting filter
5] Add fresh ground coffee – roughly 1 tbsp per 4 oz of water (roughly 4 tbsp for a 15oz cup)
6] Start with a “bloom” by pouring hot water (195 to 205 degrees ideally) evenly over the coffee grounds, about 10% of your brewing amount, just enough to cover the grounds in the center
7] Wait 30 to 45 seconds
8] Slowly pour the remaining hot water in your brew, starting in the middle and slowly spiraling outward to the outside edges. This should take 2-3 minutes.
9] Allow the filter to drain and about 3 minutes for the coffee to “brew” and settle.
Pour over coffee vs french press.
There are definitely some differences when comparing pour over coffee to coffee made with a french press. The primary comparison is taste. French press coffee is more bold and somewhat bitter due to the coffee being fully submerged while steeping in hot water and little of that is filtered out by the screen in a french press.
Pour over coffee, by contrast, has non submerged coffee that is highly filtered, leaving a more flavorful cup of coffee with less bitterness and more of the nuances of the coffee. It is the filtration that really makes the difference.
Another difference is that french press coffee also allows more of the coffee solids, the coffee grit to enter the final cup because of the typical screen of the french press.
Still another difference is in clean up, pour over coffee is much easier to clean up due to the paper filter.
Pour over coffee vs drip coffee.
Again, the primary difference between pour over coffee and drip coffee is the filtration. It is the higher filtration that produces a less bitter and more flavorful cup of coffee when using the pour over method compared to the drip method. The high filtration comes from the cone shaped funnel and the paper filter.
Another difference is that the pour over method is a more manual method, and that means that the user will have more control over the final cup of coffee.
If you are expecting a very strong, bold cup of coffee from pour over coffee – sorry, you will be disappointed.
It is sometimes difficult to put into words how pour over coffee brings out the coffee flavor and nuances and a more vibrant taste, while taking out some of the bitterness – all due to filtration.
Try this brewing method and discover for yourself what pour over coffee is all about.
Pour-over coffee is a coffee brewing method growing in popularity to produce great tasting coffee with a very simple and manual brewing system.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions and answers with respect to pour-over coffee.
What is pour-over coffee?
Pour-over coffee is a coffee making method which uses a funnel shaped filter placed above a coffee mug or a coffee decanter in which hot water is poured into the funnel containing a set amount of coffee and allowed to filter into the mug or decanter. Some methods use a semi-submerged funnel shaped coffee filter which sits inside the mug as opposed to over it.
What is the best pour-over coffee grind size?
The best coffee grind size for pour-over coffee is probably going to be medium to medium-fine. This allows for the best overall taste, but other grinds may work for you depending on your own personal coffee taste preference.
What is the best water temperature for pour-over coffee?
It has been stated that the ideal temperature range for brewing coffee, including pour-over coffee, is 195°F–205°F (90.5°C–96°C). Other opinions will say that water right off the boil (212°F/100°C) is best. Others speculate that more cooler temperatures may work for better taste at 176°F/80°C. All of these temperatures are hot! Heated water helps to extract the flavorful coffee oils.
What is the best pour-over coffee to water ratio?
Quick pour-over coffee ratio: 1:4 -or- 1 tbsp of coffee for every 4 ounces of water.
The best pour-over coffee to water ratio follows the golden cup standard for coffee, which recommends a coffee to water ratio of 55 grams of coffee per liter of water (or about 2 dry ounces of coffee to every 4.25 cups of water). This chart may help.
Pour-over coffee vs French Press – How does it compare?
There are 3 major differences between pour-over coffee and coffee made with a french press. One is that the french press has a tendency to allow smaller coffee grit to enter the final cup while the pour-over method is more filtered. Second, the cleanup with a french press is a hassle vs the pour-over method which is simple and easy to clean up. Third, pour-over coffee tends to be more relaxed and flavorful compared to the bold flavors found by using a french press.
Pour-over coffee vs Drip coffee – What is the difference?
The major difference between pour-over coffee vs drip coffee is that the end user has more control over the brewing process. The manual process and control of pour-over coffee can be modified by the maker to get exactly the coffee taste they prefer and will tend to have a more vibrant, smooth and savory flavor.
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