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What Exactly Makes a Coffee an Americano Coffee?
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What Exactly Makes a Coffee an Americano Coffee?

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American Coffee Is Not Your Typical Espresso by CoffeeForLess For those already in the know, coffee drinkers who enjoy drip coffee but don’t have access to it have found that an Americano coffee is the perfect substitute. And lovers of the Americano coffee style may be so committed, that it’s all they drink, whether they enjoy it hot or over ice. Either way, the recipe for making an Americano coffee is simple: one just pulls a single or double shot of espresso using an espresso maker, pours it into a cup, and then adds hot water (often boiling) in an equal or slightly greater amount. With an Americano coffee, the fragrant and sharp aroma of espresso is retained, though the flavor tends to be less bitter and strong.

The Legend of Americano Coffee: Know Your History

There is much lore around the beginnings of the Americano coffee drink, but a few stories seem to pop up frequently enough to lend them a tinge of credibility. In one story, Italian coffee makers created the recipe to please American tourists who were used to the flavor and strength of a normal, drip-style cup of brewed coffee. Naming the drink an “Americano” created a link to the audience for whom it was originally crafted. In another story, the very first Americano coffee is said to find its origins on the battlefield during World War II. During the war, plenty of American GIs were overseas, struggling to find something comparable to their brewed coffee in the morning. By diluting European espresso style coffee with hot water, they were able to create something reasonably similar to a drip style cup of coffee, thus creating the Americano coffee drink. Upon returning to the States after their tour, they brought the Americano coffee style home with them, where it further grew in popularity and spread to the masses.

The “Science” of Flavor Behind the Americano Coffee Beverage

As coffee aficionados will attest to, the Americano coffee recipe is simple but strict: hot water is added to the shot of espresso after the espresso shot has been pulled. Working the recipe in a similar fashion, some coffee drinkers prefer to pull an extra long shot of espresso, essentially extracting more hot water through the same puck of espresso. This version, however, is not considered to be an Americano coffee – it is, in fact, called a lungo, or long espresso. Yet another version switches up the order in which the ingredients are added to the cup: sometimes referred to as a long black, the beverage features a shot of espresso that’s then poured into hot water. In this version, the crema (frothy layer on top of the espresso shot) is broken up, or infracted, when it is poured into the hot water.

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