Caffè Americano

Caffè Americano

A Caffè Americano
Type Beverage
Region or state Italy or Latin America
Main ingredients hot water and espresso
Cookbook: Caffè Americano  Media: Caffè Americano

Caffè Americano (Italian pronunciation: [kafˈfɛ ameriˈkaːno]) or Americano (shortened from Italian: caffè americano or American Spanish: café americano, literally American coffee) is a style of coffee prepared by brewing espresso with added hot water, giving it a similar strength to, but different flavor from 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 Italy caffè americano could mean either espresso with hot water or filtered coffee (caffè all'americana).


The term "Americano" means "American", and comes from American Spanish, dating to the 1970s,[1] or from Italian.[2] The term "caffè Americano" specifically is Italian for "American coffee".[3] There is a popular, but unconfirmed, belief that the name has its origins in World War II when American G.I.s in Italy would dilute espresso with hot water to approximate the coffee to which they were accustomed.[4][5]

Earlier, in his 1928 novel Ashenden: Or the British Agent, Somerset Maugham has his protagonist order and drink something called an americano in Naples during World War I, but there is not enough information to indicate whether it is the same drink.[6]


The drink consists of a single or double-shot of espresso brewed with added water. There seems to be no universal consensus on the way the water is added, but typically in the UK (and in Italy) between 1 and 16 fluid ounces (30–470ml) of hot water is added to the double espresso.[7]

Long Black is an Australasian term for an 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 the espresso on top.[8]

The term Italiano is sometimes used in the Western United States, meaning a short Americano, specifically a 1:1 espresso/water ratio.[9]

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.

Caffè Americano is brewed coffee in the Philippines.


Most commonly, an Americano is used when one orders 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; 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.


See also


  1. "Americano". Oxford Dictionary of English. 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  2. "Americano". Collins English Dictionary. 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
  3. Allerton, David J. (2010). I Only Have a Kitchen Because It Came with the House. The Foodies Handbook. p. 26. Retrieved October 19, 2014. An espresso coffee diluted with hot water and containing no milk. An Italian term literally meaning ‘American coffee’
  4. Coyle, Cleo (2009). Holiday Grind - a coffeehouse mystery. Berkley Publishing Group. p. 228. Retrieved November 2, 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.
  5. Americano Coffee - What is Americano coffee and how do I make it
  6. Maugham, W. Somerset (1928). "6. The Greek". Ashenden: Or the British Agent. Then he took a fly drawn by a small and scraggy pony and rattled back over the stones to the Galleria, where he sat in the cool and drank an americano and looked at the people who loitered there...
  9. Espresso: Questions and Answers – Italiano drink order, 2005, Portland, OR; Regional: United States West – espresso profeta in westwood?, Los Angeles, CA, 2009
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