How to make a Caffe Americano in 5 easy steps

Instead of steamed or frothed milk, we're going to mix equal parts (1:1) of espresso and water. The result is a drink that still has that wonderful espresso character, but might feel slightly more refreshing, less heavy than a traditional latte or cappuccino.

Salut! (just don't forget the saucer like I did)

Looking for a fun change-up to your morning coffee routine? Try a Caffe Americano. It’s an espresso drink, but instead of milk, an Americano is infused with hot water.

On a trip to Ottawa recently a friend introduced me to this tasty bugger at a local cafe. Yes, I discovered the Americano in Oh, Canada. I’ve added it to my morning repertoire, occasionally making one when I feel like a drink with more volume, or sometimes because we’ve run out of milk.

Making an Americano (Italian for “American Coffee”) at home is really simple.

You’ll need two things: an espresso machine and hot/boiling water.

Instead of espresso and steamed or frothed milk (as you’d use in a latte or cappuccino), we’re going to mix equal parts (1:1) of espresso and water. The result is a drink that still  has that wonderful espresso character, but might feel slightly more refreshing, less heavy than a traditional latte or cappuccino. Like other espresso-based drinks, you can adjust to your heart’s content. Some prefer a milder version. Try doubling the amount of water per shot (mixing 2:1) if you’re looking for something lighter, for example.

Here’s how to make a Caffe Americano:

1. Have a latte mug, or coffee mug ready.

Optional: pre-heat the mug by adding water, then boiling it in the microwave.

2. Pull a 3oz (or more if you like your drink stronger) espresso shot into a separate glass.

Here I use a Nespresso to "pull" a shot.

Though I have a Pasquini that I love, I often will make my shots on the Nespresso to save time.

3. Pour about 3oz or so of hot water into the mug you plan to drink from.

Pour about 3oz. of hot water into a mug. Here I use the Pasquini which has hot/steamed water ready to go. You can also just use a microwave to heat it up.

I draw water from the Pasquini, but you can use an espresso wand, or simply heat up the water in a microwave.

4. Pour the espresso shot into the mug.

Two ingredients ready. Espresso (large shot!) on left, and hot water on right. I like to pour the espresso shot into the water. Experiment! You'll discover subtlies in flavor, and find your own ideal recipe.

Pour the espresso into the water (“long black”). Many suggest pouring the water into the shot. I don’t like this, as it tends to break apart the espresso shot; certainly experiment, and find out what works best for you.

5. Enjoy your Americano!

Salut! (just don't forget the saucer like I did)

Like any espresso based drink, personalization prevails. Tweak the proportions of the ingredients – there’s only two of them (water and espresso) to make your favorite style. You can add other do-dahs – honey, sugar, cinammon, etc. I prefer mine “classic” with no extras.

However you serve it, an Americano is a wonderful start to the day!

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