When I hear Americano, the first two thoughts I have are, this drink was created by Italinas to poke fun at Americans, or it’s a drink created in the United States and became popular in Italy. Technically, neither of these are correct. The Americano, or Caffè Americano, simply translates to “American Coffee.” During World War 2, American soldiers stationed in Italy wanted coffee, but felt the traditional Italian espresso was too strong. In the US, the soldiers were used to drip coffee, which wasn’t nearly as intense as the espresso, and they wanted something watered down that was more enjoyable for them. As a way to accommodate, the Americano was created.
An Americano is a shot of espresso mixed with hot water. It’s usually prepared in a 6-ounce cup and is either half espresso and half hot water, or ⅓ espresso and ⅔ hot water. Usually people would have the water, then add the espresso on top, since it preserves the crema, which is a reddish-brown foam, but it’s also done the other way around. Crema adds to the fullness and aroma of an espresso and produces a thin layer at the top. From there people can add their own sugar or milk for some customization.
In other parts of the world, they have their own version of the Americano. There’s the Allongé in Quebec, the Long Black in Australia and New Zealand, and the Little Buddy also in Australia and New Zealand. Allongé is similar to Americano, but it’s not prepared in just hot water, but rather the espresso shot is pulled for a long time, so the additional liquid volume comes through the espresso machine. The Long Black is prepared just like an Americano, where the espresso shot is added to the hot water to preserve the crem, but the drink is prepared with less water than an Americano. The Little Buddy is very similar to a Long Black, where it’s made with equal parts, two ounces of hot water and two ounces of espresso. It’s also known as the Italiano, the Two and Two, and even the Danny DeVito (Sprudge).
The Americano is a classic coffee drink if you want the strength of an espresso without having to worry too much about the taste, if a normal espresso shot isn’t your thing.