Americano Versus Regular Coffee

Here is a little background information on the coffee-based Americano drink and how it compares to a regular cup of coffee.


Americano, aka Caffè Americano is made by adding hot water to espresso until its roughly the same strength as regular drip coffee. The drink reportedly originated during World War II when American GIs stationed in Europe would add hot water to espresso to approximate the coffee to which they were accustomed. Over time, the drink caught on at coffee houses, especially in the United States.

One typically orders an Americano when one wishes a conventional brew-coffee sized drink from an espresso bar and one prefers the espresso-enhanced flavor of the Americano. It's also more sophisticated to order an Americano. Heck, anyone can order a plain old coffee.

Regular Coffee

Coffee is made from the roasted seeds or beans of the coffee plant. It is brewed in a number of ways, including percolation, dripping hot water through grains, French press immersion, or simply adding grains directly to a pot of water and boiling.

Compared to espresso, from which the Americano drink is derived, regular coffee is brewed at a lower temperature for a longer time using more water and a coarser grind. This results in a brew that is thinner bodied, less bitter, and lighter in color than espresso.

Making an Americano

Although there are no hard and fast rules for making an Americano, it often involves adding a shot of espresso to a 6-8 oz coffee cup and filling the rest of the cup with hot water. An Americano will usually have one more shot than a latte of the same size. Although diluting the espresso with hot water subdues the espresso's kick, the resulting beverage offers a unique taste that lies somewhere between the taste of regular coffee and an espresso.

Caffeine Content

An Americano generally has less caffeine than a comparably sized cup of drip coffee. For example, an 8 oz Americano at Starbucks has 75 mg of caffeine versus 185 mg for a regular brewed coffee.