Americano vs. Coffee: Taste and Caffeine LevelsCLICK HERE to subscribe to our weekly emails on finding and brewing amazing coffee!
Today the average person has more coffee knowledge than ever before. Light, medium and dark roast just won’t cut it if you want to stay relevant in a coffee conversation. But when it comes to coffee, one drink, in particular, seems to have a lot of people confused.
That drink would be the Americano. A drink that looks identical to regular drip coffee, but appearances can be deceptive. So if you are ready to pump up your coffee knowledge, let’s start with this legendary classic.
What is in an Americano coffee?
Right off the bat, you should know that an Americano is actually an espresso drink rather than regular brewed coffee. Traditionally espresso is served as a small shot of wicked strong concentrated coffee. The Americano uses the same brewing method an espresso, but afterward, the espresso is diluted with hot water.
The whole idea was to have an espresso match the same size as a regular cup of coffee. So the Americano may look like a cup of black coffee however it’s an oversized espresso. The drink was made popular during the second world war. The name derives from American soldiers wanting their coffee to resemble their brewed coffee back home, but using a shot of espresso.
What is drip coffee?
Drip coffee or “regular coffee” is coffee that is brewed using a drip machine or manually through the pour-over method. This by far the most common way to brew coffee because it’s easy and most drip machines aren’t expensive.
Drip machines work by slowly adding hot water to coffee grounds and letting gravity work its magic. The flavor of drip coffee depends mostly on the coffee beans and the water ratio.
The end result is a cup of black liquid that most people would recognize as regular coffee. Chances are that if you have ever been at a friend’s house and they offered you a cup of coffee, it was made using a drip machine.
What has more caffeine coffee or Americano?
If you’re wondering which of the two make your mornings easier, let’s take a look at the caffeine content of both drinks. Generally, a cup of drip coffee has a higher caffeine content than an Americano. This is only due to the fact that it’s a larger serving size. According to our sources, drip coffee contains about 95-200 mg of caffeine and an Americano 94-150 mg.
So an Americano has less caffeine because it has less coffee, but you can always alter the amount of espresso in your Americano.
Let’s say it’s Monday morning and just, as usual, you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. You somehow find the power to stumble into your local coffee shop. Normally they will add two shots of espresso when making their Americanos. But there is nothing stopping you from asking for an additional shot. If you are looking to get completely wired, I have witnessed some order a triple or quadruple shot Americano. Drink responsibly!
Does an Americano taste like coffee?
Just like most answers when asking about the taste of coffee…it depends. Since an Americano is made with espresso, it will tend to have a richer taste than drip coffee, but it also depends on the beans, the roast level, and the grind.
Just the water and quality of the ground coffee can make the biggest difference. Even if you are using the same beans, the brewing technique will create two individual flavors. The coffee beans are mostly held responsible for the taste. One important tip is that some beans are better at making espresso than regular brewed coffee.
I personally think an Americano is easier to drink than drip coffee because if done properly you can enjoy the strength of espresso without flinching. If you enjoy a higher caffeine content but don’t want to sacrifice flavor, I recommend adding an additional shot to your americanos. If you’re new to coffee, start with two.
How to make an Americano
The process of making an Americano is very similar to making a bowl of cereal. There are only really two main ways to do it. You can either first make the espresso, pour it into a cup and then add hot water. Or in some countries, they add the espresso in last.
The method of choice depends on how you want the water to interact with the espresso. By adding the water first, it allows more foam to formulate on top of the cup. This foam is also known as “crema” and can add more flavor to your Americano. The crema is another special treat you get while drinking an Americano vs drip coffee. I personally like my cup with more foam.
Most coffee aficionados aren’t a fan of adding the espresso first, because the hot water will break up the espresso and tamper with its rich flavor.
Want to make your own Americano at home? With the right espresso machine, it has never been easier. It’s a great way to impress friends or family when you offer them a fancy Americano, rather than just normal drip coffee.
By now you should have a better understanding of an Americano vs regular drip coffee. Americanos have gained more popularity recently, so having a bit of knowledge can go a long way – and not just to hold a conversation! Now you can start making Americanos at home.
The best part of the Americano is it’s a versatile drink, meaning you can add different strengths dilution ratios. If you want a stronger tasting Americano, just add less water. You can find the right balance that gets along with your taste buds.
I am a big believer in getting out of your comfort zone. If you are somebody who swears by their drip coffee maker, give an Americano a shot (or two). If you normally drink espresso, add a little hot water and feel the different texture of your already favorite drink. Never try, never know!
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