You walk into your neighborhood coffee shop and order your usual dark roast, only to find they’ve just run out. The barista offers to make you an Americano instead… but what’s the real difference between an Americano vs. Coffee? Do they really taste the same?
When it comes to coffee, there are a lot of different ways to make it and even more ways to drink it. Americanos and coffee are two popular ways to enjoy this beloved beverage, and they are often considered interchangeable, but there are subtle differences. Mainly in brewing method, caffeine content, and flavor profile.
What is an Americano?
An Americano is a coffee drink made with espresso shots and hot water. When making an Americano, an espresso shot is combined with water to create a weaker but larger, drink compared to regular espresso.
The Americano gets its name from American soldiers stationed in Italy during World War II. They would often add hot water to their espresso to make it more like the American version of coffee they were used to.
What is drip coffee?
Drip coffee is created by infusing coffee beans with hot water for a specific amount of time. This is done using a drip machine or pour-over brewer. The hot water slowly filters through the coffee grounds and then drains into a pot or carafe.
Drip coffee is often considered the American way to make coffee. It’s simple, quick, and easy, which is why it has become the most popular method in the US. And the invention of the single-serve coffee machine has even further increased its popularity.
Another difference between Americano espresso drings and brewed coffee is the amount of caffeine found in each one.
Caffeine Content In An Americano vs. Coffee
Americanos usually have more caffeine than drip coffee because espresso has a higher concentration of caffeine in general. And, Americanos are often made with double espresso shots. However, the amount of caffeine per ounce in an Americano can vary depending on how much hot water is used to dilute the espresso.
On the other hand, drip coffee has a wider range of caffeine levels because there are so many different ways to make it. The grind size, brew time, and bean type can all affect the amount of caffeine in your cup. But generally speaking, drip coffee has less caffeine than an Americano.
What’s the difference in the taste?
The flavor profile of an Americano vs. coffee can also vary slightly. Americanos are typically less bitter because the hot water dilutes the espresso, making it weaker. Americanos also have a fuller body because of the espresso shots.
Drip coffee, on the other hand, can have a wider range of flavors depending on how it’s brewed. The grind size, brew time, and bean type can all affect the taste of your coffee.
To sum it up: Brewed coffee is often less potent than espresso, so if you’re looking for a weaker coffee drink, drip coffee might be a better option.
What’s the difference in the acidity level of an Americano vs. Coffee?
The acidity level of coffee in general, has a lot to do with the way it is grown.
While the acidity level of an Americano is generally higher than brewed coffee because espresso is more concentrated, certain kinds of drip coffee can also have high acid levels.
If acidity is a concern, we recommend sticking with a low-acid coffee for your morning brew, regardless of your brewing method.
Is an Americano healthier than regular coffee?
This is a difficult question to answer. Americanos made with double espresso shots can have around 96mg of caffeine per 16oz cup. And, Americanos made with single espresso shots can have around 64mg of caffeine per 16oz cup.
Drip coffee, on the other hand, can have anywhere from 40-180mg of caffeine per 8oz cup. So, it really depends on how your Americano is made and how much coffee you’re drinking.
In general, we recommend sticking to moderate amounts of caffeine (200mg or less) per day. And, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, it’s probably best to stick with drip coffee.
How to make an Americano
To brew an Americano, first, you need an espresso machine and some freshly ground espresso beans. Espresso beans are usually roasted darker than regular coffee, so your bean selection is a must if you want an authentic Americano.
Then, follow these steps:
1. Fill the espresso machine’s water tank and turn it on to heat up.
2. Grind your coffee beans and put them in the espresso machine’s filter basket.
3. Put a cup under the espresso machine’s nozzle.
4. Turn on the espresso machine and let it brew according to the machine’s instructions.
5. Once the espresso is done brewing, add hot water to taste.
If you’re looking for a shortcut, you could use a single-serving espresso maker like a Nespresso to brew your espresso. Just add hot water once it’s done brewing.
Final Verdict: Does an Americano really taste like coffee?
While Americanos and drip coffee both use coffee beans as their main ingredient, they can taste quite different. Americanos are typically less bitter since the hot water dilutes the espresso, making it weaker. Americanos also have a fuller-bodied flavor thanks to the espresso shots.
Drip coffee, on the other hand, can have a wider range of flavors depending on how it’s brewed.
In general, Americanos are going to have a more robust flavor than drip coffee since they contain espresso. So, if you’re looking for a stronger-tasting coffee, an Americano is a good choice.