Coffee Drink History: The Americano

Justin Goldstein • March 09, 2022 • 2 min read


Do You Know The History of The Americano?

Americanos are a staple at any coffee shop with an espresso machine. They consistently rank among the most popular coffee drinks and continue to grow in popularity. While their appearance might be similar to that of a classic drip coffee, they certainly have a distinct flavor profile and a diehard fanbase that orders them on the reg. Let’s take a deep dive into the beloved Americano coffee. 

What is An Americano?


An Americano is made by adding hot water to espresso. Traditionally, this is made with a double shot of espresso and about 6 oz. of hot water. However, some prefer higher water to espresso ratio and a larger volume drink. Almost identical to the Americano is the Long Black which has identical components but the order in which they make their way into the cup differs. With an Americano, water is poured on top of the espresso mixing it all together. With a Long black, the espresso is poured on top of the hot water, leaving a noticeable layer of crema on top. The resulting drink is really all about the same. In the simplest terms, an Americano is an espresso-based drink that allows coffee lovers to enjoy the flavors of their espresso in a less concentrated and in-your-face manner than drinking a straight shot.

Story Behind the Americano

While there are several different stories, many recount the birth of the Americano in generally the same way. Its origin likely goes back to WWII when coffee-addicted American GIs stationed in Italy wanted something like their pot coffee back home. Traditional Italian espresso was too intense and bitter for their palates while cappuccinos were too creamy and heavy. The story has it that café owners started watering down their espresso to make it palatable for the American troops and more similar to what they had back home, calling it the Caffè Americano. Even if the drink originated before this time, it was this exposure that ultimately led to its subsequent rise in popularity in the decades to follow. 

4 More Reasons Why We Love Americanos

  • Different than Drip – while it looks very similar, Americanos are made with espresso and share characteristics from this high-pressure brew method. Often, a traditional sized Americano will be bolder, richer and more intense than the same beans prepared as drip coffee. For me, there is a time and place for both but don’t let looks fool you, they are certainly not the same. 
  • No Milk – unlike other espresso-based drinks, Americanos are not made with milk. As much as I love a good latte, Americanos allows you to taste more of the true essence of the coffee itself. With that said, there is no milk able to mask a bad shot so it certainly puts more pressure on the barista.
  • Great Hot or Iced – while most traditionally think of Americanos as a hot beverage, they are equally as delicious iced. Pour that espresso shot into some water with ice and you are good to go! 
  • Low Calorie – Not that we are counting calories over here but the absence of milk and sugar make this a very low-cal coffee beverage. Under 20 calories to be exact but who’s counting…