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Here’s how to make an Americano, aka Caffe Americano! This popular coffee drink smooths the bitterness of espresso with hot water.

How to make an Americano
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What’s better than a great Americano coffee? Bitter and dark espresso is incredible, don’t get us wrong. But here’s the thing: it’s over so fast! Smooth it out with a Caffe Americano, espresso that’s tempered with a bit of hot water. Not only does it make the coffee drinking experience last a little longer, it smooths the bitter flavor into something altogether new. Here’s a tutorial for how to make an Americano: everything you need to know about how to make this espresso drink at home.

What’s an Americano?

An Americano is an espresso drink made with hot water and espresso, also called a Caffe Americano. The drink can be made with either one or two shots of espresso, and varying ratios of water. Diluting the strong dark espresso roast brings the flavor closer to a drip coffee: which might be where the name originated! The exact origin of the term is murky, but it’s thought to have originated in the 1970’s. “Americano” means American in Italian or Spanish, referring to the coffee’s strength being closer to an American-style drip coffee.

Does an Americano have milk? Never. A true Americano does not include milk like a latte, cappuccino, or macchiato. You can add milk if you like, but then it’s not the true form of this drink.

Caffe Americano

How much water is an Americano?

Great question, and one that has more than one answer. How much water is an Americano? There are various ratios that are considered acceptable:

  • The typical Caffe Americano ratio is 2:1. That’s 2 parts hot water to 1 part espresso. This ratio makes the drink still taste dark and bitter, like a lightened form of espresso.
  • You can customize the water in an American to taste. Every barista and coffee shop makes an Americano differently.
  • Use 3:1 for a smoother, milder coffee with more volume. This ratio makes the Americano taste like a bitter drip coffee. (If you order an Americano at Starbucks, it will taste like this ratio.)

Next, let’s talk about the espresso!

How to make an Americano? Start with espresso. Simply using strong coffee will not do! This means you’ll need the following:

  • Espresso roast coffee: This is important to get the right dark, bitter flavor. Espresso roast is simply very, very dark roast coffee.
  • Espresso machine, espresso maker, or Aeropress: There are several ways to make an espresso! We use an espresso machine, which sits on a countertop. You can use a small manual espresso maker too: it’s cheaper and portable. Or you can use an Aeropress: it’s our least favorite option for flavor, but it’s the cheapest. Go to our Aeropress Espresso recipe.

How to make an Americano

Once you know about the water ratio and espresso technique: there’s not much to know about this coffee drink! Here are the basic steps for how to make an Americano:

  • Decide on your drink size. A 1-shot Americano can mostly fit in an espresso mug (shown here). A 2-shot drink is best suited in a latte mug.
  • Make the espresso. Use espresso roast coffee to make espresso using your favorite method: with an automated espresso machine, manual espresso maker, or Aeropress.
  • Boil the water. Use a regular or electric teapot to boil the water. The standard ratio is 2:1 water to espresso, but you can go up to as much as 3:1.
  • Mix the two and enjoy! Pour the boiling water into the espresso. Instant Caffe Americano!

Did you know a drink with the same name is an Italian cocktail? Go to Americano Cocktail!

How to make an Americano

More coffee drinks & tea lattes

This is another post in our Barista Series: how to make all your favorite coffee house drinks at home! Here are a few espresso drinks and tea lattes to master:

This caffe Americano recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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How to make an Americano

How to Make an Americano

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Here’s how to make an Americano, aka Caffe Americano! This popular coffee drink smooths the bitterness of espresso with hot water. 


  • 2 ounces (2 shots) espresso*
  • 4 ounces hot water


  1. Make the espresso: Make the espresso using an espresso machine, manual espresso maker, French press, or Moka Pot. Go to How to Make Espresso for instructions.
  2. Add hot water: Heat water using your espresso machine or in a tea pot to about 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour it into the espresso. Enjoy!


*If desired, you can adjust the level of boiling water to your tastes. Go up to 6 ounces boiling water for a flavor that’s closer to drip coffee than espresso.

  • Category: Coffee
  • Method: Espresso
  • Cuisine: Coffee
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Abizer Nasir says:

    I prefer putting water in the cup first and then pouring the espresso over it. That way the foam doesn’t get destroyed.

  2. LAMB says:

    The term drip coffe originates with the invention of the automatic drip coffee maker. Thirty seconds of research.

  3. cheese boy says:


  4. Bronwyn says:

    It’s very useful and easy it helps me alot easy to understand thank you

  5. Lynn Bilotta says:

    Thank you for writing about water to espresso ratios. So much easier to work with than trying to figure out the sizer of a “shot”.

    RE: the origin of the Caffe Americano.

    The Caffe Americano was NOT invented in the 1970s. It came to be during WWII in Italy.

    “The Americano was created during World War 2. As American soldiers were stationed in Italy, they drank the Italians’ stronger coffee, the espresso. For the American soldiers, it was too strong, but they still liked the taste of it. As the story goes, they added water to the espresso to dilute the strong taste.”

    Basically, American soldiers added hot water to espresso to make it closer to what they were used to but a whole lot better than their army coffee.

  6. Ester jere says:

    That’s so wonderful I reant something here thank u

  7. sharla Wadsworth says:

    Thank ypu for all the information

  8. Josh says:

    Thanks for the blog. Just wanted to point out that there’s not actually “espresso roast” beans. Espresso is a method of making coffee, not a bean roast level. Any roast can be used for espresso and some companies use “espresso roast” as a marketing tool. Light and Medium roasted beans are actually amazing for espresso :)