How to Make an Americano

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

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:

  • Latte The classic espresso drink! Try this perfect cafe latte.
  • Mocha Rich and chocolaty, with just the right topping of fluffy milk foam.
  • Macchiato A shot of espresso topped with a layer of frothy foam: the perfect drink!
  • Cappuccino Creamy with just the right touch of foamed milk and bitter espresso.
  • Chai Latte, Vanilla Chai Latte, or Vegan Chai Latte Variations on a theme! This spiced tea latte is a Starbucks special you can easily make at home.
  • Dirty Chai Latte Add a shot of espresso to that tea latte to make one of our coffeehouse favorites.
  • Iced Chai Latte Even easier to make and always hits the spot…no matter the season.
  • Cold Brew Coffee Dark and chilled to perfection!

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
  • Diet: Vegan


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: Use an espresso machine or manual espresso maker to make one shot of espresso* and pour it into a mug (or try our Aeropress Espresso).
  2. Add hot water: Heat water 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

Keywords: How to make an americano, caffe americano, americano coffee

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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