What is an Americano?

While drip coffee and an americano might look similar, they’re prepared in very different ways.

Drip coffee, whether made using an auto-drip machine or manual pour-over, is brewed by letting hot water drip down through grounds. Gravity provides the force that drives the brewing, as it pulls the water down through the grounds. The end result is a typical cup of coffee.

The base of an americano is espresso, which is made by forcing steam at high pressure through coffee grounds. Compared to drip brewing, pulling a shot of espresso uses hotter water (steam), much more finely ground coffee and much less time. At the end of the process, one or two shots of espresso are produced. (One shot of espresso is approximately 1 ounce.)

To make an americano, hot water is then added to the espresso, thus transforming the small, strong shot of espresso into a weaker, larger cup of coffee that is more similar to drip coffee.

An Americano Has About as Much Caffeine as Drip Coffee

An americano has approximately as much caffeine as drip coffee, although the specific amount of caffeine might vary slightly. According to the Mayo Clinic, an 8-ounce cup of coffee has between 95 and 200 milligrams of caffeine. A single shot of espresso, in comparison has between 47 and 75 milligrams. Most cafes use two shots of espresso in an americano, thus making the total caffeine content of an americano between 94 and 150 milligrams.