Americano vs Coffee: 6 Differences You May Not Know

Have you ever wondered what are the differences between Americano vs coffee before choosing which one to order at your favourite coffee shop?

americano vs drip coffee

Americano and brewed coffee have lots of similarities, yet they are vastly different. Here are the six differences  between  Americano and Drip Coffee:

  • The brewing
  • The grind
  • The machine
  • Caffeine
  • The taste
  • The Crema
  • The brewing
  • The coffee grind
  • The coffee machine
  • Caffeine
  • The taste
  • The Crema

The unique taste of Americano and brewed coffee and the intricacy of the coffee brewing process is not just a mundane daily ritual, but a joyous, rich experience you will enjoy learning about just as much as doing it.

You will learn to savor the rich, dark taste of an espresso, with its crema as a beautiful garnish. The light and floral flavors of a drip coffee will keep you on your toes and ready to handle anything that comes your way.

We will also talk about the equipment you need to get started to brew a cup of coffee at home.

Read on as we explore what it means to enjoy and appreciate the Americano Coffee vs the brewed Coffee and what best you can get from both of them.

Americano vs Drip Coffee: What they really are.

Americano coffee is a coffee beverage that you get when you dilute an espresso with hot water.

In this manner, you end up with strength like traditionally brewed coffee, but a totally different flavor.

The strength can vary with the number of espresso shots and the amount of hot water added. It is a coffee drink of Italian origin, with the term caffé Americano meaning “American coffee.”

It is a belief that the term Americano comes from American GIs during World War II, who would dilute the espresso given to them to recreate the cup of  coffee they were accustomed to.

Drip coffee is prepared by pouring hot water over onto ground coffee beans and allowing it to brew.

You may have heard this called by the names drip brewed coffee, filtered coffee, or ground coffee.

This method of making brewed coffee can be traced back to 1908, as that is when the Melitta Benz Company invented paper filters.

They are still used today, and you might even have them right in your home or office. Drip coffee machines came to replace percolators in the 1970s, as percolators are known to over - extract coffee and make it bitter.  

While this coffee brew method is popular around the world, it is especially appreciated in Japan, being a central part of coffee culture.

Americano vs Drip Coffee: the 6 Differences

americano coffee

Let’s Brew Some Coffee…How Do We Do It?

Americano

To make a great Americano, you must pull an espresso shot, and have a mug ready. 3 ounces is a good starting point, but you will want more if you would like a stronger Americano.

The espresso is pulled by the espresso maker, and following this, 3 to 5 ounces of hot water is put into a mug and the drink is ready for consumption. Coffee connoisseurs experiment and try different amounts of espresso and hot water until they find the correct blend for their Americano. 

You might consider adding cinnamon, sugar or honey, although many simply prefer it as is.

Drip Coffee

A great drip coffee can be brewed using the manual pour-over method, or an auto-drip coffee machine.

For the manual pour-over, hot water is poured over grounds. Gravity then takes over and pulls the hot water down through the grounds, and you get a delicious cup of coffee.  The grounds remain inside the vessel the hot water was poured into. It is advised that you grind coffee beans just before brewing the coffee to ensure the freshest flavor. 

You can brew drip coffee in a variety of ways: by using a filter, French press, or even a percolator. This method can be done using paper filters or with a reusable filter made of fine wire mesh. You can also purchase automatic coffee brewers or manual coffee machines that help you control the flavor.

Grinding It Out

The way in which you grind your coffee beans will affect the flavor of your brewed coffee, so it is important to follow the right methods to get maximum taste and enjoyment.

We recommend to invest in a burr grinder for a better taste from consistently sized granules.

You can find a variety of burr grinders at all price points, and it will be worth it.

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  • Grind for Americano: a good shot of espresso begins with a fine consistency of grinds. This should feel smooth, but you should have the ability to feel the individual grains. Remember, do not grind until just before you prepare your drink, as you do not want the flavor to diminish.
  • Grind for dripIf you have a cone-shaped filter, or an automatic coffee maker, you will want to grind the coffee beans to a gritty texture.It should feel like coarse sand, says Driftaway Coffee blogger Scott. If you are using a French press, you will want grinds that are quite coarse in nature, or similar to that of kosher salt.

You may be curious about why grind size matters. It all comes down to flavor. 

Three things play into how your coffee will taste


CONTACT TIME, EXTRACTION RATE, FLOW RATE 


Contact time is how long the water will come into contact with your brewed coffee. For a higher extraction, you need less contact time.

Americano does not require a long of contact time, and because it has a fine grind, it runs the risk of being over-extracted which can make the taste bitter.

In a finer grind, the flow rate of water is reduced, which means a longer contact time.

 If your grounds are too coarse, or contact time is too short, the coffee can come out weak.

The machine: What Do I Need?

americano vs drip coffee

To make an Americano, you will need an espresso machine. There exist several types of espresso machines.

  • Manual Lever Pumps work by extracting the espresso shot out by hand with a lever, no electricity needed.
  • Electronic Pumps use electricity to extract the pull from the coffee beans. You just have to set the right temperature.
  • Semi-Automatic Pumps require you to grind the beans and tamp them into the filter. Then you switch on the machine and pump the button until the water turns black, after which you turn it off.
  • Automatic Pumps work by you pouring in the grinds and tamping them into the portafilter. You then turn on the machine and it will brew the espresso shot for you.
  • Super Automatic Pumps will do all the grinding, tamping, and extracting for you. All you need are the best coffee beans for espresso.

There are lots of excellent coffee machines available in the market for home coffee lovers.

Some of these are quite fancy, you might say, and include things like a conical burr grinder, big bean hopper, a steaming wand to froth your milk, and a frothing pitcher.

The machines and equipment included come at all price points.  You can even look forward to some features like precision dosing for perfect taste, and digital temperature control for a consistent extraction. Some even feature cleaning kits like the Breville BES870XL, which will preserve the taste of your coffee.

If you prefer another espresso brewing technique use a stovetop espresso maker.

You can purchase these espresso coffee makers in multiple cup sizes, making it great for those of us with families that come over or friends that like to linger.

But I Want Drip Coffee, Not Espresso

drip coffee

To make a brewed coffeeyou will need a quality drip coffee maker

No matter which one you choose, you must have the right grind consistency.

After you pick up the drip coffee maker of your choice, make sure to get a nice burr grinderIt should be noted that some machines come with a grinder, so be sure to check before buying an extra item.

You can choose drip coffee machines that turn on automatically according to a timer, so that way your coffee can be ready to go upon waking up. You can pick from a variety of brew sizes for your drip coffee, some pots will hold 12 cups of coffee, for instance.

And some even feature brew strength control, and brew pause, meaning you can pour a cup of coffee for yourself and then resume brewing the rest as you go.

Americano vs Drip Coffee: Let's talk about Caffeine Content

Let’s see how the Americano and the brewed coffee compare when it comes to caffeine.

Caffeine enters the brew by way of the hot water acting as a solvent.

Other factors include saturation - all grinds have to be saturated for all available caffeine to be extracted.

Water temp can affect the brewed coffee too. Most suggest 95-105 degrees is optimal. And as previously discussed, the grind size plays a role too.

Smaller grinds mean caffeine is extracted faster.

  • Caffeine of Drip: If you ask the average citizen which has more caffeine content, and offer the choices of espresso and brewed coffee, they will likely say espresso. However, you may be surprised to learn that this may not be always so! According to Kicking Horse Coffee, one 2 ounce double shot of espresso has about 80 milligrams of caffeine.  A 12 ounce drip coffee nearly doubles this at 120 milligrams. Perhaps the reason that some feel it has more caffeine content comes from the fact that it is drank much faster than a standard cup of coffee, resulting in effects being felt much faster.
  • Caffeine of Americano: a 2 ounce double shot of espresso is about 80 milligrams of caffeine, and many cafes use two shots in their preparation. However, depending upon the size of the Americano purchased or your personal preference, your caffeine content can be higher.

Talking About Taste

  • What to Expect from an Americano. From an Americano you can expect a rich, dark taste from this coffee brew. Due to the high temperatures used in this brew, coffee's lighter notes are often eliminated.  An Americano coffee is made up of three distinct parts: a shot of espresso, hot water and the crema, or layer of foam produced by oils and fats in the beans.
  • And What to Expect from a Drip Coffee. A drip coffe’s slower process allows floral, delicate and sweet flavors to develop over the time spent brewing. You get more of a subtle flavor with this coffee drink. Lastly, no crema is present here.

The Crema De La Crema

You may have noticed the Americano coffee has a thin white layer of foam on top of the liquid.

You probably wondered just what is that? In short, it is the mark of a great coffee brew.

It is called the crema, and this comes from the oils forced out of the coffee beans during the coffee brewing process.

These oils are important in the sense that they are packed with flavors that make what you’re drinking great.

Where Does It Come From?

As the coffee is brewed, fat and oils are emulsified and suspended in tiny air bubbles.

After coffee undergoes the roasting process, it lets out C02 for around 24 - 72 hours afterward. Coffee that was freshly roasted and then used for brewing will also emit C02 as part of the extraction process. 

The presence of crema means that the bean’s natural fat and oil content is higher, and that it is roasted recently enough that C02 is still being unleashed from the bean.

Espresso lovers take a great interest in the appearance of crema, because not only it means quality, but also freshness. Yet crema actually tastes quite sour as a result of the C02. Crema may look nice, but it is certainly not everything.

Shots with no crema can be pulled due to roasting methods at the plantation, and some espresso coffee makers aerate coffee during extraction so that it looks like crema is present, but the sour flavor is not.

The folks at Seattle Coffee Gear point out the following factors.

What Affects the CREMA

  • 1
    Plantation Processing. Certain beans will maintain more of their sugar and fat, which means more crema during extraction. Beans from different parts of the world will also have different effects on crema production due to their processing.
  • 2
    Roasting Date. If you pull a shot with coffee roasted less than 72 hours before, you might end up with a blonde shade that you might think is crema.
  • 3
    Color of Roast. If you roast a darker color, more of the bean’s natural oil comes to the surface and thus transfers to containers, grinders and equipment, meaning less oil goes into your pull.
  • 4
    Technology. A pressurized portafilter will aerate your coffee as extraction takes place, which will make it look like you have crema. While this is wonderful for eliminating any unwanted sour taste, it does take away from the taste you might find using traditional methods.

Conclusions

When it comes to what to choose between Americano vs drip coffee, all in all, we hope that this article has given you with the ability to make an educated decision about which coffee is best suited for your individual taste.

Preparing Americano or Coffee at home is simple. No matter how you spin it, the complexity of these coffees’ flavors and the care that goes into their preparation, from bean to grind to pour, make them an experience, not just a morning ritual.

So, which do you prefer, American or drip coffee?