The debate: Is the Cafe' Americano best when espresso is added last or when pulled directly into the cup? Opinions?

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I will have to try that Jay. Like latte art but it's water that lifts the crema to the surface...that's good info., also how are you and how is cafe life?

J. Valenta (JavaJ, foo') said:
So funny...I would say the exact opposite. I don't like the way it tastes when added last, and definitely not directly into the water. We pull our shots directly into the cup, then using a second cup, fill it with hot water and carefully pour the water down the side of the first cup, being careful to "slide" the water down the side and under the espresso. This has the effect of preserving the crema, while still mixing the two elements together. Never use the water from the espresso machine, use the hot water dispenser from your drip brewer. Also, let the hot water cool to about 190 first. (Wait about 10 seconds from dispensing).

Out of curiosity, how do you prefer to make it?
Whether you add the espresso before or after the water, I think the shot should go directly into the cup so you don't loose the crema.
Or if the espresso is pulled into a shot glass, you could "rinse out the glass and add it to the drink.
Rebecca, why do you say the water should not come from the espresso machine?

Rebecca Johnston said:
I need to definitely pour the shots onto the hot water. You can pull them directly on top of your prepped cup with water in it, but never put the water over your shots. I usually pull one shot into my prepped cup and the other in the shot glass to make sure everything looks right and is on time. that also eliminates another step in having to pour the other shot over the water. it's not much time saved but when you have a line out the door, any spare second helps! and when you are pouring the shots over your hot water, tilt the cup and pour it slower so your crema stays intact and covers the top of the drink. no one wants to see a blacked out americano! I also think the water, if possible, should never come from your machine. better from a coffee brewer or hot water tower. if it seems too hot, add a couple of ice cubes or cool water beforeyou pull your shots.
I've been trying to figure this one out for quite some time now... But whenever I pull shots directly into water for an americano, the heat seems to dissipate the crema from my shots within seconds! And water any cooler than that straight out of the tower is never hot enough in the customers opinion. It's really frustrating actually... and I can't seem to keep the crema fully intact by pouring water in afterward either... AAAHHHH! But keep it comin people! One idea or another is bound to work eventually...
well said my friend

Brady said:
Espresso last!

And please don't skimp... 2 shots for 8oz, 2 or 3 for 12z, 3 or 4 for 16z, 4 or 5(?!?) for 20z...
You've gotta fill you water, then add the espresso, thus the crema is left sit just as it would on an espresso shot.
Also alot of people tend to run the shots long in order to add more water to the beverage, but what they are doing it making an extremely bitter coffee.
with regards to the size, just keep it simple...... if you go past 3 shots in one cup, your charging the drink complete in ratio.. you can't make a good coffee super sized, only in america.

Nick Guidry said:
well said my friend

Brady said:
Espresso last!

And please don't skimp... 2 shots for 8oz, 2 or 3 for 12z, 3 or 4 for 16z, 4 or 5(?!?) for 20z...
Rob Dunne said:
with regards to the size, just keep it simple...... if you go past 3 shots in one cup, your charging the drink complete in ratio..

I don't quite understand this... the ratio for a double 8oz is exactly the same as for a quad 16 oz. The goal is a tasty americano, regardless of the size cup. Frankly, the only one to ever drink one of the 8oz at our shop is me, but we sell a ton of the 16oz. I do like giving the option of a mellower cup vs a more robust one - big bold espresso flavor isn't for everyone just yet...

Multiple sizes is kind of our reality in our area for the time being. Our shop is in the suburbs - so people get their coffee for their drive to work. On many drinks, we have good arguments against scaling up - capps and maccs are supposed to be small, for traditions sake. A 20oz ANYTHING is pretty silly, but other than that I see no reason not to serve a properly made one if it is requested. The drink tastes good, even when cool, so can be enjoyed for quite some time. Its made fresh, so won't be stale by the bottom of the cup.

Agree that the longer shot is a poor choice, though I don't know that I've run across that here. What I do see more often is the single shot 12 oz. Uggghhhh.... tan water. Tastes like a warm paper cup.

Rob Dunne said:
you can't make a good coffee super sized, only in america.

Maybe YOU can't... but it really isn't hard. Step 1 - make good coffee. Step 2 - put it in a big cup. Happy to send pictures if that would help.
Water first (170-180 degrees) pull shots on top. Not only does the crema look good on top, but the flavor flows through the water rather than having the water flow through the flavor.... at least that's what I think.

We use a Synesso, which has a cold water mix, so we can have a much more friendly temp for our teas and Americanos. If I was using most other machines, I would definitely load some ice cubes in before adding the hot water. A little experimentation and you can get the temp just right.
Klaus Thomsen, former WBC champ and someone who speaks both humbly and articulately about coffee, has blogged about the Americano in a way that has taught me so much and pushed me to experiment.

I pulled this entry from The Coffee Collective's blog site. This entry was actually posted by Casper Engel, business partner of Thomsen and other Collective Crew.

[Friday, April 11, 2008
Stupid Americanos!

At our new place we have been experimenting a bit with the well-known drink Americano. None of us in the collective have actually been very fond of this drink previously. But now things are looking different.

What we’ve been doing is taking one of our coffees roasted for French Press or filter - in other words a light roasted coffee (end of first pop). Prepare this as a you would normally prepare an Americano and there you have it. Nice oily body, remarkable aromas and loads of sweetness.

The most interesting about this way of Americano is definitely the aromas which we find extremely intense. More intense than any other brew method we have tried for ¨black¨ coffee. (Filter, French Press, Clover ect. )

We have had the best results with our coffee from Kariaini, Kenya. A very light roasted coffee with lots of fruit in the aromas. We dose it 19 grams for a double ristretto 45 ml. in 20 sec. at a temperature of 94,5 degrees Celsius. Fill it up with 95 degrees hot water until the drink is approximately 145 ml.


Please let us know what you think.

Posted by Casper Engel
In my opinion, pulling the espresso shots on top of the hot water makes a more flavorful americano, everything else being equal. Why? Well if we pull the shots first, then pour in hot water, the pressure of the water, along with the deterioration of the crema that takes place, reduces the amount of flavor properties.

Which is best water to use for americanos? Water from the machine, or water from your coffee brewer? If you work in a high volume espresso bar, say using 60 pounds or more a week, you are probably bringing in enough fresh water into your boliler to produce a good americano with the hot water from the espresso machine.

Coffee brewers have boilers too, and if they are not used regularly, the water may be flat.

So, in my opinion, either method is correct, as long as the water is relatively fresh.

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