Traditional Americano: portions and taste difference

I am trying to develop the americano served at my coffee shop, and am finding myself at something of a loss. I recently updated my macchiato recipe based on taste. I started with what I believed to be the traditional drink and then from that base tried to find the best tasting drink. I want to take that same approach to my americano. What do you guys do? What do you believe to be the traditional americano?

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Americano = espresso + hot water to yield a drink of about the same strength as "drip" coffee.

I personally prefer double Americanos at 6-8oz finished volume... which works nicely in a cappuccino cup or diner mug.

If you start by putting the water in your mug and pull the shots on top you'll preserve more of the beautiful crema speckling. Please don't start with water that is too hot though - the hot water tap on the espresso machine is only appropriate if your machine has a cold-water mixing (economizer) valve to drop the temp. I'd say 200 degrees max, lower is better.

(See also "Long Black", the Aussie/Kiwi variant.)

I tell my customers we serve a double shot and ask them how much water they want. Some order 16 oz regularly, others order 8 or 12 oz. Their choice.

personally i like to add 2 shots to 8oz & 12oz cups, and pull long shots for 16oz & 20oz. (Unless requested otherwise) i like this method cause i can just use one portafilter of espresso for any size. But i have some customers who just want one big really long shot all the way to the top of the cup. A friend of mine visited London once and said he got one of these when he ordered an americano there.

What do you mean Pull Long??? sound nasty. We do Double in a 8 oz . some requesquest the 12 oz cup and we do large in 16 oz with 2 double . No 20oz

lance battenfield said:

personally i like to add 2 shots to 8oz & 12oz cups, and pull long shots for 16oz & 20oz. (Unless requested otherwise) i like this method cause i can just use one portafilter of espresso for any size. But i have some customers who just want one big really long shot all the way to the top of the cup. A friend of mine visited London once and said he got one of these when he ordered an americano there.

I'm with Brady on this one.  We keep it pretty straightforward at my shop: 18g weighed dose, ~1.75 oz (by volume) double floated on 6 or 8 oz of hot water based on the customer's preference.  Americano sales continue to outpace the rest of our espresso drinks, so this formula has worked pretty well for us.

By long i mean a continual pull. ususally double the amount of water you would normally use for a regular shot or more. (yes over-extracted)
And on a side note i always put my shots in my heated cup first, then add water on top. i find if you pull the shots into hot water it makes it a little harsh.

olivier dutil said:

What do you mean Pull Long??? sound nasty. We do Double in a 8 oz . some requesquest the 12 oz cup and we do large in 16 oz with 2 double . No 20oz

lance battenfield said:

personally i like to add 2 shots to 8oz & 12oz cups, and pull long shots for 16oz & 20oz. (Unless requested otherwise) i like this method cause i can just use one portafilter of espresso for any size. But i have some customers who just want one big really long shot all the way to the top of the cup. A friend of mine visited London once and said he got one of these when he ordered an americano there.

I'm guessing that's a bigger problem with the 16 and 20 oz size?

One thing that I really like about Americanos is that they are a very transparent drink - all about the espresso. If you find some aspect of the drink flavor to be less than ideal, you have a good idea where the problem lies (and its not in the assembly sequence).


lance battenfield said:

By long i mean a continual pull. ususally double the amount of water you would normally use for a regular shot or more. (yes over-extracted)
And on a side note i always put my shots in my heated cup first, then add water on top. i find if you pull the shots into hot water it makes it a little harsh.

olivier dutil said:

What do you mean Pull Long??? sound nasty. We do Double in a 8 oz . some requesquest the 12 oz cup and we do large in 16 oz with 2 double . No 20oz

lance battenfield said:

personally i like to add 2 shots to 8oz & 12oz cups, and pull long shots for 16oz & 20oz. (Unless requested otherwise) i like this method cause i can just use one portafilter of espresso for any size. But i have some customers who just want one big really long shot all the way to the top of the cup. A friend of mine visited London once and said he got one of these when he ordered an americano there.

The really long shot (pull the shot all the way to the top of the 12oz cup) is referred to as Cafe Creme.  Drove me crazy when I was in Switzerland.  They don't have drip coffee anywhere and I couldn't find a place that would make a real americano, only cafe creme.  

I also offer double shots and ask how much water. I like that Americanos are easy to customize like that! I personally prefer them around 6-8 oz but have customers that want 16 oz.

We also add water to the cup first, then pull the shots into a 3 oz. espresso cup (preheated!) and "dip" the cup into the water while turning it upside down. This retains the majority of the crema, and if done properly the crema will form a layer that covers the entire surface of the drink. Great for visual appeal!

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