There’s hardly anything that can beat the blessing first sip of fresh coffee in the morning. If you’re a lover of the heaven-sent dark nectar too, you know the way it soothes all the senses. Like an ally that never lets you down, it gives you the energy you need for the day ahead.
There are different types of coffee-drinkers. Those who love creamy tastes stay loyal to cappuccinos and caffè lattes, sweet tooths stick with mochas, enjoyers of intense flavours get their caffeine shots through espressos, while lovers of simple pleasures choose something else – caffè Americano.
Already know your Americano?
Take a look at my favourite coffee machine, the DeLonghu ECAM44.660.B Eletta
Alternatively if a bean to cup coffee machine isn’t for you, I highly recommend a coffee grinder as a cheaper alternative.
History of the Caffe Americano
The history of caffè Americano is an intriguing one, given the fact the drink was born out of pure need. At least historians believe so.
Forged in War
In the Second World War, American soldiers who found themselves in Europe could not handle the strong taste of espressos that were typical for the area. This is why they added hot water to dilute it and give it a milder taste. The flavour ended up resembling filter coffee they got used to drinking at home. And thus, caffè Americano was born.
Ian Bersten, a coffee historian and an author of “Coffee Floats, Tea Sinks”, pointed out how the way we like drinking coffee is dependent on our genetic heritage. For instance, Mediterranean peoples tend to be lactose intolerant, which is why they prefer milk-free, strong coffees.
So, American deeply-rooted drinking habits (sipping instead of taking shots, and moderate taste, opposed to the strong one), created Americano – the world’s second favorite type of coffee, right after espresso.
The Origin of the Caffe Americano
A popular belief is that caffè Americano originates from Italy. This conclusion is mainly based on the etymology: translated from Italian, it literally means “American coffee”. Having in mind the historical events, this makes perfect sense. Americano could have been consumed for the first time during the Allied invasion of Italy in 1943.
There is also one big misconception regarding the origins of Americano. There are claims this drink actually originates from Seattle, as well as the espresso itself, which is false.
Seattle did popularize espresso and became globally recognized as the mecca of coffee roasting and supplying (just think of Starbucks), but the modern espresso machine was invented by Luigi Bezzera in the early 1900s, and later patented by Desidero Pavoni.
A Time of Sharing
During the Second World War, there were several cultural exchanges happening between the Americans and Europeans. Americans brought jazz music, while Europeans shared their culinary arts. It’s logical that espresso got transferred to the USA this way, and then continued to evolve in the Italian diaspora. As the matter of fact, in the 1950s, an Italian American Lino Meiorin invented a new espresso-based drink – caffè latte.
How It’s Made
Making caffè Americano is fairly simple. In a nutshell, the drink consists out of one or two espresso shots and hot water poured on top of it. The ratio of espresso and water depends on how strong you want the taste to be, so it can be altered. Usually, it is ⅓ of espresso and ⅔ of hot water.
For a tasteful cup of Americano, you need an espresso machine. These machines are specifically designed to deliver concentrated shots of coffee with a fine layer of foam on the top. Drip-coffee makers won’t be efficient here, as the final taste is very much different.
The key to a tasteful caffè Americano lies in the quality of the beans, i.e. the espresso itself. Espressos can be made out of different kinds of beans (or blends), and the way they are roasted will result in different tastes. But in order to have something to work with, the beans have to be finely ground and then brewed.
Who Drinks Caffe Americano?
People who drink caffè Americano are typically outgoing and sociable, a research conducted by psychologist Patrick Kennedy and the Irish Coffee Council has concluded. Although the research was narrowed to only the people from Ireland, it’s interesting to explore the connections between our personalities and coffee choices.
Perfect for Fitness?
Needles to say, Americano is a very popular drink in the USA (especially as a coffee-to-go), but it has also conquered one specific subculture across the globe: fitness-focused people.
Traditionally, Americanos are made without milk or sugar, even though some variations include steamed milk and a cube of raw sugar. As pure black coffee, it can bring you numerous health benefits and even support you on reaching your set fitness goals. Science-backed data says coffee has fat burning properties as it increases your metabolic rate between 3 and 11%. This leads to a more effective post-workout calorie burn, as it increases up to 15%. Drinking straight black coffee (without milk) can also increase your athletic performance and decrease muscle pain, helping you get more out of your exercises. So, it is advisable to enjoy a nice cup of Americano before you start breaking a sweat.
Are you stunned with the background story of a simple beverage you enjoy everyday? We bet you appreciate it even more after reading this.