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How to Make an Americano: Expert Brewing Tips & Recipe

Black Coffee

An Americano is a classic, easy to make espresso drink. It’s a particular favorite of Americans abroad since it cuts the intensity of espresso and approximates a good old fashioned cup of brewed coffee. All you need is a shot of espresso and a splash of hot water! But to make the perfect Americano, you’ll need a good recipe.

That’s where this guide comes in! Here are our tips and tricks to making the best possible Americano. We’ve also included tips and tricks at the end, covering everything from adding extra flavor to making do without the right equipment. Scroll down to start brewing!

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How to Make an Americano:

  • Fresh coffee beans
  • Filtered water
  • Milk or sugar (optional)

1. Grind your coffee beans.

Hario Skerton Pro review

Measure and grind your coffee beans. You’ll want them finely ground for espresso.

2. Heat water.

testing the Hario kettle

You’ll need hot water to combine with the espresso, so start boiling it now. The ideal temperature is around 160° Fahrenheit.

3. Pull a shot (or two) of espresso.

Wacaco Minipresso brewing

Using your espresso machine, portable espresso maker, or Moka pot, pull a shot of espresso.

4. Combine the espresso with hot water.

black coffee

Pour the espresso into your coffee mug. Then add hot water on top. Aim for a ratio of one part espresso to two parts hot water.

5. Add milk, cream, or sugar (optional).

non dairy coffee creamer coconut milk

If you’d like, now is the time to add milk, cream, and sweeteners. Try a splash of steamed milk or a spoonful of honey!

6. Enjoy your tasty espresso drink.

That’s it! Your Americano coffee is ready to drink.

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Americano Recipe Variations

That’s the basic Americano coffee recipe, but if you’d like to personalize it, the options are nearly endless!

No espresso machine?

If you don’t have an espresso machine, we’d recommend dusting off your stovetop Moka pot or portable espresso maker. You can also take a look at our guides to making espresso using a drip coffee machine, a French press, or a Keurig.

This is one coffee drink that you don’t want to use regular brewed coffee for. Why? An Americano is an espresso version of black coffee, so if you substitute brewed coffee and top it with extra hot water, you’ll probably end up with a weak cup of Joe.

Moka pot pouring espresso
A Moka pot will work.

Flavor Options

If you want to add a little extra flavor, consider adding a splash of caramel or peppermint syrup. You can also use high-quality flavored coffee beans (like Lifeboost’s tasty Hazelnut) to add flavor without adding sugar.


Prefer your coffee a little sweet? You can always stir in a spoonful of sugar, or opt for a healthier sweetener like honey or agave.

healthier sugar alternatives for coffee

Milk and Cream

If you’re not a fan of black coffee, feel free to add any kind of milk, half and half, or cream. For the best results, add your creamer at the end, after mixing in the hot water. That way, you can be sure you are not adding too much and overpowering the espresso flavor!

Many alternative kinds of milk will work, too — like coconut milk, soy milk, or oat milk. Pour in a splash, stir the mixture, and enjoy your hot drink!

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Now you know how to whip up the perfect Americano at home! Combining espresso with hot water gives you a smooth, low-calorie caffeinated drink. Add extra flavor with spices and syrups, or splash in some milk and honey. That’s the beauty of making coffee shop drinks at home: you can customize them to your heart’s content!

Still looking for the right recipe?

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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