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Americanos. We drink ‘em and we love ‘em, yet they are widely misunderstood. There is a belief that Americanos were created during World War II by homesick American G.I.’s who would dilute the strong Italian espresso with water to get something closer to what they were used to drinking back home and thus, the Americano was born. Whether or not this story is true is up for debate. What is not up for debate, however, is that Americanos are darn good. I remember when chain coffee shops were still a pretty newfangled idea and the coffee was mostly way too dark and way too strong (in some shops, it still is). Someone along the way told my mom to order an Americano and for a while that was all my family would drink. It was nice to drink coffee that didn’t taste like burnt rubber and gasoline.
As the years have gone by, coffee brewing has become a revered art—not just in my home but all over the world. Today, the Americano has been pushed slightly aside while most people go for brewed coffee. There are approximately one million different ways (rough estimate) that one can brew coffee. The most popular method in our shop is the Hario V60 pour over. The pour over yields a clean, well-balanced cup that allows the coffee consumer to taste a wide range of flavor notes. In our shop, Americanos can be just as good. Made either with our Route 606 espresso blend or whatever single origin bean we have in the hopper, I drink Americanos so I can get a good handle on the espresso. Just as there are so many flavor notes that come out of a pour over coffee, there can sometimes be an entirely different set of flavors in espresso. For those like myself that don’t prefer to drink straight espresso but still want to analyze those different notes, an Americano can be a great option!
Of course, many may ask “Which is better?”. Personally, I don’t think it has to be a competition as each brewing method yields a different set of results. Regardless, I took it to my coworkers and we tested one coffee, both ways. Here’s what we came up with:
First, I had Phil hand pour a cup of our Route 606 Espresso Blend.
Next, I had Emily pull a shot with the same blend and make an Americano.
Then, of course, I tasted both beverages.
Guys, amazingly, they were both incredibly delicious. In the brew, I could taste the deep richness and more subtle notes in the coffee. The Americano, on the other hand, had an especially warming quality coupled with a distinct nuttiness and a layer of velvety crema.
SO, after all of this, what I’ve come up with is that you can’t go wrong with either drink. A brew is great, but so is an Americano. Don’t discriminate—take a leap and try both! Let’s make Americanos great again.