caffè americano

American coffee: how it came about and how to make it

For the Americans, coffee has a very different “role” to the typical one it has for Italians: in fact in the United States, it is considered normal to drink coffee with a meal, to sip slowly while reading or while chatting with friends or colleagues. Often served in those well-known coffee cups with a lid, which keep it hot and stop it from spilling out of the cup, the American coffee is often consumed  “to go”, to take away and drink on the move, walking to work in the morning or at the subway station. 

What is American coffee exactly and how is it prepared? Many people believe that it is simply a “watered down” espresso, but, actually , this isn’t true at all and we will try to clear up this point in the article. 

American coffee: how it is made

caffè americano come si fa

Before we talk about how to make a cup, we need to go back a step and talk about a sticky subject, the definition of “American coffee”. The coffee which is drunk in the United States, is generally nothing to do with an espresso watered down with hot water, but is rather a brewed coffee, or filter coffee. Actually, the American coffee is not prepared at all using a Mocha or an espresso machine, but it is however necessary to have a  filter coffee machine.

And the “diluted” espresso ?

Having said all that, many bars actually sell coffee which is in fact a watered down espresso. Where does this habit come from? The story is actually simpler than you might think. It is almost certain that this habit arose during the Second world War. The American officers stationed in Italy didn’t love the taste of Italian coffee, so they asked for hot water to be brought with the coffee so they could dilute it.  Coming from a time when there were no filter coffee machines, this is still a “die-hard” habit today, and undoubtedly influences the idea that Italians have of American coffee. 

The American coffee machine. 

macchina caffè americano

Let’s now take a look at the preparation of brewed coffee. Loved in the U.S. but also in Northern Europe, filter coffee has a rich taste and must be prepared using medium ground coffee powder, of single origin, using the appropriate machine. Arabica is preferable because it has more intense flavors. It is important that the coffee is not too finely ground, nor too coarsely ground, so as to avoid, first of all a weak and watery taste, and secondly an unpleasant bitter aftertaste. The ratio is approximately 0.28 oz of coffee per 5.07 fl oz of water, which must be at a temperature of 199.4-203°F.

American coffee: preparation

• fill the jug with hot water;
• put the water in the coffee machine and place in the cone of absorbent paper;
• lightly wet the filter: this operation will ensure that the powder is not concentrated only in the middle of the cone;
• put the coffee into the cone, leveling out the coffee powder slightly, and start the machine. 

The coffee produced is kept inside the jug and must not be reheated, so that it doesn’t lose its characteristic flavor.

American coffee: how many calories does it have?

American coffee actually contains about the same amount of caffeine as an espresso or coffee prepared with the mocha, and very few calories, 2 kcal per 3.38 fl oz. If drunk black, without any sugar added, drinking it will have very little effect on your figure. This of course cannot be said of the other versions loaded with cream and caramel or other variations, which generally exceed 100 kcal per portion and in some cases, exceed 300 kcal.

So we have seen how to prepare a perfect brewed coffee. Did you know about the secrets of American coffee?

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Il team redazionale del blog “Laboratorio dell’espresso” è composto dagli esperti di Filicori Zecchini: tutti professionisti che mettono a disposizione la loro competenza nei vari ambiti di specializzazione, dalla formazione, alla consulenza, alla creazione della migliore offerta per la vostra attività.

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