Tips for making a better Americano?

Beginner or pro barista, all are invited to share.
Mike Panic
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Postby Mike Panic » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:32 pm

In the morning I like to sip coffee, on the ride to work and while at work. As much as I enjoy espresso, its not "enough" in terms of volume - so Americano is where I am headed. I enjoy the french press but much prefer a good Americano over FP.

My lever machine will give between 1.25 and 1.5 oz of amazing espresso from a double ristretto pull. What is the optimal amount of hot water I should be adding? Is there a set ratio I should try to follow?

Because I have such a small boiler in my Pavoni, I boil water in a tea pot on the stove. Should I be adding the espresso or water to the cup first?

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Postby ntwkgestapo » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:23 pm

Mike, TYPICALLY I do 3oz of water to every "double". I also just use the steaming wand on my Factory to heat a container of filtered water to aproximately 165 degrees.... takes about 30 seconds! In the morning I make a pair of doubles (about 1.75oz per) and steam the water to 165 deg. put the two together in a sbux SS tumbler (the one thing I DO like about sbux! :D). Take to work and sip (until it's gone, gone, gone.... sigh).
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Postby edwa » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:46 pm

I would think that should be more a factor of the s.o. or blend that you are using and then adjust the water volume to your taste. Do you drink it black or add milk? My wife typically likes about 5 oz added to her double shot and I add 4 oz when I do make an Americano for myself.

Mike Panic
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Postby Mike Panic » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:57 pm

I drink it black. I've been told it is about 2:1, but even when I make a quad (out of my Pavoni is only around 3oz ristretto), adding 6oz of water to make 9oz total isnt' as much as i'd like to sip on for 20-30 minutes. Trouble is, any more water makes it too watered down and I don't want to get in the habbit of making a 6 or 8 shot Americano just to get the volume of total beverage that I'd like.

I guess I need to start appreciating small, 8-10oz cups a little more and stop trying to make everything American * supersized :D

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cafeIKE
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Postby cafeIKE » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:01 pm

For my Mum, I add about double the shot volume in hot water. Add the water gently from the hot water tap to preserve the crema topping, for appearances if nothing else. Some like to pull the shot into hot water, but short shots may then be too dilute.

I once saw a barista dump a short double into a FULL 12oz of hot water.
When queried, he replied, eyes rolling, "Americano"

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Postby Mike Panic » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:12 pm

That's what I've often wondered getting Americano's at Starbucks. It is more money for a larger cup of hot water, same amount of shots. Granted that larger cup costs slightly more than a smaller cup, but there is no extra go-fast in there.

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Postby RAS » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:37 pm

Sure seems to me that a little experimentation will give you the volume and strength you're looking for. Then whether your Americano is a 1:1, 2:1, or whatever, you'll have defined what works for you. On weekends, I'll make a 2:1 (water to espresso) Americano that is a perfect accompaniment to breakfast. It still tastes enough like espresso, but gives me adequate volume to enjoy throughout my breakfast of pancakes, scone, toast with Nutella (dang fine with a good Americano), etc...
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beansbats
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Postby beansbats » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:56 pm

Before I head to the office I pull a couple of singles for taste, crema and to open my eyes. Then I pull an Americano with a double pull on the Pavoni, and then add equal parts of water for a 1:1 ratio. Why 1:1? It is the size of the cup I use, so it works for me. BTW.... my commute consists of walking to the spare bedroom and booting the computer. :)

Hmmm, I have never tried to preserve the crema in my Americano.... something to try.

On another note, I recently ordered an Americano at a shop in Columbus OH and the barista actually asked me what ratio would I prefer? I was impressed.

-beans

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Postby CoffeeOwl » Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:29 pm

I do it two ways: pour a double into 2oz of hot water or into 6oz of hot water.
Now, you can pull the shot into a separate glass and then pour it into the water or you can pull the shot directly into the water - there is a slight difference in taste and quite a difference in appearance of the drinks.
If you want more, then I suggest you make a triple and pour it to more water, but: I haven't tried it myself yet - I'm waiting for the triple basket for La Spaziale.
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Postby JimG » Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:49 pm

cafeIKE wrote:I once saw a barista dump a short double into a FULL 12oz of hot water.
When queried, he replied, eyes rolling, "Americano"

Yikes. That Americano might have been for me :roll:

Except for the commute to the office, I prefer my espresso undiluted and unadulterated. But a full double (2.5oz), poured into 10-12 oz of hot water tastes great in my sippy cup.

Jim