Dialing in Americano vs Espresso

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
zfeldman

#1: Post by zfeldman »

Is the flavor profile I should be aiming for the same for straight Espresso shots vs shots for Americanos? When I end up with things dialed for an Americano, the straight Espresso shots are not great. They aren't terrible or undrinkable, just way more bright heading into sour than I'd prefer for an Espresso shot.


I've been using an Astra Pro (with thin diffuser) and a La San Marco SM 90 (old machine/new burrs) for 3 or 4 years.
I drink almost exclusively Americanos (with 1/2 and 1/2) and make Lattes for the SO. I don't like coffee out of a travel mug, so often drink iced Americanos if I'm taking it to drink later at work. Used mostly Novo Coffee's 'Espresso Novo' for 2 or 3 years till is started getting harder to brew for some reason. Since then I've been using mostly Klatch 'Belle'.

My methods may be off, but I usually adjust grind and dose for a nice looking pour out of the naked PF first. This gets me pretty close, then I adjust temp on the fly by flushing. I can't taste too hot very easily, other than the Americano gets boring and bland, though I can taste too cold in the Americano pretty easily.

Am I missing something by adjusting taste only through Americanos given that that's what I'll be drinking?

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cannonfodder
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#2: Post by cannonfodder »

You answered your own question. Adjust by taste. They are 2 very different drinks so it would make sence that some adjustment would be needed to optomise the flavor profile you are after.
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zfeldman (original poster)

#3: Post by zfeldman (original poster) » replying to cannonfodder »

Are coffee shops splitting the difference between espresso, lattes, and americanos? Or just dialing in espresso? I'm in Seattle and get Americanos all over town that are great, but the espresso pours and lattes are great too.

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redbone

#4: Post by redbone »

The espresso is the foundation here and the base in an Americano. I drink espresso and my wife drinks Americanos daily. Once your espresso is dialed in for optimal taste, the only parameter that should be changed is the ratio of espresso to added hot water.
The water should not be more than 185F / 85c before adding to cup for optimal flavouring and would settle in the cup to about 165F.
Water to hot would bring out undesirable compounds of the espresso.
Experiment and enjoy the brew.
Between order and chaos there is espresso.
Semper discens.


Rob
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#5: Post by Nick Name »

While americano is an espresso/ristretto diluted with hot water, if you don't like the taste of one or the other done the somewhat traditional way, you naturally should dial them separately. It's always about how you like them (unless you make them for some one else). Taste is personal.

There are no strict rules in making coffee (you won't end up in jail if you don't follow them). Merely guidelines that are best when used as a starting point to one's individual taste.

"Trust your feelings, Luke."

lagoon

#6: Post by lagoon »

Pretty much what Redbone said above. The temperature of the hot water is crucial - some places use boiling water, which cooks the shot and kills the flavour. Aim for around 80C.

I make Americanos with a 50ml double shot and about 100ml of water.

Put a dash of cold water in the cup first, then add the hot water from the machine. This will get your water temperature in the ballpark. Then pull a double on top.

(strictly speaking a long black if done in this order)

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JohnB.
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#7: Post by JohnB. »

zfeldman wrote:Are coffee shops splitting the difference between espresso, lattes, and americanos? Or just dialing in espresso? I'm in Seattle and get Americanos all over town that are great, but the espresso pours and lattes are great too.

I don't know what the shops do but I use my lighter (brew) roasted S/Os for my Americanos & pull straight shots from my espresso roasts.
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zfeldman (original poster)

#8: Post by zfeldman (original poster) »

I heat with the steam wand (no water tap on my machine) so I use cooler than boiler temp water.

mfogliet

#9: Post by mfogliet »

lagoon wrote:The temperature of the hot water is crucial - some places use boiling water, which cooks the shot and kills the flavour. Aim for around 80C.
Do you mean to say that boiling water ruins the shot or rather that boiling water is too hot to enjoy the americano. I drink Americanos 90% of the time and never noticed boiling water ruined a shot. At home I use boiling water diluted with cold filtered water to about 170F. This is because I want to start tasting the flavour profile right away. YMMV but if I use pure boiling water the taste is still all there once the drink has cooled. Furthermore, most reputable cafés I have been to pour water from the water tap or a water tower and the drinks still taste great.

lagoon

#10: Post by lagoon »

mfogliet wrote:Do you mean to say that boiling water ruins the shot or rather that boiling water is too hot to enjoy the americano.
Both. Here's a great piece on the topic:

http://www.goodfood.com.au/drinks/the-p ... 0411-36j9y