Ratio of water/espresso for an Americano

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

Postby davidc9057 » Feb 10, 2011, 10:53 pm

What is the correct ratio of espresso to water for a true Americano?

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Postby Bob_McBob » Feb 10, 2011, 11:21 pm

There is no real standard for an Americano. Add as much water as you want. My usual is a double in a 6oz cup.


Postby davidc9057 » Feb 10, 2011, 11:30 pm

Thanks for the reply Chris. Didn't see it posted anywhere here.


Postby mini » Feb 11, 2011, 12:42 pm

I've always drank Americanos out of mugs. I too use a double shot. I end up with 8-10 ounces usually. Then again, I don't drink them all that often.

Like Chis said, it varies from place to place. (Perhaps even coffee to coffee)


Postby Aaron » Feb 11, 2011, 2:39 pm

My wife drinks them, not my preference. I make them in our latte cups, which I think are about 6-7 ounces. I put a double shot in there.
“The powers of a man's mind are proportionate to the quantity of coffee he drinks” - James McKintosh


Postby portamento » Feb 11, 2011, 9:26 pm

Seems logical that one could apply standard brewing ratios.

Let's say you like 60g / L in your pourover brews.

If you made an espresso using 18g of coffee and producing a 36g shot, you could add 264ml of water or ~8.9 oz. This should be roughly equivalent in concentration to a pourover made with 18g coffee and 300ml water.

In practice, I prefer a more concentrated Americano, adding maybe 3-6oz of hot water to a double shot.

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Postby AndyS » Feb 11, 2011, 10:29 pm

davidc9057 wrote:What is the correct ratio of espresso to water for a true Americano?

The correct ratio, of course, is the one that you like the best for that particular coffee. Having uttered those weasel words, however, it is possible to offer a geek's guidance on how to accomplish this.

To make the ideal americano one first prepares a delicious espresso. In doing so, the extraction yield will generally be in the neighborhood of 19% (IOW, 19% of the original dry grounds end up dissolved in the demitasse). Second, one dilutes the espresso so that the final solubles concentration is about 1.35%. This figure varies according to taste, but 1.35% is a good starting point. See the table below for americanos prepared this way using typical doses:


Note that just as with brewed coffee, the final beverage weight will be about 14x the original dry coffee grounds. Also note that in an americano it's not the ratio of espresso to water that's critical, it's the ratio of dry coffee to final beverage weight.

Bottom line is:
(1) measure your dose in grams
(2) prepare your best espresso
(3) place americano cup on scale and tare to zero
(4) add espresso shot
(5) dilute with hot water until final americano weight is 14x the dose weight
(6) stir with silver spoon
(7) taste the beverage
(8) marvel at the deliciousness, or, if not,
(9) adjust shot/dilution parameters for next time

In a pinch, stainless steel works, too.
VST refractometer/filter basket beta tester, no financial interest in the company


Postby wildbwilson » Feb 11, 2011, 11:23 pm

25 years back when I was living in europe an Americano was the derisive name for watered down coffee, regardless of the 'brew ratio'. The locals thought of their watered down drinks as alongè, grande, grosse, etc and quite naturally were therefore drinking a much more refined and civilized beverage. I came to understand that ordering a cafe double or cafe grande was quite acceptable whereas an americano often came without the fancy little treat on the plate such as a crispy bisquit or a stale piece of chocolate.
My personal preference is for a 1:1 ratio. 4oz espresso/4oz water

-wild b

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Postby Benjammer » Dec 22, 2011, 4:33 am

I find Americano's taste best, with steamed milk, and no water added :)


Postby DavidMLewis » Dec 22, 2011, 3:13 pm

One note: if you order an Americano in a cafe, you want to specify. Something like "a 1:1 Americano" or whatever you actually want.