The American coffee is erroneously listed as a watered-down espresso. Some discriminate against it as one of the least attractive preparations of coffee.
However, this is not the case.
In this article, I am dedicated to telling you about the origin of American coffee, what it is, and how to make American coffee in different ways. Well, I am willing to praise this popular way of preparing coffee. Read on and learn to enjoy it.
What is American coffee?
American coffee is a way of making coffee invented in Italy, diluting with water only espresso coffee. Therefore, it has a milder taste, but at the same time very different from filtered coffee such as V60 or Chemex coffee.
The anecdote dates back to the 1940s when, during World War II American soldiers arrived in Europe, specifically in Italy, and when they asked for coffee, espresso was served to them.
Espresso, a concentrated preparation served in a small cup, is very different from what they would have. Since the Americans mostly consumed filtered coffee.
So, too, if it’s not too much trouble the soldiers’ taste, the coffee was served in large mugs, and hot water was included in the coffee. This is where the title “American” came from, for coffee was served in an expansive glass of 120 or more milliliters and with less solid implantation.
In general, when ordering an American coffee in a coffee shop, they can easily prepare it by adding water to espresso. As well as, they can serve the espresso cup with a jug of hot water so that you can add it to your liking.
But this is not how they prepare coffee in North America. In America, they consume filtered, pour, or drip coffee. It is a cleaner, clearer, less acidic infusion and with more accentuated nuances.
American coffee maintains the nuances, acidity, and bitterness so, it has characteristics of espresso but is less concentrated.
How to make an American coffee?
To make an American coffee, there is no one particular recipe. Between baristas, different ways of preparing it have been derived. Well, believe it or not, the order of the ingredients does alter the coffee. Let’s see.
Some specialists recommend applying a 1: 2 ratio of espresso and water. Although, this depends a lot on the intensity of the espresso.
Adding water to coffee
Some propose to prepare the espresso and then add water that does not exceed a temperature of 80 ° C. You will notice that this simple preparation breaks the texture or body when adding the water, leaving it with a watery appearance. However, if you respect the 1: 2 measurements, it should not be low in flavour.
Pouring coffee into the water
Another way to prepare is when preparing the espresso with the machine, letting the infusion fall into the cup with the water already served. You will notice that the water will receive the coffee cream as an ink, without changing its body, unless you mix it with a spoon. It is much better presented and with a consistent appearance.
Handling the infusion
It is about using the espresso machine to obtain an American coffee. A common recipe I use is about 140ml of filtered water at 80°C topped with a double shot of espresso of around 36g of yield. Although is not my favourite type of extraction, I experience decent result especially with regards of natural processed coffee.
Differences between American coffee and espresso
The main difference between American coffee and espresso lies in the preparation methods.
Espresso coffee is prepared under the effects of pressure and temperature, which manage to extract concentrated and dense nuances of flavour, colour, and texture. The espresso crema forms the basis of other recipes such as cappuccino, lattes, among others.
For its preparation, I recommend using coffee with sweet and chocolate nuances from Colombia or Brazil.
American coffee is an espresso coffee diluted with water in a 1: 4 to 1: 5 ratio. Let’s say you keep the flavour profile on a smaller scale. Therefore, it is more acidic and bitter than filtered coffee.
Filtered or American coffee (as it is popularly prepared in the region) is coffee infused in drip or pour-over coffee machines, such as Chemex or V60, with an amusing experience to taste.
For this way of preparing, take advantage of the grains of a good wash from Kenya, Ethiopia, with more fruit and floral nuances.
Finally, I remind you that the best experience for good American coffee lovers is gained by using fresh coffee, with variations in times and temperatures until you achieve your extraction profile. Please feel free to share your standard recipe down below and I will happily give it a try.
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.