Why You Don't Need To Add Water To An Iced Americano

Cappuccino, macchiato, Americano — all the names for different coffee drinks can blur together when looking at a café menu. Most of these beverages are just different ratios of coffee and milk: for example, a typical cappuccino is made of a shot or two of espresso, two ounces of steamed milk, and two ounces of milk foam. A macchiato is usually a shot of espresso mixed with a couple of teaspoons of steamed milk (via Webstaurant Store). An Americano, however, is unique in that it leaves the milk out of the equation entirely.

According to Coffee Affection, all you need to do to make an Americano is add hot water to a couple of shots of espresso. So why do we love drinking watered-down espresso shots? It turns out that WWII brought about the invention of the Americano, as the drink was created when American soldiers returning home from Italy were looking for a way to drink their newly discovered Italian coffee, just with a little less strength. Since then, Americans have adapted the drink to fit our taste buds — if you go to Starbucks, for example, you can customize your Americano to add flavored syrups, toppings, and sweeteners. And to include the drink in our affinity for iced coffees, you can also order an iced Americano.

Ice will melt and dilute the espresso

If combining hot water and espresso makes an Americano, then what constitutes an iced Americano? Unsurprisingly, the simple drink is composed of espresso shots and cold water, according to Food & Wine. But if an iced drink isn't really legitimate to you without ice (fair enough), A Couple Cooks advises pouring your espresso shot over a glass of ice to cool it down instead. If you follow the second method, you don't need to add any water to your iced Americano, because the ice will dilute the espresso as it melts. 

Iced Americanos are often compared to cold brew, and while the two drinks can both involve cold water and coffee, they are slightly different. True coffee aficionados will notice that iced Americanos usually taste more acidic and bitter than cold brew since they're originally made with hot water (via Caffe Nero). And while cold brew can be made by allowing grounds to sit in the fridge with water overnight, iced Americanos require you to whip out the espresso machine — and can be made with ice only, no water needed.

So the next time you make an iced Americano, leave out the water and let the melted ice do its thing to dilute your espresso.