A contribution from Die Redaktion in the category #Coffee Knowledge from 1 March 2023
„An Americano, please! Or a café crème?“ Both drinks are often ordered, but only a few people know what’s behind them and what the difference is. We at Coffee Circle shed some light on the subject.
What is the difference between a coffee Americano (or „Caffè Americano“) and Café Crème? The main difference lies in the grind and the amount of water. A Café Crème uses four times as much water and a coarser grind.
You can find out more about the comparison and preparation of a coffee Americano and a café crème below.
Americano vs. Café Crème
You can use espresso roasts for both the Americano and the Café Crème. This has the advantage that you can prepare larger cups of coffee without additional filter coffee equipment.
There are two main factors that make the difference between an Americano and a Café Crème:
- the amount of water
- the grind
But the preparation plays a role here. In the following, you will learn how exactly both drinks are prepared and what the difference is in detail.
Kaffee Americano – a double espresso diluted with hot water
According to stories, the Americano came about after the Second World War by American soldiers in Italy, when stationed GIs found the Italians‘ espresso too strong. They requested a glass of hot water with their espresso to dilute it. This is how the term Caffè Americano, which we know today, came about.
The mixing ratio of espresso to water is 1:3. For a double espresso, this is about 50 – 60 ml of espresso and about 180 ml of hot water. The quantities can of course vary according to taste. Ideally, hot water should be poured into the cup first, onto which the espresso is then brewed. This preserves the crema better.
- Heat water first (the optimal temperature is about 90 – 94 degrees Celsius). If you have an espresso machine, you can heat the water in the machine.
- Then fill the hot water into a cappuccino cup so that it is 2/3 full.
- Then pour a double espresso (approx. 16-18 grams of finely ground espresso) into the cup.
- As soon as the Americano has finished brewing, you can add another 25-30 ml of hot water to taste.
Café Crème - a cup of coffee prepared in a fully automatic machine or a portafilter
To create the typical crema, the water must be forced through the finely ground coffee at a pressure of about 9 bar. Espresso and café crème both have a similar brewing time of about 25 – 30 seconds. But café crème uses four times as much water as espresso. While an espresso uses 20 – 30 ml, a café crème uses 120 ml or more.
This is made possible by a coarser grind – significantly finer than for a filter coffee, but slightly coarser than for an espresso. Café Crème is particularly suitable for preparation in a fully automatic machine and is most often prepared in this.
Preparation: Run about 120 to 130 ml of water through 17 g of espresso (coarser grind) in 30 seconds. The following rule of thumb applies: If you see no air bubbles in the coffee foam, then it is crema. If you see a lot of air bubbles, it is coffee foam.
Small tip: We recommend that restaurateurs who want to prepare café crème in their portafilter purchase a second grinder.
Our coffee recommendation for an excellent coffee americano or an excellent café crème
To prepare an Americano or a Café Crème, we recommend using high-quality coffee. This is especially important for the Americano so that the coffee does not lose its aroma when hot water is added. If you prefer a mild Americano, you can use a coffee that is less intense but still aromatic.
For café crème, the roast is also an important factor in creating a good crema. In our Coffee Circle coffee shop, you’ll find a wide range of high-quality and aromatic coffees.
How do you prepare an Iced Americano?
An Iced Americano is the frozen version of a coffee Americano, made with ice, espresso and chilled water. A true Iced Americano must be made with espresso. If any other type of coffee is used, then it is not a true Iced Americano.
To prepare it, pour cold water into a cup and then add the espresso and ice. It is important that the cold water is in the cup first, as this creates more crema on the surface.
Iced Americanos are usually made without milk and sugar. However, if you want a little sweetness, you should use a syrup (e.g. a vanilla or caramel syrup for a light note), as it mixes more easily into a cold drink than sugar.
By the way, the preparation of the Iced Americano is not to be confused with Cold Brewing. With Cold Brew, the coffee grounds are extracted in cold water from the start – with Iced Americano, the coffee cools down during brewing.