Did you know that the Americano Coffee dates all the way back to the Second World War, or perhaps even before that? One of the most popular beliefs about the term “Caffe Americano” which later became “Americano Coffee” is that it was coined by Italian soldiers during the war who would often see the American G.I.s diluting their espressos with hot water.
There are several other theories about Americano Coffee, but I like this story the best, and I’ll tell you why. The soldiers during the Second World War were diluting their espressos so that they would only drink the amount of coffee they were accustomed to back home.
They were taking the coffee beverage and making it theirs. And that’s really what an Americano Coffee is about.
Can You Add Milk to Americano Coffee?
Yes, you can add milk to Americano Coffee. In fact, you can do whatever you want to your Caffe Americano – that’s the very spirit of the beverage. It is a versatile coffee drink with its own unique characteristics that can be molded to suit your individual taste.
I know exactly what is going through your mind now. Diluting espresso births a completely different drink, so, does that mean that adding milk to that drink would make it into a third beverage? Technically, yes, but no, it’s not a flat white or a latte.
Here’s all that you need to know about Americano Coffee and all the wonderful things you can do with it.
What Do You Call an Americano with Milk?
While an “Americano with Milk” sounds like it should be a drink on its own, it sadly does not have an exact identity. The name that comes closest is “Americano Misto”, a drink that could be had at the Starbucks around the corner from your workplace.
Americano Misto is made by “layering bold espresso shots with hot water then steamed milk for an authentic, handcrafted espresso beverage”. (Source)
Sometimes people also refer to it as a White Americano, but that’s a grave mistake. A White Americano is actually an Americano that is not topped with hot water all the way to the brim; there is some white space left in the cup (hence, the name).
Still not very sold on an “Americano with Milk” having its own unique taste profile and characteristics? Let me resolve your confusion.
Americano With Milk vs. Flat White
Both of those are essentially espresso-based coffee beverages, and therefore your bewilderment is totally valid. However, if you were to drink an Americano with Milk and a Flat White one after the other, you’d know exactly what the difference is.
For starters, an Americano with Milk has three base ingredients – espresso, hot water, and milk.
On the other hand, a Flat White is just made up of two base ingredients – espresso and steamed milk.
Additionally, both beverages taste extremely different. While an Americano with milk is closer to black coffee but slightly sweeter, a Flat White has a very distinct and rich creamy coffee taste, depending on the type of steamed milk used.
Americano With Milk vs. Latte
The other coffee beverage in the mix that causes confusion is a latte, which in my opinion is actually much closer to a Flat White than it is to an Americano with milk.
The reason I say that is because both Lattes and Flat Whites use steamed milk as their core ingredient, and there is no water added to the mix at all. Moreover, on top of the steamed milk, a latte also has a layer of foamed milk to add to the creaminess.
Therefore, if you really think about it, or even better go and have a taste of all three drinks, you’ll realize that an Americano with or without milk stands out in all aspects.
An Americano with milk has a bolder taste but without the bitterness and sour hints of a regular cup of joe. It is also a very smooth drink which is a direct effect of the dilution.
However, creamy and milky are definitely not words that I would use to describe an Americano with milk. But a Latte or a Flat White on the other hand – as buttery as coffee gets!
Americano Misto vs. Latte
Like we already discussed, an Americano is an espresso with hot water and a Latte is an espresso with steamed milk. Now, if those two were to have a baby, it would probably be called an Americano Misto, which is essentially espresso with half water and half milk (roughly 8 ounces of each).
I am sure I don’t have to explain the differences between the two drinks to you after that analogy, but I’ll just say this – an Americano Misto is for Monday mornings and a Latte is a drink you have when you are on a coffee date.
That more than explains and differentiates the two beverages, but if you are still curious or even if you are not – go and try all the different types of espresso coffees out! I think that was the most fun part of doing all this research.
Do make sure you don’t drink all four or five cups of coffee all by yourself; take a friend or better yet, a group of friends. And don’t forget to share your experience with me!
Now that we have all the basics out of the way, let’s talk about how easy it is to get an Americano with Milk at cafes and restaurants.
Can You Order an Americano with Milk?
In my experience, it is fairly easy. Think about it – millions of people all across the globe add milk to all types of coffee beverages. Why should an Americano be treated any different?
Yes, traditionally an Americano is only made up of espresso and hot water, but where is the rule book that says you can’t add anything else to it? If an Americano with milk is what you need (and trust me, once you try it, you will never go back) that’s exactly what you should get.
So, how do you actually order an Americano with Milk – well, by doing just that. You don’t need any fancy names or titles – just keep it simple with “a cafe americano with milk, please”!
Is it weird to put milk in Americano?
The world of coffee can sometimes be a bit snobbish and I know that there are certain dos and don’ts. But when it comes to an Americano, I don’t think it is wrong or socially unacceptable to ask to add a little milk or even sugar to your coffee.
Like I mentioned earlier, an Americano is, very rightly, the most democratic coffee you’ll ever have. You choose how you want to drink it.
And if there is ever a “refined” café or coffee snob calling you out on it, educate them. Tell them about the history of the drink and how it stands for the freedom to drink your coffee the way you want to.
How to Make Americano with Milk the Right Way
If for some reason, you are not able to get an American with Milk at a café near you or you are just too lazy to leave home, there is always the option of making an Americano at home. All you need is an espresso machine and an empty cup.
Here are a quick recipe and some additional tips for you to try out the next time you are craving a bold cup of Caffe Americano.
As usual, let’s get to the basics first.
An Americano coffee is simply a shot of espresso topped with hot water. The drink may be made by pouring espresso over hot water or by adding the water into a cup of espresso.
According to experts, the espresso to hot water ratio for Americano Coffee should be 1:2. In simpler terms, that means roughly 30 to 50 ml of espresso for every 60 to 100 mil of hot water. However, as I mentioned, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this free-spirited drink!
Americano Coffee with Milk
• 1 or 2 shots of espresso, depending on your preference (or if it’s a Monday morning)
• hot water
• steamed milk
• sugar, if required
• an empty cup
• Step 1: Brew your espresso. Like always, I recommend quality coffee beans that are coarsely ground.
• Step 2: Pour your espresso in the cup and ready the hot water.
• Step 3: Slowly pour the hot water into the espresso, leaving just a little space for the milk (or as some would say, make it a White Americano).
• Step 4: Add the steamed milk.
• Step 5: Lastly, add and stir in the sugar if you usually take sugar with your coffee. This step is optional.
• Step 6: Enjoy your cup of Caffe Americano with milk (and sugar)!
✔ Additional Pro Tips
• There is no set ratio for the amount of water and milk to add to your Americano Coffee with milk. It really depends on your personal preference and will take you some trial and error to figure out.
• You can also pour your espresso into the hot water to make an Americano. This method works better if you intend to add ice to your drink.
• If you do not have a steamer, milk frother or steam wand at home, there are lots of ways to make milk frothy without any fancy apparatus.
The simplest method is to heat the milk and then pour it into a jar with an air-tight lid. Make sure that the milk is not poured in all the way. Close the jar with the lid, and then shake it vigorously or dance around the kitchen (the latter really works too), and voila! You will have your own home-steamed milk in no time.
• If you want to have your Americano cold, simply add ice to the final cup and stir it in until the temperature of the drink cools down. Never try to make an Americano with cold or iced water – it does not work.
The dilution process only extracts flavors from the espresso in the presence of heat. Adding cold water to espresso will just ruin it and kill the aroma.
What Else Can You Put in an Americano? (Other Than Milk)
Ready for a twist in your Caffe Americano with milk? There is an array of ingredients that you can add to your drink and make it uniquely yours (exactly the way that it should be drunk). Here are some suggestions.
Borrowing a page from the Latte recipe book, a layer of milk foam actually works wonders for an Americano. Make sure it’s the topmost layer in your cup and remember to wipe off your milk foam moustache before you leave the house.
I already mentioned this once, but for those that do not usually take sugar with your coffee. Try it with an Americano with milk. You might actually enjoy it. The sugar somehow makes it a little richer. If you’re in the mood to experiment, you can also try using brown sugar or cane sugar instead of the regular white kind.
A dash of vanilla always goes extremely well with coffee, especially if you are a dessert lover. You can use the liquid vanilla essence or add a vanilla bean directly to your espresso brew for a stronger flavor.
Like vanilla, cinnamon is also a go-to add on when it comes to coffee. You can use some cinnamon powder and mix it into the espresso before you pour in the water. Don’t forget to also sprinkle some over the final cup for that refreshing aroma.
Fruits and Herbs
This one is the most surprising one! Some experts suggest apricots, lime or mint to your iced Americano to give it a unique and refreshing taste. I haven’t personally tried this yet, but it’s definitely next on my list of coffee experiments.
A true Caffe Americano isn’t what it’s made of, it is what the drinker wants it to be made of, whether that’s milk, sugar, or freshly plucked apricots.
So, the next time someone looks at you funny for ordering an Americano Coffee with milk, you can educate them, or better yet share this article with them!
Go ahead and have your Americano Coffee your way! Don’t forget to share any tips and hacks that you have for this great and unique drink with all the coffee lovers on here. We all love to try out new things.