An American-o In Search Of The Best Americano

Here, our writer Melissa Baron dishes up a fun, informative taste of the week. She may also slip in a health tidbit from time to time, because #balance. 


I like my coffee like I like my men: full bodied, extra hot, rich and a great bargain for the flavor. (Poll: did I just make it weird? Winning answer: Yep.)

What I’m actually referring to is an americano. If you’ve never tried one, you’re seriously missing out. This superior cup o joe is worth a shot (espresso shot, that is), if you want to feel sophisticated and classy af (I know I do).

I order americanos every time I’m at a coffee shop. Why? This posh coffee beverage has the same strength as coffee, but boasts a richer, deeper flavor. And often less than 50 cents more expensive than a regular cup of coffee, it’s like getting an Uber Black experience for the price of a Charlie ticket.

Italian for “American coffee”, the cafe americano is a mix of espresso shots and water. The water acts to dilute the strength of the espresso, but maintains the stronger flavor. “That’s just watered down coffee,” you say. “Wrong,” I say and roll my eyes, because of course someone who drinks macchiato-mochachino-lattes would say something like this.

I do understand that it’s an acquired taste, however. The best way to work up to a full-blown americano is to start with a latte. Lattes are steamed milk with a lil foam and shots of espresso. Once you’ve graduated from a latte, order a cappuccino. These have mostly milk foam, a little bit of steamed milk, and the espresso shots.

Okay, have you successfully mastered the latte and cappuccino? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

 Ready?? Let’s do it! “We’ll take two americanos, please!” #proudofyou

Now, not all americanos will taste the same. I tested the drink at three different coffee houses around Boston (verdicts below) and each boasted a unique flavor profile. Have fun doing some research yourself to find your favorite.

Pavement Coffee House, multiple locations near Allston/Fenway/BU

  • Verdict: Full bodied, steamy and served in a real mug (brownie points!) since we sipped in-house.

Flat Black Coffee, Financial District and Dorchester

  • Verdict: Acidic, light, with hints of citrus.

Espresso Love, Financial District and Martha’s Vineyard

  • Verdict: HOT and deep flavor. (Remember, I like ‘em hot). A big hit for my taste buds.

And finally, some tough love: you should really suck it up and drink it black. Milk dilutes the deep flavor (and cools it down quicker) and sugar increases the acidity. Also black = like 4 calories a cup, which is an additional win.

I hope you’ll enjoy and come to prefer the deep and well-rounded taste of an americano over most other coffee drinks. And as they say, once you go full bodied and robust, you never go back. ...although I may be remembering the phrase wrong.

Happy sipping!

Beer + Soft Pretzels = Yes

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