Updated: March 13, 2022 by Owen Richardson
Have you been craving coffee, but the summer days are just too hot for a warm cup of Joe? Well, you can simply learn how to make iced Americano at home, and your problem is solved. It will give you the rich flavors of espresso and the volume of a full cup of coffee without making you sweat.
These delicious brews offer a great way to enjoy smooth and rich coffee over ice to give you that caffeine kick on hot summer days. Americanos are often enjoyed by coffee lovers who prefer more coffee than an espresso while still sipping on the bold tastes.
This simple iced variation of coffee can be achieved in a few unique ways, and you may already have the right apparatus for them at home. If you have made espresso before, you are all set. If not, you may want to consider getting an espresso machine to get started, maybe even just a budget model, if you can spare $100.
However, you don’t necessarily always need an espresso machine to create this drink, as other brew methods can offer a drink that is very close to espresso. These methods also come at a fraction of the price of an espresso machine.
No matter which way you choose to brew a shot of espresso, you’ll be able to sip on a delicate and delicious iced Americano coffee in no time. All you’ll need are a few simple ingredients that you probably already have at home as well as beginner home coffee brewing equipment.
What Is an Americano?
To understand what an iced Americano is, you will first need to know what a regular Americano is. This drink became popular during World War II when American soldiers needed a fuller drink than a regular espresso that still had plenty of caffeine to keep them awake.
The soldiers were stationed in Europe and most likely wanted a more American-tasting coffee than the traditional espresso. This resulted in them adding hot water to a shot or two of espresso to create a taller drink that tasted more like home without sacrificing an energy boost.
Another advantage was that the espresso was stretched out for longer in this preparation, in turn making their supplies last longer. True to its name, the Americano became popular in North America. The drink is a great way for coffee enthusiasts to enjoy the bolder flavors of espresso in a regular coffee size.
Using water to increase the volume rather than milk retains the coffee flavors and offers a larger cup of liquid gold. Generally, the Americano uses two shots of espresso diluted with hot water; however, some people prefer using one shot or even three shots of espresso.
The general ratio rule when making an espresso is to use one part espresso to three parts water. However, coffee should be made to your own taste preferences, so you can always tweak the ratio to what you prefer.
The Iced Variety
An iced Americano is made by following the steps and ratios of a regular hot Americano. However, it is served over ice. The drink is created by adding hot espresso to cold water and ice to create a cooled-down variation of the typical Americano.
This drink often falls under the iced coffee category at certain coffee shops, and if you would like to get creative, you could come up with several ways to spice up your drink. If you are looking for a sweet treat with a bold taste, you can add some cream or vanilla syrup.
While coffee purists may tell you that you should always drink coffee as-is without any additional ingredients or flavorings, it is entirely up to you how you would like to drink your brew.
Still, it is good to keep in mind that add-ons such as excess milk and sugar can become quite unhealthy if you are consuming them too often. Keeping this brew pure with only coffee and water (and maybe a dash of skim milk or a non-dairy variation) will allow you to taste the rich and smooth coffee flavors of your chosen beans.
While brewing an Americano may seem fairly easy if you already understand the techniques used for a quality espresso brew, there are a few tips to make this coffee taste even better.
How to Make Iced Americano at Home
The simplest method of making this iced delight at home is to brew your espresso shots using an espresso machine, as this is the only way to make true espresso. However, these machines can get quite pricey and you may not be far enough into your home brewing journey to take this next step.
Luckily, you can still make an espresso-like drink using cheaper alternatives, such as the popular French press or the eclectic Moka pot. These brewing methods can both create a smooth shot of coffee that closely mimics the classic espresso.
Whether you are using a traditional espresso shot or one of the many alternative methods, here are a few tips to keep in mind when making any type of espresso-based drink, including an iced Americano coffee.
Tip 1: Choose Quality Coffee Beans
Before you even dream of brewing a shot or three of espresso, you should choose the right beans. Any type of clean, espresso-based coffees (those without milk, cream, or syrups added) will typically utilize beans with unmasked, bold flavors, making them ideal for an iced Americano.
In short, the beans you choose will ultimately determine the taste of your coffee, so they’d better taste good!
While your bean choice should always be based on your favorite flavors, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when choosing beans for your espresso. Generally, you should choose premium Arabica beans over Robusta beans, as the flavors are bolder and offer a better coffee-drinking experience.
Another useful recommendation when it comes to choosing coffee beans for espresso is to always select a medium-to-dark roast, as the brewing method will bring out these smoother flavors with minimal acidity. The lighter roasts, which usually contain complex flavors, may get lost using this robust brewing method.
Tip 2: Use the Correct Grind Size
Another essential tip when making espresso shots is to consider the grind size. While certain brew methods may give you some leeway if your grind size is not perfect, the taste of your espresso shot will quickly expose any errors in the grinding process.
When you are using an espresso machine, you will need to grind your beans very fine to extract the bold flavors correctly with the quick brew technique. If your grind size is too big, your shot will be bland. Your ground coffee for espresso should be slightly smaller than the size of table salt particles.
To produce the right grind size for your espresso brew, you will need to use a good-quality burr grinder. A good burr grinder will ensure you are producing consistent grinds so you can avoid a bitter or sour brew.
If you are using a French press to craft this drink, you should use a medium-to-coarse grind size that resembles sea salt, whereas a Moka pot will use a fine grind slightly larger than the standard espresso grind.
Tip 3: Use Clean Water
While it seems obvious to not use dirty water, it is important to note that not all water is equal. Even though it may seem like a minor factor, the water you use can make a huge difference to your drink.
Water from certain sources contains various minerals and impurities that may give your coffee an unpleasant taste. To avoid this, you should use filtered water whenever you brew your coffee.
In addition to using clean, filtered water, you will need to get the right temperature to correctly brew your coffee. This part may be slightly subjective and will differ for each brew method, but when crafting an espresso, it is best to use water that is about 200°F.
This water temperature will only be used to create the shots of espresso, as you will also need cold water for the iced variation of this drink. However, during both phases of creating this drink, you should use filtered water for best-tasting results.
Making Iced Americano
Making an ice-cold Americano is fairly easy, but there are plenty of ways to customize it to make it more exciting as a treat. However, the true Americano is clean and pure, offering bold coffee flavors. Here is my favorite Iced Americano recipe with a few options to jazz it up some more if you would prefer.
What You’ll Need
- Quality coffee beans for espresso
- A coffee bean grinder
- Ice cubes
- An espresso maker (or a French press/Moka pot)
- Filtered water
Step 1: Brew Espresso Shots
Start by grinding your beans and brewing up your espresso shots based on how strong you would like your coffee to taste. In this recipe, I typically use two shots for a flavorful, full-bodied drink.
Step 2: Prepare Your Glass
Fill up a tall glass with ice cubes and pour in your cold filtered water, leaving enough space for the amount of espresso you are using.
Step 3: Pour Your Espresso
Next, pour your shot (or shots) of espresso over the ice and water, and watch the smooth coffee blend with the cold water, creating a flavorful drink.
Step 4: Add Your Favorite Sweeteners and Flavorings
If you are looking for a sweeter drink and don’t mind masking the coffee taste a bit, you can now include various additions to alter the taste. For example, you can spoon a dollop of cream over the drink or add some milk or a non-dairy alternative. Additionally, you can spoon in some vanilla syrup or some cinnamon powder.
Iced Americano FAQs
Are iced Americanos healthy?
A standard iced Americano coffee is fairly healthy, provided you haven’t added in any extra ingredients. Coffee has metabolism-increasing properties and can reduce the risk of heart problems. However, once certain extra ingredients are added, such as cream and various sweeteners, the coffee becomes loaded with calories, so drink responsibly!
How is an Americano different from regular coffee?
An Americano is similar to a regular coffee but contains a bolder and smoother flavor due to the use of espresso shots. An Americano, whether hot or cold, offers approximately the same strength as a regular coffee. The distinct difference is in the shot of espresso, which offers a more flavorful, bolder coffee due to the strong brew method extracting key flavor notes in the coffee.
Do you need an espresso machine to make espresso?
No, you don’t necessarily need an espresso machine to make an espresso-like drink. However, if you’re more of a coffee purist and want a straightforward shot of espresso, it is best to use an espresso machine. If you are simply looking for an espresso-like drink that offers the smooth and strong flavors of the drink, you can use other brew methods.
These methods commonly include a Moka pot or French press brew, as they both have elements of using steam or gas to brew the ground coffee beans. The steam used during brewing is what makes espresso unique from other brew methods.
A Cool Coffee for a Hot Day
An Americano is a great way to enjoy a strong espresso-flavored drink with some added volume to make the drink last longer. Its iced variation is simply made by cooling the brew down with some ice and cold water.
This drink is a tasty alternative for those hot summer days when you are after the caffeine but not the heat. This brew is quick and easy to make at home, and there are many ways you can adjust the drink to suit your own taste preferences. Plus, you can choose from various coffee beans to switch up your drink and try new flavors.
If you are ready to explore a wide range of new coffee flavors and beans, why not have a look at the top picks of coffee subscriptions? This will give you an easy way to try out a whole range of new coffee beans, whether you’re brewing an Americano or just a standard cup of coffee.