Coffee has been around for a long time, but we’ve seen a drastic increase in the amount of coffee consumed across the world in recent years. Suppose you’re a regular coffee drinker and find that your morning cup of Joe just isn’t doing it anymore. In that case, you might be interested to know the differences between brewed and Americano coffee and, more importantly, which one is stronger.
Brewed coffee is stronger than an Americano because it contains a higher caffeine concentration, although the difference isn’t that vast. However, your coffee’s strength very much depends on the origin of the beans, the roast level, the roughness of the grounds, and how you prepare it.
In this article, you’ll learn the following information about this popular question:
- The differences between brewed and Americano coffee
- Which one is stronger and why
- Factors that influence the strength of coffee
- How to make these coffees at home
Differences Between Brewed and Americano Coffee
An Americano and brewed coffee might look like the same thing to the untrained eye, but they are quite different. Here’s a look at a few of those differences.
How They Are Made
Brewed coffee, also known as drip coffee, whether it is made with an auto-drip machine, a manual pour-over, or a french press, is brewed by letting the hot water run through the coffee grounds, resulting in a typical cup of coffee.
An Americano, however, starts as an espresso shot. The espresso shot is then diluted by adding hot water, which creates the well-known and loved Americano coffee.
Americanos have a lot of the same characteristics as an espresso, just slightly diluted. They are known to have a rich, full-bodied taste, and depending on the quality of the beans used. It can sometimes have a slight roast or burnt flavor.
On the other hand, drip coffee has a more subtle flavor because the brewing process is slower. This allows more delicate flavors to infuse into the coffee, which doesn’t happen when an Americano is made.
Why Is Drip Coffee Stronger?
For the most part, a cup of drip coffee contains more caffeine than an Americano, but this is mainly because of the difference in serving size.
An Americano is served in an 8 oz (237 ml) cup, while regular drip coffee is served in a 12 oz (355 ml) mug. According to Kicking Horse Coffee, the double shot of espresso in a regular Americano contains roughly 80 mg of caffeine, and a drip coffee contains roughly 120 mg.
However, if you are making coffee, you can make it as strong or as weak as possible. If you’re in a rush or don’t feel like making it yourself, getting drip coffee will ensure you get a bigger caffeine kick than if you got an Americano. Still, there are a few other factors that influence the strength of the coffee you’re drinking.
Factors That Influence the Strength of Coffee
At a technical level, the coffee’s strength is linked to the actual amount of caffeine in the cup. However, there’s no denying that strength is relative to the person drinking the coffee and the other factors that influence the strength and the flavor of the coffee.
Origin of the Beans
Anyone who is an avid coffee drinker will know that all coffee doesn’t come from one magical source, but they may not know how much the coffee beans’ origin influences its strength and flavor. The terroir of every batch of coffee beans varies greatly and has a significant impact on its strength and taste.
Things like the altitude, climate, soil type, and microbiome and topography of where the beans are grown are important factors influencing what the end product will be like.
The percentage of caffeine in the beans also varies from country to country, and according to Full Cup Flavour, beans from Ethiopia generally have a 1.13% caffeine content. In comparison, beans from Tanzania usually have a 1.42% caffeine content.
It is also worth knowing that Robusta beans have at least twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans, according to My Friends Coffee. Robusta has a 2.2%-2.7% caffeine content compared to Arabica’s 1.2%-1.5%.
However, what Robusta makes up for in caffeine content lacks in taste, so if you want more from your coffee cup than just a caffeine kick, you’d be better off going for Arabica beans.
In terms of the strength of the beans’ flavor, this will vary quite a lot between countries. Generally speaking, beans from Kenya, Tanzania, India, Guatemala, and Ethiopia have the highest flavor profiles, according to MyCuppa.
Age and Level of Roast
Another one of the most important factors that influence coffee’s strength and flavor is the age and the level of the roast of the beans.
William Harrison Ukers wrote in his book All About Coffee that coffee starts to lose its strength immediately after being roasted. This means that the older your beans are, the weaker they will have become since the caffeine in coffee beans tends to degrade when it comes into contact with oxygen in the air.
The level to which coffee beans are roasted also influences its strength. Darker roasts contain less caffeine than lighter roasts because caffeine concentration decreases the longer the beans are roasted. However, darker roasts have a stronger flavor than lighter roasts, so if you’re looking for a good balance between caffeine content and flavor, a medium roast bean will give you that.
Grind size is directly linked to how quick caffeine is extracted from coffee. The finer the grind, the quicker caffeine can be extracted from it. However, grind size also influences how quickly the coffee loses its strength.
In a test performed by a Michigan coffee packer William Harrison Ukers wrote about in his book, it was discovered that coarsely ground coffee loses its strength quicker than the medium ground, continuing similarly down the scale.
This means that finely ground coffee retains its strength for the longest amount of time. According to Solo Espresso, the grinds used for making an Americano should be finer than those used to make a drip coffee, meaning that they’ll stay fresher for longer.
If you want to ensure that your coffee keeps its strength for as long as possible, you should only grind the beans right before you want to make yourself a cup.
The way you prepare your coffee will also affect the caffeine content and its flavor. You can use many different methods to brew yourself a cup of Joe, and each one will produce varying amounts of caffeine and strength of flavor.
Longer brewing time will allow more caffeine to seep into the water. According to Kicking Horse Coffee, roughly all available caffeine is released during the first minute of extraction.
The average brewing time of an espresso shot is from 20-30 seconds, which means that all available caffeine isn’t extracted. Drip coffee is left to brew longer, and so more caffeine is extracted from the grinds, making it stronger than an Americano.
In terms of flavor, using a french press, like this VEKEN French Press Coffee and Tea Maker, will produce the most full-bodied coffee, while using a pour-over method like the CHEMEX Classic Glass Pour-over Coffee Maker, will give you a subtler flavor. It’s good to be aware that when you add milk, creamer, or any other liquid to your coffee, you are also diluting the caffeine’s strength and flavor.
How to Make Them Yourself
The best thing about this surge in the popularity of coffee means that there are more accommodations being made for you to be able to enjoy barista-style coffee from the comfort of your own home. Cafes are starting to sell their blend of beans, the oh-so-easy coffee pods were invented, and there is virtually an endless selection of tools and machines you can buy to make your coffee with.
If you’re looking to make an Americano from home, you’ll need to start by making the espresso. You can do that easily by using an all-in-one coffee maker, like this KEURIG K-Slim Coffee Maker. You can purchase espresso pods, like these Lavazza Perfetto Dark and Velvety Espresso Roast pods, and make your espresso with just a click.
However, if you’d like to take a more professional approach and hone your barista skills, you can use a Bar Coffee Machine, like this GEVI Espresso Machine instead. You’ll need to use coffee grounds in these machines that you can buy from your favorite cafe.
Once you’ve made your espresso, all you need to do is pour it over hot water, and you’ll have made an Americano.
Here’s a video that’ll show you how to make an Americano coffee:
If you’d prefer a brewed coffee rather than an Americano, don’t worry because they’re even easier to make from home.
If you don’t want to have to watch over your coffee like a hawk while it’s brewing, you can use a programmable coffee machine, like this MUELLER Ultra Coffee Maker. Otherwise, you can use a french press or make yourself a drip coffee using the pour-over method.
All you’ll need to do is put some coffee grounds into your chosen coffee making tool, add some hot water, and let it brew. How long you let your coffee brew will depend on how strong you like it.
Here are some tips on how to brew better coffee at home:
In the never-ending quest to find the coffee to best suit your needs, a cup of brewed coffee is the thing you’ll want to order the next time you’re at a cafe if you’re looking for a strong cup of coffee that tastes great too.
- Kicking Horse Coffee: Espresso vs. Drip
- Coffee Chronicler: Americano vs. Drip Difference
- Driftaway Coffee: Americano vs. Drip
- Solo Espresso: Americano vs. Drip Coffee
- Full Cup Flavour: Strength of Coffee
- My Friends Coffee: How Much Caffeine in a Coffee Bean?
- My Cuppa: Coffee Strength Explained
- Cape Coffee Beans: Factors That Influence Coffee Flavour
- Patriot Craft Coffee: The Science of Strength
- Google Books: All About Coffee by William Harrison Ukers
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