Best coffee maker for Americano: expert tests and advice

We spoke with baristas to establish the best coffee maker for the perfect at-home Americano and gleaned a few tips of the trade too

The best coffee maker for Americanos will be able to make a cup of black coffee like this, on a bench with a spoon beside it
(Image credit: GettyImages)

Best coffee maker for Americanos

The Americano is one of the most popular coffees in the world. The legend goes that Americans who were stationed in Italy in the world wars liked to water down strong Italian espresso, and a café classic was born. Now, it is a staple of traditional and speciality cafés alike.  

I asked baristas to spill the beans on how to make the perfect brew with an espresso machine, coffee maker, and a French press. These don’t need to be elaborate machines; simpler models are often better. We’ve tested a whole range to provide the best coffee makers for Americano.

After a lot of testing, we’ve got the lowdown on Breville, Nespresso, and Espro machines, all of which won’t let you down.

What is an Americano?

An Americano in a cup and saucer on a wooden bench

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Before breaking down the best coffee makers, it’s good to establish what we are talking about. In essence, an Americano is a bigger, lighter espresso. Baristas have different methods of making Americanos, but the basic method combines a double shot of coffee with hot water. There are different ratios which each barista will follow, but the most popular method uses one part espresso to four parts water.  

Best Manual Coffee Maker for Americanos

Best French press

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Strictly speaking, you need an espresso machine to make a good Americano. These are durable, but expensive, and use high pressure and temperatures to extract the maximum amount of oil from your coffee beans. This is what gives your coffee rich, smooth, intense flavors. 

Even though espresso machines are key to making espressos, they come with lots of extra features, such as milk wands and settings for alternative coffee concoctions. If you’re after the perfect Americano, this might mean that you're spending money on cappuccino-making capacity where you don’t need to.

They're also very expensive, and there are much friendlier alternatives. A pour over or French press are the closest you get to barista-quality coffee, without breaking the bank. I’ve compared the two methods in extensive detail. In short, pour-over coffee makers give smooth, filter-coffee results. They tend to be small, quiet, easy to use, and easy to clean. French press coffee makers produce more intense, rich, and acidic flavorful cups of coffee. This is because the coffee grounds are immersed in water, so the aromatic oils are extracted better. French presses are also relatively inexpensive, easy to store, and easy to clean. 

If neither of those appeal, you could use a Moka Pot. This looks a lot like a French press, but it uses boiling water to force steam through coffee grounds. The coffee bubbles into the pot and tastes almost identical to an espresso. Technically, none of these machines make espressos, but they’ll make really good quality coffee, which tastes almost identical to an Americano. 

Best espresso machine for Americanos

A side angle view of a stainless steel espresso machine pulling a shot of coffee into a white coffee mug

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If you really want to make Americanos like a barista, this is the machine you’ll need. It’s my appliance of choice, but they’re bigger and noisier than French press and pour-over machines. As the name suggests, espresso machines are specialists in espressos.  This means that they’re also Americano experts. These can get pricey - I’ve tested a $6,000 one - but there’s no need to spend that much money. 

Best automatic coffee maker for Americanos

An automatic coffee maker making an americano for a white mug of coffee being held by a man in a grey shirt

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If you’re hesitant to use a more hands-on method, rest assured, there are options for you. Pod machines, semi-automatic, and automatic coffee makers take all the faff out of brewing. All you need to do is press a button and you'll have an Americano in minutes. It's hard to say America-no to coffee when it's that easy.

How to make an Americano

The components for making an Americano: a french press, ground coffee, and brown sugar from a birdseye view

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Making an Americano is as simple as combining your espresso and water together. When mixing the two, I fill my glass or mug with hot water and then add my espresso shot afterwards. That way, my water is less likely to scald and burn the espresso. Technically, this is a long black coffee, but it’s really just the name that makes the difference and most baristas that I spoke with preferred it this way.

Tom Fontana, a barista and owner of BigCupOfCoffee recommends using distilled water. ‘It has absolutely no taste, so it helps in maintaining the flavors in your Americano. It doesn’t add any new minerals that could throw off its flavor, meaning that the taste of your espresso will not be altered one bit’. He did caution against using distilled water to brew your espresso, because the minerals help to extract all of the aromatic coffee oils. 

Barista and founder of
Tom Fontana making a cup of coffee at an espresso machine
Barista and founder of
Tom Fontana

Tom Fontana is a certified barista and owner of He's a self-confessed coffee geek and loves brewing, tasting, serving, and learning as much as there is to know about coffee. He's described himself as a 'walking encyclopaedia' when it comes to coffee, so is a go-to for coffee questions.

Brewing your espresso directly into your water also stops the espresso from being sat on the side whilst you warm up water. The longer your espresso waits, the more the crema and flavors break down and taste less rich. Tom had some insider tips for really enjoying this technique. First, he recommends using a double-walled glass mug, like these at Pottery Barn for a satisfying view of marbling coffee. However, he told me ‘there is one more thing that has a big impact on the taste of the Americano, which is derived directly from coffee cupping: removing the crema (with two spoons)’.

It’s actually quite a controversial idea in the coffee community. There are lots of people who prize the crema, because the bitter ashy crema offers some balance to the heavier, sweeter espresso, bringing dimension, complexity, and body. However, in an Americano, where the syrup-like coffee is more dilute, you most likely enjoy the coffee flavors more without the crema.

Best beans for an Americano

some coffee beans scattered across a wooden worktop with a small scoop

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There’s no definitive ‘best’ beans for an Americano. It depends on the flavors that you like.There are two main types of beans that you’ll come across: Arabica and Robusta beans. I would recommend Arabica beans. They’re the most common variety used in the shops and are a great entry-level option with delicate flavors and low acidity levels. Robusta beans are acidic and bitter, for a more seasoned coffee drinker.

Megan Byrd, from Coffee Copycat, offered an extra tip. ‘If you use espresso coffee beans for an Americano, instead of regular beans, you’re guaranteed to get that rich, bold, dark roast flavor’.

Recipe developer
Recipe developer
Megan Byrd

Megan is a recipe developer and food photographer at Coffee Copycat. She's an expert in how to make the best Americano, since she's seen and made some of the best. She has a range of recipes for how to make the most delicious range of drinks, from cold brew to chocolate cream coffee.

I’ve always used Union Natural Spirit coffee beans, because they’re organic and fair trade. These have a really gentle, sweet flavor profile with notes of fudge and sugared lemon. I’ve had lots of people comment on the flavors of these beans, because they’re really freshly roasted.  In time, you’ll work out your own preferences as you taste different varieties of coffee.  


How do I make the best Americano at home?

The not-so-secret secret to the best Americano lies in the beans. If you buy good quality beans, grind them freshly, and don’t burn them with over-hot water, you’ll be making Americanos to rival coffee shops. If you have an espresso machine, you’re already most of the way there. Use your espresso machine to produce a double shot of coffee and add that to hot water, which should be around 195 to 200 degrees.. If you don’t have a machine, but you do have a French press, you can still make an excellent Americano-style coffee. Just add coffee grounds to the base, add hot water, and let it steep for pour minutes before plunging. You’ll see the coffee crema, which is a great indicator of quality.  

What is the perfect Americano ratio?

This is a hotly contested debate and every barista has their own opinion. I would recommend that you follow the rule of 1:4 espresso to water ratio. If you have 2 oz of espresso, add 8 oz of water. 

Is an Americano 1 or 2 shots?

Many baristas will use two shots, because that’s what commercial espresso makers tend to produce. If your coffee at home is tasting weak, it’s probably because you’re used to double-shot Americanos. 

Can I add milk to an Americano?

Of course. It’s an everyday coffee drink. The milk can add a bit of sweetness and softness to the flavors. You can add some steamd milk for a little extra texture, but the more you add, the further it moves away from a traditional Americano. 

Do all espresso machines make Americano?

Since an Americano is espresso and hot water, yes, they do.  

Can I make an espresso with a French press?

Even though an espresso machine is the best way to make an espresso, you can almost recreate the flavors with a French press. You can’t use the high pressure that produced a truly authentic espresso, but it will still be dark, smooth, and Americano-ready. 

Do I need a grinder for a good Americano?

You have two choices. You can buy coffee grounds from the stores, or buy beans and then grind them. If you buy them from the store, you save yourself a lot of hassle and effort. However, as soon as your beans have been ground the oils and flavors will start to degrade, compromising on the taste. For a few minutes of work, I think it’s worth investing in a grinder. It can be a small manual one, or a more substantial one, and you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars either. 

Our Verdict

An iced americano in a glass mug on a marble countertop

(Image credit: GettyImages)

If you have the money and the space, an espresso machine is categorically the best way to make an authentic, aromatic Americano. It’ll also come with features that allow you to diversify, making lattes and cappuccinos if you wish. However, if you don’t want to train your barista skills, or would prefer to save a little money, you can still make a good Americano-style coffee in a French press. Just make sure you buy good quality coffee beans

Laura Honey
eCommerce Editor

Laura is our eCommerce editor. Before Homes & Gardens she studied English at Oxford University. Alongside her studies, she qualified as a barista and trained as a master perfumer. This makes her our certified expert for all things coffee, candles, and fragrance. She has passed our five-step tests to become a certified Customer Advisor, making her our resident expert. Laura has worked for luxury retail brands, reinforcing the importance of quality and style over quantity and fads. She looks for products which have been designed with thoughtful finishes.