Americano or Filter Coffee

Probably both if you want to please your customers. It all comes down to personal preference. My unofficial survey with blind tasting between Americano’s and Filter coffees showed that most people prefer a filter coffee over an Americano. However, an important result was that the difference was very small. The conclusion that I made from the survey was that you need to offer both drinks if you want to please your customers.  One thing is for sure: an Americano is not the same as a filter coffee.

An Americano is an Espresso diluted with water. I believe that you get the best flavour with 1 oz of Espresso and 4 to 5 oz of hot water (not boiling). Start preparing your Americano by filling your cup with hot water. This allow the hot water to cool a little whilst you are preparing the Espresso. Now pour the Espresso on top of the hot water. Pouring the Espresso on top of the water will give you the most crema and you avoid the chance of burning your Espresso. Usually served black, but milk can be added if desirable (hot or cold).

A filter coffee is usually made with a filter brewing machine. Gravity does the work here for you and there is no pressure used unlike with an Espresso. Hot water (not boiling) is running through a filter (filled with ground coffee) into a glass pot or vacuum flask. I recommend to use about 60 grams of coffee per 1.5 litre of water. Use more or less coffee if you want a stronger or weaker brew. You can use a permanent filter for a different flavour.

Filter Coffee

The glass pot used for filter coffee is only good for about 20 minutes. Heating the coffee any longer will result in loss of flavours. The filter coffee that has been brewed in a flask is good for about 3 hours making it a much better option for most businesses.

Filter coffee is made from single origin coffees. An Espresso is made from a blend of coffee beans. The reason for this is that the espresso coffee machine extracts more flavours from the coffee and highlights the flavours (about 25% with an espress coffee machine, about 15% with a filter brewing machine). A Kenyan coffee for example will be lovely for a filter coffee, but it would be to acidic for an Espresso so you have to blend it. Filter coffees are therefore great for tasting single origin coffees and it’s great fun to try different coffees everyday.

Filter coffees have more depth and a larger range of flavours than an Americano to my opinion. An Espresso is not designed to be diluted with a lot of water and the drink is simply an easier version of a filter coffee (convenience). A lot of places serve Americano’s when asked for a filter coffee. Please do not serve something that hasn’t been ordered.

Sachets of filter coffee ensure consistency and freshness, probably a good idea when you serve filter coffee in your business.

Filter coffees are usually described by a strenght, ranging from mild to very strong. Often described by a range of numbers.

It is possible to produce a filter coffee with an espresso machine. However, the ground coffee has to be a lot coarser than the Espresso grind and the group head needs to be set at the correct temperature for filter coffee.


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