I’d like to share my thoughts on the difference between cappuccino and americano with milk. The thing is that with the emergence of the third coffee wave, a lot of baristas began to promote pour-over coffee. The situation is such that now we drink pour-over coffee, while drinking americano is no longer trendy. The same thing happened with americano with milk, and cappuccino is offered instead. I’d like to tell you about the difference between these drinks and which one to choose.
Both drinks became classics a long time ago. Cappuccino appeared in 1901, and americano emerged in the 40s in Europe. I think that they both deserve to remain on the menu and the coffee drink list. Both beverages have the same basic component – one espresso shot. In cappuccino, espresso is very important and forms the taste balance. Cappuccino is considered the gold standard due to the ratio between coffee and milk among all coffee drinks known to us, for example, latte or flat white. A well-prepared cappuccino has a balanced taste, which is quite sweet and delicate. The ideal beverage yield is approximately 150-180 ml at 65-70°C (149-158°F). To make this drink, pour frothed milk into a shot of espresso slowly and stir the layers. You can create a latte art pattern on the surface.
Talking about americano, there are two ways to make an authentic drink. According to the first method, you allow the coffee machine to pour water through a coffee pod without turning it off after the brewing is over. Multiple coffee makers for home use are equipped with a function for brewing americano. In professional-grade machines, a barista is responsible for regulating the time of the water flow. This method violates the 1:2 brew ratio and is not entirely correct. Each type of coffee beans comes with its own recipe where a barista should take into account the coffee grind, the time of water supply, the water temperature, and other factors.
The recipe was created with the intention to brew the best drink with the given amount of ground coffee during a certain period of time. For example, we usually brew an espresso shot for about 25 seconds. If the water supply is on within another 10 seconds, other substances will be released from the ground coffee. In this case, unfavorable over-extraction will take place and affect the coffee taste. The second method is more acceptable and consists in brewing an espresso shot and adding the same amount of water to a ready-made drink. The beverage won’t have excessive bitterness but a soft taste. Most baristas prefer the second method, but it depends upon one’s personal taste. To make americano with milk, frothed or heated milk is added to an espresso shot. It is obvious that this drink will be less concentrated than a cappuccino, perhaps more bitter and harsh.
If you still don’t notice the difference, I recommend that you drink both beverages in a good coffee shop. They will be different in consistency, taste, and even appearance. There is a myth that americano is a stronger drink that gives people a greater boost of energy. However, as we already know, both drinks have the same amount of coffee, but americano may seem stronger because of the brewing method.