The humble Caffè Americano has a mysterious history
Having a strong cup of premium-blend coffee at Harold’s Bar is one of our guest-favourites at Gallagher Convention Centre. The gardens in this part of Gallagher allow you to forget that you are in the city, and if you’re lucky, you will even receive a visit from the resident peacocks.
The Caffè Americano is always popular among guests. While some might regard the Americano as the boring cousin in the coffee family, its history is much more mysterious.
What is an Americano coffee?
An Americano is an espresso-based drink. The Americano is created by adding water to an already extracted espresso. It can be taken with milk and/ or sugar, but it is best served black.
While the Americano can easily be mistaken for a cup of filter or drip coffee, it is important to note that the Americano is, in fact, a “watered-down” version of the espresso, also explaining why the Australians call it a Long Black.
The espresso, which forms the base of popular drinks like cappuccinos and lattes, is also the base of their more simplified relative, the Americano. We know that the machines developed by Italian inventor, Angelo Moriondo, in the late 1800s gave rise to the first espresso coffees. Another Italian inventor, Luigi Bezzera, refined these machines in 1901.
When then did the Americano become a popular espresso variant?
With espresso finding its origins in Europe, and the name of this hot beverage clearly denoting to Americans, there is some confusion regarding the creation of this drink.
In the 1928 Somerset Maugham novel, Ashenden: Or the British Agent, the protagonist drinks something called an americano. We are, however, not sure if this was the same beverage as the one we know today.
Some people dispute the fact that the Americano was created in Europe, and believe that the drink was first developed in the city of Seattle in the United States.
The most popular theory, however, is that the Caffè Americano was created in Italy during World War II. The American troops stationed in Europe were not used to the strong taste of the espresso coffee available in Europe, since Americans predominately drank filtered coffee at the time.
The American soldiers then diluted the espresso coffee to give it a more familiar taste.
While coffee menus are rapidly expanding with fascinating additions, the Caffè Americano will remain a staple for coffee lovers. While we might not be a hundred percent sure where it came from, we know that this coffee’s future is secure for years to come.