tiny-puppy-teeth asked: So what IS an Americano?
An Americano is - technically speaking - a shot of espresso (or two, or three) pulled over hot water. This is done to preserve the look of the crema on top. (That lighter coloured part of the espresso which is what makes it taste like something other than just really dark roasted coffee. It’s an artifact (or perhaps the intent of?) the high pressure which espresso is pulled through.)
Some coffee shops don’t have a set way of doing this, and so Baristas can do whatever is most expedient, but if you order an Americano from a super traditional shop in Italy you’re going to get a cup of hot water with Espresso shots on top, usually two.
(Unless you get a SUPER LONG PULL Espresso, but that’s another issue entirely.)
So, for the context of the story, my coffee shop (and every one I’ve worked at except the first) does Americanos like this. I do them like this specifically, because the super traditional shop I worked at (my second one, where we had surprise quizzes and secret shoppers sent by our boss for all it was a one off place and there was one person who ran the establishment) trained me to do them that way, using the above explanations. Every now and again I’ll make a mistake and pull one backwards, but that’s usually be cause I start making a latte by mistake and realise halfway through it’s an Americano. (Also, I’m sorry for my erratic capitalisation.) ANYWAY. I got to write the coffee-making manual for our shop (THEY LET ME DO THAT) and in our manual, it has the proper way of making ‘em. So everyone in my shop (if they’ve finished being trained) makes ‘em that way. SO. (Wow I am long winded) We had a customer come through, during a rush of course, and ask the girl on till for an ‘upside down americano’. So she brings it to me, not entirely sure what he wants, but assuming I’ll know. So I - knowing that some folks do it the other way ‘round - ask him, D’you mean espresso on top, or water on top? And he says espresso on top, like a long black. And I say, uh, no, Water on top’s a long black, but okay. And he gives me this NO, other way around, and so I just say ‘look, I’ve been a barista seven years, the way you want it is an americano, water on top is a long black.’ and he just gives me this huffy look and walks off, the drink being ready by this time. I dunno why I remembered that, but I did.
And for funsies, the origins of the Americano, at least, as I was taught in my Traditional little shop. During one of the World Wars - I don’t remember which one, I’m sorry - American soldiers stationed in Italy would try to order a cup of coffee like they were used to at home - just a cup of hot water which has been slowly run through some ground up coffee beans. The Baristas they were ordering from did not entirely understand what they wanted, and eventually they came to the compromise of the Caffe Americano - literally, American-style Coffee. (This may be one of those stories that’s just told, because it sounds good, but I like it, and so I tell it, because it sounds good.)
ANYWAY. More than you ever wanted to know about Americanos and my feelings thereon!