In the United Kingdom, the term “Americano” is widely understood and used to describe a coffee drink made by adding hot water to a shot (or more) of espresso. The terminology remains largely consistent with its use in the United States and other parts of the world. However, colloquially it may also be referred to as a “long black,” particularly by those who are familiar with Australian or New Zealand coffee culture. With the rising popularity of coffee shops and an increasing interest in specialty coffee, the term has become a standard in most UK-based coffee establishments.
Origins of the Americano
The term “Americano” is said to have originated during World War II, when American soldiers stationed in Italy found the local espresso to be too strong for their taste. To dilute it, they would add hot water, essentially creating an Americano. In Italy, it’s sometimes called “caffè americano” or simply “americano.”
“The Americano serves as a softer introduction to espresso-based drinks for those who find straight espresso too intense.”
What Else is an Americano Called?
In some circles, particularly among those who have experienced coffee culture in Australia or New Zealand, an Americano might be called a “long black.” While the ingredients remain the same—espresso and hot water—the preparation method may differ. A long black is generally made by adding the espresso shot to hot water, whereas an Americano is made by adding hot water to the espresso. This small difference can impact the crema and, ultimately, the flavor.
Although less precise in describing the preparation method, the term “black coffee” might also be used to describe an Americano in informal settings. However, it’s worth noting that ‘black coffee’ is a broad category that could include other methods like filter coffee, French press, or even Turkish coffee. Therefore, while all Americanos are black coffee, not all black coffee is an Americano.
Table of Coffee Terminologies
|Americano||Espresso with added hot water|
|Long Black||Hot water with added espresso, popular in Australia and New Zealand|
|Black Coffee||A catch-all term for any coffee served without milk or cream|
Cultural Nuances and Regional Preferences
The United Kingdom has seen an explosion in coffee culture over the past two decades. With the influx of international coffee chains like Starbucks and Costa Coffee, as well as a growing number of independent coffee shops, Britons are becoming more familiar with a variety of coffee terms. However, it’s essential to recognize that terminology can vary by region and individual preference.
“Language shapes our perceptions, and in the world of coffee, the words we use to describe what we’re drinking are no exception.”
While the term “Americano” is widely understood and used in the United Kingdom, there may be instances where it is also referred to as a “long black” or even simply “black coffee.” These terms, however, should not be used interchangeably without understanding the subtle differences in preparation and taste.
- “The Oxford Companion to Food and Drink,” Oxford University Press, 2014.
- “The World Atlas of Coffee,” James Hoffmann, 2018.
- Barista Magazine, Various Issues.