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Best Espresso Machine for Making an Americano | Buyer's Guide for 2019 | Espresso Perfecto

Best Espresso Machine for Making an Americano | Buyer’s Guide for 2019

best espresso machine for making americano

While my wife is a big latte lover, literally drinking them EVERY morning, I like to switch up my morning routine on occasion and mix in an Americano, especially when I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to steam more milk.

I also love the story behind the drink. I was just explaining to my brother this weekend that rumor has it, the coffee culture phrase “Americano” was coined during WWII when American soldiers were stationed in Italy. The Americans preferred large cups of drip-filtered coffee and found the small, rich espresso shots were not at all to their liking. The Italian baristas adapted their espresso shots by adding hot water and the style became known as “Americano.”

shot

The Final Shot: The Breville Barista Express is the top pick if you’re looking to make the best Americanos. The separate hot water dispenser heats quickly and is easy to access and the espresso quality and extraction process is intuitive and second to none, especially for the price.

Americano coffees are easy enough to make, but there are a couple of tips to make good coffee great. As for the raw materials, all you really need are shots of good espresso coffee and hot water. To make an Americano on your own, this is the standard process:

  1. Choose a large cup or mug – there is no rule as to actual size. If you like piping hot coffee, warm the cup on a heating tray or fill it with hot water, which will be tipped out before making the actual coffee.
  2. Prepare a single or double shot of espresso with your beans of choice.
  3. Take the warmed cup and fill with about 6-8 oz of piping hot water.
  4. Place the cup under the prepared espresso basket and extract the double shot directly on to the hot water.

And presto –Americano!

Of course there are variations to this method, like pouring the espresso shots into the cup first or using only one shot. However, making it by the above method ensures the Americano has a full bodied flavor and a rich crema on the surface. If you pour hot water on top of the shot, the crema will disappear which is more like a traditional drip coffee, but not nearly as tasty.

When you’re looking for a machine that will make great Americanos, the number one criteria should be an integrated hot water dispenser.

Just about any espresso machine with a hot water dispenser can be used to make an Americano, but that still leaves a pretty open field. Second criteria: you also want a machine that pulls a really great shot of espresso, especially since the flavor won’t be maked by a lot of creamy milk.

I’m a pretty picky about shot quality and have put together my list of the top two contenders for easily making great Americanos.

The first machine is the one I own and use every day. The Gaggia is an equally solid choice that will serve Americano fans well, but with a little more automation and a little less customization.

Top Espresso Machine for Making an Americano

  • Gaggia Brera Superautomatic Espresso Machine
    Product Name
  • 4.0Rating
  • $$Price
  • Super AutomaticMachine Type
  • Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
    Product Name
  • 4.5Rating
  • $$$Price
  • Semi-AutomaticMachine Type

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

Whether you are a beginner or a hardcore home barista, the Barista Express makes producing good coffee easy, and in my opinion, pretty fun, by allowing just enough control to necessitate some user involvement, but not so much that you need serious training.

As you should expect from tech-oriented Breville, the Barista Express is packed with features and top quality construction. It offers a 15 bar pump and thermo-coil heating system to ensure optimum pressure and water temperature. The heating is also fast, nearly 20 seconds faster than some of its Italian counterparts.

A large 67 fl. oz. removeable top filling water tank incorporates a replaceable water filter to remove impurities and calcium build-up. This is important in places where water has high calcium content, which can really affect the quality of your shots.

I also love the size of the tank. Constantly refilling your water tank can get annoying and so machines with larger tanks, like the Breville, are really a god-send.

An easily removed hopper feeds the coffee beans through the integrated conical burr grinder. The grinder variations are easily adjusted from fine through to coarse and the dispenser is automated to grind amounts according to the filter basket chosen.

Freshly ground beans are key to great espresso and Americanos in particular, as ground beans begin to oxidize and deteriorate immediately, which produces bitter stale tasting coffee. I love that the Breville keeps beans fresh and grinds internally on demand.

The Barista Express also includes a solid, weighted tamper, which is another important consideration as the packing of the grounds is an important step in the process, basically ensuring the water passes through the ground coffee without stirring them up. A twist after packing polishes the surface so the water passes through evenly. The provided tamper has a magnetized, easy-access storage space.

When it comes to pulling the shots, for beginners there are special dual-wall filters that help regulate pressure and optimize extraction. For those more experienced, the single walled filters allow you to make your own judgment regarding grind sizes, amounts, and tamping pressure.

The 360-degree steam wand has swivel action for perfect milk heating options and there is a separate hot water dispenser, ensuring you can make Americanos to your heart’s content. What I love about the hot water dispenser is that it heats fast so I’m not waiting around to start making my drink.

hotfeatures

Breville Barista Hot Features:
  • Half-pound bean hopper with integrated conical burr grinder
  • Cup warmer on the top
  • Removable 67 fl. oz. water tank
  • Automatic adjustment for amount of grinds
  • 54mm stainless steel portafilter
  • 54mm tamper
  • “Clean me” light indicator
  • Removable drip tray
  • No-slip feet
  • Steam wand 360o swivel-action
  • Colors: Stainless steel, Black Sesame, Cranberry Red

Gaggia Brera Superautomatic Espresso Machine

The Brera is the latest development from the world-renowned Italian espresso machine company, Gaggia. Its sophisticated and elegant design, with minimalist stainless steel outer casing and compact features are super stylish and modern looking.

While it may be small in size, the Brera’s fully automatic functions, designed using the latest tech, mean it more than holds its weight against all other comparable espresso machines.

This is the machine for someone who wants to enjoy the convenience and total ease of full automation and wants to see consistent results every time. It is not well-suited for the die-hard home barista who likes to pull and tamp their own shots and have direct involvement in the brewing process.

Like the Breville, it also has an airtight bean hopper and a solid burr grinder to keep the process fully integrated. The water reservoir, though smaller than the Breville, is easily filled and incorporates Gaggia’s Mavea Water Filter (four stages of filtration to reduce scale build up and remove impurities).  The machine also features a great standby mode that activates after an hour of idle time to ensure energy saving.

The Brera is even programmed to tell you when it needs cleaning and will take care of some of the cleaning needs automatically.

I also really like the pre-infusion feature, which ensures maximum flavor and aroma extraction on short notice.

For Americano making specifically, you have the option to pull a longer shot and the frothing and steaming wand conveniently doubles as a hot water dispenser so you can fill your cup with piping hot water before adding the espresso.

The only drawback some users have noted about about the machine is that the coffee isn’t quite hot enough, I suspect these baristas are not pre-heating their cups, so make sure to always warm your cups, especially often preferred thicker ceramic styles.

hotfeatures

Gaggia Brera Hot Features:
  • 4 stage water filtration system
  • Standby mode activation
  • Care reminder program
  • Colors: Black, silver
  • Pre-infusion feature

Summary

Just to recap, if you are likely to be making Americano coffees on a daily basis you should think about where your main source of hot water will come from. Machines that incorporate a hot water dispenser, like the Breville and Gaggia are  preferable as you have everything you need in one spot.

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Chatting about coffee is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better.

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About the Author Michael York

I am a die-hard espresso fan. I love every form of the drink from straight espresso shots to lattes and cappuccinos. I currently use a Breville BES870XL Barista, it is an awesome machine. BUT, my dream machine is definitely an Italian Quickmill Andreja. Those bad boys make badass espresso. I love answering your questions, leave a comment or question below!

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