If you’re curious about learning how to become your own barista to save some serious cash, there’s no simpler drink to master than an Iced Americano. Made with just 2 ingredients in less than 5 minutes, this espresso-caffeinated sipper is a fast alternative to iced coffee.
If you’re wondering “what is an iced americano” or you want to know how to make an iced americano at home, you’ve come to the right place! Now let’s dive in and learn all about this espresso iced coffee drink.
❓ What is “Iced Americano” in Lay Terms?
A traditional café americano (sometimes spelled caffè americano) is a classic coffee drink made by combining freshly pulled shots of espresso with hot water - hot americanos. An iced americano is therefore simply a cold version of the bold and bracing original, perfect for my fellow iced coffee lover and a great way to cool down on those hot summer days as an alternative to a homemade tea or chai latte!
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
When it comes to fancy coffee shop drinks, there are few that I love as much as a good ol’ iced cafe americano. Americanos are boldly flavored without being too acidic, have a sensible boost of caffeine without giving me the jitters, and are a neat and tidy way to enjoy a cup of coffee without brewing a whole pot.
This simple iced americano recipe gives you all the flavor you’d find at your local Starbucks, but at a fraction of the cost! Aside from being a good financial investment, you’ll love that this recipe is:
- Quick & Easy. Pull shots of espresso, pour over ice, add an optional splash of water. You’ll be done in less time than it’d take to order one.
- Made With Only 2 Ingredients - All you need is espresso and ice! Truly the easiest coffee recipe.
- Endlessly Riffable - Whether you like a hot black americano or an iced americano with cream, splash of milk, or whether you’d like to gussy it up by adding any number of flavors to the drink or topping it with cold foam, the options are as vast as your imagination. You can make the perfect cold coffee drinks to fit anyone's palate - served alongside a few cold peanut butter oatmeal balls and breakfast is covered!
As promised, you don’t need much to make your own copycat Starbucks iced americano coffee drinks at home. Here’s what to grab:
- Espresso - The only real rule for making espresso is to choose dark roasted beans that have been ground very finely for an espresso maker. Of course taste is subjective and there are LOTS of coffee roasters to choose from! Choose your favorite that is within your price point and is ground to work with with your coffee machine of choice.
- Ice & Filtered Water - Technically, I suppose you could call these two separate ingredients, but at the end of the day, they’re both just water. Make sure to also use filtered water for your cubes for the best, cleanest flavor. Add only as much water as you want, or just let the ice cubes act to dilute the espresso depending on what strength you like from your coffee drinks.
The key to making a great americano drink is to ensure you pull excellent shots of espresso. Luckily, you have lots of options for equipment to make espresso at home:
- Good Espresso Machine - Countertop models range from a bit over $100 up to thousands of dollars. If you have the counter space, I love this model. If not, read on for other options.
- Portable Espresso Maker - These handheld espresso machines are intended for people who travel, hike, or otherwise need their Joe on the go. Not only do they make a surprisingly good shot of espresso, they’re also typically less expensive and much easier to store than the bulkier countertop models. I like this one a lot.
- Moka Pot - Sometimes marketed as a Bialetti or a stovetop espresso maker (depending on the brand), these simple gadgets are great at making very concentrated cups of coffee using nothing more than basic percolator technology. Aside from being the least expensive option for making espresso, they’re also the easiest to clean. I have this model at home and love it!
- AeroPress - If you’re a coffee aficionado, chances are you’ve heard of the AeroPress. Not only can you use this manual machine for making regular coffee, but it also makes a mean shot of espresso. Just make sure you have a reliable way to heat the water like a tea kettle or electric kettle to use it.
📖 Step by Step Instructions
Making an iced cafe americano is about as easy as it gets. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Pull espresso shots and pour over ice.
Step 2: Add cold water to taste, stir and enjoy!
⏲️ Substitutions & Variations
The great thing about iced coffee americano-style is that you can treat it just like any other iced coffee. Here are a few variations to consider:
- Decaf - Swap in your favorite decaf beans for all the flavor without the frenzy to make a lovely set of post-dinner espresso drinks.
- Flavored - Add vanilla, brown sugar, or demerara syrup (or any other flavors that fit your fancy), a drizzle of salted caramel or chocolate sauce, a dollop of sweet cream cold foam, or simply serve your iced americano with milk, cream, or almond milk to get the best coffee of your life. Add frozen coffee ice cubes as well for some extra intense caffeinated kick!
- Hot - Cold coffee not your jam? Simply swap in hot water for the ice and cold water and you have yourself a hot americano. And add an extra shot for a double shot Americano if you'd prefer something stronger!
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Taste first, then add water. If you’re someone who likes your coffee pretty strong (or you plan on adding more liquid in the form of creamer or syrup), you may not need any more water than what will come off the melted ice.
- Use freshly pulled espresso for the best flavor. I recently learned from a friend who used to be a barista that espresso shots significantly change flavor just 10 seconds after pulling them, which is why professional coffee shops train baristas to dump shots that are left out for longer than that. While I don’t think you need to be quite as extreme (after all, 10 seconds isn’t very long!), make sure you use espresso that was pulled on the same day as you plan on making your iced caffè americano.
💭 Recipe FAQs
First, let’s talk method: Iced Americanos are made by pouring freshly pulled shots of espresso (a form of concentrated Italian coffee) over ice and adding water to taste. Iced coffee is made by making a double concentrated batch of regular brewed coffee with a coffee maker and serving it over ice. Regular cold brew coffee is made by steeping ground espresso beans or coffee grounds in cold water for 12-24 hours before straining and serving over ice. You can add some sweet cream for an extra special twist!
In terms of flavor: A classic americano is the least potent tasting since it is technically diluted. Both iced coffee and cold brew taste strongly of coffee, but cold brew is less acidic due to the brewing method using cold water.
In terms of caffeine content: americanos will have slightly less caffeine than an equal amount of iced coffee or cold brew, but that’s all dependent on the type of beans used and the actual ratio of beans to water used.
Espresso ranges from about 40-90 mg of caffeine per shot depending on how much coffee you actually use to pull the shots. I’d say for a homemade 2-shot iced americano (like what is called for in this recipe), you’re looking at about 90-150 mg of caffeine.
More Beverage Recipes
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- Portable Espresso Maker
- Moka Pot
- 2 Shots Espresso
- 8 oz Filtered Cold Water
- Pour espresso over ice.2 Shots Espresso
- Add cold water, stir and enjoy!8 oz Filtered Cold Water
- Decaf - Swap in your favorite decaf beans for all the flavor without the frenzy.
- Flavored - Add vanilla, brown sugar, or demerara syrup (or any other flavors that fit your fancy), a drizzle of salted caramel or chocolate sauce, a dollop of sweet cream cold foam, or simply serve your iced americano with milk, cream, or almond milk to get the best coffee of your life.
- Hot - Cold coffee not your jam? Simply swap in hot water for the ice and cold water and you have yourself a hot americano.