Midnight wrote: I don't really like the Americano dealio. I believe it's purely psychological. When my sister gave me one she explained that it's espresso + water, and I thought "Diluting coffee with water! Gross!" I realize that's absolutely ridiculous, seeing as coffee is mostly water, but that's just... how I think.
That is not entirely accurate, at least according to the brainwashing I underwent as a barista for 3 years
First, one of the features that gives a particularly coffee it's signature is it's oils. Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to what defines one type of bean from Colombia to, say, South Africa. However, I'm choosing to focus on oils. The manner in which you brew coffee determines how much of those oils you will get.
At one end of the spectrum, with the most oils, you have the French Press. It is the "truest" version of what the coffee tastes like. The grounds are are the most course and they just sit in water for an allotted amount of time.
Somewhere in the middle, you have your drip machines, where the grounds are finer than the press, but still somewhat coarse. If you use a metal filter, you will a little more oils than a paper filter, because the paper absorbs some of the oils. Whereas in the French Press, the grounds sat in the water soaking, in a drip machine the water just slowly filters through the grounds and drips down into a pot/carafe/whatever.
At the other end of the spectrum, with the least amount of oils, is the espresso machine. In this process, water is forced
through very fine grounds rather quickly. In this method of brewing, you lose the most character of the bean.
All that to say, it really is not psychological. You can take the same beans and brew some in a drip machine and some in an espresso machine to make an americano, and they will taste very different. As part of our training, we did this - took their "Espresso" beans, if I recall, and brewed them in a French Press, the drip, and the espresso machine. Very noticeable differences. And for the scientifically minded, if you have the money to buy the proper equipment, you can try this yourself!