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When making a Caffe Americano, does it matter whether you put the hot water or espresso in first? This is not a complicated drink to make, but I've seen it prepared both ways.

If it does matter, why does the order affect the taste of the coffee?

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Yes. Adding water to Espresso is considered an Americano. Doing it the other way around is called a Long Black.

According to that article and below sources, the Long Black preserves the crema, whereas the Americano preparation should not. The manner in which the pour is done can contribute more to preserving or destroying the crema than the order. An Americano should have no crema and the crema should be preserved in a Long Black. It is the preservation or destruction of the crema that will affect the taste (and thus the pour) more than the order.

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    Annihilating the crema changes the amount of tannins in the drink therefore changing the body and mouth-feel of the beverage. That is why it tastes different. – Patrick Sebastien Feb 10 '15 at 0:20
  • Thanks! That makes perfect sense. I am still betting that the pour matters more than the order and that the crema could be preserved either method. But, I am also hoping some experienced barista sounds off about it. – Suspended User Feb 10 '15 at 0:23
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    I am an experienced barista, and it is about the pour. You can certainly preserve the crema in an americano by pouring the water in very slowly and down the side of the mug/cup. However, this technically isn't a true americano nor is it a true long black. It is a hybrid. To make a good long black, the espresso should be brewed or poured very gently onto the side of the mug, best preserving the crema. An americano should technically have no crema. – Patrick Sebastien Feb 10 '15 at 0:27
  • Perfect! I'll edit the answer as such, thanks! – Suspended User Feb 10 '15 at 17:38
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    @PatrickSebastien I did not know the pour is an important part of the Long Black-- time to adjust my morning pour! it may be worth editing Chris in AK's answer to add this info in. – stevvve Feb 13 '15 at 16:16

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