struggling to find an answer to this (if there is one), perhaps because nature of the question doesn't work so well with search engines.

Essentially, I've noticed (and so have others I've spoken to about this), that if I make espresso in a moka and want an Americano style coffee (i.e. hot water mixed with espresso -- please don't crucify me if this isn't the correct definition of Americano) then it affects the taste significantly if I make it in these two ways:

  1. Boil water in kettle, pour water into mug, pour moka espresso into hot water in mug -- the two mix -- then drink.


    1. Boil water in kettle, pour moka espresso into mug, add hot water into espresso in mug -- the two mix -- then drink.

I've noticed the first method produces a nice, smooth Americano that's nice to drink... whereas the second method (coffee in first, add water) produces a relatively less pleasant, sometimes unpleasant, bitter (perhaps?) and very inferior drink.

How is this possible? My only guess is perhaps it's a chemistry thing to do with some kind of oil in the coffee? Or it just mixes better the other way? I have no idea but I swear this difference is real and so do some of my friends, but none of us know why.


  • Just to be very sure: By moka espresso you are talking about the Italian stovetop coffee maker known as moka pot?
    – Stephie
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:38
  • Yes :) Also, see my question below -- is it true that (1) is a 'long black' and (2) is an 'americano'... I read online this is one difference (the order the coffee/water goes in... but also the ratio). Jan 24, 2019 at 19:18
  • Please don’t post follow-up questions somewhere in comments. We’re just a Q/A site with a quite strict format. I recommend you take the tour and browse through our help center to learn more about how the site works. You may of course ask new questions any time.
    – Stephie
    Jan 24, 2019 at 19:25
  • Did anyone already checked coffee.stackexchange.com/questions/1598/…
    – MTSan
    Jan 25, 2019 at 10:56

5 Answers 5


I would suspect that a few centigrades make all the difference here. With coffee, too high temperatures will negatively affect your flavor. Rule of thumb: Hot is good, boiling isn’t.

If you put the water in your mug first, you’ll lose just a bit of temperature as the water warms the mug and/or stands for a bit until you add the coffee.

If you reverse the order, you are effectively scalding (some of) the coffee with the boiling water, losing volatile aromatic compounds and degrading others.

  • This is an interesting idea and I suspect the best answer in my case since you are also correct that I am using a moka, not an espresso machine. Jan 24, 2019 at 19:08
  • Thanks! It’s essentially a version of the eternal “milk-first / tea-first” debate. Btw., it’s perfectly ok to wait for more answers before accepting.
    – Stephie
    Jan 24, 2019 at 19:28
  • OK, I've decided to mark this correct... after testing this morning, albeit not blindly (so feel free to repeat this for yourselves!), I can definitely discern that one cup is noticably more bitter and the other softer and smoother. What's more, I am pretty sure you can even tell the temperature difference between them, with the former being more scalding if you drink straight away. Feb 5, 2019 at 10:30

I read the following somewhere and copied to a note pad to try for myself:

Americano: Shot first, then add water, which usually mixes in the crema

Long black: Water first, espresso second, crema sits on top.

Many who make the long black do so to preserve the crema on top.


Try preheating the mug first, then retest. I think that coffee gets weird when it cools, and you're heating the mug with the coffee when you put it in first.

So put some boiling water in the mug, swirl it around for a bit, dump it out, then put the coffee in.

  • 1
    OK this is an interesting addition. I will return to this when I've conducted some further experiments... Jan 25, 2019 at 10:16

I think you should do a blind test and see if you can taste the difference. I'd make one batch of coffee with your Moka pot and split it. Make it both ways in identical cups, label them underneath so you will know which is which later, and then mix them up (maybe have a friend do that), and then taste them. This is common practice when cupping new coffees so that bias does not affect our ideas of them.

I'd be interested to hear if you still thought they tasted different.


It's the crema. The crema will naturally flow to the top when the espresso is poured in hot water, while it will be totally dissolved if you add the hot water to the espresso.

  • If the OP talks about “moka”, crema isn’t an issue.
    – Stephie
    Jan 24, 2019 at 16:39
  • Yes, it's a bialetti moka. Meanwhile, I've read something that suggests I am making a "long black", not an "Americano"... is that correct? Jan 24, 2019 at 19:08

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