danny devito george clooney coffee mini americano minicano

My Favourite Coffee Doesn't Have a Name!


A Small Cup Of Coffee

I couldn't find my favourite type of coffee drink on all of the coffee charts! What is it called?

Types of Coffee Drink

There are many different ways of drinking coffee. And if you've read our Brief History, you'll know that coffee lovers have been inventing new ways of drinking it for hundreds of years.

Every good coffee shop will have a menu of different types of coffees to choose from, as well as brewing methods. From regular filter/drip coffees, to espresso based drinks, nitros and cold brews, and the less common orders like a Macchiato or Cortado.

The amount of options can be overwhelming, so if you really struggle to choose from the 30-40 different ways of making a coffee, you can always default to the no nonsense coffee menu. 

no nonsense coffee menu

So Many Drinks

Anyway, without delving deep into all of the various types of coffee drinks, I was surprised to find out recently that one of my favourite ways of drinking coffee didn't have a name! Now before I say exactly what it is, I'll admit I'm a bit of a coffee snob (which is handy given that I run a roastery). But that goes more for the quality of the coffee than it does for how it is prepared. I'm happy to try any way of imbibing my favourite drink, although to truly experience the best coffee flavour, a pour over (black) or espresso is still the best way. 

I looked through some books, furiously searched my jigsaw (below), but could only find some references to it online (amongst the 200,000,000 results for 'types of coffee drinks').

coffee drink types jigsaw

What is it?

It's a small Americano! Like really small. You start with a double shot of espresso which makes about 60ml of coffee. And then add the same amount of hot water, so a 1:1 espresso-to-water ratio.

A traditional sized Americano made with a double espresso uses about 200-400ml of hot water, producing a milder version of the original flavour. This 'mini Americano' sits bang in the middle of the strong, creamy espresso experience, and the milder Americano. It's a wonderful type of coffee brewing method that maintains the crema and thick viscosity of an espresso, whilst also providing enough volume for good flavour separation. And it also makes your drink last a little longer!

This is different from just passing more water through the same coffee grounds, which produces a Lungo (Italian for long). A Lungo is extracted for longer which can add unpleasant bitter flavours. 

What's in a name?

So is it a Long Black? Could be. That seems to be the name given to it in Australia or New Zealand, as long as the coffee-to-water ratio is kept at 1:1.

Is it a Montreal Allongé? Nope, that is just another name for a Lungo.

Other names I've found are: a 'Little Buddy', a 'Spanish American War', a 'Mini-cano', a 'Tom Cruise' (short American with a punch), a 'Danny DeVito', an 'Italiano', a 'Roaster's Americano', a 'Schlongo' (short long black) and on and on, depending on where you're from.

devito coffee

Let Your Barista Guide You

So, just like every other regional custom, whereby the local slang takes over the more well known nomenclature, this drink sits neatly in that area where it's best to let your barista know exactly what you want, and they'll probably say, "Oh, you mean a Minicano?"

If You're Making It At Home 

One last point. I don't think it actually makes any difference which goes in the cup first, but I prefer to put the hot (not boiling) water in first, and pull the espresso shot over the top. It keeps the crema looking amazing!

And even though the Americano is gently mocked as a drink not for coffee snobs, for me, the Minicano is the perfect balance of flavour and texture. Enjoy!


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