We’re willing to imagine that you’re on a personal quest to find a cafe that crafts the perfect Americano. One cup of mind-blowing espresso and hot water that took your expectation of what a coffee should be to a whole new level.
If you were lucky enough to be around that coffee shop again, you likely returned to relive the experience. But when that paper cup was placed in your hand, you could already tell something was amiss. The crema was broken, the smell was ashy, the first sip burned your tongue and when the liquid filled your mouth you found very little body or flavour. What happened? Where was that little slice of heaven in a cup? Why can't you enjoy the same experience every single day?
The Americano is the drink of choice for Torontonians. The double shot medium Americano is our number one seller and makes up roughly 15% of our total sales. That’s not King West specific either, there are tons of independent coffee shops across the city that have done away with drip coffee altogether because their customers find Americanos better suited to their evolving taste.
Coffee culture is a baby in Canada. Corporate chains have long dominated the national identity of our coffee consumption; this typically means light roast drip, with a double dose of cream and sugar. Indies coffee shops using the fundamentals of Italian espresso and awareness of recent coffee trends in Australia, Sweden and the States, have for the most part been around for only a decade and a half - though we’ve made some great strides thanks to innovation and global accessibility to single origins.
“Caffe Americano” means American Coffee. As urban legend has it, an American stationed in Italy during World War II, probably had more imminent problems than not being able to find a the perfect cup of coffee. They still needed a cup of coffee though, and the 1-2oz. cup of condensed, bitter java the Italians were drinking wasn’t to their taste. But they could see that the Italians had coffee beans, and that they were running it through a machine. So the Americans pointed to the larger cappuccino cup and asked them to run the espresso until it was full. The Italians found this disgusting but we’re happy to take the Americans money. Thus the Americano was born: espresso with lots of hot water.
The way beans are ground for espresso makes perfect espresso, but lousy drip coffee. After about 30 seconds, the coffee flavor has been completely extracted and you’re just pouring astringent water into something you plan on drinking. The French adapted this into the Allongé, a drink that uses a courser grind and more coffee. In most of North America, the most popular incarnation of the Americano is to pour 2 shots of regular espresso into 8oz. of hot water. This allows (in theory) the espresso to still be delicious while giving people the full cup of coffee they desire. The problem with this is that the water most people use is too hot; it burns off most of the flavor off of the espresso before you can drink it.
At Quantum we combined our collective coffee knowledge with technology, in an attempt to create the most consistent and delicious Americano in the city. We triple filter the water to remove sediment, chlorine and then balance the minerality of the water so it can extract all the right flavours from the ground coffee. We also use water towers with separate boilers tuned to an ideal Americano temperature: still hot enough that your drink is steamy by the time you get back to your desk, but not so hot that it burns away all the flavour.
Each of our barista stations have a grinder reserved exclusively for pulling Americano shots. We dial in the espresso courser, so the shot can be pulled slightly longer without over extracting. There’s twice as much liquid coffee volume in our Americanos than in the Americanos you’re used to, but the coffee is stretched out over a longer pour, to create a smooth, creamy coffee experience with notes of caramel and chocolate. It’s devoid of the ashy, smoky, bitter notes we get from burnt espresso.
With the popularity of the Americano steadily rising in North America, we wanted to create something that improved upon our community's drink of choice. We’re dialing in our espresso make your Americano dreams a daily reality.
Have questions? Stop in and get to know our team behind the bar!