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What is an Iced Americano & Why Do South Koreans Swear By It?

Posted by Meera Nair on

Of all the coffee drinks that are in high demand across the world, the Americano reigns supreme alongside espresso and cappuccino.

But in the East Asian country of South Korea, it is almost unrivalled as students and office workers alike grab large to-go cups of the iced variant day in and day out.

As per a study, South Koreans tend to drink more than twice the global average of coffee consumed per year. So then what makes Iced Americano their preferred choice?

Before we jump right into it, let’s understand a bit more about what an Americano is. 

It has its origins during World War II when American soldiers in Italy began a practice of diluting the bitter espresso with water to make a more palatable coffee drink. Did you know that the term Americano in Italian means “American”?

What to Expect From an Iced Americano?

Considering that the two key ingredients of an Iced Americano are a shot (or two!) of espresso and water, you might be thinking, “How hard can it be to make?

Well, not much. But, at first, it can be easy to mess up the proportions. So, be prepared for some trial and error.

how is iced americano made

Iced Americanos are typically consumed as black coffee, but people also mix milk and sweeteners depending on their taste preferences.

When the coffee-to-water ratio is just right, an Iced Americano will have a smooth, balanced flavour profile that is slightly acidic, bitter, and crisp. 

The use of specialty coffee beans also brings out diverse aromas and tasting notes in the Americano.

Why is Iced Americano Popular in South Korea?

South Korea and coffee don’t go as way back as the regions in the bean belt. It was only in the 50s when during the Korean War, instant coffee was introduced into the country by U.S. soldiers. 

This gradually led to individuals becoming coffee regulars in a country where tea was primarily dominant. 

By the 1990s, café culture had a widespread presence in South Korea, with many chain coffee shops opening up in different cities. This led to coffee entering the lifestyle space, giving South Koreans a moment of respite amidst the daily hustle. 

why do South Koreans love Iced Americano

The reason why Iced Americano has become extremely popular here is because firstly, South Korea is known for its cutthroat work environment. People work long hours, having barely any time to themselves. 

The caffeine content in an Iced Americano helps them stay on their toes and accomplish the day’s work with focus. It prevents the dip of energy that is common as the clock chimes in the afternoon. 

Secondly, in South Korea, it is the norm to keep up appearances and adhere to beauty and health standards. Something like “Ah Ah”, the South Koreans’ nickname for Iced Americano (Ah-iced Ah-mericano) contains few calories, is easy to drink on the go and isn’t detrimental to health if one sticks to moderate consumption. 

Lastly, summers in South Korea can be sweltering. In such humid weather, the Iced Americano is a refreshing boon.

Have you tried an Iced Americano? What did you think of it?

We recommend brewing yourself one at home with a single origin from the Beancraft collection.

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