Just gotta say... I love a good americano. I basically don't brew drip coffee anymore, if I want a cup of black coffee (which I do, frequently), I make an americano. A proper americano is made w/ hot water in your cup and then you pull your shot onto the water. That's it. It is NOT a shot pulled for a really long time; that will massively overextract the coffee. Just a normal shot as if for a latte, pulled into a cup of hot water (not too much water).
P.S. you do want to pull the shot after you put the water in the cup... that way you get all that delicious crema on top. YUM.