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Coffee Types

What Is An Americano Coffee?

Americano coffee is a popular term in the coffee industry. In this article, you’ll learn everything about Americano coffee and its difference from latte.

We’ll explain its definition, origin, calorie and caffeine content, and its differences with other espresso drinks. Also, we’ve included a simple recipe for making americano at home.

Americano Coffee in a glass.

What’s An Americano?

Essentially, Americano refers to an espresso drink made by diluting a shot of espresso with very hot water. Thus, it’s simply an espresso containing water but without any milk.

Invention of Americano

It’s popularly believed that Americano was first made in Italy. Its invention dates back to WWII. The history about it indicates that most American soldiers based in Italy during WWII didn’t like the espresso shot drank by Italians as they found it too strong. Thus, the American soldiers attempted to replicate their favorite drip coffee by adding water to espresso shots. The resultant coffee drink became known as Americano.

Americano Coffee Ratio

There’s no standard ratio for making Americano coffee. While some people prefer a ratio of 1:1, others prefer a ratio of 1:2 or more.

For instance, Starbucks uses a single espresso shot to make 8 oz of Americano or double espresso shot to make 12 oz (a tall serving).

A good trick to make tasty Americano is by diluting a double shot of espresso with 6 oz hot water. Also, you can try different ratios to see what you’ll like more. For instance, you can make stronger Americano by using more espresso or adding less water. In case you don’t want a strong Americano, then use less espresso or more water.

Caffeine Content in Americano

The caffeine content may vary depending on the number of espresso shots used. For instance, using one shot of espresso will give you 75mg caffeine. Two shots will give you 15mg caffeine while three shots will give you 25mg caffeine.

Calories in Americano

Since Americano is only made with hot water and espresso, it has a low amount of calories. For instance, an Americano prepared with one espresso shot contains approximately 5 calories while that prepared with a double shot of espresso contains approximately 10 calories.

However, these amounts of calories are found in a straight Americano without any added sugar. Adding cream or sugar will increase the amount of calories in the drink.

Coffee vs. Americano

Americano tastes richer than regular drip coffee. Americano features nutty flavors and intense notes of espresso. Brew coffee features a lighter and more subtle flavor.

The reason behind this difference is that most coffee oils are removed by the filter when brewing drip coffee while the crema in Americano retains coffee flavor and oils.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Americanos are stronger than regular drip coffee. Both coffees share the same strength. In fact, drip coffee prepared in the right ratio can taste better and stronger than an Americano. You can preserve coffee flavors and oils by using a French press to brew strong coffee.

Espresso vs. Americano

Espresso refers to a highly concentrated type of coffee that’s served in one or several shots. It’s prepared with an espresso coffee maker, which works by forcing very hot water directly through fine grounds. The resulting brew is a strong coffee drink. It’s topped with some crema to add to the lingering aftertaste and rich flavor of espresso.

When making an Americano, the process starts with preparing a shot of espresso, then diluting it with very hot water. With an Americano, you’ll get similar flavors to that of espresso, but with a larger and less strong drink than straight espresso. Thus, they differ in both volume and intensity.

Concerning the caffeine content, both espresso and Americano coffees have similar caffeine content of approximately 75mg per serving.

Latte vs. Americano

While both latte and Americano contain espresso shots, they’re completely different coffees. Americano comprises an espresso diluted with very hot water while latte comprises an espresso shot diluted with foamy steamed milk.

A real Americano drink doesn’t contain any milk. While some Americano lovers add cream or milk, you’ll never get a real Americano with milk. You can only request the barista to include milk. Latte is defined by creamy and foamy milk.

Concerning caffeine content, both latte and Americano have similar caffeine content. The milk in latte doesn’t add any caffeine to the drink. For instance, Starbucks short Americano and short latte have a similar amount of caffeine, approximately 75mg. However, latte contains a higher amount of calories than a real Americano due to the added milk. For instance, short americano contains 5 calories while latte contains 100 calories.

Long Black vs. Americano

Long Black coffee and Americano coffee are similar coffees, but with one key difference. Preparing Long Black involves pouring an espresso shot onto hot water while preparing an Americano involves pouring hot water onto an espresso shot.

You can commonly find Long Black in New Zealand and Australia while Americano is popular in the U.S and select areas across Europe.

Starbucks Americano

Just like most drinks at Starbucks, their Americanos are served in different sizes including venti, grande, tall, and short.

If you order for an Americano at Starbucks, you’ll be served with straight Americano, which only comprises water and espresso. However, you can request the barista to add heavy cream, milk, or any other form of milk.

Starbucks also offers Iced Americanos. Iced Americanos comprises espresso shots mixed with very cold water, then served over some iced cubes.

Caffeine Content in Starbucks Americano

  • Short (8 ounces): 75mg caffeine
  • Tall (12 ounces): 150mg caffeine
  • Grande (16 ounces): 225mg caffeine
  • Venti (20 ounces): 300mg caffeine

Iced Americanos at Starbucks contains similar caffeine content.


Americano Recipe

You can make a tasty Americano drink at home with a standard or capsule espresso coffee maker.


Standard espresso coffee maker

There’s no standard ratio for making an Americano. As a start, you can use a double shot of espresso and 6 oz water. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1- Measure sufficient coffee beans to make a double shot of espresso . 18 grams of coffee beans are enough. Grind them to a very fine grind.

Step 2– Tamp the ground coffee in a portafilter and place it on the espresso maker.

Step 3– Brew the espresso for about 30 seconds.

Step 4– Get hot water (6 oz) from the espresso maker or boil the water and add it into a mug.

Step 5– Dilute the espresso with very hot water. That way, you’ll make Americano. Alternatively, pour the espresso slowly into very hot water for a cup of Long Black.

Try different ratios and see what will taste best for you. You can make your Americano less strong by using more water or use a ratio of 1:1 for a stronger Americano drink.


Capsule espresso maker

Capsule espresso makers are also great for making Americano coffee. In this case, you can dilute one espresso capsule with exactly 4 oz hot water. Mixing two espresso capsules with exactly 8 oz hot water will make 10 oz of an Americano.


Making Americano Coffee without a Capsule or Standard Espresso Maker

It’s still possible to make Americano coffee without a capsule or standard espresso maker. In this case, you can use any Moka pot. It’s an easy-to-use coffee maker. Besides, it’s inexpensive and doesn’t take a lot of space.



The Americano coffee is a delicious, dark coffee that is perfect for any time of day. If you are looking for a coffee that has a strong flavor and will keep you awake, then the Americano is the coffee for you. Now that you know more about Americano coffee, you can order one with more confidence or make your own at home.


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