Espresso and Americano are two of the most popular coffee variations around the world.

Choosing between an espresso and an Americano can seem like a huge decision, especially if you’re new to these drinks.

To help you decide, I’ve compiled some of the main differences between the two so that you can pick the right coffee for your needs.

Espresso vs. Americano, what’s the difference?

Espresso is a strong, rich, and concentrated brew, beloved by caffeine addicts the world over. On the other hand, Americano has a reputation as the drink of choice for those who aren’t as much into coffee as they are about the caffeine hit.

Serving two very different purposes, but what exactly is the difference between the two?

The difference between an espresso and an Americano might be small, but the two coffee drinks vary greatly in their taste and presentation. In fact, an Americano is a shot of espresso that has been diluted with water, while an espresso is just a shot of espresso that has been made from a single serving of coffee beans.

The flavor profile of the Americano differs a lot compared to an espresso. Although they are both using the same coffee basis, the flavors are totally different.

Below, you’ll find a small summary of both drinks. After that, I’ll discuss the flavor difference, caffeine content, and which might suit you better.

What is an espresso?

An espresso is a strong coffee that is made using an espresso machine. Most of the time, an espresso is used as the basis for various other drinks.

Besides an Americano, you can make lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, and a platter of iced coffees with an espresso shot.

I like to use a Moka pot to brew my espresso coffee. It looks like this when the brew is finished:

Espresso coffee.

Because of the robust flavor, you can bring any kind of milk and sweeteners to your drink while still tasting the espresso flavor.

What is an Americano?

An Americano is a diluted version of an espresso. Using equal parts hot water and espresso coffee, it makes for a flavorful coffee that isn’t overpowering.

Most people prefer an Americano over an espresso shot because you can enjoy it longer, and you still get those amazing espresso flavors.

You can make an Americano with any amount of coffee. While using a 50/50 ratio, you can use a single or double shot of espresso and add the remaining water to it.

I made an Americano with a single shot of espresso and added the same amount of hot water to it. This is what it looks like when finished:

Americano coffee.

Tip: If you want to try an Americano, you can get the full recipe here.

It’s the perfect drink to start your day or drink when you need a caffeine boost. Let’s talk a bit more about the caffeine difference below.

Espresso vs. Americano, caffeine difference

Depending on how strong you like your coffee, the caffeine can differ greatly between these coffees.

Usually, an Americano is made with a double espresso shot, but you can also make it with a single shot.

Let’s have a look at the difference in caffeine:

  • Espresso has a total of 68 mg of caffeine. (source)
  • An Americano, using two espresso shots, has a total 136 mg of caffeine.

Depending on the number of espresso shots used to make your Americano, it might have the same amount of caffeine as an espresso.

I like my Americanos with a double shot of espresso, so there’s a more robust flavor, which I prefer.

If you like a more mellow tasting coffee, then a single shot Americano is perfect for you, having the same caffeine content as an espresso.

Does an Americano taste like espresso?

An Americano has the same flavor notes as an espresso but tastes a bit weaker and laid back because of the added water.

It has a smooth taste where you can notably taste the robust flavor that a great espresso has to offer. This is the best part about using dark roasted coffee beans for such an amazing drink.

Dark roasted coffee beans.

The best thing about Americanos is that you can enjoy it longer. The added water makes for a larger drink that you can slowly sip on while an espresso is gone within two slurps.

Is there a difference in calories?

Both coffees are made with espresso coffee as the basis, and while the Americano has water added, they both have virtually no calories.

Black coffee doesn’t contain any calories, so if you’re planning on drinking these coffees without any sweeteners or other add-ins, you’ll have a guilt-free treat!

Which coffee suits you better?

Now that you know about the differences between these two espresso-based drinks, you might already have a favorite out of the two.

If you’re still on the fence about which suits you better, have a look below for my suggestion:

  • Do you prefer a stronger coffee drink that you can drink within minutes? Then an espresso is perfect for you.
  • If you prefer a drink that you can enjoy for longer, with smoother coffee notes, then an Americano is the best choice for you.

Although the difference between these drinks is the water added, there is a big difference in taste, making it an even harder choice.

Espresso and Americano next to each other for comparison.
Espresso on the left. Americano is on the right.

I prefer an espresso shot over an Americano when I’m busy and want a strong coffee with a good amount of caffeine.

However, I start with an Americano most mornings to enjoy the coffee flavor for longer while waking up.

Most of the time, I’ll move over to espresso shots or strong brewed coffee after lunch.

Related coffee comparison articles

Are you wondering how the espresso and americano compare to other coffees?

Great! Check out the articles below for more in-depth coffee comparisons:

And to compare more coffees, visit the coffee comparison hub!


Although both espresso and Americano use the same coffee bases, there’s a big flavor difference and many more differences that make them unique.

I’ve talked about the differences in caffeine and how these coffees have their unique taste.

I hope to have helped you make a decision on which coffee you prefer more. I highly suggest tasting these coffees side by side if you’re still unsure which is right for you.

You’ll notice the difference in taste, and you’ll have a better understanding of the differences while enjoying some good coffee!

Which coffee do you prefer? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. If you have any other questions regarding coffee, you can also contact me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!

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Picture of Jeffrey, Author at Your Dream Coffee

On my coffee blog you will find everything you need in order to start brewing coffee at home. Ranging from the basics; to the newest coffee recipes everybody talks about! You can learn more about me here.

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