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.

Quick Answer: What’s the difference between an espresso and an Americano?

The main difference between an espresso and an Americano is that an espresso is a concentrated shot of coffee, while an Americano is made by diluting an espresso shot with hot water to create a larger drink that resembles traditional drip coffee.

Espresso vs. Americano: All the Differences You Need to Know

To help you decide, I’ll go over all the differences between the two so that you can easily see which will fit you the best.

Espresso vs. Americano, how do they differ?

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.

You can have a look at the overview below to see the differences between these delicious coffees:

Flavor notesA smoky, complex, and bittersweet flavorA slightly bitter and robust taste
Milk used?No milk usedNo milk used
Caffeine content68mg of caffeine68mg of caffeine
Number of caloriesVirtually no caloriesVirtually no calories
Any toppings?Has a nice crema on topServed as is
Add-in used?Sweetener of choiceHot water

In the image below, you can clearly see the difference between these drinks and how they are served:

The flavor profile of the Americano differs a lot compared to an espresso. Although they use the same coffee basis, the flavors are 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 concentrated shot of coffee made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans at high pressure using an espresso machine.

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

Espresso coffee.

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

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 made by diluting espresso with hot water. This results in a longer drink with a milder taste than an intense espresso shot.

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 still get those amazing espresso flavors.

You can make an Americano with any amount of coffee. While using a 1:1 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.

Which is stronger, an espresso or Americano?

Let’s talk about taste and which of these drinks is stronger. While both drinks start with a base of rich and robust espresso shots, one key difference is water.

An Americano is essentially diluted espresso with additional hot water added to it in order to mimic the strength and consistency of regular brewed coffee.

On the other hand, an espresso remains concentrated and unadulterated.

This means that in terms of taste intensity and strength, an espresso reigns supreme over its diluted counterpart.

It holds onto its bold flavors without being mellowed out by additional water.

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

Three espresso shots stacked on top of each other.

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 of Americano has 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 of a great espresso. 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 the 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 a little longer.

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 I 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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