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Espresso Vs. Americano: What Is The Difference?

If you walk into a coffee shop and request something quite strong, packed with flavor, and black, you will likely be offered either an Americano or an Espresso.

There are many differences between the two drinks so it’s in your best interest not to confuse the two, especially if you’re traveling to Italy. This is because Espresso is a favorite beverage there.

It is safe to say that the two beverages are arch-enemies in the general coffee realm. As a result of this, both coffee beverages have an army of loyal fans and their fair share of haters.

If you want to know the main difference between these two drinks, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out more!

What Is An Espresso?  

An espresso is a strong coffee consisting of pure coffee concentrate that is typically made with an espresso machine. A lot of the time, espressos are used as the base for other coffee drinks.

Espressos have a full and strong flavor and are renowned for their intensity. People will either drink the coffee straight or with a teaspoon of sugar if their tastes don’t quite match. 

In addition to an Americano, you can make flat whites, cappuccinos, lattes, and even various iced coffees featuring an espresso shot.

Speaking of espresso shots, many people enjoy a double shot (a doppio) or even a triple shot for an extra caffeine boost. However, we wouldn’t recommend this unless you want to be bouncing off the walls!

If you’re looking for a quality Espresso machine, see here for the best options.

What Is An Americano?  

Americanos can be made in multiple different ways.

In comparison to an Espresso, an Americano is a much more watered-down drink. It’s essentially a single shot of Espresso combined with some hot water which results in a far less concentrated flavor that works to dilute the bitterness found in pure espresso.

However, it does not dilute the flavor. Instead, it unlocks and releases complex flavors in every single sip.

Americanos have more liquid and are much easier to sip than an Espresso typically would be. You can also pair it with cream or sugar for a much sweeter taste! The cream will rise to the top which will allow you to leisurely sip the coffee drink, savoring the flavors as you go.

The Main Differences


An Americano and an Espresso share flavor profiles but an Americano typically tastes a little bit weaker due to the additional water. Again, it does not completely dilute the taste of the coffee.

Americanos are notably much smoother going down which allows you to better appreciate the flavors of the drink than an Espresso.


Americanos can be customized in terms of the taste and style of the drink whereas you can’t do the same for an Espresso. You can add cream or milk in addition to cinnamon or caramel, which creates a far sweeter drink.

You can also enjoy an iced Americano which is a brilliant choice for a hot summer day! However, you cannot do the same for an Espresso. These drinks are always served hot and without the added flavors.

Caffeine Content

Depending on the coffee strength that you best enjoy, the caffeine content can differ greatly. An Espresso has a total of 68 mg of caffeine while a two-shot Americano will have a total caffeine amount of 136 mg.

Depending on the total amount of espresso shots used in the construction of an Americano, it could have the same caffeine content as an Espresso. It depends on whether you prefer a more robust flavor or not.

For a more mellow flavor, a single shot Americano will be the perfect option for you as it features the same caffeine content as an Espresso.

A Quick Summary

The difference between an Espresso and an Americano may appear to be quite minimal, but the two caffeine-based drinks tend to vary quite a bit in terms of their overall taste, presentation, and preparation. 


The main difference between these two types of coffee drinks is the way that they are properly prepared.

Although Espresso and Americano use the same coffee base, there is a huge difference in terms of flavor. The drinking experience is also wildly different for both coffee beverages. 

If you prefer a stronger taste, an Espresso may be right up your alley. But if it’s a sweeter and longer-lasting drink you want, an Americano may be the better choice.

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