What Is An Americano?

By Robert Parsons September 22, 2021

When you visit a coffee shop, there’s generally a menu board with tons of different options. If you’re the type that gets confused by these menus and have no idea what to get – you’re not alone. For instance, there are many different types of black coffee from drip and espresso to an Americano. 

What is an americano? A popular drink and interesting for its history, the Americano satisfies many coffee drinkers, whether they are drinking their morning cup before work or enjoying a midday brew. 

If you’re interested in learning more about this coffee beverage and spending less time deciding what is what in line, you’re going to want to stick around!

mug of americano on table

What’s an Americano?

The most basic answer to this question is this: an Americano, also known as café americano, is an espresso shot that gets topped with hot water. 

The history of this drink is a rather interesting one and it dates back to the times of World War II. American soldiers stationed in Italy were raised with drip coffee. Not used to the bitter taste of it, they were disgusted by the unfamiliar, rich flavors of the espresso consumed by the natives. Their solution for this was to add more water to the espresso and that’s how the popular black drink, the Americano, was born. Essentially, diluted espresso. 

Is There Crema in an Americano?

When you’re making espresso, you might notice a light brown, creamy substance that comes out of the espresso machine right before the darker coffee makes its exit. Once the drink is finished pouring, this creamy liquid rises to the top. This is what is known as crema. 

Crema is a rich part of java – a side effect that comes from the pressurizing of coffee beans. Because an Americano is basically an espresso with added water, it contains the crema just as espresso does. 

Is an Americano the same as Drip Coffee?

Even though some people refer to espresso as a fast version of drip coffee, they are absolutely not the same. The java machines you see at most business establishments or break rooms are generally automatic drip machines. Whether you have one of these basic appliances or a stylish manual drip machine, the fact that drip coffee takes time remains the same. 

The process for making drip coffee is pouring water just at the boiling point over the grounds of coffee and allowing gravity to make magic happen. Over time, some grounds will dissolve and filter through into the carafe from which you’ll eventually pour. A mug full of drip coffee generally has a more subtle flavor than Americanos. 

Americano vs. Other Black Coffees

When it comes to black java, it’s not the easiest to tell the difference. You could be drinking an espresso, long black or drip! 

Below, we’re going to help you understand the differences between these beverages:

Americano vs. Drip

  • – Flavor: Americano features deep, intense, earthy notes of coffee while drip is subtle, lighter and sweeter in flavor.
  • – Crema: If the espresso is intact, you’ll find crema in an Americano. On the other hand, drip coffee does not contain crema.
  • – Caffeine: In an Americano, you’ll find 80mg of caffeine per 12oz and for drip coffee, 120mg per 12oz is common.
  • – Grind: Americanos use fine-grind beans while drip coffee uses medium coarse.
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Americano vs. Long Black

You won’t notice a big difference between Americano and Long Black, aside from the way it’s poured:

  • – Americanos are made by pouring hot water over espresso shots
  • – Long blacks are created by pouring espresso over hot water
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Americano vs. Latte

When it comes to Americano drinks versus lattes, you’ll find that they are very different beverages. Like we’ve mentioned, Americanos are rich and bold and contain a little crema. Although lattes are made with espresso as well, they are also topped with creamy, foamed milk. Lattes are milk-based and creamy, Americanos are not. Both drinks can be poured over ice – in fact, many coffee lovers prefer iced coffee beverages.


Now that you’ve read all about Americano coffee, we hope we’ve helped you understand the difference between it and its black coffee counterparts! From the way they are brewed to flavors and caffeine contents, it’s easier to see how they are unique. 

Next time you hit your local cafe, you’ll be armed with this knowledge and can order something according to your preferences. And if you’ve never tried an Americano, we encourage you to do so. It’s a classic drink that needs to be tried at least once. 

With that, we wish you the best in your future coffee adventures!