Americano Vs Latte: Here Is The Difference You Should Know

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americano vs latte

There are tons of different ways to take your coffee, and two of the most popular ways are to drink it as an Americano or a latte.

If you’re wanting to learn what the differences are between these two recipes, I’m here as an ex-barista to tell you.

I prepared for you a complete Americano vs latte rundown, so you can find out all you need to know about these espresso drinks.

Let’s get to it!

What is an Americano?

americano coffee

Americano coffee is one of the most classic and simple coffee drinks known around the world. 

This coffee drink is simply made of a shot (or more) of espresso coffee topped with hot water. 

The hot water makes the drink a bit less bitter than your standard espresso. But, it also gives it a richer flavor and a smooth crema that regular drip coffee lacks.

Americanos aren’t new to the coffee game, and in fact, have been around for a number of years. 

They date back to World War II when American soldiers stationed in Italy found that Italian espresso was too strong for them. 

To make the drink more palatable, they added hot water to it. The new drink reminded them of the drip coffee they were used to back home. 

Because American soldiers had invented the drink, the Italians coined the name ‘Americano’ for the beverage. 

Americano coffee, despite tasting less intense than an espresso, actually doesn’t contain any less caffeine.

Your standard Americano has about 63 mg of caffeine, just like an espresso shot.

Of course, if you want more caffeine than a regular coffee Americano offers, you can always up the ante by pulling a double espresso shot.

Or, you can add some ice cubes and cold water if you want to make an espresso variation of the iced coffee – iced Americano.

What is a Latte?

americano coffee

Latte is an espresso drink that is beloved around the world and that has reportedly been around for a long time. 

Although no one knows exactly who invented the drink, it’s said to have appeared around the 19th century in Europe. 

Lattes are made out of espresso shots topped with hot steamed milk and a smidge of milk foam. 

Typically, you’ll find that a latte contains one to two shots of espresso, about 300 ml of steamed milk, and just 2 ml of milk foam. 

Many people enjoy adding syrups and whipped cream to their lattes. This makes the drink a little bit sweeter. 

That’s entirely up to you, however. 

You’re welcome to drink your latte without any of those additives and simply enjoy a creamy coffee beverage!

You can also make an iced latte if you add some ice cubes and cold milk instead of the hot milk, and you will get a refreshing drink for the summer days.

Americano vs Latte: What is the Difference?

Now that we’ve taken a quick look at these two drinks, we can dig a little deeper into the difference between an Americano and latte. 

Although both coffees have an espresso base and require an espresso machine, there are actually a couple of key differences between them. 

Here’s what you need to know. 


espresso machine brewing coffee

When we talk about the brewing method we are referring to the process of turning the coffee bean into a drink. 

To make an Americano, all you’ll need is an espresso machine to pull the shots and a kettle to boil the water. 

Once you’ve brewed your espresso shot, add it to a cup. Then, top it off with hot water!

If you’re going to make a latte, on the other hand, you’ll need an extra piece of brewing equipment. 

While you’ll still need to pour an espresso shot, you’ll also need a steamer to heat up the milk. 

The steamer helps create the tiny bubbles that make frothed milk unique and give lattes their signature creaminess.

Once you’ve pulled an espresso shot for a latte, top it off with foamed milk. 


You’ve got a tasty latte. 


Probably the main thing we’re interested in when we sit down for a cup of coffee is the taste.

Americanos and lattes, despite both being made of espresso, have very different flavors. 

An Americano has quite a strong and concentrated flavor. The espresso in the drink gives it a dark, acidic flavor while the water helps make it less intense. 

On the other hand, lattes have milk which helps offset the bitter taste of the espresso. 

Lattes tend to taste creamy and slightly sweet thanks to the natural sugars found in milk. 

If you like stronger coffee but still want that creamy texture, you can add an extra shot of espresso to your latte.

Or, if you want strong coffee but are bothered by overly acidic drinks, you can add a splash of milk to your Americano. 


a woman pouring coffee in a cup

As someone who cares about maintaining a healthy diet, calories are always something I keep track of.

That’s true even when I’m drinking coffee!

For a coffee lover who wants to watch their calorie intake, Americanos are the obvious choice. Since they’re only made of espresso and water, they have very minimal calories. 

There are about 10 calories in a shot of espresso. 

Since water has no calories, that means that there are about 10 calories in an Americano!

On the other hand, lattes contain espresso and milk. That means that they tend to have a higher calorie count. 

Your standard latte made with 300ml of whole cow’s milk contains about 200 calories. 

Bear in mind, however, that lattes with syrups, whipped cream, and other add-ins will have a higher calorie count. 

If you want to reduce the number of calories in your latte, you can always make it with skim or non-dairy milk. 

These are great ways to lower the calorie count and still enjoy a creamy latte. 


Whew! That was a lot of information. 

However, I understand that there are still lots of questions out there about these two drinks. 

To clear up any confusion, I’ve put together an FAQ with a few extra details on the Americano vs latte rundown. 

Is an Americano With Milk a Latte? 

Many people think that adding milk to the Americano will turn it into a latte, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Lattes don’t have hot water in them to dilute the espresso. Americanos, on the other hand, do. 

As a result, adding milk to your Americano is just, well, an Americano with milk. It’s much less creamy than a latte and tends to be a bit more watery. 

Is an Americano Stronger Than a Latte?

In terms of taste, the caffè Americano has a stronger and more concentrated flavor than a latte. Because lattes contain so much milk, they tend to taste much smoother and creamier. 

In terms of caffeine, on the other hand, Americanos come out the winner. A latte has an average of 120 mg of caffeine per cup while an Americano has 154 mg of caffeine per cup.

What Is a Dirty Americano?

Dirty coffee is nothing more than hot espresso poured over cold milk. This method makes it look like the milk is “dirty” thanks to the brown espresso on top of the milk. A dirty Americano is the same concept except that you pour cold milk over a hot Americano. 

Bottom Line

Although they may be similar in some regards, when you break down an Americano vs latte it becomes clear that these are two very different drinks. 

Americano is a hardy, strong brew that’s reminiscent of a classic cup of brewed coffee. 

On the other hand, the latte is a silky-smooth milky drink that’s far less acidic than its darker counterpart. 

Whichever beverage you choose to make your go-to, both are pretty delicious. 

And hey! Maybe you’ll discover neither of them is up to your ally and go for something entirely different. Check out this guide to an iced mocha and see if maybe that’s the drink for you.

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Jessica Fleming-Montoya
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.