Americano vs Latte: What’s the Difference?

Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer is our senior editor and content writer, at CoffeeVibe. Apart from writing and reading, she’s fond of the coffee brewing process and enjoys tasting new coffe read more
Reviewed By
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks is our tester, who puts products through their paces. He used to be a barista and is now a full-time coffee enthusiast. He’s always testing out new gadgets, read more
Last updated: August 21, 2023
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Coffee can be the difference between a slow and dull morning and one that is filled with energy. Everyone has their perfect coffee order that gets them excited to get to work, but what exactly are you ordering. The world of coffee is vast and full of variations of coffee that all lead to unique flavors and experiences unique in their own ways.

Two coffee choices that are very popular among coffee drinkers are the americano and latte style drink. When it comes to these drinks, they share some similar components that blend together to make two very different experiences. We will look at things like caffeine in Americano vs. latte styles, which makes them unique, and many other factors that show just how different these styles of coffee are from each other.

What is Americano?

Americano vs Latte: What's the Difference?

The Americano is a staple in the coffee world and is enjoyed by many as their drink of choice. It is also known as the café americano, among other things depending on where you order it. No matter where you choose to buy or make this drink, it will always have certain characteristics. The Americano, in any form, will always start with a shot of espresso to give it rich and strong energy that acts as the base.

Once you have your espresso set, the next thing you add is water. The waster is what separates this drink from all the others as it is used to simply dilute the espresso and make it a bit more palatable to drink. Depending on where you get it, the order of what is poured into the cup first can also differ as many people debate whether the water or the espresso should be put in the cup first.

What is Latte?

A latte is a drink known by many in the coffee world for its rich looking colors and smooth drinking. The Americano and latte are very similar drinks, but let’s see what makes it look and taste much different. To start making a latte, you will want a shot of espresso to start the drink. This will be the first thing in the cup no matter where you get it and serves as the base for the drink.

What you add next is where the latte comes into its own. You will add steamed milk into the espresso to give it a very rich color and a smooth texture. The milk will be full of air before being heated up to give it a light and smooth texture. Additionally, the latte will usually have a layer of soft foam on the top that further adds to its visual and taste appeal.

What’s the difference between Americano and Latte?

Now that we understand the very basic anatomy of an Americano and latte let’s take a deeper dive into what they actually are. To do this, we will look at what exactly makes them so different, and we will start by looking at how you want to go about brewing them and even cover things like how you want your grinds to be sized. As you will see, these drinks share nearly as many similarities as they do differences.

Americano vs Latte: What's the Difference?

As we go along, you may realize that one of these coffee styles is more suited to your needs. As you will soon find out, there is a good chance that you will be able to make one if you can make the other. Making small adjustments and changes to how you go about making your coffee can lead to a world of difference and new flavor.

Brewing method

The brewing method for a cup of coffee refers to how you take the bean and turn it into the coffee. Many people use automated drip coffee machines of a French press to make coffee, but these drinks require something else. For the Americano, you will ideally want an espresso machine that was designed to give you concentrated and powerful coffee with every serving.

For the latte, it also consists of an espresso base that would benefit from an espresso machine. What this machine does is it forces steam rough a very fine layer of coffee that extracts most of the coffee essence without having any excessive water. That is why both of these coffee styles are considered to be rather strong in the world of coffee drinks.

Grind size

The grind size of coffee refers to how large the coffee beans are ground before being used to actually make the coffee. For an Americano, you will want to get a very fine grind for the beans to be made effectively. An espresso machine works by forcing steam through the grinds, so having smaller grinds means that the steam can more effectively get though and make the coffee.

The latte is in the same boat as is also needs the base of espresso to be made. Finely ground beans can be made at home with a grinder or specially made for different espresso machines. If, however, you don’t have an espresso machine, a latte can get away with using a highly concentrated French press with medium grains for similar coffee strength. What you are going to use to make the drink is what will be used to determine the grind size.

Caffeine content

Caffeine is the substance found in coffee that gives it the ability to give us energy and keep us alert when we need it. Every type of coffee has a different amount of caffeine that can be determined by how it is made and what is used to make it. For the Americano, the caffeine content is relatively high since it is based on the espresso shot that is naturally going to have higher caffeine levels.

Americano vs Latte: What's the Difference?

The latte is very similar as it also uses an espresso shot as its base layer. What this means is that both coffees will be somewhat stronger than a traditional drip cup of coffee. The reason that they have a higher caffeine content is in the way that espresso is made naturally uses much more of the coffee to make the drink. The type of beans you use to make the coffee can also have an effect on the caffeine level that you get.


The taste of a cup of coffee can primarily come down to personal preference and what you like to get out of your coffee. A coffee can range from having a lighter taste with less flavor to a more intense and darker flavor from different brews. The Americano has a fairly strong flavor with lots of depth because it is a very strong and basic form of coffee that is about as pure as you can get.

The latte shares a similar flavor to the Americano, but it is not nearly as harsh. Since the latte has a large portion of milk, it offsets the initial bitterness of the espresso shot and makes it easier to drink. The combination of the milk and espresso make the drink have a very warm and almost desert-like texture that is complemented well if you add some sweetener to the mix.

Calories and nutrition

The calories we take in every day are important to or health and are something we should consider when choosing what we want to drink. Thankfully, the Americano is one type of coffee that has very little calories. All that you are really drinking is just concentrated coffee and water, so you are really not getting very many calories at all. This makes a great source of healthy energy.

The latte, on the other hand, can go either way. When you make a latte, the ingredients you use to actually make the latte can determine how many calories it is made with—for example, using lighter and less fattening milk to make the latte will save you some calories here and there. If you also decide to add additional things like sweeteners or toppings, you could easily start increasing calories.

In conclusion

Americano vs Latte: What's the Difference?

No matter the day, a cup of coffee can be just what you need to pick up your attitude in the morning or during a slump. Choosing a cup of coffee that offers what you need when you crave a cup will have you feeling ready for anything and feeling ready for action at any moment. Between the Americano and the latte, there are many similarities and differences that make each coffee unique in its own way.

From the way you make it to the way you enjoy it, the americano and latte coffee styles have many similarities and many things that make them unique and special. When you look at it from far away, all that seems to separate them is whether you choose to make them with milk or water. However, after looking at what makes them unique, we know that they are far more than just a couple of cups of coffee.

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