Can anybody tell me the differences between an americano and an espresso because I am quite confused.

  • 1
    You can look in simple way like: espresso as a “concentrate” and americano as “made from concentrate” ... difference is in the concentration of the caffeine to the water ratio.
    – n1tk
    Sep 25, 2018 at 18:49

1 Answer 1


An espresso is a shot of coffee produced by forcing hot water at high pressure through coffee grounds. Often, the espresso is the base shot of coffee from which other coffee drinks are prepared, although it is also quite common to enjoy it on its own.

An americano is a coffee drink made by pouring one espresso and then adding hot water on top of it. This hot water weakens the coffee a little and mitigates some bitter notes. It is also consequently a larger drink and retains its heat for longer.

As Ivan mentions in the comments, you may also be interested in the long black. It's a little like a reverse americano, where the espresso shot is pulled over hot water. This retains more of the crema than an americano does.

  • 3
    It is not steam though that's pushed through but water. Usually between 90°C and 94°C. Many espresso machines use steam pressure though to push through the water.
    – avocado1
    Sep 25, 2018 at 14:03
  • You're absolutely right, I've corrected that in my answer, thanks.
    – Nick Udell
    Sep 27, 2018 at 9:00
  • 4
    You may want to add the long black here for completeness. That's when a shot is pulled over hot water (so in the opposite order of an americano), which gives better crema retention. (Well, of course in practice coffee shops aren't always meticulous about that terminology.) Sep 28, 2018 at 1:51
  • Good idea, updated the answer
    – Nick Udell
    Oct 9, 2018 at 15:29
  • 2
    I'd never grasped the concept of 'long black' until I joined this stack - in fact, i'd never heard the term [i'm UK not US, if that makes a difference]. I'll have to try a long black tomorrow, as I have always dropped the water to the coffee before now, Americano-style, using a bean to cup machine. Coffee shops, these days, tend to ask if you want milk in americano... I'll never understand that ;-)
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 27, 2019 at 20:19

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