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Americano vs Latte: What’s the Difference?

americano vs latte

Americanos and lattes are both commonly ordered espresso-based beverages, but that’s where the similarities end. If you aren’t aware of the many differences or you haven’t had the opportunity to taste one or the other, let us introduce you. Once you know the difference, you’ll be able to order with confidence at your favorite coffee shop.

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What is an Americano?

Americano coffee

Espresso is the base of the drink, as mentioned before. Then hot water is added, and voilà, you have an americano. This is the classic version, though some people get them iced or even with milk and sugar added. Americanos have a strong espresso taste and are a choice for those who enjoy that bold flavor.


What is a Latte?

What is a latte?

Again, espresso is the base of this drink. However, instead of water, steamed milk is added to it. It also has a thin layer of foam on the top. A latte is typically a hot drink with a classic espresso flavor and milk for creaminess. It can be enjoyed in various ways, though. Just like an americano, it can come iced. Another way to personalize it is to add a flavor, like toffee, hazelnut, or cinnamon. Yummy!


Highlighting the Differences

Although these drinks are both a part of the espresso family, there are more differences than there are similarities between an americano and a latte. They can be divided into three basic differences. Here’s a breakdown for you:

Americano
  • Made with espresso and hot water
  • Bold and intense flavor
  • Thin consistency
  • Generally served black
Latte
  • Made with espresso and steamed milk
  • Topped with microfoam
  • Rich, creamy flavor
  • Thicker, velvety mouthfeel

1. The Ingredients

The ingredients used in these drinks differ. An americano is made with espresso and hot water, while a latte is made with espresso and steamed milk.

2. The Taste

An americano will taste bold and be much more intense than a latte. It can also be more bitter. Lattes have the flavor of espresso and milk together, which is much more mellow. They also offer a richness or creaminess that an americano can’t give you.

The taste difference may lead you to believe there is more espresso in an americano. In reality, both of these drinks are usually made using the same amount of espresso. This can vary from cafe to cafe, so be sure to ask your barista if having a stronger flavor or more caffeine is important to you.

3. The Texture

Americanos are watery, there’s no way around it. They have a thin consistency, which gives them a completely different mouthfeel than a latte. The steamed milk in a latte gives it a velvety mouthfeel and a much thicker consistency.

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Now What?

After learning about these two delicious espresso beverages, do you know what you’re going to order next time you go to a coffee shop? Maybe you want the intense americano, or maybe you prefer the smooth milky latte. Either way, enjoy your espresso!

Other types of coffee we’ve compared:

Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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