Americano vs Black Coffee: How Are They Different?

americano vs black coffee
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Absolutely nothing can beat a fresh cup of hot coffee first thing in the morning. Loaded with antioxidants and caffeine, coffee is a delicious daily staple for 60% of Americans!

So what’s the best coffee drink?

Two of the most popular coffee beverages are classic black coffee and the Americano.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the difference between Americanos and black coffee so that you can decide which way you want to take your morning cup of Joe!

What is an Americano?

First off, let’s take a look at what precisely an Americano is.

But wait, isn’t an Americano just regular coffee?

americano in a cup

The answer is no, the Americano is different from regular black coffee. Americanos use a stronger type of coffee called espresso. They also implement an entirely different brewing process.

In fact, if you are a black coffee drinker and you order an Americano at a fancy coffee shop, you will likely notice significant differences in taste and consistency.

A Cafe Americano consists of espresso and hot water.

Although there are several ways to make an Americano, the main method implements a 2:1 coffee ratio with two parts hot water and one part fresh espresso. Therefore, a 6 oz cup of Americano will contain one double shot of fresh espresso with the rest of the cup filled with steaming hot water.

The History of the Americano

Although coffee has been around since the 17th century, it wasn’t until 1864 that coffee began gaining steam in the United States.

The Americano first emerged in World War II. Soldiers traveling overseas to Italy needed their morning pick me up, after all.

However, these soldiers had become accustomed to the drip coffee that they enjoyed every morning at home. As such, when American soldiers ordered coffee, they found that the taste of Italian espresso was very different from what they were used to.

Not to mention the fact that the Italian coffee of the time was served in small espresso shots as opposed to the large steaming cups of Joe that the Americans were craving.

To improve coffee sales and help the WWII soldiers feel more at home, Italian coffee shops developed the Americano. By adding hot water to fresh espresso shots, an instant hit was born!

Since then, the Americano has remained popular among coffee drinkers in Italy, America, and beyond.

How to Make an Americano

Making an Americano isn’t very difficult, provided you have the right equipment. In fact, many would argue that the Americano is the easiest coffee beverage to craft at home.

To make an Americano at home, you will need an espresso machine, finely ground espresso beans, hot water, and a cup.

pulling an espresso shot

Here is how to do it:

  1. First, you will pull your shot of espresso. If you are making a 6 oz Americano, you will need one double shot of espresso measuring about 2 oz.
  2. Next, you will prepare 4 oz of hot water. You can do this by heating the water on a stovetop or electric kettle or microwaving it. Pour the fresh espresso shot into your coffee cup and then fill it up the rest of the way with hot water.
  3. Now, stir it all together and you’re done!

If you don’t have the necessary equipment or want to experience different variations, check out my favorite Starbucks Americano drinks and try them out!

How Does it Taste?

The Americano tastes different from black coffee in many ways.

For one thing, Americanos are usually slightly more bitter than regular cups of black coffee. This is because espresso coffee is creamier and stronger than drip coffee. Additionally, Americanos allow you to more easily taste the flavor notes that come from your espresso beans.

Since espresso makers use highly pressurized hot water to extract essences from ground coffee beans, the resulting espresso shots are bold and flavorful.

Therefore, if you are a coffee connoisseur who loves to savor those fresh coffee flavors in every sip, Americanos might be right for you.

How is Americano Served?

Usually, an Americano is served with one or two shots of espresso in a cup or mug.

Americanos can be sweetened or flavored with coffee syrups or sugar. They may also be enhanced with a splash of heavy cream or milk.

americano with milk
Americano with milk

With that in mind, many people drink Americanos just like black coffee. No frills, nothing excessive, just pure hot coffee goodness.

What is Black Coffee?

Now, let’s talk about one of the most popular coffee drinks in the entire world. We are referring to black coffee.

In the United States of America, black coffee is normally brewed in a coffee pot using ground coffee beans. This is known as the drip coffee method.

Using a coffee filter, water slowly drips over dry coffee beans and then filters down to a coffee pot. After the coffee pot is full, black coffee is poured into a cup or mug and enjoyed.

a cup of black coffee

When people say that they drink black coffee, they usually mean that their standard drip coffee contains no added sugar or cream. Black coffee drinkers often prefer the straightforward taste of hot coffee.

Additionally, most black coffee drinkers are seeking the effects of caffeine or antioxidant properties offered by freshly brewed black coffee. Alternatively, some black coffee drinkers choose this beverage type because they are counting calories or have food sensitivity issues.

The History of Black Coffee

Coffee has been grown worldwide for centuries. Originally, coffee was grown on the Ethiopian plateau. Later, coffee became popular in Arabia.

In the seventeenth century, coffee found its way to the European continent. During and after the Revolutionary War, it became extremely popular in the United States of America.

People have been enjoying black coffee since the very beginning. Before the invention of the drip coffee pot, people would roast coffee beans in a pan and then grind them up. After boiling a kettle of hot water, they would simply pour it over the coffee beans.

Later, the electric drip coffee maker was invented. This allowed coffee drinkers to enjoy their favorite beverages without all of those pesky coffee grounds.

How to Make Black Coffee

The easiest way to make black coffee involves the use of an electric drip coffee pot. However, you can also use a pour-over coffee maker, a French press, or numerous other methods to prepare your cup.

To make black coffee, all you need is an electric drip coffee pot, a bag of your favorite ground coffee, a coffee filter, water, and a cup.

electric coffee maker

Here is how to prepare black coffee:

  1. In the coffee filter, add one to three tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 oz of water.
  2. Then, fill your coffee pot reservoir at the back with water.
  3. Now, turn your coffee pot on. That’s it!

Brewing black coffee in an electric coffee pot truly is a simple process.

How Does it Taste?

Black coffee is hot, delicately smooth, and mildly bitter. Depending on the type of espresso or coffee beans that you use, it can be more or less bitter.

If you love smooth coffee flavors, look for Arabica beans that have been medium or dark roasted. If black coffee is overly astringent or bitter tasting, chances are that it was brewed incorrectly.

The flavor of black coffee depends heavily on its strength.

How is Black Coffee Served

Usually, black coffee is served in a mug or cup. Cream, sugar, and flavorings can be added to black coffee to cut through the bitterness and add sweetness.

Some people also choose to add a dollop of whipped cream and cinnamon to their black coffee.

The Differences Between Americano and Black Coffee

Let’s quickly go over the main differences between black coffee and Americanos.

In a nutshell, the differences are in the equipment needed, the type of coffee beans used, the overall taste, and the amount of caffeine content.

What Equipment is Needed?

To brew black coffee, all you need is hot water and coffee beans. Most coffee drinkers use an electric or automatic drip coffee maker. However, you can also brew black coffee using coffee grounds, boiling water, and a French press, or any other container and filter.

In contrast, to make an Americano you will need an espresso maker. Espresso makers shoot hot pressurized water through finely-ground espresso beans to extract maximum flavors, oils, and essences.

What Kind of Coffee Beans can be Used?

You can enjoy black coffee using essentially any type of ground coffee beans.

For smooth rich flavors, use medium or dark-roasted Arabica coffee beans. For bright flavors, use lightly roasted coffee beans. Robusta coffee beans are strong and bitter and can be used as well.

If you want to enjoy your black coffee with added flavors, check out these deliciously flavored coffee beans and coffee grounds!

Alternatively, Americanos are made with espresso beans. Espresso beans are usually roasted longer than standard drip grind coffee beans. The lengthy roasting process removes some of the bitterness and allows them to more easily release their oils, known as crema.

The Method of Brewing

Black coffee is brewed with hot water and a coffee pot. Americanos are made using high-pressure espresso machines and hot water.

Although an Americano can be made more quickly than an entire pot of coffee, you can only really make one Americano at a time.

The Overall Taste

In flavor, Americanos are strong with bold undertones and creamy notes from the dark roasted espresso beans. Alternatively, black coffee can be smooth and hot with light bitterness and a satisfying taste.

Either beverage will taste different depending on the type of coffee beans you use and whether they are light or dark roasted.

Caffeine Content Considerations

A standard 8 oz cup of black coffee contains about 80 to 120 mg of caffeine, while a 6 oz Americano, made with one double shot of espresso, will usually have between 60 and 100 mg of caffeine. per 8 oz.

This means their caffeine content is often very close to each other. However, Americanos sometimes have more caffeine than black coffee because people add an extra shot of espresso.

It all depends on how strong you brew your pot of coffee or how many espresso shots an Americano has.

Americano vs Black Coffee – Final Thoughts

So there you have it!

Now you know the difference between black coffee and an Americano. It will all come down to which kind of drink you prefer, how much time you have to make coffee in the morning, and what your personal preferences are.

Both types of coffee can make your mornings feel more indulgent and put a little pep in your step!

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