Americano vs. Black coffee: What is the difference?

Most people start their day by drinking coffee. Whether you prefer making one at home or picking one up on your way to work, there are many options from which we can choose which coffee to drink. Since there are so many options, it is hard to know the differences between each coffee type. For example, most people don’t know the difference between Americano coffee and black coffee. So, what is the difference between these two types of coffee?

The biggest difference between Americano coffee and black coffee is how they are made. Americano is made by pouring water over two espresso shots, while black coffee is made with ground coffee and water. 

The difference between these two types of coffee is also in their taste. While Americano has a dark and earthy flavor, black coffee has a floral, sweet, and more delicate flavor. 

You can add milk, sugar, and other stuff to Americano, and you are not supposed to add anything to black coffee.

Americano also has an interesting origin story.

What is Americano?

The Americano coffee has a somewhat mysterious origin. The most popular folk history of the Americano coffee and its name comes from the American soldiers’ stories in Italy. It is believed that during World War II, troops throughout Europe were rationing all their favorite food and drinks.

 Luckily for those troops that were in Italy, there was a lot of coffee there. Americans had a problem with the coffee that Italians made, as it was very dark and rich. They were used to their drip-brewing coffee and adding milk to make the coffee taste lighter. Italians drank cappuccino, as well as espresso. Cappucino was closer in taste to what the Americans were used to, but it was served in a small cup. Cappucino is espresso with froth milk that is usually served in a 5-ounce cup, while the drip coffee that the Americans were used to was served in a 16-ounce cup. 

Italian coffee shops started serving espresso shots in full-size coffee cups and filling up the rest with hot water to accommodate the soldiers. It was also possible to add sugar and milk to taste. The word about this drink spread fast, and it was named “Americano.” Even though Americans enjoy this drink, Italians refer to their beloved mixture of espresso as “dirty water.”

The biggest difference between the drip coffee that the Americans were used to and Americano is how the espresso is made. If it is brewed properly, it will have a creamy layer on top called “crema.” This is a mark of a truly excellent brew and is not formed during drip brewing. This same layer can be found on an Americano.

Americano is quite low in calories, as water has no calories. If you choose to add milk and sugar, the calories in your Americano will reach around 30.

How is Americano made?

Americano is made by pouring a single or double shot of espresso into a cup or mug and filling the cup or mug to 6 ounces with hot water. As with every coffee, there are many different variations in the exact ratio of espresso to water and where the water is drawn. Some say that the water has to come from the same espresso machine that has pulled the shots, but, at its most basic, an Americano is 1-2 espresso shots with hot water added.

The iced Americano maintains the same principles, except for the obvious use of cold water rather than hot water and ice. Sugar and milk are less often added to Iced, but that is a matter of personal preference. 

You can make an Americano two different ways, and people and even entire countries disagree on which way is best. You can choose to do this the traditional way by first pouring your espresso into a cup or a mug and then adding the hot water. You can also choose to start with the hot water already in the cup or mug and then add 1-2 shots of espresso.

Most people like the second method better because it results in more foam on top when you first start sipping it since it doesn’t dissolve when the water is added into the espresso. 

The drinks that result from the two different methods actually have different names. The original Americano is when the espresso is poured first, but when the espresso is poured second, into the hot water, the drink is referred to as a Long Black. This drink was named by the Australians when the Italians first introduced the drink in Australia.

Big cafe chains, such as Starbucks, don’t use any special tricks, flavors, or other additions to the classic Americano recipe. Their method of making Americano is very simple, the barista at Starbucks pulls two regular espresso shots into a cup and then immediately pours in hot water, preserving the freshly pulled espresso shots’ top crema levels. That way, Starbucks’ Americano maintains a rich, full-bodied texture and taste.

If you choose to add milk to your Americano, you would be making a drink that is called White Americano. 

Is an Americano strong?

Most people need about 100mg of caffeine to keep them awake for a few hours. Americano made with 2 espresso shots has 154mg of caffeine, meaning that it is strong enough to keep most people awake for a while.

What does an Americano taste like?

Since Americano is made from espresso, it tastes like espresso. However, it has a weaker coffee taste than pure espresso, as it is diluted by hot water. It also has nutty, earthy flavors, as the high temperature destroys floral and lighter notes. 

The taste of Americano also depends on what espresso was used. If the espresso is the lemony varietal, that’s what the Americano will taste like. Espresso flavors range from earthy and robust to citrusy and sour.

If the beans used to make the espresso are sourced from a single origin or have a light roast, it will normally cause the espresso to have a slightly more sour taste. This will cause the Americano also to taste slightly sourer.

The grind also affects the taste of Americano. If the grind that is used to make the espresso is very fine then it will normally make it taste slightly more bitter since the water will pick up more of the coffee as it passes through it. Beans with a dark roast will also normally cause the espresso to have a more bitter taste.

Depending on whether you want to have more of a creamier taste, you should also add some milk to the water.

How do you drink an Americano?

An 8 oz cup is used to drink Americano coffee, and it is considered a large coffee cup. 

Americano can be drunk at any time of the day.

Since Americano is basically just espresso and water, you can add milk and sugar to make it sweeter or creamier.

Adding milk to Americano makes it a different type of Americano, which is called White Americano.

What is black coffee?

Black coffee is actually regular coffee that is normally brewed without additives such as sugar, milk, cream, or added flavors. It has a slightly bitter taste compared to when it is flavored with additives. Many people love a strong cup of black coffee, and many people drink it every day.

Black coffee is low in calories, fats, and carbohydrates. It has a very low nutritional value besides giving you low amounts of potassium. 

It is a great drink for someone who is looking for a regular drink that won’t harm their health. 

Many people who drink black coffee every day are unaware that it helps them with weight loss. It is important to keep in mind that if you wish to use black coffee for weight loss, you cannot add anything. This coffee contains chlorogenic acid, which helps to slow down glucose production in your body, which means that if you drink black coffee after a meal, your body will produce less glucose and fat cells. It also contains antioxidants, which are very helpful in the weight loss process. 

Black coffee is rich in caffeine, it helps in the stimulation of metabolic activity and increases your energy level, which then suppresses the feeling of hunger. 

Since this coffee is a low-calorie drink and also does not contain fats or cholesterol, you do not put on any weight by drinking it daily.

Black coffee is known to improve your mood and make you happy. 

Research shows that people who drink more than 4 cups of black coffee a day have a 57% reduced risk of gout. The antioxidants present in coffee reduce the risk of developing gout by decreasing insulin and uric acid levels in the body. Even if you have gout, it helps to relieve its symptoms. 

It is also a good idea to drink black coffee before hitting the gym because it can boost metabolism greatly, allowing you to reap more benefits from your workout session.

Black coffee helps improve cardiovascular health. Some studies have shown that drinking one to two cups of black coffee every day can reduce your risk of developing various cardiovascular diseases, including stroke. What this means is that over time, black coffee gives you a stronger heart.

It is also known for improving your memory. Our cognitive skills are affected as we grow older, and we are more prone to developing memory-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s diseases. Drinking black coffee regularly can aid in combating these diseases by keeping your brain fit and healthy. It keeps your nerves active, thus improving brain function.

Black coffee is very well known for boosting liver health. The liver is a very important and vital organ in your body, and it carries out many functions. Drinking coffee regularly has been linked to a decreased risk of liver cancer, fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and alcoholic cirrhosis. It is believed that people who drink four cups of black coffee every day have much lower chances of developing any liver disease because the contents of black coffee can help to lower the level of harmful liver enzymes that are found in the blood.

Some studies have shown that consuming black coffee regularly could be linked with a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as liver cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and rectal cancer. It is also great for reducing inflammation in your body, which helps in preventing tumor development.

It can also decrease the risk of diabetes. Coffee helps in managing diabetes by increasing insulin production. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee can help in the prevention of diabetes. 

Black coffee also has some side effects. Drinking too much black coffee releases high levels of stress hormones in your body, which leads to anxiety and stress. 

Consuming too much black coffee can mess with your sleep. It is recommended that you avoid coffee a few hours before bedtime if you want to get a good night’s sleep.

Since black coffee is rich in caffeine and acid, excess consumption can lead to acidity in your stomach, and you are likely to have cramps and abdominal spasms.

Having too much coffee makes it difficult for your body to absorb minerals from your daily diets, such as iron, calcium, and zinc.

How is black coffee made?

There are two ways you can make black coffee. The first one is to grind your own coffee beans, and the second one is to use a machine. 

If you wish to have a clear black coffee with a truly delicate taste, then grinding it on your own would be the best option. 

To make black coffee, take about three tablespoons of coffee and grind them till they are as fine as sea salt. Boil about 600 grams of water. Add a filter to your dripper, and fill it with the ground coffee. Gently tap the surface and pour it over in a cup. 

Is black coffee strong?

Since black coffee consists only of coffee and has no added sugar, milk, or cream, your coffee’s strength will depend on how much coffee you use.

If you wish for your coffee to be stronger, add more coffee and less water.

What does a black coffee taste like?

Black coffee that has been properly brewed will taste sweet with subtle citrus, honey, and spices. If the coffee has been properly brewed, it should not have an overly bitter aftertaste. 

The coffee taste depends on the water to coffee ratio, grind, and freshness. You have to dial in the right grind, measure your coffee and water carefully. For a pour-over, a ratio of 1:15 or 1:16 is just right.

There is not only one-way black coffee tastes. To fully experience the taste of black coffee, experiment with different tasting coffee grounds. You can get some smaller bags of different coffee flavors from different roasters and see which ones you like the most.

The taste also depends on whether you buy whole beans or ground coffee. Whole beans provide a fresher coffee with a more pronounced flavor and aroma, and you can control the grind size. Some drawbacks of using whole beans are that it requires you to have grinding equipment, it takes more time to brew, and it takes more skill and knowledge to produce the right grind size.

Using already ground coffee is a more convenient and time-saving choice. It produces a more consistent flavor; it is less labor-intensive, easier to prepare, and usually more accessible. If you decide to use pre-ground coffee, you must be prepared that your brewing options will be limited due to the predetermined grind size. Another drawback when using pre-ground coffee is that flavor and aroma are not as potent and complex as coffee made from fresh-ground coffee beans. Pre-grounded beans spoil more easily and quicker than whole beans. 

How do you drink black coffee?

You are supposed to drink black coffee out of a small cup if it is strong. If you make your black coffee weak, you can drink it from a larger cup.

Black coffee is meant to be drunk without any additives, such as milk, sugar, cream, or artificial flavors.

You can drink black coffee at any time of the day, but it is advised not to drink it at least 2 hours before going to sleep, as it can disrupt your sleep.

Differences between Americano and black coffee?

One of the differences between Americano and Black coffee is how it is made. 

Americano is a coffee beverage that is made by diluting an espresso with hot water. That way, you end up with strength like traditionally brewed coffee, but a totally different flavor. Americano’s strength can change with the number of espressos shots, and the amount of hot water added. It is a coffee drink that originated in Italy, with the term caffé Americano meaning “American coffee.”

Black coffee is made by pouring hot water over ground beans and allowing them to brew. 

You can add milk, sugar, honey, cream, or cinnamon to Americano. You are supposed to drink black coffee without any additives.

If you want to make Americano and Black coffee, you will need different coffee machines.

To make an Americano, you will need an espresso machine. There are many types of espresso machines. 

Manual Lever Pumps work by extracting the espresso shot out by hand with a lever and needs no electricity. 

Electronic Pumps use electricity to extract the pull from the coffee beans. Make sure to set the right temperature.

Semi-Automatic Pumps require you to grind the beans and tamp them into the filter. Next, you switch on the machine and pump the button until the water turns black, after which you turn it off.

Automatic Pumps work by you pouring in the grinds and tamping them into the portafilter. Then you turn on the machine and it will brew the espresso shot for you.

Super Automatic Pumps will do all the grinding, tamping, and extracting for you.

If you want to make a black coffee, you will need a quality coffee maker. You can choose a machine that comes with a grinder, or buy a grinder separately. 

There is also a difference in caffeine content. One 2 ounces double shot of espresso has about 80 milligrams of caffeine, while 12-ounce black coffee nearly doubles this at 120 milligrams. 

There are 2 espresso shots in Americano. 2 ounces double shot of espresso has about 80 milligrams of caffeine, and many cafes use two shots in their preparation. However, depending upon the size of the Americano that you buy or make your caffeine content can be higher.

Another big difference is the taste. Americano has a rich, dark taste. Because of the higher temperatures that are used in this brew, coffee’s lighter notes are often eliminated.  An Americano coffee is made up of three distinct parts: a shot of espresso, hot water, and the crema, or layer of foam produced by oils and fats in the beans.

Black coffee is processed slower and that allows floral, delicate, and sweet flavors to develop over the time spent brewing. You get more of a subtle flavor with this coffee drink, and there is no crema.

Crema is a thin white layer of foam on top of the liquid. It comes from the oils forced out of the coffee beans during the coffee brewing process. These oils are essential because they are packed with flavors that make your drink taste great.

While the coffee is brewed, fat and oils are emulsified and suspended in tiny air bubbles. After coffee goes through the roasting process, it lets out C02 for 24 – 72 hours. Coffee that was roasted and used for brewing will emit C02 as part of the extraction process. If the crema is present, that means that the bean’s natural fat and oil content is higher and that it is roasted recently enough that C02 is still being unleashed from the bean. 

Those who love espresso take a great interest in the appearance of crema because it means quality, and freshness.

Another difference between Americano and black coffee is that black coffee is healthier.

Since black coffee doesn’t contain anything other than coffee, it is safer to drink it every day, and it has more health benefits than Americano.

On the other hand, black coffee has more side effects than Americano.

Charlie McFarlane

Specialty Coffee Enthusiast. Hungry for knowledge in the art and science behind specialty coffee and decided to document my journey, while sharing it with the public. More than 10 baristas were interviewed; over 21 farms were visited across 5 countries. Almost 100 Coffee Shops. Bean of choice: Pacamara. Preferred coffee country: Panama. Preferred Brewing Method: Aeropress. Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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