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Americano vs Flat White: What’s the difference?

A flat white coffee with foam art

Americano vs flat white? How do they compare and which is right for you?

The Americano and the flat white are two of the most frequently purchased coffees available today. The flat white, in particular, has soared in popularity in recent years.

But do you know the difference between these popular coffee drinks?

We’re here to help with the next article in our series of coffee comparisons.

What is an Americano?

Dating back to World War Two, the Americano came about because American soldiers in Italy wanted a drink that tasted like regular coffee. This was achieved by adding hot water to an espresso shot, resulting in a drink that tasted like a strong black coffee.

How is an Americano made?

The Americano is one of the most straightforward coffees to make. An espresso machine is used to prepare the espresso shots, which are poured into a coffee cup. Water is then heated to the same temperature as the coffee and added to the cup.

Depending on how strong you like your coffee drink, you can add more or less hot water to dilute it. If you want your Americano to pack a punch, using a double-shot of espresso will increase the caffeine.

What is a Flat White?

A flat white coffee is a double espresso with a thin, flat layer of steamed milk.

The origins of the flat white are unclear, with competing claims to inventing the drink made by baristas in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

The flat white is similar to a latte. However, it uses less steamed milk than a latte and is not topped with a layer of foam.

How is a flat white made?

To make a flat white, you use an espresso machine to make a double espresso. Then, milk is steamed to a temperature between 131°F and 143°F and added to the espresso.

The Difference Between Americano and Flat White Coffee

The difference between an Americano and a flat white is that the flat white has steamed milk added to espresso, whereas an Americano is hot water added to espresso.


An Americano tastes more diluted than espresso and adding hot water breaks down the crema, giving a more bitter taste. It should taste like a strong, black regular coffee with deep, earthy, and nutty flavors.

The flat white is stronger than a latte because less steamed milk is used, and no foam is added. However, it still offers coffee drinkers a sweeter, creamier drink than many other espresso-based drinks. The double shot of espresso combined with the steamed milk gives the flat white a rich, velvety texture and taste.


An Americano typically uses one espresso shot before being topped with hot water. The amount of water used to dilute the drink will only affect the taste, while the caffeine content remains the same. The caffeine in an Americano is determined by the coffee beans used, and the number of espresso shots added.

A flat white will typically have more caffeine than a traditional Americano because it uses a double shot of espresso diluted with hot, steamed milk to get a creamy taste. Less milk added to the drink will produce a stronger flavor, but the caffeine content will remain the same.

Americano vs. Flat White

There’s a big difference between Americano and flat white coffee. While both use an espresso machine to force hot water through finely-ground coffee, adding milk or water completely changes the drink.

The Americano is an excellent option for people who love the taste of espresso but want a larger drink. There is also the option to add different flavors.

The flat white is similar to a latte but stronger, giving coffee drinkers the option of a sweeter, creamier coffee drink that still has a kick to it.

Whether you are trying to narrow down the best options on the menu or simply want to try a new coffee, what you prefer will always be down to personal preference.

Understanding the differences between the most popular coffee drinks will help you narrow this down.

Choosing between those that use hot water like the Americano and those that use steamed milk like the flat white will make picking coffees easier.

FAQs – Americano vs Flat White

Can you add anything to an Americano?

You can add milk, cream, sugar, sweetener, or even flavored syrup to change the taste of your Americano, giving you lots of choices.

Can you add anything to a flat white?

The flat white is traditionally a sweeter drink because of the steamed milk, but you can still add different sweeteners or flavors if you want to.

Can you make an Americano stronger?

You can make an Americano stronger by adding an additional espresso shot. Alternatively, you can strengthen the flavor by reducing the hot water you use to dilute it.

Can you make a flat white stronger?

A flat white traditionally uses double shots of espresso, so it is already a strong option. Reducing the amount of steamed milk can make the drink taste stronger.

Can you make Americanos and flat whites at home?

To make an Americano or flat white at home, you will need an espresso machine and finely ground coffee beans. You will then be able to create your favorite drink in the comfort of your own home.

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