Americano vs. Brewed Coffee

Savor the differences between the two distinct brews

At first glance, a cup of brewed coffee and an Americano can seem quite similar. After all, they’re both made of coffee and hot water. But these two classic beverages have very distinctive preparations — and flavor experiences. Get a glimpse of the differences in this helpful illustration. For this comparison we used Starbucks® Espresso Roast and Starbucks® Pike Place® Roast .

The only way to prepare true espresso is with a specialized machine that delivers a concentrated shot of rich coffee with an unmistakably bold taste and a distinctive crema (layer of foam) on top. Because of its intense flavor, many people take their espresso mixed with water, which is how you make an Americano. It’s a wonderfully rich cup we make with the distinctive caramelly sweetness of our Starbucks® Espresso Roast coffee. (By the way, any kind of coffee bean can technically be used for an espresso. Espresso just refers to how it’s finely ground and then brewed.)

It’s rumored that the term "Americano" came about when American soldiers stationed in Italy during World War II would dilute the local espresso with water to make it more like the coffee from home.

There may be only one way to make espresso, but there are many ways to make coffee. Freshly brewed drip coffee uses gravity instead of force to push water through the coffee grounds. The hot water dissolves many of the grounds and then passes through a paper, cloth or metal filter and into a glass or carafe, ready to enjoy. Instead of the intense flavor of espresso, you get more subtle flavor nuances from your selected beans. For example, with our classic Starbucks® Pike Place Roast®, the result is a full-bodied coffee with the notes of cocoa and toasted nuts that coffee lovers crave.


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Starbucks Milano Duetto – an innovative ode to coffee, arts and culture