Iced Americano vs. Black Coffee; Differences Explained

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A very common question that many people ask is, “what is the difference between an iced Americano and black coffee?” 

People often mix them up because of the way they are made and to some, they may even look similar.

But there are major differences between the two drinks that can make all the difference.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the iced Americano vs. black coffee discussion and help you decide which of the two coffees you should order (or make) for yourself.

Key Takeaways:

Iced Americano vs Black Coffee

  • An Iced Americano is a simple drink made by diluting a single or double shot of espresso with cold water and adding ice to it. Black coffee, on the other hand, is plain and simple hot coffee in a mug without milk or sugar added to it. 
  • Black coffee can be harder to adjust to your taste than an Iced Americano.
  • An 8-ounce serving of black coffee has 96mg of caffeine, whereas, an Iced Americano made with a single shot of espresso has 68mg of caffeine.

So, the difference between the coffees is the kind of coffee used as the basis for these coffee drinks.

Iced Americano is made using one or two espresso shots, topped with ice cubes and cold water.

Black coffee is made by brewing either coffee grounds or a coffee pod in a machine with water.

What’s the difference between Iced Americano & Black Coffee?

Here’s a table that shows the differences between Iced Americano and Black Coffee. Each of these differences is explained in a lot more detail in the following sections of this article.

Iced AmericanoBlack Coffee
IngredientsEspresso, cold water & ice.Coffee grounds, water.
TasteMild taste & flavor of espresso.Strong acidic taste of coffee.
Caffeine68mg from 1 shot of espresso.96mg from 8-oz. of coffee.
CaloriesLow-calorie beverage.Low-calorie beverage.
Which is stronger?Milder than black coffee.Stronger

What is Iced Americano?

An Americano is a coffee drink that has espresso as its base. Its name, “Caffe Americano,” means “American coffee” in Italian.

Espresso is made with a machine that forces hot water through tightly packed coffee grounds. This makes a strong concentrated coffee with a lot of flavors.

When you add water to a shot or two of espresso, you get an “Americano.”

This is a great coffee drink for people who find shots of espresso too strong because it’s basically just diluted espresso.

To make an Americano into an Iced Americano, you just add ice, as the name suggests. Generally, you pull shots of espresso and pour room-temperature water over them to make an Americano.

The same shots of espresso are also used to make the iced Americano. But cold water and ice are added to the mix. 

You can also make an iced Americano by mixing hot espresso with hot water and then pouring the coffee over ice in a glass. This one takes longer to cool down and makes a cup of coffee that is weaker.

Several theories have been put out as to how the Americano came to be

One popular legend is that American soldiers stationed in Italy during World War II wanted more coffee than a shot of espresso, which is usually only one or two ounces, so they added water to make more coffee.

Shots of espresso might have been too strong for them, so they diluted the espresso with water to make it taste like the coffee they were used to back home.

What is Black Coffee?

Black coffee is just regular coffee that is usually made without sugar, milk, cream, or extra flavors.

It has a slightly bitter taste compared to when it is flavored with additives.   

Black coffee can be made in a million different ways, but there are two things that they all have in common: no milk and no sugar.

Few of the above-mentioned ‘million ways’ you can brew black coffee are in a French press, the pour-over, the Moka pot, the automatic drip coffee machine, the cold brew, and so many more. 

Each of these ways to make coffee can be considered black coffee as long as the coffee is drunk without milk or sugar. 

Black coffee is also easier to make than Americano, and you don’t need a lot of special equipment. 

The amount of calories, fats, and carbs in black coffee are low. Aside from a small amount of potassium, it has very little nutritional value.

It’s a great drink for people who want to sip on a beverage often but don’t want to hurt their health.

A lot of people who drink black coffee every day don’t know that it can help them lose weight. 

Remember that you can’t add anything to black coffee if you want to use it to lose weight.

It also has antioxidants, which are great for helping you lose weight.

Black coffee has caffeine in it, which helps to speed up your metabolism and give you more energy. This also makes you feel less hungry.

Black coffee helps keep your heart healthy. Some studies have shown that drinking one to two cups of black coffee every day can make you less likely to get heart disease or stroke.

It’s well known that black coffee is good for the liver. Your liver is a very important and vital organ that does a lot of different things. 

Regular coffee consumption has been linked to a lower risk of liver cancer, fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and cirrhosis from the consumption of alcohol.

Difference in the Caffeine Content

You’ll be surprised to know that although a shot of espresso is more concentrated, a single serving of black coffee has more caffeine when compared to a single shot of espresso.

This is mainly because of the difference in serving size.

An 8-ounce serving of black coffee has 96mg of caffeine, whereas, an Iced Americano made with a single shot of espresso has 68mg of caffeine.

First, you should know that adding more water or ice won’t change how much caffeine is in the coffee.

Because you’ll probably sip your iced Americano for much longer than you would a cup of hot black coffee, the caffeine will take a little longer to get into your system.

It’s also important to note that caffeine content in black coffee will vary depending on the brewing technique used.

An 8-ounce cup of coffee brewed through the pour-over/drip method contains about 60–80mg of caffeine, whereas the same size serving of black coffee brewed in a French press will contain 80–100mg of caffeine.

So we can conclude that the amount of caffeine in an iced Americano stays about the same from brew to brew, but when you change how you make black coffee, the amount of caffeine too can vary by a lot.

Difference in Taste

Black coffee can be harder to adjust to your taste than an Iced Americano. You can balance the amount of coffee and water you use to change how strong your cup is, but you can’t just change them at will. How strong the coffee is will depend on how it is ground, how it is brewed, and even how much it has been roasted. 

Since Iced Americano is basically cold diluted espresso, it has a much milder flavor and taste as compared to hot black coffee.

How To Make an Iced Americano

To make an iced Americano, just make an Americano as you normally would with an espresso machine and add ice.

You can use a Moka pot or a Nespresso machine (Amazon links) to make espressos at home. These coffee makers make great coffees that taste like espresso. If you have an espresso machine at home, you may start brewing espresso.

  • Prepare two espresso shots using your preferred coffee maker.
  • Add ice cubes to a glass or cup of your choosing.
  • Pour the espressos over the ice cubes and stir.
  • Pour in twice as much ice-cold water and whisk to combine. (For example, two espresso shots each contain around 50 ml of liquid. Keep in mind to add an additional 50 ml of cold water to your cup.)

Now that your iced Americano is ready, it’s time to enjoy it!

How To Make Black Coffee

As we have already discussed, black coffee can be made in a number of ways, Black coffee is generally made in a pot, although modern coffee connoisseurs may insist on mastering the pour-over method for the best possible flavor.

Here we are going to be making black coffee in a drip coffee machine.

  • Grind your beans daily in a burr or blade grinder right before brewing.
  • Put coffee grinds in the coffee maker. Use approximately two and three-fourths tbsp. of coffee per eight oz. cup. 
  • Fill the coffee maker with water and press the Start/Brew button.

That’s it, within minutes your black will be ready to be enjoyed. For best results, drink the freshly brewed black coffee right away.

Is Iced Americano strong?

Iced Americano is a cold beverage that is made by diluting espresso with cold water and ice. So, most of the robust and bold flavor of espresso is mellowed down by the addition of water and hence and Iced Americano doesn’t taste strong.

Is black coffee strong?

Since black coffee is just coffee and doesn’t have any sugar, milk, or cream added, the strength of your coffee will depend on how much coffee you use.

Add more coffee and less water if you want your coffee to be stronger.

How do you drink an Iced Americano?

An iced Americano is typically consumed in a glass. It is made with 1-2 shots of espresso, cold water, and ice which are all mixed in a glass to be served.

How to drink black coffee?

If the coffee is strong, you should drink it black from a small cup. If you make your black coffee weak, you can use a bigger cup to drink it.

Black coffee is meant to be drunk without any extras, like milk, sugar, cream, or flavors that aren’t real.

You can drink black coffee at any time of the day, but it’s best not to consume any caffeine at least two hours before going to bed because it can keep you from falling asleep.

Iced Americano vs Black Coffee: Which is Right for You?

Like most things in the world of specialty beverages, this depends on what you prefer. 

If you want to buy the tools to make Americano or black coffee at home, you should try one of each from the same coffee shop.

If you want to buy the tools to make Americano or black coffee at home, you should try one of each from the same coffee shop. 

You might find that you like one better than the other, which would make the choice easier. 

You might find that you like one better than the other, which would make the choice easier.  Iced Americano and black coffee don’t taste the same, one is hot and the other is cold so you might like one and not the other.

If you like the taste of both, it will be harder for you to choose. An espresso machine is needed to make an Americano, and even the cheapest espresso machines are still pretty pricey.

An espresso machine is needed to make an Americano, and even the cheapest espresso machines are still pretty pricey. 

It will cost you several hundred bucks for a reliable machine of average quality. 

If you care about saving money, black coffee is a better choice. Everything you need to make black coffee is cheap and easy to find.

Written by:
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Amit Gupta

Hi, my name is Amit Gupta, and I am the owner and contributor at Cafeish. My obsession with coffee started when I received my first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, my love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets I own – has grown considerably.

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