Iced Americano vs Iced Espresso; Taste, Ingredients, Caffeine

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Many of my friends ask me – isn’t an iced Americano same as an iced espresso? And I never fail to point out to them that although both of these beverages have shots of espresso as their base, there are a few differences between the two.

So, what’s the difference between iced Americano and iced espresso?

Iced Americano vs Iced Espresso

Iced Americano and iced espresso are both espresso-based cold beverages. An iced Americano is made by adding 2 shots of espresso into cold water and topping it with ice. Iced espresso is made by pouring espresso directly into an ice-filled glass. The addition of sweetener and cold milk is optional.

Key Takeaways:
  • An iced Americano is simply watered-down diluted espresso with ice added to it.
  • An iced espresso is simply espresso served over ice cubes. It’s just like cooling down with an iced coffee.
  • Iced espresso tastes stronger than an iced Americano.
  • The amount of caffeine in either of the beverages depends on the number of shots of espresso used to make them.
  • Iced Americano and iced espresso are both low-calorie beverages.

If you are interested in knowing all the major differences between an iced Americano and an iced espresso then read this article till the end. 

In the rest of this article, I will further explain how these beverages differ from each other when it comes to their ingredients, preparation method, caffeine content, taste, calories, strength, and more.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to make rich shots of espresso to make either of these beverages. So don’t forget to check out my top recommended products (later in this article) to help you make espresso at home. There’s something for every budget.

Iced Americano vs Iced Espresso; What’s the Difference?

Here’s a table that shows the differences between iced Americano and iced espresso. Each of these differences are explained in a lot more detail in the following sections of this article.

Iced AmericanoIced Espresso
IngredientsEspresso, chilled water & ice.Espresso & ice.
TasteRobust but diluted taste of espresso.Strong bold taste of espresso.
Caffeine136mg from 2 shots of espresso.136mg from 2 shots of espresso.
CaloriesLow-calorie beverage.Low-calorie beverage.
Which is stronger?Mild flavor of espressoMuch stronger than iced Americano

As I already mentioned before, both iced Americano and iced espresso are espresso-based coffee drinks, but there are a few minor differences between the two.

To understand these differences let me explain to you how these beverages are prepared and what ingredients go into making them.

Let’s start with iced Americano!

What is Iced Americano?

An iced Americano is simply watered-down diluted espresso with ice added to it.

Americano was invented in Italy during World War 2 when American soldiers posted their found shots of pure espresso too strong for their liking.

So Italian baristas started adding hot water to espresso to make the taste milder, and they called this beverage an Americano!

Iced Americano is the chilled version of the original Americano, made with cold water and ice.

How To Make Iced Americano

Iced Americano is one of the easiest coffee drinks to make. Adding espresso to cold water and ice makes an iced Americano. As the coffee drains directly onto the ice and cold water while brewing, it becomes chilled as it seeps down.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 shots of espresso
  • 60ml cold water
  • Ice
  • Sweetener or dairy of choice (Optional)

Here’s how you can make an iced Americano:

Step 1: Brew 2 shots of espresso and set it aside to cool down to room temperature.

Step 2: Pour espresso into a glass filled with cold water and stir it a couple of times.

Step 3: Add ice to it.

That’s it! Your iced Americano is ready to be enjoyed.

An iced Americano can be sweetened with flavorful syrups and a dairy of choice.

If you’re going to make espresso coffee at home, I highly recommend using dark roasted coffee beans for the most intense and flavorful coffee. This is perfect for this recipe.

To make a proper Iced Americano, make the drink by adding espresso into cold water, then adding ice. 

By adding espresso after the water, you can get more crema from the espresso on the surface.

What is an Iced Espresso?

An iced espresso is simply espresso served over ice cubes. It’s just like cooling down with an iced coffee, but it’s got a slightly more powerful kick. 

You may add milk or a sweetener if desired.

How To Make Iced Espresso

You may have realized by now that making an iced espresso is also as simple as making an iced Americano.

Actually, you don’t even need to add water to espresso to make an iced espresso.

What you’ll need:

  • Glass of ice
  • 3 shots of espresso
  • Cold milk (optional)
  • Sweetener (optional)

Iced espresso recipe:

Step 1: Brew 3 shots of espresso and let it cool down.

Step 2: Pour the shots of espresso over a tall glass of ice. You can use as many ice cubes as you like.

Step 3: You can drink the iced espresso as is, but if you’d like to cut the bitterness of your brew, add a liquid sweetener and cold milk to your liking.

Pro Tips For Iced Espresso

If you are adding granulated sugar to your iced espresso, add it to your espresso before you pour it over ice so you can be certain all the granules will dissolve before you sip your drink.

I also recommend it to my friends that never pour hot espresso over ice, instead let it cool down to room temperature.

You can also let your brewed espresso chill in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you pour it over ice. That way, your drink is cold, not lukewarm, and the coffee won’t cause the ice to melt immediately.

You can also use frozen coffee cubes to keep all the coffee flavor intact. This way when the ice begins to melt in your coffee, there’ll be no water to dilute your drink. 

Here’s a video to help you make a perfect glass of iced espresso!

Iced Americano vs Iced Espresso: Taste

Despite their slightly different flavors and caffeine contents, iced Americanos and iced espressos are both types of iced coffees. Let’s compare the tastes of iced Americano and iced espresso.

The taste of each coffee is unique. Iced espresso tastes stronger than an iced Americano. In short, while both iced Americano and iced espresso are cold coffee drinks, they have different tastes. 

An espresso shot is poured into a glass containing ice cubes and cold water. Due to the espresso being diluted with cold water, traditional American iced coffee has sharp acids and bitterness. This is a crisp, sweet, and refreshing drink.

In contrast, an iced espresso has a much bolder, robust taste of espresso as it’s only diluted with a little bit of water from melted ice. Overall, an iced espresso retains its bold flavors and taste even when poured and served over ice.

Iced Americano vs Iced Espresso: Caffeine

The amount of caffeine in either of the beverages depends on the number of shots of espresso used to make them. One shot of espresso has about 68mg of caffeine. An iced Americano is typically made with 2 shots of espresso so that would be about 68 x 2 = 136mg of caffeine in one glass of iced Americano.

If you will follow the above recipe to make an iced espresso and use 3 shots of espresso, then one serving of your iced espresso will have 3 x 68 = 204mg of caffeine.

Iced Americano vs Iced Espresso: Which is stronger?

Iced espresso is obviously stronger than iced Americano. Iced Americano is made by diluting espresso with cold water and then topped with ice. Iced espresso, on the other hand, is rich espresso poured over ice without any dilution with water or any other additive.

Am iced espresso even with a bit of milk or heavy cream will taste much stronger than an iced Americano as iced Americano by definition is watered down espresso.

The Americano is a neat choice for those who love the espresso drink but are overwhelmed with this flavor. An Americano is nothing but a dilute form of espresso but brings the same bitter and acidic notes to the table.

That said, both drinks typically contain the same amount of espresso, so the caffeine content is identical; strength here is simply a measure of how much you taste the bite of the espresso in the beverage. In other words, the watered-down iced Americano has a far mellower flavor by comparison.

Iced Americano vs Iced Espresso: Calories

Iced Americano and iced espresso are both low-calorie beverages. Even with the addition of sweeteners and a bit of milk or heavy cream, they will only come up to 60 calories.


So these were the major differences between iced espresso and iced Americano.

An iced Americano is an espresso diluted with cold water to lighten the bold taste of espresso, whereas an iced espresso is espresso poured over ice and served.

Both iced espresso and iced Americano are excellent cold coffee drinks.

When it comes to the brewing method, both these methods give wonderful results. If you are looking to make a cold coffee, you can use either of these techniques to good effect.

Just make sure you have the right coffee bean. The brewed coffee should be fine as long as you follow the tips and steps we have mentioned in this post.

If you are going to try them for the first time, then I’m just as excited as you are. Do try them and let me know which one you liked better and why. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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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