Flat White Vs Americano: A Friendly Face-Off

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If you’re a coffee lover, you’ve probably come across the terms “flat white” and “americano” while browsing the menu at your local café.

While both beverages are espresso-based and contain milk, they have distinct differences in taste, strength, and overall experience. In this article, we’ll pit flat white vs americano in a friendly face-off and help you decide which coffee option better suits your taste preferences.

First, let’s explore what each coffee is and what sets it apart.

What is a Flat White?

Originating in Australia and New Zealand, a flat white is a coffee beverage that has gained popularity around the globe. The flat white is made by combining microfoamed milk with a double shot of espresso. What sets the flat white apart from other milk-based coffee drinks is its smooth, velvety texture and rich flavor profile.

flat white vs americano

The flat white is often compared to a latte or cappuccino, but there are some noticeable differences. A latte tends to have more milk and a lower espresso-to-milk ratio, resulting in a sweeter and milder taste. A cappuccino, on the other hand, has a thicker layer of foam and a more noticeable espresso flavor.

To make a perfect flat white, it’s crucial to use high-quality espresso beans and fresh, cold milk. The espresso should be extracted to perfection, with a rich, full-bodied flavor. The milk should be steamed to the perfect temperature and consistency, creating a creamy texture that blends seamlessly with the espresso.

What Makes a Flat White Unique?

The key to a great flat white is the microfoaming of the milk. This process involves injecting steam into the milk to create tiny bubbles, resulting in a smooth and silky texture. When combined with the espresso, the microfoamed milk creates a beautiful layer of velvety foam on top of the coffee.

Another factor that sets the flat white apart is its strength. With a double shot of espresso and less milk than a latte, the flat white has a more intense coffee flavor and higher caffeine content. However, the microfoamed milk helps balance the bitterness of the espresso, creating a well-rounded taste profile.

“The flat white is a perfect combination of rich espresso and creamy milk, with a smooth texture that makes it a delight to drink.”

What is an Americano?

While flat white is an espresso-based drink that combines espresso and milk, Americano is a bit different. Americano is essentially a shot of espresso diluted with hot water, making it a milder coffee option. It’s a popular choice for coffee drinkers who enjoy a less intense espresso taste, but still want a flavor-packed coffee experience.

Closeup image of hot Americano coffee cup on vintage wooden table in cafe
Closeup image of hot Americano coffee cup on vintage wooden table in cafe

Despite its name, the Americano has roots in Europe. It is said to have originated during World War II, when American soldiers stationed in Italy found the local espresso too strong for their liking. To make it more palatable, they diluted it with hot water, creating the Americano we know today.

The process of making an Americano is relatively simple. A single or double shot of espresso is pulled, and then hot water is added to fill the cup. The water dilutes the espresso, resulting in a coffee that’s smoother and less acidic than espresso.

Americano vs Latte

One key difference between an Americano and a latte is the amount of milk used. While a latte is primarily steamed milk with a small amount of espresso, an Americano is the opposite – it’s mostly espresso with a small amount of hot water. The flavor profiles of the two drinks are also distinct, with a latte having a creamier, milkier taste compared to the bold, robust taste of an Americano.

Americano vs Cappuccino

Similarly, cappuccinos also differ from Americanos in terms of milk content. A cappuccino has a thick layer of foam on top, with equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. In contrast, an Americano has much less milk content, resulting in a more intense coffee flavor. While cappuccinos are often enjoyed for their textural contrast, Americanos are a better option for those who want a full-bodied coffee taste.

If you’re looking for a coffee that packs a punch but isn’t as strong as straight espresso, the Americano might be the perfect choice for you. Its simple preparation and versatility make it an option that’s both accessible and customizable to individual preferences.

Key Differences Between Flat White and Americano

While both flat white and Americano are popular coffee choices, they have distinct differences in terms of taste, preparation, and overall experience.

AspectFlat WhiteAmericano
Coffee-to-Milk Ratio1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk1/3 espresso, 2/3 hot water
Strength and Intensity of FlavorStronger and more intense coffee flavorMild and less intense coffee flavor
TextureMilky and velvety textureLight and watery texture
Variations in Caffeine ContentSlightly less caffeine content due to steamed milkSlightly more caffeine content due to larger volume of liquid

It’s worth noting that while the coffee-to-milk ratio for both flat white and latte is the same, the flat white tends to have a stronger coffee flavor due to the way the milk is steamed and blended with the espresso.

Taste Profiles: Flat White vs Americano

Both the flat white and Americano have distinct taste profiles that make them unique coffee choices. While a flat white is known for its velvety texture and smooth taste, an Americano has a bold and intense flavor.

Flat White:

The flat white’s taste profile is led by the espresso’s rich, full-bodied flavor. The lightly frothed milk adds a creamy sweetness to the coffee, which creates a smooth, velvety texture. As a result, the flavor profile is balanced and not too strong or overpowering. The aroma of the coffee is also notable, with a nutty and chocolatey scent that attracts coffee enthusiasts.


The taste profile of an Americano is quite different from the flat white. An Americano has a strong, bold flavor with a subtle sweetness. The espresso shot provides a strong, rich flavor while the water dilutes it, making it less intense than a straight espresso. The aroma of an Americano is similar to a straight espresso, with a strong and pungent smell that can be quite inviting for some.

Compared to straight espresso:

When compared to straight espresso, a flat white has a creamier and sweeter taste with a less intense flavor. The Americano, on the other hand, has a more diluted taste and a less robust aroma than a straight espresso.

Choosing Your Perfect Coffee Match

Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between a flat white and an Americano, it’s time to choose your perfect coffee match. Luckily, it’s not a complicated decision, and ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference.

If you prefer a stronger and more intense coffee flavor, but still enjoy a milky, creamy texture, a flat white is the way to go. On the other hand, if you prefer a less intense coffee experience with a smoother, less creamy texture, go for an Americano.

If you’re still unsure, take into consideration the time of day and your mood. For instance, a flat white is a great choice for a morning kickstart, while an Americano is a perfect afternoon pick-me-up. If you’re craving something a bit richer and indulgent, opt for a flat white, and if you’re in need of a light and refreshing option, go for an Americano.

Making the Perfect Flat White at Home

Are you feeling inspired to whip up your own velvety, creamy flat white at home? It’s easier than you might think! With the right equipment and a bit of practice, you can enjoy this delicious coffee option from the comfort of your own kitchen.

What You’ll Need

To start, gather the following items:

  • Espresso machine
  • Milk pitcher
  • Fresh milk
  • Flat white cup
  • Quality coffee beans
  • Grinder

Step-by-Step Guide

Once you have your equipment ready, follow these steps to make the perfect flat white:

  1. Grind your coffee beans to a fine consistency suitable for espresso.
  2. Put the freshly ground coffee into the espresso machine portafilter and compact it down using a tamper.
  3. Extract the espresso shot into your flat white cup.
  4. Pour fresh milk into the steam pitcher, ensuring that it is cold.
  5. Insert the steam wand into the pitcher and begin to froth the milk while holding the pitcher at an angle to create a whirlpool effect.
  6. Froth the milk until it reaches a velvety and smooth texture.
  7. Hold up the milk pitcher to the cup and begin pouring the frothed milk into the center of the espresso shot while gently shaking the pitcher to create a latte art pattern.
  8. Enjoy your homemade flat white!

Remember that practice makes perfect, and it may take a bit of experimentation to find the right coffee-to-milk ratio and frothing technique that works best for you. But with a bit of patience and practice, you can enjoy a delicious and creamy flat white whenever you want!

Making the Perfect Americano at Home

If you’re a fan of Americanos and want to recreate that perfect cup at home, you’re in luck! With just a few simple steps, you can enjoy a delicious Americano in the comfort of your own kitchen.

To start, you’ll need high-quality espresso. If you have an espresso machine at home, use that to make your shot of espresso. If not, you can use an AeroPress or a French press to make a makeshift espresso shot.

Once you have your espresso shot, it’s time to add hot water. The ratio of water to espresso is typically 1:1, but you can adjust to your liking. For a stronger Americano, use less water, and for a milder one, use more.

When adding the hot water, make sure it’s not boiling. The ideal temperature is around 200°F (93°C). Boiling water can scorch the coffee and produce a bitter taste.

After adding the water, give the Americano a quick stir, and voila – your delicious Americano is ready to enjoy!

Tips for Perfecting Your Americano

Here are some additional tips to help you perfect your homemade Americano:

  • Use freshly roasted coffee beans for the best taste.
  • Grind the beans just before brewing to ensure maximum freshness.
  • Use filtered water to avoid any impurities that can affect the taste.
  • If you’re using an AeroPress or a French press to make your espresso shot, make sure to press down gently to avoid over-extracting and producing a bitter taste.
  • Experiment with different ratios of water to espresso until you find your ideal taste.

By following these tips and steps, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious cup of homemade Americano anytime you want!

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a flat white and an Americano ultimately comes down to personal taste preferences. Both beverages have their unique characteristics and offer a rich flavor experience.

Remember, a flat white is a creamy and velvety espresso-based drink with a higher milk-to-coffee ratio, while an Americano is a diluted espresso with hot water, providing a stronger coffee taste.

We encourage you to try both options and find your preferred coffee match. Whether you enjoy the smooth and indulgent taste of a flat white or the bold and robust flavors of an Americano, there’s no denying that each choice has something special to offer.


After exploring the differences between flat white and Americano, it’s clear that both coffee options have unique characteristics that cater to individual taste preferences. While the flat white boasts a creamy texture, the Americano offers a bold and intense flavor profile.

It’s important to note that there is no definitive answer to which coffee is better between a flat white and an Americano. Ultimately, it comes down to personal taste and preference. Some may prefer the smooth and velvety texture of a flat white, while others may enjoy the strong and robust taste of an Americano.

That said, we encourage you to try both options and appreciate the distinct flavors and experiences they offer. Whether you’re sipping a flat white on a lazy Sunday morning or grabbing an Americano on-the-go, each coffee choice has its own unique charm.

So go ahead, experiment, and find your perfect coffee match. No matter which option you choose, the rich aroma and bold flavors are sure to kickstart your day.


Q: What is the difference between a flat white and an Americano?

A: A flat white is a coffee beverage made with espresso and steamed milk, while an Americano is made by diluting espresso with hot water.

Q: Which coffee has a stronger flavor, a flat white or an Americano?

A: An Americano typically has a stronger flavor compared to a flat white due to the higher concentration of espresso.

Q: How much milk is in a flat white?

A: A flat white has a higher coffee-to-milk ratio compared to other milk-based coffees, resulting in a bolder coffee flavor.

Q: Does an Americano have more caffeine than a flat white?

A: Yes, an Americano generally has more caffeine than a flat white because it contains a higher volume of espresso.

Q: Can I make a flat white at home?

A: Absolutely! We provide a step-by-step guide on how to make a perfect flat white at home in the relevant section.

Q: Can I make an Americano at home?

A: Yes, we have a detailed guide on making a delicious Americano at home to help you achieve the perfect balance of espresso and hot water.

Q: Which coffee should I choose if I prefer a stronger taste?

A: If you prefer a stronger taste, an Americano would be a great choice with its bold espresso flavor.

Q: How can I decide between a flat white and an Americano?

A: The choice between a flat white and an Americano ultimately depends on your personal taste preferences. Consider factors like the strength of flavors, milkiness, and overall experience to make the decision.

Q: Are there any equipment recommendations for making a flat white at home?

A: We may provide equipment recommendations in the section dedicated to making the perfect flat white at home.

Q: Is there a clear winner between a flat white and an Americano?

A: There is no definitive answer as to which coffee is better between a flat white and an Americano. We encourage you to try both and discover your preferred coffee match.

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About the author

Coffee addict and self confessed obsessive with all things Java, Dave loves to write about coffee nearly as much as he enjoys drinking it. Can always be found no more than 2 feet away from a fresh brew!

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