Coffee Brewing

Flat White Vs Americano – Here’s What You Should Know

Written by

Erica Cervenkova

Coffee Holli Top Pick

Flat White Vs Americano

Here is the thing:

If you love coffee, you better understand the different coffee drinks. You will not only impress your coffee friends, but you will also be able to switch your coffee drinks depending on how you are feeling.

To help you further your coffee prowess, we are comparing the most popular coffee drink in South Korea; the Americano, and one of Australasia’s gift world, the Flat White.

We will touch on the origin story, ingredients, preparation process, and how the two differ in taste.

In the end, it should be easier to choose, order and if you want, prepare any of the two drinks.

Let’s get started.

Flat White Vs Americano

The major difference between a Flat White and an Americano is the ingredients. A Flat White is a combination of espresso and velvety microfoam (finely textured steamed milk). Americano, on the other hand, is an espresso diluted with hot water. Unlike Flat White, an Americano does not contain milk.

Apart from that, an Americano does contain steamed milk like a Flat White, there is more to these two drinks.

Let’s start with a simple table comparing the origin, ingredients, caffeine content, calories, and taste of these two coffee beverages.

Flat WhiteAmericano
OriginDown UnderItaly
Ratios1/3 espresso and 2/3 micro foamed milk1 part espresso: 1-4 parts hot water
Number of espresso shots21-2
Serving size8 to 20 Oz8 to 20 Oz
Caffeine content126 mg63-126 mg
TasteRich mouthfeel. Sweet. Strong espresso flavor.Dilute espresso. Flavors depend on the beans.

5 Key Differences Between Flat White Vs Americano

1. Origin


Both the Flat White and the Americano have interesting origin stories.


The Flat White originated Down Under, with both Kiwis and Aussies claiming its ownership.

One origin story says the drink came about when some customers started asking for a Cappuccino without the foamy top.

There is also another origin account that attributes the discovery of a Flat White to a barista who tried frothing low-fat milk only but failed.

When the barista used the milk to make a Cappuccino it was labeled as “failed” because of the flat top.

What is American about the Americano?

The Americano or Caffè Americano came from Italy. One origin theory says Italian Baristas made the drink for American World War II Soldiers who found the Italian espresso too strong.

Another origin theory claims it’s the soldiers who started adding water to espresso shots to make a larger drink like the brewed coffee back at home.

That’s why:

Caffè Americano is often called a watered-down version of the Italian Caffè or espresso. Or simply, an Americanized espresso.

2. Ingredients


A Flat White is one of the many espresso+milk combo drinks such as the Cappuccino and Latte, while the Americano is one of the coffee drinks without milk such as the Black coffee, Long black, and Lungo.

An Americano contains 1 or 2 espresso shots and filtered hot water.

The ratio of espresso to water will depend on how strong or dilute you want the drink to be. For some people, it’s 1:1 and 1:2 while others add as much as 1:15.

Since the signature feature of the Americano is diluting espresso, it is one of the easiest espresso drinks to make.


Americano Misto is an Americano with a splash of milk on top, while Iced Americano contains cold water.

Unlike the Americano, which even a complete beginner can prepare – as long as you know how to pull espresso, making a Flat White is harder.


A Flat White has 1 or 2 shots of espresso and 3 parts of steamed milk.

Unlike other espresso+milk combo drinks that mainly focus on the ratios of the ingredients, the focus in Flat White is on steaming the milk.

To achieve a microfoam with a silky texture, the air is carefully introduced into the milk before the temperatures hit 100 °F.

That’s why making a Flat White is a challenge to most baristas. It’s why it’s rare to get a perfectly made cup of Flat White.

3. Taste


Since the Americano is a diluted espresso, it has an espresso taste. However, it’s not as strong or rough as bare Espresso shots.

Because hot water is added to the espresso (and not vice versa) the water dissolves some of the crema and its properties, distributing the crema properties throughout the cup.

That’s why an Americano does not have much of the mouth-coating foam you experience when drinking an Espresso.

Fun Fact:

The flavorful crema on top of espresso is usually more bitter than the espresso.

A Flat White has a prominent espresso flavor and is slightly sweet. The microfoam gives the drink a thick velvety texture.

4. Serving

Unlike a Macchiato or Cortado, which are typically served in one size, both Americano and Flat White are available in different sizes.

The standard serving size of a latte containing 2 shots of espresso and 4 ounces of steamed milk is 8 Oz. Sizes gradually increase and can go up to 20 Oz, for a latte containing 3 shots of espresso.

On the other hand:

An Americano can be as small as 4 ounces when 2 shots of espresso and an equal amount of water is added and 20 ounces when it has 4 shots of espresso.

5. Nutritional value


Unlike Flat White, Americano does not contain steamed milk.

Thus, Americano has between 5 and 20 calories from the espresso and 0 sugar. On the other hand, a small 8 Oz white flat serving has about 110 calories, and 290 calories for a 20 Oz serving.

That’s why:

An Americano is it’s a great option for calories conscious and people who don’t love espresso milk drinks.

Americano is also the perfect drink if you love espresso but want something to savor for a while or if you love the aroma of espresso but it’s too strong for you.

When the number of Espresso shots is constant, Flat White and an Americano have the same amount of caffeine. 63 mg when it contains 1 espresso shot and 126 mg when it contains 2 espresso shots.


As you can see, Flat White and Americano are two totally different coffee drinks. Here is a recap of their differences:

  • The Flat White originated in Australia and New Zealand, while Americano is Italian.
  • The Americano does not contain steamed milk, like the Flat White.
  • A Flat White has more calories than an Americano.
  • The Americano is made by diluting espresso with hot water
  • Flat Whites contain a third espresso and two-thirds steamed milk.
  • An Americano is easier to make than a Flat White
  • Because of the steamed milk, a Flat White is sweeter than an Americano.

And that is it for this comparison. I hope I have answered all the questions you had about these two espresso drinks. If there is something I did not cover, leave a comment in the section below.

Also, share with me your experience when you try any of the two drinks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much caffeine is in a Flat White?

A cup of Flat White containing 2 shots of espresso has 126 mg of caffeine.

How much caffeine is in an Americano?

A cup of cappuccino containing 1 shot of espresso has 63 mg of caffeine and 126 mg when 2 shots of espresso are added.

Is a Flat White stronger than an Americano?

The strength of a coffee drink refers to the intensity of espresso flavors. Because Americanos have no milk, they usually have a strong espresso flavor.

Is Flat White the strongest coffee?

No, a Flat White is not the strongest espresso coffee drink. The strongest coffee drinks are the Ristretto and Espresso.

What’s the difference between a White Americano and a Latte?

A White Americano is when a cup of Americano is not full to the brim to allow you to add a splash of milk or preferred toppings, while a latte is the largest and milkiest espresso drink.

Can an Americano be white?

No, unless you add milk. And that will be Americano Misto. White Americano is when a cup of Americano is not full to the brim, allowing you to add milk or any other toppings.

Erica Cervenkova
Coffee Connoisseur, SCA Member

As a coffee connoisseur and member of the Specialty Coffee Association, I am dedicated to understanding the sustainability of coffee pods and the impact it has on the environment. My expertise lies in the realm of capsule coffee machines, from the likes of Keurig and Nespresso to other well-known US brands. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping others make informed decisions about their coffee choices. Whether you're a coffee enthusiast or just looking for a new way to enjoy your morning cup, I'm here to help.


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