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What is the difference between Americano and Filter Coffee?

  • Date: December 15, 2020
  • Time to read: 8 min.

People often get confused when it comes to what the difference between americano and filter coffee is.

While some may think that they are generally the same, the differences are vast. Understanding these differences will help you before you order your next cup of coffee.

What is the difference between Americano and filter coffee? Well an americano is made by diluting espresso, whereas filter coffee is made with an intentional recipe using a filter brewing machine, resulting in two completely different coffees.

There are six basic differences to understand before placing your next order. The differences are:

  1. Brewing process
  2. In the coffee grind
  3. The coffee machine itself
  4. In the caffeine content
  5. In the taste (of course)
  6. And in the Crema

Let’s get started on the differences so you can improve your coffee game when it comes to brewing the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

What is Americano Coffee?

americano, black coffee, specialty coffee

In order to make an Americano, all you need to do is dilute espresso with hot water. 

The strength of the coffee remains the same but there is a considerable change in the taste. 

You can monitor the strength of your Americano with the number of espresso shots and the amount of hot water you add. 

This type of coffee originated in Italy but the term Caffe Americano means American coffee.

This term is believed to have originated from the American GIs during World War II when they would dilute the coffee given to them. 

They did this in order to recreate a taste, which was familiar for them; hence, Americano Coffee came into being.

What is Filter Coffee?

filter coffee machine, specialty coffee

Filter coffee is prepared in a different way. Hot water is poured over ground coffee beans and left to brew for a longer period.

Other names of filter coffee are drip coffee, ground coffee, and drip brew coffee. This type of coffee is traced back to 1908 when the Melitta Benz Company first invented paper filters to make coffee.

“Drip coffee is prepared by pouring hot water over onto ground coffee beans and allowing it to brew”.


Filter coffee is a popular choice around the world and used in homes and offices alike. 

Percolators were used previously but drip coffee machines replaced them in the 1970s. This change was mainly because percolators over-extracted the coffee beans and produced a higher bitter taste. 

What is the Difference Between Americano and Filter Coffee?

The Brewing Process

Americano Coffee

In order to make the perfect Americano, get a mug ready, and pull an espresso. Mix hot water with the espresso and experiment until your desired taste is achieved. 

espresso machine, americano

Usually, 3 ounces is a good start but if you are used to a stronger blend, add more. The espresso is made from an espresso maker, so you will need to mix the right quantity until your taste is achieved.

Consider adding honey or sugar to make it sweet. Cinnamon or vanilla is another addition that makes the taste stand out. Choose what you like but a popular blend is simply as it is.

Filter Coffee

You can make a great filter coffee mug using two simple methods: the manual drip or an automatic drip.

In order to make a manual filter coffee, you only need coffee beans and filter papers. 

Simply place the filter on the top of your mug and add ground coffee beans. Pour hot water and let gravity do its job. 

pour over coffee, filter coffee, specialty coffee

You will have a great tasting filter coffee, however, be sure to grind the beans just before you brew in order to get a fresh flavour from the coffee.

Choosing the automatic way of making coffee, you will need to invest in a coffee machine. 

There are many options for coffee machines available, which range from simple ones to advanced ones. 

The ICM15210.1 Filter Coffee by De’Longhi is a popular choice, however, just be sure to choose one that fits your budget and requirements.

This helps you control the flavour of your coffee. Many invest in reusable filters that are made with wire mesh, as these options are more environmentally friendly.

The Grinding Process

The taste of coffee is directly related to its grinding process. It is therefore essential that you follow the right procedure in order to enjoy the taste to its fullest. 

You should consider investing in a burr grinder in order to enjoy a greater taste from granules size that is consistent. 

specialty coffee, ground coffee beans, americano, filter coffee

A variety of burr grinders are available in the market to choose from that vary in sizes and prices.

We currently use the De’Longhi KG79 Coffee Grinder which you can find over on Amazon.

However, be sure to check out our recent guide to our best tested and reviewed coffee grinding machines

A grind for Americano will give you a fine consistency for the coffee beans. The grind will feel smooth but you must be able to feel every grain individually. 

However, grind the coffee beans right before preparing your hot beverage. If you do not do this, the flavour will diminish and the taste will not be as rich as you like.

The grind for filter coffee should feel like coarse sand. This goes for both automatic coffee machines and manual ones. 

The filter will be shaped like a cone so the coffee beans should be ground down to a consistency like kosher salt. 

The size of the granules directly changes the taste of the coffee – that is why it is very important.

The Coffee Machine

In order to make an Americano, you still need a coffee machine that makes espresso. There are several options that you can choose from, the common ones are:

barista, espresoo machine, cafe, coffee shop
  • Manual Lever Pumps: a manual pump extracts an espresso shot by pressing with a hand. You do not need electricity.
  • Electronic Pumps: setting the right temperature, you can use electricity to assist in extracting an espresso shot.
  • Semi-Automatic Pumps: this allows you to take a shot with more ease. Add the ground beans and tamp them in the filter. 

Simply switch on the machine and pump the button until the water turns black. Once done, you switch it off.

  • Automatic Pumps: everything is done for you, simply pour the grinds and tamp them into the porta-filter. Turn the machine on and the perfect espresso shot will brew.
  • Super Automatic Pumps: in such a machine, all you need are high-quality coffee beans. The machine takes care of grinding, extracting, and tamping.

The Caffeine Content

The temperature of the water alters the taste of the coffee blend. Ideally, the temperature should vary between 95-105 degrees. 

caffeine, coffee bean, specialty coffee

The grind plays another role as discussed earlier and saturation is another way to improve the taste and strength of your coffee. The smaller the grind, the faster caffeine is extracted.

Filter coffee has more caffeine content than an espresso. A cup of filter coffee contains about 120 milligrams while an espresso contains only 80 milligrams. 

The perception of espresso being stronger probably comes from the fact that it is consumed faster so the effects are felt faster. 

As for an Americano, cafes usually use double shots to create one cup. But depending on your preference, the caffeine content can differ accordingly.

The Taste

An Americano coffee’s taste is rich and dark. Due to the high temperatures used in the making of this blend, lighter notes of the coffee are diminished.

coffee taste, americano vs filter coffee

There are three parts of an Americano, espresso shot, hot water, and the crema.

The overall taste of this blend is rich and aromatic – preferred by a majority of coffee lovers.

A filter coffee takes time to brew so the process adds sweet and delicate flavours to the coffee. 

The taste is subtle and goes great with other flavours like vanilla and hazelnut. There is no crema present in a filter coffee blend.

The Crema

The white foamy layer you see on the top of an Americano coffee cup is a sign of a great coffee brew. 

espresso, crema, specialty coffee, americano

The crema comes from the oils that are forced out of the coffee beans during the brewing process. These oils contain flavours that make a coffee cup great! 

The aroma and the tinge of strength in a coffee come from the oils present in the coffee beans. These oils and the layer it forms can also judge the quality of the coffee beans.

So where does crema come from? When coffee is brewed, the oils and fats emulsify suspended in tiny air bubbles. 

When the coffee goes through the roasting process, it emits CO2 for a long period. For the next 24 to 72 hours afterwards, this emission continues. 

When crema is present in the coffee, it means that coffee beans have been freshly roasted and the beans are still releasing CO2.

Those who love espresso and understand how it is made, understand that the presence of crema is a sign of freshness and high quality. The taste of the crema is quite sour due to the presence of CO2 so it may look nice, it is not everything.

The Difference Between Americano and Filter Coffee F.A.Q’s

frequently asked questions
Q: Is filter coffee stronger than espresso?

A: One 2 oz double espresso shot has about 80 milligrams of caffeine. Whereas a 12 oz brewed coffee has about 120 milligrams. So there is more caffeine in an average cup of drip coffee than in espresso.

Q: What is an Americano coffee with milk?

A: An Americano with milk has a much more robust flavour and is a little bitter.

Q: Is an Americano just black coffee?

A: An Americano is not just black coffee. It is essentially an espresso shot diluted with water.

Q: Does filter coffee reduce caffeine levels?

A: Brewing coffee with a paper filter effectively lowers the amounts of cafestol but lets the caffeine and beneficial antioxidants pass through.

Conclusion: What is the difference between Americano and filter coffee

filter coffee vs americano

Overall, choosing the kind of coffee you prefer can be made through an educated decision. 

Although Americano and filter coffee often get confused as being the same coffee brew, you can quickly find out that they are actually two very different coffees.

In short, Americano is made by diluting espresso with hot water, whereas filter coffee is made with an individual recipe, generally with use of a filter, resulting in two different results.

Hopefully, this article has explained what the difference is between Americano and filter coffee, and will now give you an idea about what to choose and how.

The decision to choose the right machine or process according to your taste is up to you. 

Look at your budget and the time and energy you are willing to invest every morning in your coffee. 

This one fact can heavily influence your decision when investing in a coffee machine.

Make sure to look at the reviews of the best coffee machines online before making a purchase, or head over to our Specialty Coffee Buyers Guides to help you with your choices.

So what do you prefer? An Americano or a Filter coffee? We hope this guide helps you find a better option depending on your requirements and taste.

If you enjoyed this article, read more like this by checking out our Specialty Coffee Beginners Guides

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