Iced Americano vs. Iced Coffee: Key Differences

Last Updated on March 16, 2024 by brewthatcoffee

Wondering if you should order an iced Americano or an iced coffee? Let’s learn the main differences between an iced Americano vs. iced coffee, and why you should choose one over the other. You’ll also find information on caffeine content and ways to customize your drink.

Iced Americano vs. Iced Coffee: Key Differences

Iced Americano vs Iced Coffee

What’s the difference between an iced Americano and iced coffee? Not much actually and that’s why many people are unable to visually tell them apart. You probably looked at the image above and wondered which one it was.

As far as appearance goes, the main visual cue you get is the crema or lack thereof. An iced Americano will have crema on top, while the iced coffee won’t. This is due to the espresso in the iced Americano. Therefore, the drink above is an iced coffee.

Since these are pretty simple coffee drinks to make, there aren’t a lot of differences between them. Concerning ingredients and flavor, the iced Americano is a stronger espresso-based drink and the iced coffee is a brewed coffee drink that has been chilled.

Long story short, the iced Americano is made with water and espresso and the iced coffee is brewed coffee with ice added to it.

Iced Americano

The iced Americano is made with only 3 ingredients which are espresso, water, and ice. It’s very likely you’ve had the traditional hot version of an Americano before. The only difference is the ice and resulting temperature.

So in other words, the iced Americano is pretty much a cold espresso that has been diluted a bit. Although it has been watered down, it is still quite strong. In fact, it’s stronger than comparable sizes of iced coffee.

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is made out of just two things, brewed coffee and ice. Although no water is added, it is still a weaker drink than the iced Americano. That’s just the power of espresso.

An Overview of the Iced Americano

The most common way an iced Americano is prepared is by first adding cold water, pouring espresso shots, and then adding some ice.

An iced Americano can be customized by adding flavors, but we’ll go into that later. First, we will talk about the ways you can prepare/order your iced Americano based on its core ingredients.

The type of espresso is the number one factor that will change the way your iced Americano tastes. There are two ways you can change up your espresso which is the type of beans used and the espresso brewing technique used.

Although people typically choose to use a dark espresso roast for their espresso-based drinks, you can also use light, medium, and medium-dark roasts.

As for brewing techniques, there are three kinds: traditional, ristretto, and lungo.

Check out this post on Starbucks espresso shots to learn more about espresso brewing techniques.

How to Make an Iced Americano at Home

Iced Americano

Iced Americano

Want to have full control over your iced Americano? It’s easy to make at home and can be quickly prepared.


  • Two Espresso Shots
  • Ice
  • Cold Water


    1. Using your brewing method of choice, make two shots of espresso.
    2. Grab a glass and fill it with lots of ice (enough to cool your shots of espresso).
    3. Take your prepared espresso shots and pour it over the ice.
    4. Fill the cup with cold water of double the volume of espresso you used. It should be a 2:1 ratio.
    5. Add-in your favorite coffee accompaniments such as cream, sugar, or syrups.

That’s all. You now have a delicious iced Americano to enjoy.

An Overview of Iced Coffee

Despite being a straightforward drink, iced coffee can be prepared in many ways. This is because it doesn’t matter which brewing method you choose to make your base coffee before adding ice.

To learn more about these methods, check out this in-depth guide on coffee brewing methods.

How to Make Iced Coffee at Home

Iced Coffee

Iced Coffee

Making iced coffee is very easy and only requires some freshly brewed coffee and ice. If you’re looking for a quick cold refreshment, but want the caffeine boost that comes with coffee, this iced drink is perfect for you.


  • Freshly Brewed Coffee
  • Ice


    1. Brew your favorite coffee as you normally would.
    2. Get a glass and fill it to the top with ice.
    3. Pour your brewed coffee over the ice.
    4. Add ice as needed.
    5. Customize with your favorite add-ins such as sugar, creamer, or syrups.

Enjoy your refreshing coffee beverage!

Caffeine Content: Iced Americano vs Iced Coffee

The amount of coffee in your iced Americano and iced coffee will highly depend on the specific method taken to brew them. Here are the most common methods compared.

Coffee & MethodCaffeine Content (mg)
Iced Caffè Americano (Starbucks Grande)225
Iced Coffee (Starbucks Grande)165
Iced Americano – Ristretto420
Iced Coffee – French Press90
Iced Coffee – Chemex70
Iced Coffee – Moka Pot/Stove-Top165
Iced Coffee – Aeropress135
Iced Coffee – Drip Coffee Maker70
Cold Brew (Starbucks Grande)205
Approximate amount of caffeine (mg) in a cup of various cold coffee drinks.

Want the strongest possible drink you can get? Here are the strongest coffees at Starbucks.

Ordering a Cold Drink at Starbucks

When ordering an iced coffee at Starbucks, you can expect them to follow the traditional method of adding ice to brewed coffee. However, their steps for making an iced Americano are a little different.

Instead of adding cold water, espresso shots, and then ice, they reverse the order. This means they first add cold water on top of their espresso shots. This can make it more difficult to tell if it’s an iced Americano vs. an iced coffee because it lessens the amount of crema.

Still, regardless of the creative liberties Starbucks makes with their coffees, both taste delicious. You should definitely try out both at some point to find out which you enjoy more.

Available Sizes

Cold drinks at Starbucks start from tall (12 fl oz) and go up to Trenta (30 fl oz). To learn more about the cup sizes, here are all the Starbucks cup sizes explained.

Ways to Customize Your Cold Coffee

There are loads of add-ins you can use in your cold coffees. Here are some common ones:

– Brown sugar

– Heavy cream, whole milk, condensed milk, and almond milk

– Cocoa powder

– Cinnamon

– Vanilla extract

– Caramel sauce and chocolate sauce

FAQ About Iced Americanos vs. Iced Coffees

Here are the most popular questions around the topic of iced Americano vs. iced coffee.

Yes, you can add milk and sugar to iced Americano.

An iced Americano is made by combining espresso, chilled water, and espresso. A cold brew coffee is made by steeping ground coffee beans in water inside the refrigerator over a 12 to 24 hour period.

Yes, an Americano is stronger than an iced coffee due to the espresso used in it.

An Americano tends to be stronger than a traditional coffee. However, this all depends on the method used to brew each.

Americanos using the ristretto method will be strong than a traditional Americano. Coffee made using Aeropress will be stronger than machine-drip coffee.

An iced Americano prepared at Starbucks will be slightly stronger than a cold brew of the same size. You should choose whichever you like the taste of best.

Yes, the iced Americano is relatively high in caffeine due to its espresso.

Cold/iced coffees tend to be less bitter than their hot counterparts. If bitterness is an issue for you, try out several types of cold coffees.

The Starbucks Americano is made from espresso shots topped with hot water.

The McDonald’s Americano is made by pouring hot water over their espresso.

Red eye coffee is a very strong coffee drink. It is made by combining drip coffee with one or two shots of espresso. People tend to drink this if they are extremely tired and have a long day ahead of them.

Want your coffee beverage as strong as possible? Check out the most caffeinated Starbucks drinks and tips for increasing/decreasing caffeine content.

Thinking of ordering an iced Americano or iced coffee? Check out the top cold drinks at Starbucks.

Final Thoughts

Make sure you know the main differences between an iced Americano and iced coffee before ordering or making one yourself. Things like caffeine content, flavor preferences, and convenience should all be considered.

Iced Americanos are made with espresso, while ice coffee is made with brewed coffee and ice. If you’re looking for caffeine, go for an iced Americano because it has higher caffeine content than regular drip coffee. It’ll give you that extra energy you need for a long day.

Iced Americanos and iced coffees can be customized with syrups, milk, and creamers. So add-ins shouldn’t be too much of a determining factor when choosing between the two.

I hope this post was useful in helping you decide between these two delicious iced coffees. Which one is your favorite? Let us all know in the comments. As always, thanks for reading.

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