Kitchen Tips

Iced Americano: What It is, Recipe, and How It's Made at Starbucks – Coffee at Three


With just 3 ingredients consisting of ice, espresso, and water, an Iced Americano is one of the easiest and simplest espresso drinks to make. See how to make it at home and how it’s made at Starbucks.

Iced Americano in a cup.

What is an Iced Americano?

  • An Iced Americano is a cold drink made with ice, espresso, and chilled water. It’s the iced version of an Americano, which is made with just espresso and hot water.
  • The drink must be made with espresso to be called an Iced Americano. If it’s made with any other kind of coffee, it’s no longer an Iced Americano. Espresso should be made in an espresso machine or a Nespresso.
  • Iced Americano is a watered down espresso. It’s similar to strong brewed coffee made in a drip coffee machine.

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Difference between Iced Americano and Iced Coffee

The difference in the two comes down to the method used to make coffee.

Iced Americano is made with espresso while iced coffee is made with hot brewed coffee that has been chilled.

Because Iced Americano is made with espresso, you should be able to see crema along the top, which you won’t see in iced coffee.

Iced Americano at Starbucks

The traditional way of making an Iced Americano is by adding espresso shots to cold water, then adding ice. Starbucks makes theirs backwards by adding cold water to espresso shots instead.

The overall taste will be the same as a regular Iced Americano, but you’ll see less crema on the surface.

An Iced Americano can be ordered in 3 drink sizes at Starbucks: tall (12 ounces), grande (16 ounces), and venti (24 ounces). A tall sized drink contains 2 espresso shots, grande has 3 espresso shots, and a venti has 4 shots of espresso.

You can ask for the espresso to be made ristretto (short shot), or as a long shot, made decaf or with blonde espresso. If you want a more caffeinated drink, ask for an extra shot or two of espresso.

If you don’t see a decaf coffee drink option, ask for a decaf Iced Americano, which can be made to order.

The Iced Americano at Starbucks is made without any syrups or milk so you must specify if you want to add those to your order.

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Ingredient Notes

Iced Americano ingredients.
  • EspressoAny roast (dark, medium, or light/blonde) can be used to make an Iced Americano as long as the drink is made with espresso. Use an espresso machine or a Nespresso.
  • WaterUse filtered cold water for a better tasting Iced Americano.
  • IceUse ice made with filtered water if possible.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Steps to make an Iced Americano at home.

For full ingredients and instructions, scroll down to the recipe.

  1. Pour cold water into a cup.
  2. Add espresso.
  3. Top drink with ice.

Serving Suggestions

  • Iced Americanos are served without any sweeteners or milk but they can be offered as options on the side.
  • Always use simple syrup to sweeten iced drinks since it’s the easiest way to mix sugar into a cold beverage.
  • Try flavored simple syrups for a tasty twist. Vanilla syrup or caramel syrup are popular add-ins.
  • To make it decadent, top the drink off with homemade vanilla sweet cream cold foam!

Expert Tips

  • 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.
  • Freshly made espresso is best. Hot espresso is cooled down instantly by adding it into cold water.
  • There is no standard in the amount of cold water that’s to be used in an Iced Americano, so use as much or as little as you like, depending on how strong you want the espresso flavor to be.
  • Iced Americano is usually made with dark roasted coffee. Use a blonde roast if you want a smoother flavor with slightly more caffeine or make it ristretto (short shot) for a less bitter taste.

RELATED: Starbucks Iced Latte Copycat

Questions You May Have

Homemade Iced Americano in glass cups.
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