Is An Americano With Milk The Same Thing As A Latte?

Whether you're an indie coffee shop lover or prefer the tried-and-true drinks at a chain like Starbucks, you likely know your go-to order like the back of your hand. But the world of coffee concoctions has a ton of variety. Depending on which establishment you frequent, you may see beverages like cortados, ristrettos, and galãos on the menu. It can be confusing to decipher what they all mean.

Many lesser-known coffee drinks are just different variations of an espresso and milk combination. For example, a cortado contains one ounce of espresso and one ounce of steamed milk, while a galão is espresso with a good amount of foamed milk (via Taste of Home). But even the most popular coffee drinks can cause confusion if you're not a regular consumer. 

According to the National Coffee Association, the popularity of espresso beverages has risen by 30% since the pandemic. That's perhaps not surprising, as espresso can be sipped on its own or mixed into a wide variety of drinks, as we covered. Two of said drinks are a latte and Americano, so let's take a closer look at their similarities, differences, and if they can be ordered interchangeably. 

An Americano with milk is different than a latte

A latte is a shot (or two) of espresso, mixed with a few ounces of steamed milk, and topped with foam, according to Coffee Bean. An Americano is much simpler. Home Grounds shares that this beverage is simply hot water poured over a shot of espresso. World War II brought about the invention of the Americano, when American soldiers stationed in Italy deemed Italian espresso was too strong, so they watered it down to resemble coffee they drank at home.

Now that you know the specifics of each beverage, you may be able to determine that an Americano with milk is not the same thing as a latte. Full Coffee Roast explains that because foam is a key element in a latte, simply pouring milk in an Americano would still leave this part missing. And while lattes have so much milk that it can overshadow the taste of the coffee, an Americano with a splash of milk wouldn't create the same effect.

If you want to add milk to your Americano, feel free! Just know that what you're drinking is just that -– an Americano with milk, not a true latte.