Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee: The Key Differences

Do you know the difference between an iced latte vs iced coffee? Here are the key differences that every coffee drinker needs to know.

There are countless ways to enjoy coffee – including a variety of cold coffee drinks.

Whether it’s a hot summer day or you simply want something a little more refreshing, there are many reasons why you may want to switch your hot coffee for cold coffee drinks.

Iced lattes and iced coffee are just two of the many ways to enjoy cold coffee on a hot day or when you’re craving a more refreshing drink.

Even though they are both based on a single drink – coffee! – they are quite different drinks that are made in completely different ways.

So, how exactly is an iced latte different to an iced coffee? And what are the major differences?

Put simply, the main difference between iced coffee and an iced latte is this: an iced latte is an iced version of your favourite espresso-based drink, while an iced coffee can be made in a number of ways.

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What is the difference between iced coffee and iced latte?

An iced latte is an iced version of a hot latte (i.e. the popular espresso-based drink).

The way you make an iced latte isn’t quite the same as with the regular coffee drink, but the end result is essentially the same drink – only iced.

An iced coffee, on the other, can be prepared in a number of ways.

It typically refers to a coffee brewed using a filter method (such as a drip coffee machine, AeroPress or French Press) and then poured over ice.

The recipe is usually adjusted to make a stronger coffee in order to allow for the ice that will be added.

However, in some places, an iced coffee can also mean an iced americano coffee made with a shot of espresso and hot water.

Therefore, all other differences aside, the most important thing to note when considering iced latte vs iced coffee is that the former has a fixed definition.

That is to say that, when you order an iced latte, you can always expect to receive the same coffee drink.

When you order an iced coffee, on the other hand, the drink you receive can vary based on local culture as well as the customs of the shop in which you ordered.

Another important point to note is that the term ‘iced coffee’ is often used to describe a category of drinks – or any type of cold coffee, including cold brew coffee – rather than a specific type of coffee drink.

In this way, you can say that an iced latte is a type of iced coffee. But iced coffee is never a type of iced latte.

Iced latte vs iced coffee comparison

Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee: Main Differences

You may not see ‘iced coffee’ on the menu in your local shop. Instead, you may find an entire menu of different iced coffee beverages (as is the case in our coffee shops!).

If the menu just offers ‘iced coffee’, it usually refers to the first type of iced coffee described above – a regular brewed coffee served over ice.

For the sake of comparison, we will use this as a common definition of iced coffee, but it’s important to note that it may not always mean this!

Iced lattes always have milk

An iced latte and an iced are almost entirely different when it comes to their ingredients. In fact, the only common ingredient is the ice cubes!

An iced latte is made from espresso, milk and ice, while an iced coffee is (usually) made from brewed coffee and ice.

The defining feature of a regular latte is its milk content.

A latte is an espresso topped with steamed milk and a thin layer of milk foam.

In the case of specialty coffee shops, a latte usually contains a double shot of espresso, but many coffee shops serve a single shot as standard.

An iced coffee, on the other hand, is not a milk-based drink. Some coffee drinkers will order an iced coffee and add a splash of milk, but the milk quantity is much lower than with an iced latte.

An iced latte uses ratios

Just like a flat white or a cappuccino, a latte is defined by its layers and ratio of milk vs espresso vs milk foam.

It’s not easy to replicate these layers in an iced latte, but it is possible to somewhat replicate the texture of a regular latte with a machine that can create cold foam.

The size of an iced coffee will depend on the amount of water used. This will vary between coffee shops and brewing methods, and will ultimately affect the flavour of the coffee.

It also depends on the coffee beans used, and in particular how light or dark they are roasted.

Iced coffee vs iced coffee flavour

Since an iced latte is mostly milk, it has the same sweet flavour as a hot latte. Some coffee drinkers even find cold lattes sweeter than their warm counterparts!

An iced coffee, with coffee and water as its only ingredients, tends to have a more typical ‘coffee flavour’.

Of course, if you choose to add sugar, coffee syrup or other additions to either coffee it will alter the flavour.

For a regular iced latte, the flavour will also be affected by the type of milk you use.

A latte made with whole milk tastes very different to one made with oat milk or other dairy alternatives, regardless of whether it is hot or cold.

Iced Latte vs Iced Coffees: Common Questions

Now that you know the difference between an iced latte vs iced coffee, let’s take a look at some of the questions you may still have.

If your question isn’t answered here, feel free to send us a message on our Instagram page and we’ll be sure to add it!

Can I make an iced latte or iced coffee at home?

One of the most frustrating things for latte lovers is that it’s almost impossible to create perfect milk at home without a fancy espresso machine.

While there are many great options on the market for home baristas, nothing is quite like the one you enjoy in your local coffee shop.

When it comes to iced lattes, that’s not longer the case. Even though some people make their iced lattes using a steam wand, it’s not necessary at all.

In fact, you can make an iced latte without any frothing equipment at all! Simply pouring the milk over ice and adding the espresso second can make for a really satisfying iced latte.

Iced coffee is equally easy to make at home.

Whether you brew the coffee hot and pour it over ice, or use a cold water method with your regular brewing equipment, it’s just as easy to make iced coffee as hot coffee in most cases.

Are iced lattes stronger than coffee?

When it comes to caffeine content, it’s impossible to compare an iced latte vs iced coffee without knowing how much coffee was used to make each.

That’s because the ‘strength’ of the coffee depends on the amount of coffee used to make it as much as the brewing method or type of coffee.

For example, we used 18-20g shots of espresso in all of our espresso-based drinks, including iced lattes and regular lattes. This equates to around 180mg of caffeine.

In a coffee shop that uses 7g espresso shots, the caffeine level would be much lower (around 80mg).

The same is true for batch brew coffee. Given that filter methods of brewing coffee often use more coffee, the output can also be stronger than the average espresso.

However, it’s impossible to say which drink is stronger – or how much caffeine you’ll get from each – without knowing the exact recipe.

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