When I visit my local coffee shop, I always battle with the decision of which iced caffeinated drink I should order. After all, we all love having iced drinks, especially in the summer heat. So what’s the difference between an iced latte and iced coffee? Both are forms of coffee and both are great drinks, but there are some key differences between them.
Both iced lattes and iced coffees are cold coffee drinks and both are served over ice but they are very different. An iced latte is made using just espresso and milk. However, in Australia, iced coffee is made using brewed coffee, topped with milk, ice cream and cream, served over ice. As a result, iced coffees are much sweeter and more decadent than iced lattes.
Not only will I explain the difference between the two drinks, but I will also answer some of the most commonly asked questions about iced lattes and iced coffees, along with instructions on how to make them at home!
- 1 What is an Iced Latte?
- 2 What is an Iced Coffee?
- 3 Iced Coffee Drink Comparison
- 4 Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee: Differences
- 5 Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Similarities
- 6 How to Make an Iced Coffee at Home
- 7 How to Make an Iced Latte at Home
- 8 Difference Between Iced Latte and Iced Coffee FAQs
What is an Iced Latte?
An iced latte is a simple and straightforward cold espresso-based drink, made with milk, and an optional sweetener. An iced latte is the cold version of a regular latte, but with some differences.
Besides the obvious fact that a regular latte is served hot and not iced like the cold and refreshing iced latte, there are also some elements used in hot lattes that simply do not translate well into the iced version.
In a regular hot latte, the milk is steamed to create a bit of froth on the top. For an iced latte, the milk usually isn’t frothed because it would struggle to keep its structure when mixed with cold ice. So, an iced latte is an ice and milk combined with freshly-made espresso shots and an optional sweetener.
What is an Iced Coffee?
Iced coffee is a cold coffee beverage that may be prepared either by brewing coffee normally and then serving it over ice or by brewing the coffee cold (also called cold brew). Sweeteners and flavouring may be added before cooling if using a hot brewing method, as they dissolve faster this way.
Truth is, there is more than one definition for iced coffee. For some, iced coffee simply translates to exactly what it sounds like, any coffee drink that’s been brewed and poured over ice. Someone can order iced coffee in a cafe and have the barista or diner employee simply take some coffee from a batch brew, throw some ice in it, and your “iced coffee” is served.
Australia, however, has a different definition when it comes to iced coffee. In Australia, “iced coffee” commonly refers to a brewed coffee served over ice, topped with milk, cream, and ice cream. When ordering in a cafe, it’s likely this is what you will get if you order “iced coffee”. For this article, we’ll refer to “iced coffee” as the most common international definition, rather than the Australian “iced coffee” that comes with ice cream.
Iced Coffee Drink Comparison
|Drink||Brewing Method||Milk As Standard||Common Toppings||Strength|
|Iced coffee||Brewed coffee||No||Cold foam||2 1/2|
|Iced latte||Espresso||Yes||Vanilla syrup, pumpkin spices||2 1/2|
|Cold brew||Cold-brew||No||Cream, milk||2|
|Nitro cold brew||Cold-brew||No||Caramel/vanilla syrup||2|
|Iced americano||Espresso||No||Sugar||2 1/2|
|Iced cappuccino||Espresso||Yes||Chocolate powder||3|
Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee: Differences
Both iced latte and iced coffee are coffee-based drinks made with ice. But besides that, iced latte and iced coffee are different in almost every other aspect. Let’s look at the differences between the two drinks!
Iced latte is made using a double shot of strong espresso instead of brewed coffee and always uses milk, whereas this is optional compared to iced coffee.
Iced coffee is usually brewed as normal hot coffee and uses either no milk or just 10% milk or a milk alternative for a sweeter taste. There are many ways to brew the coffee, including with a filter coffee machine, stovetop coffee maker, pour-over coffee maker, and even with instant coffee. Iced coffee can also be made with cold brewed coffee although this is usually referred to as “cold brew”.
You can be as creative as you want when adding toppings to your cold caffeinated drinks. There are a few toppings that are especially loved on iced lattes. You can add vanilla, hazelnut, or chocolate syrup, or even pumpkin spices to turn your iced latte into a pumpkin spice latte! Lavender syrup can also be an interesting topping for an iced latte.
Iced coffee definitely goes along very well with cream and ice cream. Besides that, you can sweeten it with sweetened condensed coconut milk, give it some mint leaves, or even spice it up with cinnamon. There really are SO many options here and you shouldn’t be afraid to try them all!
The taste of iced coffee itself can be considered more bitter since it is initially brewed at a high temperature. However, iced coffee topped with milk, cream, or ice cream has a very rich, sweet, and delicious taste.
Iced lattes already use milk as standard, which gives it a creamy taste. But to make it more full of flavour and richness, you can add more cream! You can also experiment with different variations of espresso – use a richer, more full bodied coffee grind to achieve a richer coffee flavour.
Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Similarities
Now that we’ve gone through the differences between iced coffee and iced latte, let’s look at the similarities shared by these cold caffeinated drinks.
Iced latte is made with a double espresso shot, while iced coffee is made with brewed coffee. Espresso is best made with medium or medium dark roasts and a medium roast is also good for a hot brew.
Using a medium or medium dark roast when making espresso and hot brew can give iced coffee and iced latte a similar strength in terms of coffee flavour.
Both iced coffee and iced latte don’t have to have any sweetener added to them at all. An iced latte will naturally be a tiny bit sweeter just because of the naturally found sugar in milk. But typically, both iced latte and iced coffee are sweetened with sugar.
If you prefer your iced coffee or iced latte sweet, you can add honey – honey is a good one to add to iced drinks because it’s a liquid and can be added straight to the drink. Adding sugar is more tricky because you’ll need to dissolve it in a shot of water or milk first. You can also add sweet syrups to both iced coffee and iced latte – you’ll find these specially made coffee syrups in the coffee and tea aisle in the supermarket.
How to Make an Iced Coffee at Home
Making an iced coffee at home is actually quite easy because there are no special ingredients needed and the steps aren’t complicated at all. Follow this recipe for whenever you feel like enjoying a homemade iced coffee!
You will need:
- Brewed coffee (200-250 ml)
- Ice cubes
- Milk (optional)
- Liquid sugar/syrup/honey (optional)
Here’re the steps to make iced coffee:
- Brew double-strength coffee with your preferred brew method.
- Fill your glass with ice cubes and pour the coffee over the ice.
- The initial pour of hot coffee will dissolve some of the ice, you can add in more ice if you wish to but this will further dilute the coffee.
- Top up with milk, liquid sugar, honey, or syrup & stir for a moment –this step is completely optional.
- Your iced coffee is served and ready for you to enjoy!
How to Make an Iced Latte at Home
Making an iced latte is also very doable at home. The many possible variations is an exciting thought in itself. To keep things simple, I’ll give you the basic iced latte recipe and later you can experiment with whatever creations you think of.
You will need:
- Double shot of espresso
- Ice cubes
- Milk of your preference (175-200 ml)
Here’re the steps to make an iced latte:
- Pull a double espresso shot using an espresso machine and set aside.
- Add ice cubes to a clear glass.
- Pour the milk over the ice.
- Pour your espresso shot into the glass and watch it begin to mix.
- And done! Time for you to enjoy the delicious and refreshing iced latte.
- (Optional) Top your iced latte with frothed milk or whipped cream.
Difference Between Iced Latte and Iced Coffee FAQs
Can you make iced coffee with instant coffee?
Yes, you can. It is entirely possible to make iced coffee using instant coffee. Simply prepare some instant coffee in your mug (use less water), then fill up the mug with ice and cold water or milk.
Is iced coffee just cold coffee?
Basically yes, iced coffee is made using regular hot coffee that has been cooled completely and is served on ice. Perfect on a hot day when hot coffee is just not doable!
How much caffeine is in iced coffee?
A typical iced coffee has 165 mg of caffeine.
How much caffeine is in an iced latte?
Iced latte usually contains two shots of espresso, which is about 126 mg of caffeine.
Does iced latte need frothed milk?
For an iced latte, there’s no need to froth your milk. The reason for this is that hot milk will melt your ice, and ice will pop the steamed milk froth so you want to use regular cold milk for iced lattes.
Using cold milk means that making iced lattes is faster because you don’t have to steam the milk. You can, however, add some cold frothed (not steamed) milk on the top of your iced latte immediately before serving. You can also add whipped cream or ice cream as these toppings will last much longer.
Next, learn what’s the difference between flat white and latte coffee drinks? and check out more brewing guides here!