iced coffee and iced latte

Iced Coffee Vs Iced Latte: (Differences, Caffeine, Tips)

Here is a scenario- it is a hot sweltering summer day, and the sun is shining bright above your head. You go over to your neighborhood cafe and pour over the menu.

Instead of your usual hot coffee, you want to treat yourself to a cold and refreshing drink. You decide to pick between an iced latte and iced coffee. After all, they are both cold coffees with ice. Right?

Well, yes and no.

If you think iced coffee and iced latte are the same, you could not be more wrong!

They do share some common elements and are both cold beverages. But they differ from each other when it comes to some other aspects. We’ll tell you all about that right here.

While iced coffee and iced latte are wonderfully tasty beverages, you might likely appreciate the flavor of one over the other(or you might like them both, who’s to say!).

So how about reading through the rest of this page and figuring them out before making your choice? 

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What is Iced coffee?

iced coffee

Let’s begin with the basics. From the name, it is pretty evident that iced coffee contains ice and, well, coffee.

A simple iced coffee is made by pouring cooled, brewed coffee over ice cubes and maybe adding a splash of milk.

The drink has pretty strong coffee tones that might be too intense for those who don’t like its acidic taste.

Even then, iced coffee has a lower acidic taste than regular hot coffee and is comparatively a much more pleasant drink. It is considered more flavorful and gentler on the stomach, so unlikely to cause any digestive issues.

Iced coffee is a good choice for those watching their calorie intake since milk and sugar usage is minimal/ optional.

Dairy and sugar alternatives also work well with it.

And if you are a coffee aficionado who loves home-brewing, you can easily prepare iced coffee at home and you can create it as heavy or skinny as you wish!

What is Iced latte?

You probably know all about hot lattes.

Even if you haven’t had it, you would have come across the name at coffee shops, while going through beverage menus, or perhaps while browsing supermarket aisles.

For the completely uninitiated, latte, or cafe latte as it is originally known, is an Italian-originated drink that is extremely popular among coffee lovers.

Unsurprisingly, the cold version of the latte called the iced latte is a known favorite too!

Cafe Latte is a creamy coffee made of espresso shots and double or triple the quantity of steamed milk mixed in. Also check this article on what is a latte and the regular ratios or coffee and milk.

A velvety foamy top layer of milk foam brings together the whole drink and makes it rich and luscious.

The ingredients and ratio of milk and espresso are pretty similar for an iced latte. The main difference is that the hot steamed milk is replaced with cold, frothed milk.

Iced lattes are espresso-based and contain at least two or more shots(depending on your caffeine preference).

Iced coffee, however, can be made with almost any good coffee roast and requires very little milk.

Compared to iced coffees, iced lattes tend to be pretty mellow and sweet with frothed milk constituting nearly two-thirds of the drink.

Difference between iced coffee and iced latte

When it comes to iced coffee or iced latte, the names say it all. Even if you’ve never drank either of them before, you almost know what to expect. You know they are cold, sweet(optional) coffee-based beverages that can be perfect for rejuvenation and refreshment on a sultry day. 

So what makes them different from one another? We got an overview before, and now we’ll dig deep into the factors that make iced coffee and iced latte two delicious yet different drinks.

Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Ingredients

Iced coffee is pretty simple to make. But that does not mean that the flavors are any less remarkable.

Coffee is the key ingredient, as is ice, lots of it. Brewed coffee is cooled down and added to the ice with a splash of milk or cream and sugar syrup.

Sometimes other flavored syrups such as vanilla or chocolate syrups are also used in place of the sugar syrup. 

Iced coffee can be custom-created to your liking.

You can make do with almost any good roast of coffee like a Medium roast, French roast, or even instant or decaffeinated coffee. Non-dairy alternatives also complement iced coffee well.

Iced latte, like hot latte, uses espresso shots, milk or cream, and optionally, sweetener.

Unlike iced coffee which works well with any coffee brew, the deep espresso tones make lattes stand out. But like iced coffee, you need a good amount of ice for the perfect iced latte.

The ice cubes, a couple of espresso shots, thick, frothy milk, and sweetener will get you the latte of your dreams!

Substitutions work well for iced lattes.

Non-dairy alternatives, sugar substitutes, flavored syrups, extra toppings like sugar, sprinkles, or cocoa nibs beautifully blend with the espresso and ice, making iced latte a drink everyone can enjoy.

Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Caffeine

Both iced coffee and iced lattes are primarily coffee-based beverages.

Caffeine, which gives coffee its characteristic bitterness and acidic flavor, significantly affects the taste of these cold beverages.

While iced coffee needs brewed coffee, an iced latte requires espresso shots. Let’s take a look at how both differ in their caffeine content.

Consider this data from Mayo Clinic: according to their resources, an 8ml quantity of brewed coffee has 96 mg of caffeine.

A single espresso shot(1 oz) has nearly 64 mg of caffeine.

At a glance, regular brewed coffee seems to have higher caffeine content.

If you use a cup of brewed coffee for your iced coffee and only one shot of espresso in your iced latte, then yes, iced coffee would be more caffeine-rich.

What if you don’t stop with a single espresso shot? Most iced-latte drinkers go for at least two or three ounces of espresso in their iced latte.

This can consequently double or triple the caffeine levels.

The frothed milk dilutes the mixture, so while the overall flavor of iced latte is milder than iced coffee, it could still be more caffeinated.

Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Health effects

Regular coffee consumption is associated with all sorts of health benefits.

From lowering heart risks to bettering brain function, drinking coffee is a great way to improve your overall health.

If consumed in moderation, coffee can provide an energy boost, improve mood and memory, and lower incidences of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, certain cancers, and even depression. 

What makes coffee so good for you is its ingredients. We talked about how caffeine imparts a distinct flavor to coffee.

Now you know that it helps your health too!

The other components of coffee provide antioxidants and several essential nutrients to your body.

Excessive caffeine consumption beyond the daily recommended limit(400mg) does carry health risks, so be watchful of your intake.

So how do iced coffee and iced latte compare when you consider the potential health benefits and possible risks?

We talked about the caffeine content in both iced coffees and iced lattes.

Both have significant levels of caffeine, but nowhere near the recommended levels.

So while you are not likely to overdose on caffeine by drinking these beverages, it is best to consume them in moderation.

The acidic properties of coffee might not suit those with sensitive stomachs and digestive systems.

Compared to hot coffee, iced coffee, especially cold-brewed, has lower acidity and is gentler on your gut. The lower dairy content and minimal sugar make it a healthy yet flavorful drink.

Iced latte is similarly less acidic.

It differs from iced coffee by having copious amounts of milk, sweeteners, whipped cream, extra flavors, and additives.

Even though the coffee solution is weaker, the milk and sugars lead to higher fat and calorie levels(depending on what you put in) making the iced latte a pretty decadent drink.

Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Methods of preparation

If you are someone who frequents coffee joints, you probably prefer your barista-made beverages.

But if you like grinding your coffee beans and have brewing equipment at home to create your own brews, you probably would like to learn about creating iced coffee or iced latte from the comfort of your home.

Even without fancy equipment or a thorough knowledge of coffee-making, you could still recreate your favorite iced blends at home.

When it comes to iced coffee, there are two methods:

The first one is easy to guess. You brew coffee, let it cool down, pour it over a tall glass filled with ice cubes, add some milk and sugar syrup, and voila!

Iced coffee ready in a jiffy. Iced coffee loyalists usually prefer a second method where freshly brewed hot coffee is poured directly onto ice cubes.

If you have a single-serve coffee maker, you need to try these brew over ice coffee pods from green mountain, I loved the hazelnut cream ones!

Instead of your regular cup, you fill your cup with ice cubes and the taste is amazing. Sometimes if regular coffee with ice cubes, it loss some flavor.

This method yields a better-tasting and more flavorful coffee.

Preparation Method: Iced Latte

You can prepare an iced latte at home too, but it does involve a few additional steps. First, and most importantly, the espresso.

Now, if you have your espresso machine, there’s nothing more you need.

Our #1 Expresso machine recommendation is this one here by Mr. Coffee

If you have a french press or a Moka pot, you might still be able to get away with an espresso-style coffee.

If all you have is instant coffee and you don’t mind digressing from the traditional taste, you can make an instant-style iced latte!

After the espresso, it’s time for milk.

Like steamed milk for a hot latte, frothed milk gives the iced latte its distinct creamy texture.

Frothing milk is easy if you have a milk frother or an espresso machine. And I highly recommend this amazing milk frother here.

But if you don’t have fancy tools, there’s no need to worry.

Simply add milk to a mason jar or a sealed container and shake it up for quick and easy milk froth.

So you have your espresso and frothed milk ready.

You are now all set to make an iced latte.

Add your desired number of freshly-brewed espresso shots to a cup and add the ice cubes.

Pour in the frothed milk(more or less three times the quantity) and fill the cup. Add sugar syrup or flavored syrups, mix well and enjoy!

You can even put everything into a mason jar and give it a good shake for a thick, foamy, blended drink. 

Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Taste

Both iced coffee and iced latte are refreshing, soothing drinks. They are delicious, and the coffee gives you a jolt of energy when you need it the most. The different ingredients and preparation methods ensure that these drinks taste distinctly different.

Iced coffee is the more coffee-tasting of the two. The good roast of coffee imparts rich flavors which remain undiluted as iced coffee needs very little milk. However, as it sits and the ice melts, iced coffee tends to get watered down and lose its flavor. A way around would be to freeze coffee cubes and crush them to form a delightful iced coffee slushie!

Iced latte is mellower and has a less pronounced coffee flavor due to the addition of milk. If you need a strong drink, you can up the number of espresso shots and customize your latte. While an iced latte isn’t sweet on its own, adding sugars and syrups will get you a sweet milkshake-like drink that will be the perfect summer indulgence. 

Starbucks Iced coffee vs Iced latte

You may not know this, but Iced coffee has been sold at Starbucks, the largest coffeehouse in the world, since 1986!

Their iced coffee is prepared by combining brewed coffee with ice and has hints of caramel and cola flavor and a light, fresh taste.

Starbucks offers a great variety of cold coffee beverages, all extremely popular.

They have many types of iced lattes for which they use 2% milk and offer many sweetener options and toppings for incredible-tasting custom blends.

Starbucks even sells bottled and packaged iced lattes at retail stores, so you’ll never have trouble getting hold of them!

Regarding calories and costs, A venti-sized iced coffee with sweetening syrup contains 120 calories and costs $2.95 with or without milk.

A similar-sized iced cafe latte is about 180 calories and costs around $5.00. The cost can go up depending on the custom creations and extra additives. 

Conclusion on Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte

You now know the nitty-gritty of iced coffee and iced latte. Both are wonderful to have during the summer, on a day at the beach, or for no other reason than that they are simply delicious. You never need a reason to drink chilled coffee! 

The ingredients, making style, and health factors might lead you to pick one drink over the other. Both iced coffee and iced latte are hugely enjoyable, so whatever be your choice on a day, we are sure you’ll love it!


Mayo Clinic:


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