Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee | What You Need To Know

iced latte vs iced coffee

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Iced latte vs iced coffee? Same same, but different.

Wait, you thought the only difference between coffee and latte was that one had milk in it?

Think again!

Iced coffee and iced lattes are actually quite different, so let’s take a minute to explore these two drinks.

What Is An Iced Latte?

An iced latte is made with espresso, steamed milk which is then frothed into a thick foamy top, and more milk.

A normal latte only has espresso mixed with some hot steamed milk – no froth on top.

But an iced latte has the same espresso, but with some steamed milk added to it, and then frothed.

What Is An Iced Coffee?

An iced coffee is made with regular, cooled brewed coffee that is then poured over ice.

Iced coffee is usually made with regular black coffee (meaning it has no milk in it).

However, some iced coffees are made using white or flavored coffees (coffee with milk added).

Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee – Their Origins

Let’s start from the beginning: what is a latte?

Originally created in northern Italy, a latte is a drink made from espresso coffee with hot milk that is then topped off with a foamy layer of milk.

Then, how is a latte different from a coffee? A brewed coffee is simply a hot cup of coffee that has been brewed.

The bottom brewed espresso is mixed with steam and then frothed by using an aerodynamic foam wand.

In contrast, the latte part of the equation is actually something new.

In modern times, America’s first iced latte was made in 1985 at Longhorn Espresso Bar in Santa Barbara.

It was originally called an Iced Cappuccino because it contained milk instead of espresso.

Since then, a lot of variations have been made to this drink.

Some add shots of espresso, while some add a few more steamed milk into the mix.

However, generally speaking, an iced latte is a mix of hot espresso and warm milk topped off with foam.

In contrast, an iced coffee is generally brewed coffee poured over ice and sometimes served with cream.

It is simply a hot coffee that has been cooled down.

iced latte vs iced coffee

Other than the obvious difference between hot and cold, the biggest difference between the two is the difference in consistency.

A latte has a fine and velvety texture with a creamy consistency, while iced coffee is more like iced black coffee with no milk.

If you are still unsure about which is best for you, go ahead and try a few different options.

Although there is no wrong way to drink coffee, most iced latte and iced coffee tenders would agree that a good mix of espresso and good quality steamed milk with a touch of ice will make a great iced latte.

See what works best for you!

Why Are They Called Iced Latte or Iced Coffee?

Because it is cold! When people make iced lattes, they make sure it is cold before they pour it into their cups.

On the other hand, iced coffee is topped with ice cubes before it is served.

What are the main differences between an iced latte and iced coffee?

Besides the obvious – that one is made hot and one is made cold, there are many differences between iced latte and iced coffee. Here’s a short list:

1. Milk

An iced latte has much more milk in it than an iced coffee.

Iced lattes usually have milk added to the espresso (and coffee) and then frothed into a thick foam top.

2. Foam

An iced latte can have a nice, thick, foamy top.

An iced coffee will usually only have a thin layer of foam on top of it.

3. Temperature

An iced latte is made with hot espresso mixed with some ice cubes and steamed milk, so the whole thing will be warm to slightly hot.

An iced coffee is made with cooled, brewed coffee poured over ice. It’s still warm at the beginning, however.

4. Texture

An iced latte has a creamy texture – think pudding-like – while an iced coffee has a coarser texture – think chalky.

Also, the foam on top of an iced latte will always be thicker than that of an iced coffee.

5. Color

Some iced lattes are even pink or red…to match the color of your coffee.

An iced coffee is usually clear, but some iced coffees are also colored to match the flavor of the ingredients in the drink.

Note that there are many varieties of both an iced latte and iced coffee with various colors, so it’s impossible to say if the color is a difference between latte and coffee or not.

6. Separation

Once made, an iced latte will separate from the other coffee-based drinks in the cup.

An iced coffee stays together, so it looks like part of a regular coffee drink.

7. Taste

Since an iced latte is so frothed and milk-based, we can expect that it will have a different taste than a cool brewed coffee.

However, as I said, the taste of an iced coffee is very similar to that of a regular coffee.

8. Size

An iced latte is usually larger than the size of a regular latte (the biggest difference is that an iced latte can be half-size or double-size, while a regular latte comes in small to large sizes).

An iced coffee is usually smaller than a standard brewed coffee.

9. Froth

The froth on top of an iced latte will be the consistency of liquid foamy bubbles, while an iced coffee may have a thin layer of foam. 

10. Milk/Coffee Ratio

An iced latte generally has very little espresso mixed in with the milk, whereas an iced coffee will have the espresso mixed in with the hot milk.

11. Foam-to-Milk Ratio

Iced coffee is about the same amount of foam as there is milk. Iced lattes can have much more foam than milk, depending on what you want in your iced coffee.

12. Top Layer

You’ll notice that the latte will have a creamy, frothy layer on top of it, while the coffee will have a denser, less foamy one.

13. Scent

An iced latte will have a strong scent of espresso, with maybe a hint of milk or cold milk.

An iced coffee will have a milder scent – more so of the coffee, but still less than an iced latte.

14. Thickness

These drinks are very similar in thickness – the latte will be thicker, but not too much so.

The coffee will be about the same thickness as that of many brewed coffees.

15. Sweetness

An iced latte has much more sugar in it than an iced coffee. An iced coffee is already sweet, so it doesn’t need much more.

16. Added Ingredients

An iced latte can have many ingredients added to it, such as different syrups or flavored powders.

An iced coffee is usually just coffee with some ice cubes in it.

17. Color

The milk in an iced latte makes the drink colorless or light-colored…like white-ish or beige.

An iced coffee will be black.

18. Flavor

An iced latte will have a strong, distinct espresso flavor to it. The coffee will have a milder espresso-like taste to it.

However, both drinks can still taste very much like coffee.

Maybe, you might need to read this a few times to get the differences right but take your time.

As a newcomer to the coffee world, one obstacle you are bound to face is figuring the difference between different types of coffee, especially when they bear almost the same names.

Iced latte vs iced coffee, cappuccino vs dry cappuccino, dry cappuccino vs bone dry cappuccino and so on.

If you are still confused with these terms, don’t worry! Just keep reading on.

Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee – How To Make The Perfect Cup

Let me get this into your brain once more:

One of the basic differences between an iced latte and an iced coffee is that an iced latte is hot originally because of the hot steamed milk while an iced coffee is cold.

** The tip is to use cold milk and you’ll get the real deal!

Most people think that iced coffee and iced lattes are the same when in reality, there are some significant differences between them

In this section, I will share with you how you can make a delicious iced latte and iced coffee at home.

Iced Latte Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup (250 ml) brewed coffee (preferably freshly roasted and ground
  • 2 oz (60 ml) milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • ½ tsp sugar or sweetener of your choice (optional)

Instructions:

Let’s start by making the espresso.

Combine coffee and water in a small pot and brew for about 2 minutes, until the coffee is ready.

Then, strain the espresso into an airtight container. Let it cool down and set aside.

To make the milk, combine milk and sugar or sweetener in a small pot and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches a low boil.

Don’t overheat or it will curdle. When ready, remove from heat and let cool down before proceeding to the next step.

When ready for serving, pour the hot espresso into a cup and top with steamed milk (tossed with some foam if you like).

Iced Coffee Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup (250 ml) brewed coffee (preferably freshly roasted and ground)

Instructions:

Let’s start by making the espresso.

Combine coffee and water in a small pot and brew for about 2 minutes, until the coffee is ready.

Then, strain the espresso into an airtight container. Let it cool down before proceeding to the next step.

When ready for serving, pour coffee into a cup and top with ice.

Other than these extreme differences between an iced latte and an iced coffee, there are a few minor differences between both.

For one thing, a latte is generally served with milk froth on top of the drink while an iced coffee is mostly served with just milk.

In some cases though, you might find the difference in texture indistinguishable if both drinks have been made correctly.

Another difference can be found in terms of temperature. An iced latte is usually served hotter than an iced coffee.

At the end of the day though, it all boils down to personal preference.

If you’re looking for something that’s cold and refreshing, then the best option would be an iced coffee.

If you’re looking for something that can warm you up on a cold day or even during a hot summer rain, then try out an iced latte instead.

Are you still pondering over iced latte vs iced coffee?

If you’re still unable to decide which one is for you, go ahead and try both! Who knows?

You might end up preferring one over the other.

Final Thoughts About Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee

Now that you’re done reading this article, I am sure that you know how to make the perfect iced latte and iced coffee at home.

If you’re looking for a great way to cool down in the middle of a hot summer day, then both of these drinks are just what you need.

There are a lot of different ways that you can mix up these drinks.

For one thing, when making it at home, you have the freedom to add just about anything in them.

Milk can contain soy milk, almond milk, or even coconut milk.

You can also choose whether to add sugar or sweetener or not.

You can also choose to top your iced latte with froth, while you can decide whether to pour coffee over ice or not.

The options are practically limitless when it comes to this coffee house classic served hot or cold.

If you’re still unsure about which is the best option for you, try drinking both of them until you find out.

The blends are different, but both options are great for drinking coffee without having to wait.

So, which one will you try? Will it be an iced latte or an iced coffee? Let me know in the comments below!

As always, drink responsibly and enjoy!

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you learned something new about iced latte vs iced coffee as well as how to make them at home.

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