hot latte

Are you a latte lover who can't decide between a hot or cold latte? In this ultimate guide, we're comparing two popular latte drinks - iced latte and hot latte. Get ready to learn about the milk, espresso, and foam used, the brewing methods, and the taste profiles of these two drinks. Which one will be your new go-to for a morning pick-me-up or an afternoon break? Let's find out!

Iced Latte Vs. Hot Latte: What's the Difference?

Temperature and Preparation

Iced lattes and hot lattes are both delicious caffeinated options but differ significantly in temperature and preparation. An iced latte is typically made by adding a shot of espresso to a glass filled with ice and then pouring cold milk to fill the rest of the glass. It's mixed well to ensure the espresso, ice, and milk blend together perfectly. In contrast, a hot latte is prepared by first pouring a shot of espresso into a warm cup and then filling it with steamed milk. A layer of milk foam is added on top to complete the process.

Taste and Flavor Experience

The flavor experience with iced lattes and hot lattes differs due to the varying temperatures and textures. The iced latte provides a refreshing, cool beverage with the perfect balance between the bold espresso and the smooth, creamy milk. The cold temperature can mellow the flavor of the espresso, making the iced version seem less intense compared to its hot counterpart.

On the other hand, a hot latte offers a richer, more robust coffee experience because the warm steamed milk and espresso blend more smoothly. The heat allows the natural sweetness and flavors of the milk to complement the boldness of the espresso. The velvety milk foam layer on top adds a textural element that further enhances the overall flavor experience.

Iced and hot lattes can both be customized with additional flavors, such as syrups, spices, and whipped cream, according to personal preferences. However, it's essential to note that these modifications may change the overall taste and calorie content.

In summary, iced lattes and hot lattes both contain espresso and milk, but the temperature and preparation methods differ, resulting in distinct taste experiences. While iced lattes provide a refreshing and smooth beverage during warmer seasons, hot lattes offer a richer, comforting coffee option when the temperature drops. Both can be personalized with extra flavors to suit each individual's taste preferences.

Key Components


The primary component in both hot and iced lattes is espresso. Typically, a latte contains 1-2 shots of espresso, which contribute to the strong coffee flavor and play a significant role in the overall taste. The brewing process involves forcing hot water through finely ground coffee, resulting in a concentrated and bold flavor.


Milk is another crucial ingredient in lattes, regardless of whether they're served hot or cold. In a hot latte, steamed milk is added to the espresso, creating a creamier texture and smoother taste. The amount of milk added can be adjusted to achieve the desired coffee-to-milk ratio, which affects the overall taste and strength of the drink. On the other hand, an iced latte requires cold milk to be poured over the espresso and ice cubes. The difference in milk temperature significantly impacts the drink's consistency, with hot lattes being creamier and iced lattes having a lighter texture.

Sweeteners and Syrups

Many people choose to customize their lattes by adding sweeteners or flavored syrups. Common sweeteners include sugar, honey, and artificial sweeteners, while popular syrup flavors range from vanilla to caramel and hazelnut. Adding these ingredients can alter the taste and calorie content of the drink. It's essential to keep in mind that when incorporating syrups or sweeteners, moderation is key to maintaining a balanced flavor profile and avoiding excessive calorie intake.

Temperature Effect on Taste

Temperature plays an essential role in the taste and experience of a latte. Hot lattes, typically served around 160 degrees Fahrenheit, provide a warm, comforting sensation perfect for colder weather. The steamed milk and frothed milk foam contribute to a creamy, velvety texture. In contrast, iced lattes offer a refreshing and invigorating experience, particularly during warmer months. The use of ice cubes and cold milk leads to a lighter, more crisp texture. However, it's essential to note that as the ice melts, it might dilute the coffee and change its flavor slightly.

Though the primary ingredients in hot and iced lattes are the same, differences in temperature, milk consistency, and personal customization options result in varying taste experiences. Furthermore, the quality and functionality of the equipment play a pivotal role in crafting the perfect beverage. If you're a business owner or a coffee enthusiast considering an upgrade, you might want to check out our collection of commercial espresso machines. A commercial quality espresso machine can ensure consistency and perfection in every cup. Ultimately, the choice between a hot or iced latte depends on individual preferences and the desired drinking experience.

Popular Espresso-Based Drinks

Cappuccino and Iced Cappuccino

Cappuccinos are a widely enjoyed espresso-based drink consisting of one part espresso, one part steamed milk, and one part foamed milk. This combination creates a creamy, well-balanced coffee beverage with a rich flavor. An iced cappuccino follows a similar recipe but uses cold milk and ice instead of steamed milk and foam. Both hot and iced cappuccinos provide a delightful caffeine boost, with an average content of 64 milligrams per single espresso shot.

Mocha and Iced Mocha

Mochas are another espresso-based favorite, perfect for those who enjoy the combination of coffee and chocolate flavors. A mocha begins with a shot of espresso blended with chocolate syrup, followed by steamed milk, and often topped with whipped cream. This beverage makes for a delectable treat that satisfies both your caffeine and sweet cravings. An iced mocha follows a similar recipe but uses cold milk and ice instead of steamed milk, resulting in a refreshing and indulgent beverage.

Vanilla Latte and Iced Vanilla Latte

Vanilla lattes are incredibly popular for their sweet and aromatic flavor profile. A vanilla latte consists of a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and a hint of vanilla syrup, creating a smooth and creamy caffeinated indulgence. An iced vanilla latte follows the same ingredients but uses cold milk and ice in place of steamed milk. Both hot and iced vanilla lattes are a delightful way to enjoy your caffeine fix while savoring the subtle sweetness of vanilla.

Espresso-based drinks can adapt to a variety of flavors and preferences, with seasonal favorites such as pumpkin spice lattes and gingerbread lattes making an appearance during the fall and winter months. These popular beverages all share a foundation of espresso, providing a robust and rich coffee experience that can be customized to satisfy individual taste buds. Whether you prefer a hot, steamy cappuccino, a chilled iced mocha, or a fragrant vanilla latte, there's an espresso-based beverage for every coffee enthusiast to enjoy.

Brewing Methods

Espresso Machine

An espresso machine is a popular choice for making both hot and iced lattes. The machine forces hot water through finely ground coffee, producing a concentrated coffee called espresso. This is combined with steamed milk for hot lattes or cold milk and ice for iced lattes. Some machines even have removable steam wands, which can froth milk for a creamy texture.

French Press

A French press is another versatile brewing method for creating hot and iced lattes. To make a latte using a French press, steep coarsely ground coffee in hot water. Once the coffee is brewed, separate the grounds from the liquid by pressing down on the plunger. For hot lattes, mix the brewed coffee with steamed milk. For iced lattes, simply mix the coffee with cold milk and ice.

Drip Coffee Maker

A drip coffee maker can also be used to make hot and iced lattes. Fill the machine with appropriate amounts of ground coffee and water, and allow the hot water to drip through the coffee grounds. Create a hot latte by combining the brewed coffee with steamed milk, or make an iced latte by mixing the coffee with cold milk and ice.

Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee is created by steeping coarse coffee grounds in cool water for an extended period of time, usually 12-24 hours. This brewing method creates a strong, smooth concentrate that can be mixed with milk and ice to create a delicious iced latte. Since cold brew is already cold, it isn't suitable for making hot lattes.


Pour-over brewing involves manually pouring hot water over ground coffee in a cone or similar filter holder, allowing the liquid to drip through the grounds and into a container. This method is similar to the drip coffee maker but allows for more control over the brewing process. Pour-over coffee can be combined with steamed milk to make a hot latte, or mixed with cold milk and ice for an iced latte. Popular pour-over devices include the Kalita Wave, V60, and Chemex.

By understanding the different brewing methods, you can create the perfect hot or iced latte to suit your taste preferences. From espresso machines to pour-over devices, there is a brewing method for every coffee enthusiast.

Customizing Your Latte

When it comes to enjoying a delicious latte, whether iced or hot, there are many ways to customize the drink to meet individual preferences. By exploring various milk options, adding flavors and syrups, and balancing strength and taste, anyone can create the perfect latte experience.

Milk Options

The choice of milk is a key factor when customizing a latte. The standard option is cow's milk, but for those seeking alternatives due to dietary restrictions or taste preferences, there are several alternatives:

  • Almond Milk: This nut-based milk offers a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that complements the coffee taste in a latte. Additionally, almond milk provides a lighter texture.
  • Oat Milk: This plant-based milk is creamy and offers a natural sweetness, making it a popular choice for its excellent compatibility with coffee flavors.
  • Soy Milk: A common choice for those seeking lactose-free options, soy milk adds a creamy texture to lattes without affecting the taste of the espresso too much.

Adding Flavors and Syrups

Flavored syrups are a simple and delightful way to enhance a latte, taking it from a classic taste to a fun and unique one. Popular flavors include:

  • Vanilla: This classic and subtle sweetness pairs well with both hot and iced lattes and is a staple in many coffee shops.
  • Caramel: Give your latte a rich, buttery aroma and taste by adding a drizzle of caramel syrup.
  • Hazelnut: Add a touch of nuttiness to your latte with hazelnut syrup for a sophisticated flavor profile.

For those who prefer a natural and homemade touch, consider making your own coffee creamer by blending your desired flavor agent (such as pure vanilla extract or cocoa powder) with your favorite milk.

Balancing Strength and Taste

The magical balance between the strength of espresso and the softness of milk is crucial for the perfect latte. By adjusting the espresso-to-milk ratio or tweaking the milk's temperature, it's possible to find the ideal combination:

  • Iced Lattes: Using cold milk and pouring the espresso shots over ice reduces the overall calorie count as part of the milk is replaced with ice. This also results in a more mellow taste and maintains the refreshing chill of the drink.
  • Hot Lattes: These lattes use steamed milk, which creates a creamy texture and a thin layer of foam at the top, as well as a more robust flavor from the espresso. To achieve an extra-hot latte, preheat your cup or mug with boiling water before pouring in the espresso and steamed milk.

Armed with these customization options, anyone can create a latte that caters to their personal taste preferences and dietary needs. Whether sipping on an iced latte on a warm summer day or a hot latte on a chilly morning, the possibilities for enjoying this beloved beverage are endless.

Caffeine Comparison

When considering iced lattes versus hot lattes, one significant topic of interest is the amount of caffeine present in each drink. The caffeine content in both variants depends on the number of espresso shots used, the coffee bean selection, and the roast type.

In a standard hot latte, short and tall sizes typically contain one espresso shot, amounting to approximately 75-85 milligrams of caffeine. Grande and hot venti lattes have two shots, resulting in 150-170 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, an iced venti latte consists of three espresso shots, leading to a higher caffeine content.

The strength of coffee beans used can make a noticeable difference in the caffeine levels. Darker roasts tend to have slightly less caffeine than lighter roasts. Additionally, the acidity and bitterness of the coffee may vary depending on the roast type, further contributing to the overall taste and experience of the latte.

The choice of milk and additives can also influence the overall experience of enjoying an iced or hot latte. Many individuals prefer low-fat milk or alternatives such as almond or oat milk to achieve their desired creaminess. A splash of milk or different coffee syrups, like caramel, can also affect the flavor profile and perceived strength of the latte without drastically changing the caffeine content.

Latte art is another factor that distinguishes hot lattes from iced lattes. Hot lattes provide a canvas for intricate designs created using frothed milk, enhancing the visual appeal of the drink. In contrast, iced lattes focus more on the refreshing properties of a cold drink.

Health benefits stemming from coffee consumption are present in both hot and iced lattes. Antioxidants found in coffee may provide mild health benefits, though the specific advantages may vary based on individual consumption habits.

When comparing an iced latte to an affogato, which is a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of ice cream, the caffeine content can still be similar if the same amount of espresso is used. However, the additional calories and sugar found in the ice cream must be taken into account when considering overall health implications.

In most cases, the prices of hot and iced lattes are similar, though there may be a slight premium for the refreshment of an iced version. Ultimately, the choice between an iced latte and a hot latte comes down to personal preference for temperature, flavor, and experience. No matter which latte one chooses, they can expect a delightful combination of coffee and creaminess with a caffeine boost to suit their needs.

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Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

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