iced coffee

Summer is the perfect time to indulge in a refreshing and cold coffee drink. In this in-depth comparison guide, we're putting two popular iced coffee drinks head to head - iced latte and iced coffee. Get ready to learn about the brewing methods, taste profiles, and caffeine content of these two drinks. Which one will be your new go-to for a hot summer day? Let's find out!

Iced Latte Vs. Iced Coffee: Definitions and Differences

Iced Latte

An iced latte is a popular cold coffee drink that consists of espresso, milk, and ice. It is typically made using 1/3 espresso and 2/3 cold milk, with ice cubes or crushed ice to keep it chilled. Many people enjoy adding sweeteners or flavorings, such as chocolate or caramel, to their iced lattes for a personalized taste. The type of milk used in an iced latte can greatly influence its calorie count, with full cream or reduced-fat milk being common choices. Typically, 3/4 milk content contributes to the higher calorie content of this drink, making it a richer and creamier alternative to iced coffee.

Iced Coffee

On the other hand, iced coffee features brewed coffee or instant coffee as its primary ingredient. This cold coffee drink is created by combining approximately 90% cold-brewed coffee - a process where coffee beans are steeped in cold water for an extended period - with 10% milk and ice cubes or crushed ice. Unlike an iced latte, iced coffee contains little to no milk, giving it a less creamy texture and lighter taste. However, some people may choose to add milk, sugar, or other flavorings to enhance the flavor of their iced coffee.

Another variation of a cold coffee drink is the iced americano, which is made with espresso shots, ice, and cold water. This beverage offers a more diluted espresso flavor compared to its iced latte counterpart. Other cold coffee drinks include the iced cappuccino and iced macchiato, which also contain espresso as their base but have unique preparation methods and additional ingredients that set them apart.

In summary, the main differences between an iced latte and iced coffee lie in the components used to make each drink, their strength, and their flavor profiles. While an iced latte is characterized by its espresso base and creamier texture, iced coffee is known for its brewed coffee base and less milky consistency. Both drinks have their own fan base, and personal preference plays a significant role in determining which one suits a person's taste buds best.

Ingredients and Preparation

Iced Latte Ingredients and Process

An iced latte is a refreshing and creamy coffee beverage, which primarily consists of espresso, milk, and ice cubes. The process of making an iced latte involves using a double shot of espresso, freshly pulled from an espresso machine or a moka pot. For cafes or restaurants aiming for perfection in their iced lattes, having a top-notch espresso machine is paramount. In fact, many prefer to buy a commercial grade espresso machine for the consistent quality and taste it offers. This double shot of espresso is then combined with steamed milk, which is cooled down to create a smoother texture.

To sweeten the iced latte, a variety of sweeteners such as sugar, syrup, or flavored coffee syrups, can be added according to personal taste preference. Once the desired sweetness level is achieved, the mixture is poured over ice cubes to chill the beverage and maintain its cold, refreshing quality. The iced latte is then ready to be enjoyed.

Iced Coffee Ingredients and Process

Iced coffee, on the other hand, is a simpler beverage that is typically less creamy and rich compared to an iced latte. The main ingredients in an iced coffee include brewed coffee, ice cubes, and, optionally, milk or sweeteners like sugar, syrup, or flavored coffee syrups. The process of making an iced coffee begins with brewing a pot of regular coffee, preferably using a stronger roast to account for the ice dilution.

Once the coffee is brewed, it is either allowed to cool down or poured directly over coffee ice cubes to prevent dilution while chilling the beverage. Regular ice cubes can also be used, but coffee ice cubes help maintain the bold flavor of the iced coffee. After the coffee is adequately chilled, optional ingredients like milk or sweeteners can be added to suit one's preference.

In summary, iced lattes and iced coffees differ in their main ingredients and preparation processes. Iced lattes use a rich double shot of espresso combined with steamed milk and are often sweetened with various sweeteners like sugar or syrup, while iced coffees utilize regular brewed coffee and may or may not include milk and sweeteners depending on personal taste. Both beverages are served cold with ice cubes, offering a refreshing and satisfying coffee experience.

Caffeine Content and Taste

Caffeine in Iced Lattes and Iced Coffees

Iced lattes and iced coffees differ in their caffeine content due to the type of coffee used when making the drinks. An iced latte is made with espresso shots, containing around 75 mg of caffeine per shot, while an iced coffee is made with brewed coffee or instant coffee, having around 95 mg of caffeine per serving. Iced coffees usually have more caffeine since they contain more brewed coffee than espresso in iced lattes. It is important to note that the caffeine content may vary depending on the number of espresso shots or the strength of brewed coffee used.

Cold brew can be an alternative to brewed coffee in an iced coffee recipe, yielding a smoother taste and lower acidity. French press often works well for iced coffee, as it produces a robust flavor, but this will affect the final caffeine content, potentially surpassing the 134 mg mark.

Comparing Taste Profiles

The taste profiles of iced lattes and iced coffees also differ from each other. While iced lattes generally have a mellow taste due to the balance provided by the milk added to the espresso, iced coffees tend to exhibit more bitterness and acidity because of the higher coffee content. The type of coffee used will affect the coffee flavor, ranging from medium to bold or even chocolate notes, depending on the beans and preparation method.

Beyond coffee beans, other ingredients can change the flavor profile of the beverages. For example, almond milk, vanilla, or caramel can be added to either iced lattes or iced coffees, introducing a nutty or sweet taste. Coffee shops may offer a variety of syrups and plant-based milk options to cater to different preferences.

In terms of texture, iced lattes can be described as smoother, resulting from the milk that is mixed with the espresso. Conversely, iced coffees can have a more robust or even bitter taste, which can be mellowed by adding milk or cream. If hot water is used in the brewing process of iced coffee, a stronger taste and higher acidity are likely to occur.

To briefly summarize, the caffeine content and taste profiles of iced lattes and iced coffees largely depend on the choice of coffee, brewing method, and additional ingredients. Iced coffees typically have a higher caffeine content, while iced lattes provide a smoother, more balanced taste due to the milk component.

Health Considerations and Calorie Content

When comparing iced lattes to iced coffee, it's important to consider their health aspects and calorie content. Iced lattes typically contain more calories due to their higher milk content, which can greatly influence the total calorie count. For instance, a regular iced latte may require about 3/4 cup of milk, bringing the calorie count up compared to an iced coffee.

There are several options when it comes to milk alternatives for those looking to reduce calories or maintain a healthier diet. For example, almond milk, coconut milk, and soy milk offer lower calorie alternatives to dairy milk. However, it's important to choose unsweetened versions, as sweetened varieties can contain high amounts of sugar.

Meanwhile, iced coffee may have fewer calories as it usually contains a smaller amount of milk, or none at all. However, the calorie content can still be high depending on the addition of sweeteners or flavorings. Using natural sweeteners, such as stevia or monk fruit, can be a healthier option compared to adding sugar.

Instant coffee can also be a good choice for those looking to control their calorie intake. It's typically lower in calories than brewed coffee and can be prepared in various ways, including with or without milk.

In addition to milk alternatives, there are other ingredients that can be added to iced lattes or iced coffees to enhance their flavor and creaminess. Coconut cream, for example, can provide a creamier texture while also adding a tropical twist. Similarly, sweeteners like sweetened condensed milk can increase the sweetness and lend a richer taste to the beverage.

While both iced lattes and iced coffees can be enjoyable and refreshing drinks, the key to maintaining a healthy balance lies in choosing the right ingredients and paying attention to portion sizes. Opting for low-calorie milk alternatives, limiting sweeteners, and using natural ingredients can help make these beverages a healthier option for those looking to enjoy a cold caffeinated treat.

Customization and Variations

Popular Flavor Options

Iced lattes and iced coffees offer a variety of flavors to please different taste preferences. Many cafes, including Starbucks, provide a range of flavored syrups for customers to choose from. These can include classic options like vanilla, caramel, and hazelnut or seasonal favorites such as pumpkin spice and peppermint mocha. The choice of flavor is a matter of personal preference, and one can experiment with different combinations to find the perfect balance between coffee and sweetness.

Milk and Sweetener Alternatives

Considering the different dietary requirements and personal tastes, both iced lattes and iced coffees offer several milk and sweetener alternatives. Here are some options for customizing your cold coffee drink according to your preferences:

  • Milk alternatives: whole milk, skim milk, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, and more.
  • Sweeteners: classic syrup, liquid sugar, sugar substitutes (like Stevia or Splenda), or sweetened condensed milk.

In addition to the choice of milk and sweetener, one can also modify their iced latte or iced coffee with a double shot of espresso or a different coffee-to-milk ratio, depending on personal preferences and desired strength. Cold water, ice, and milk foam can also be added to the drinks to create different textures, body, and refreshing qualities.

To make these cold coffee drinks even more enjoyable during the summer months, try adding toppings like whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce.

Iced Latte Customizations

Customization Choices
Milk Whole milk, skim milk, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk
Sweetener Classic syrup, liquid sugar, sugar substitutes, sweetened condensed milk
Coffee Strength Double shot of espresso, varying coffee-to-milk ratio
Additions & Toppings Cold water, ice, milk foam, whipped cream, chocolate shavings, caramel drizzle

In conclusion, iced lattes and iced coffees offer plenty of options for customization and variation. Whether one prefers their drink sweeter, stronger, or with unique flavor profiles, the possibilities are endless when it comes to personalizing these refreshing beverages. The key is to experiment, communicate effectively when ordering at a cafe, and enjoy the art of cold coffee drinks, served just the way you like.

Brewing Methods for Iced Coffee

Cold Brew

The cold brew method is a popular choice for making iced coffee as it creates a smoother and less acidic taste. To make cold brew iced coffee, you'll need coarse coffee grounds mixed with cold water. This mixture will steep for a period of 12-24 hours before straining to produce a concentrated coffee. You can then dilute your cold brew concentrate with ice, water, or milk to achieve your desired iced coffee taste.

French Press

The French press, also known as a press pot, can also be used to make iced coffee. To do this, start by using a slightly coarse grind for your coffee beans. Brew the coffee using the French press method with hot water for approximately 4 minutes. After brewing, pour the hot coffee over a full cup of ice. The coffee's strength will remain intact as it quickly chills over the ice.


When using the pour-over method for iced coffee, the key is to adjust your coffee to water ratio to prevent a watered-down taste. Similar to the French press method, use medium-fine grind coffee beans. Start by placing ice in the bottom of your pouring vessel, then place a coffee filter with the grounds on top of the ice. Slowly pour hot water over the coffee grounds, allowing the brewed coffee to pass through the ice and chill instantly.


Aeropress is a fast, easy, and versatile brewing method for making iced coffee. Use fine grind coffee beans with your Aeropress. Start by brewing a concentrated hot coffee, and then immediately press it over a container filled with ice. The hot coffee will melt the ice, cooling it down instantly and creating a strong, smooth iced coffee.


The Chemex brewing method can also produce a delicious iced coffee. Using medium-coarse grind coffee beans, begin by placing ice in the bottom of the Chemex container. Next, add a Chemex paper filter containing the coffee grounds on top of the ice. Slowly pour hot water over the coffee grounds, allowing the brewed coffee to pass through the ice, cooling it quickly and preserving the coffee's bold flavors.

In summary, various brewing methods like cold brew, French press, pour-over, Aeropress, and Chemex can be used for creating iced coffee, each offering unique flavor profiles. Adjust your coffee-to-water ratio and grind size according to your preferred method and desired strength to ensure a satisfying iced coffee experience.

Making Iced Lattes and Iced Coffees at Home

DIY Iced Latte Recipes

To make an iced latte at home, start by brewing two shots of espresso (about 2 ounces) using an espresso machine. If you don't have an espresso machine, you can use a stovetop brewer, such as the Moka pot, to create a rich, espresso-like coffee. Pour the espresso into a cup or glass, and fill it with ice cubes.

Next, add milk to your drink. Iced lattes typically have a coffee-to-milk ratio of 1:2, which means for every 1 part espresso, you'll add in 2 parts cold milk. This ratio gives lattes their signature smoother flavor and creaminess. If you're looking for a luxurious twist, you might consider frothing some cold foam to top off your latte.

One of the most popular variations of iced lattes is the Iced Vanilla Latte. To make this drink at home, simply add a couple of tablespoons of vanilla syrup or a drop of vanilla extract to your latte before adding the ice and milk.

DIY Iced Coffee Recipes

To make iced coffee at home, you'll need brewed coffee, ice cubes, and a small amount of milk. You can use different brewing methods such as a Chemex, Aeropress, or standard drip coffee maker to prepare the brewed coffee. Once the coffee is ready, let it cool down to room temperature.

When the brewed coffee has cooled, pour it over a glass filled with ice cubes. Iced coffee is usually made with a 90% cold-brewed coffee and 10% milk ratio, unlike the iced latte, which uses a smaller amount of espresso. This means you can add as little or as much milk as you prefer, depending on your taste.

For variations and add-ins, consider trying flavors like caramel or peppermint syrups in your iced coffee. If you want to make a more concentrated iced coffee, you might try using less water during the brewing process or even brewing the coffee directly over ice.

When you make iced lattes and iced coffees at home, you have the freedom to experiment with different recipes and techniques to create your perfect drink. Adjust the coffee-to-milk ratio, substitute your favorite non-dairy milk, or explore various flavored syrups to make a refreshing and delicious beverage suited to your taste.

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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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