Summer is here, and it's time to switch up your coffee game! In this ultimate comparison guide, we're pitting two of the most popular iced coffee drinks against each other - iced macchiato and iced latte. Get ready to learn about the differences in taste, texture, and caffeine content. Which one will be your new go-to drink? Let's find out!

Iced Macchiato vs. Iced Latte: An Overview

Iced macchiatos and iced lattes are both popular drinks among coffee enthusiasts. With a base of espresso and cold milk, these iced beverages serve as the perfect refreshment on hot days. However, when it comes to their composition and taste, there are several key differences one should consider.

Basic Components of an Iced Macchiato

An iced macchiato consists of the following ingredients:

  • Ice cubes
  • Two shots of espresso
  • A small amount of whole milk or full milk, often in the form of frothy foam

The iced macchiato is characterized by its marbled appearance, with coffee poured over the ice and milk, resulting in an appealing layered look. The espresso-to-milk ratio in this drink is higher, leading to a more intense coffee flavor. Whole milk or full milk is typically used in a classic iced macchiato recipe, giving the drink a rich and creamy taste.

Basic Components of an Iced Latte

An iced latte, on the other hand, involves these key components:

  • Ice cubes
  • One shot of espresso
  • A larger quantity of low-fat milk

In contrast to the iced macchiato, the iced latte is mixed to achieve an even, homogenous color. The milk-to-espresso ratio is higher in this beverage, resulting in a milder and sweeter taste. Low-fat milk is generally used in iced lattes, which contributes to their smoother and lighter texture.

In summary, while both iced macchiatos and iced lattes share some common elements such as espresso, milk, and ice, there are notable differences in their composition, appearance, and flavor profile. The iced macchiato features a layered look with a bolder coffee taste, primarily due to the higher espresso content and whole milk usage. Meanwhile, the iced latte is a more evenly blended drink with a sweeter and smoother taste, resulting from the greater milk proportion and the use of low-fat milk options.

The Espresso Component

Differences in Espresso Shot Preparation

When comparing an iced macchiato and an iced latte, one key difference lies in the method of espresso shot preparation. In an iced macchiato, two shots of espresso are used and poured over ice, followed by a small amount of whole milk or cream. This creates the distinct marbled appearance that characterizes iced macchiatos. On the other hand, an iced latte involves a single shot of espresso combined with low-fat milk and ice, resulting in an evenly mixed beverage.

Espresso Macchiato vs. Latte Macchiato

An espresso macchiato is a small beverage containing a shot of espresso topped with a dollop of frothy milk. This drink showcases the bold flavor of the espresso. In contrast, a latte macchiato features steamed milk layered with a shot of espresso, highlighting the creaminess of the milk. It is essential to note that both espresso macchiatos and latte macchiatos can be prepared as cold beverages, resulting in iced espresso macchiatos and iced latte macchiatos, respectively.

Caffeine Content

Caffeine content differs between the two beverages because of the varying espresso-to-milk ratios. An iced macchiato generally contains more caffeine due to the use of two espresso shots compared to the single shot used in an iced latte. The type of coffee bean, specifically the Arabica or Robusta variety, also affects the caffeine content. Robusta beans have higher caffeine levels than Arabica beans.

Below is a summary of the key differences between an iced macchiato and an iced latte:

Iced Macchiato Iced Latte
2 shots of espresso 1 shot of espresso
Whole milk or cream Low-fat milk
Marbled appearance Evenly mixed
Higher caffeine content Lower caffeine content

In conclusion, while both iced macchiatos and iced lattes contain espresso and milk, they differ in preparation methods, espresso-to-milk ratios, aesthetics, and caffeine content. This information is essential when choosing a suitable cold espresso beverage to satisfy one's palate and caffeine preferences.

Milk and How It Defines the Drinks

Steamed Milk vs. Frothed Milk

Iced lattes and iced macchiatos are two popular coffee beverages with distinct differences. One key aspect that sets them apart is the type of milk used and its preparation. In an iced latte, the milk is generally not frothed, resulting in a smoother, creamier texture. On the other hand, an iced macchiato uses foamed milk, which gives it a distinct marbled or layered appearance.

Low-Fat Milk

Low-fat milk plays a role in the composition of iced lattes. It gives the drink a lighter taste and texture compared to one made with whole milk. The use of low-fat milk in iced lattes results in a more refreshing and delicate beverage, which is ideal for those who prefer a milder coffee flavor.

Whole Milk

Whole milk, on the contrary, is the primary milk choice in iced macchiatos. Whole milk's creaminess contributes to the rich taste and robust flavor profile of the beverage. This choice of milk complements the stronger coffee flavor found in iced macchiatos.


For those who prefer non-dairy milk alternatives, options such as almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk can be used in both iced lattes and iced macchiatos. These alternatives provide varying levels of creaminess and distinct flavors depending on personal preferences.

In summary, milk plays a significant role in defining the differences between iced lattes and iced macchiatos. The choice and preparation of milk, whether it's steamed, frothed, low-fat, or whole milk, contribute to each drink's unique characteristics. Moreover, non-dairy alternatives allow for customization and adaptation to cater to individual tastes and dietary requirements.

In your journey to better understand the nuances between iced lattes and iced macchiatos, it might intrigue you to know that the quality of the espresso plays a pivotal role too. The right espresso shot can elevate the taste and texture of your beverage, and the machinery used for extraction matters immensely. For cafes and establishments aiming to offer the best, it's often recommended to invest in a commercial espresso machine. Not only does a commercial quality espresso machine ensure consistency, but it also handles high volumes without compromising on flavor. Whether you're planning to open a coffee shop or upgrade your current setup, explore the options in our commercial espresso machine collection to find the perfect fit for your needs. After all, the secret behind a great iced latte or macchiato often starts with the espresso!

Visual and Flavor Differences

Marble Effect and Presentation

Iced macchiatos and iced lattes offer distinctive visual and flavor differences. Iced macchiatos are known for their impressive marble effect, created by the layering of espresso and milk. This is achieved by pouring the espresso over a glass filled with milk, resulting in a stunning marbled appearance. On the other hand, iced lattes consist of a mix of espresso and milk, giving it a more uniform, creamy appearance without the layered look presented by iced macchiatos.

Adding toppings like whipped cream, syrups, or spices can enhance the presentation of both drinks even further. Iced macchiatos commonly feature whipped cream and caramel or honey drizzle, while iced lattes can be adorned with a sprinkle of cinnamon or other spices. The addition of these extra elements contributes to a visually appealing beverage that is sure to grab the attention of coffee enthusiasts.

Flavor Profile Comparisons

When it comes to flavor profiles, there are some notable distinctions between iced macchiatos and iced lattes. Iced macchiatos typically present a robust and strong coffee flavor due to the way espresso is poured over the milk, allowing the two components to interact minimally. This results in a bolder taste that can be complemented by the sweetness of added syrups or whipped cream, making it perfect for individuals who prefer a more intense coffee experience.

In contrast, iced lattes have a milkier, smoother taste as they contain more milk than iced macchiatos. Since the espresso is blended with the milk, the coffee flavor is slightly diluted, creating a milder and creamier beverage. This can be ideal for those who enjoy a lighter coffee experience with additional flavor options such as cinnamon, caramel, or honey.

In summary, iced macchiatos and iced lattes each have their unique visual and flavor characteristics, making them appealing to different tastes and preferences. The marble effect, presentation, and bold flavor of iced macchiatos set them apart from the creamier, milder iced lattes, offering a diverse range of options for coffee enthusiasts to enjoy.

Variations and Related Drinks

Iced Cappuccino

Iced Cappuccino is another popular iced coffee option that shares similarities with both iced macchiato and iced latte. While an iced cappuccino also consists of espresso, milk, and ice, it distinguishes itself by having a frothy layer of milk foam on top. This foam adds a creamier texture to the drink and is often preferred by those who enjoy a smoother mouthfeel contrasted against the strong espresso base.

Iced Espresso

Moving on to Iced Espresso, it's essential to understand that this drink is a simpler version of its iced counterparts. The primary components of an iced espresso are shots of espresso poured over ice. This beverage skips the milk content found in iced latte, iced macchiato, and iced cappuccino, resulting in a more intense, rich coffee flavor that retains the full characteristics of the espresso itself. The simplicity of iced espresso is ideal for coffee enthusiasts seeking a bold, robust taste without dairy or sweeteners.


The Affogato, an Italian-inspired treat, takes the concept of combining coffee and ice a different route. Made by pouring a hot shot of espresso over a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato, the Affogato offers both a dessert and coffee experience in one. As the hot espresso comes into contact with the cold ice cream, it melts and blends together, creating a rich and indulgent flavor profile. This dessert beverage is perfect for individuals who appreciate the combination of coffee and sweet treats.

Iced Coffees

Lastly, Iced Coffees are essentially chilled coffee beverages that come in various forms, flavors, and preparations. While iced macchiato, iced latte, and iced cappuccino all fall under this category, there are numerous other variations to cater to personal preferences. Some popular examples include:

  • Iced Mocha: Incorporating chocolate syrup or cocoa powder with espresso, milk, and ice for a delicious, dessert-like coffee experience.
  • Iced Americano: A mix of cold water and espresso poured over ice for a milder coffee flavor without dairy.
  • Cold Brew: Slow and steep coffee grounds for hours, resulting in a smooth, flavorful coffee concentrate served over ice and typically diluted with water or milk.

In summary, the world of iced coffee beverages offers a variety of options to suit different tastes and preferences. Iced latte, iced macchiato, and their related drinks each bring unique characteristics that cater to a range of flavors, textures, and experiences for coffee enthusiasts to enjoy.

LatteLatte informationMacchiato
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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