Iced latte vs Iced coffee: What’s the Difference?

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Iced coffee and iced latte are two of the most popular coffee orders on hot summer days. They are refreshing, delicious, and provide that much-welcomed caffeine hit.

So what’s the difference between the two, how do you order one at a coffee shop, and how do you make one at home?

In the guide below, we outline the key differences between an iced latte and iced coffee, answer some commonly asked questions, and take you step by step through the process of making one of these refreshing drinks.

How to make an Iced Latte

The iced latte is an iced coffee variation that uses espresso shots instead of hot brewed coffee.

First, you will need to grind the beans to a fine consistency and use an espresso machine to pull an espresso shot. Usually, an iced latte uses two shots of espresso.

Once you have your espresso ready, fill a glass with ice and add milk before pouring the espresso on top.

An Iced Latte is creamier than regular iced coffee. It also features the sharp taste of espresso which is not found in the other iced coffee methods.

Cold coffee is perfect to drink on a hot day. One of the advantages that an iced latte offers over iced coffee is that it tastes really good with a sweetener, such as sugar or condensed milk, making it a perfect drink for those coffee lovers that want some sweetness to balance out the bitterness.

Another way to make an iced latte is by brewing espresso and filling up an ice cube tray.

Once the coffee is frozen, add coffee ice cubes to a glass and pour milk on top. This method is a great way to have an iced coffee drink on the go.

Iced Latte Recipe

Serves: 1

  1. Grind your coffee for espresso as you would normall and pull a double shot of espresso. This step should take place immediately befor you make the drink – you don’t want to let your espresso cool down, as espresso tastes the best when it is fresh.
  2. Pour your espresso in to the bottom of a tall glass.
  3. Half fill the glass with ice. You can expiriment with the amount of ice that works best for you but keep in mind that as the ice melts it will dilute your drink.
  4. Add your milk. For a double espresso shot you should be aiming for approximately 250g of milk but this will differ depending on how much ice you have. Full fat milk works best.
  5. Give it a stir with a spoon and your drink is now ready to serve!
  6. We recommend giving this drink a go unsweetened, however, you can also experiment with sugar, chocolate syrup and other flavoured syrups.

How to Make an Iced Coffee

Iced filter coffee can be made with different pour-over coffee methods such as a V60, a Kalita, French press or an Aeropress.

To make iced coffee, you will need to make your filter coffee as you would normally but use half the amount of water. This will prevent your coffee tasting really diluted.

Brew your coffee using hot water over a tall glass with a couple of ice cubes, that way, the coffee will begin to melt the ice as you are brewing and you will end up with a drink that has the proper water ratio.

Light and medium roast coffees are preferred when making iced coffee with a filter as darker roasts tend to taste bitter when chilled.

In contrast to Iced Lattes, filter brewed iced coffee tastes better when it doesn’t have any milk added. Drinking it without any additives allows you to really taste the profile of the coffee beans.

Iced Coffee Recipe

Serves: 1

  1. Choose your brew method. We recommend starting with something common and straightforward like the Hario V60.
  2. Grind 20g of filter roast coffee on a medium-fine grind setting (the same as you would usually for pour over)
  3. Rinse the paper filter and let it drain, then pour your coffee grounds into the brewer.
  4. Place 150g of ice in your cup or serving vessel then place the brewer on top.
  5. Pour 150g of hot water evenly over your coffee grounds in a circular motion.
  6. This drink is ready to be consumed as soon as the water has passed through the grounds.

Key differences between Iced latte and Iced coffee

Type of coffee used

Usually, iced lattes are made with a bean that has a medium to dark roast. Most coffee shops either use a blend or a single origin coffee bean that favours notes of chocolate, caramel and nuts. This profile goes well with milk, which is added to the iced latte.

For iced coffee, especially filter coffee, medium-light roasts are preferred. Filter coffee is known for bringing out more delicate notes when brewing such as flowers and tropical fruits. Single-origin beans are preferred for this type of iced coffee.

Grind Size

Brewing espresso requires a fine grind in order for effective extraction.

Iced coffee can be made with either a medium-fine grind or a coarser one depending on your filter of choice.

Brewing methods like the Aeropress require a finer grind (almost as fine as espresso), while something like the V60 needs a grind that is a little bit coarser.

Brew Method

When making an iced latte you will always want to use espresso as this will ensure the punchy yet creamy flavour and consistency that an iced latte is known for.

On the other hand, iced coffee can be made with different brewing methods, such as french press, and then left to chill in the fridge as mentioned previously.

RELATED: Australia’s Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers

Milk

Cold coffee, especially espresso, pairs well with milk, which is why an iced latte is one of the most popular cold coffee drinks.

An iced latte works well with dairy options as well as milk alternatives and can often be complemented with a sweetener of choice.

Iced coffee, on the other hand, does not always pair well with milk.

If you are making iced coffee with a filter such as a V60 or a Kalita, we recommend not adding milk. These brewing methods highlight delicate notes and can bring out a little more acidity.

Adding milk will most likely change the profile favour of the coffee.

If you are using an Aeropress or a coffee plunger, adding a splash of milk can help make your iced coffee creamer and balance the flavour.

Acidity

The level of acidity will depend on the type of coffee that you are using to make your iced coffee as well as the brewing method.

Espresso is known for being very low on acidity as it is often paired with milk.

Iced coffee, on the other hand, can have more acidity and a brighter flavour. If you are someone that likes acidity in your coffee, give this method a go.

Versatility

A big advantage of iced coffee over an iced latte is that you do not need an espresso machine to make iced coffee at home.

Iced coffee can be made with any brewing method, even a percolator. Its versatility is often attributed to the fact that you can have it black or with sweetener and milk depending on the profile you are going for.

Iced latte is a little trickier to have at home as it will require a machine or a brewing method that mimics the espresso extraction process.

Iced Coffee FAQ

What is the difference between latte and iced latte?

Both drinks use espresso coffee as their base ingredient. However, the latte is made by mixing the espresso with steamed milk, resulting in a warm and creamy drink. Iced coffee is made by pouring the espresso shots over a glass that has ice cubes and cold milk. An Iced latte is perfect for hot summer days thanks to its refreshing and balanced taste.

How many shots is an iced latte?

An iced latte will usually have a double shot of espresso.

What is in Starbucks iced latte?

The iced latte is one of the most popular coffee drinks at Starbucks. It contains a double espresso shot, ice cubes and cold milk. You can also add caramel sauce, flavoured syrup or whipped cream if desired.

What’s the difference between cold brew and iced latte?

The main difference between cold brew and iced latte is the brewing method. Cold brew coffee is made by letting coarse coffee grounds steep in cold water from 12 to 16 hours. Cold brew is drunk by itself, with milk, or with sparkling water. An iced latte, on the other hand, uses an espresso machine to get the shots of espresso. Once you have a double shot of espresso coffee, you pour it over cold milk and you have an iced latte.

Do iced lattes have a lot of caffeine?

As mentioned earlier, an iced latte has a double shot of espresso. This means that an iced latte will have a decent amount of caffeine (approx 120 milligrams). However, the iced latte will generally have less caffeine than an iced coffee. You can always ask for a single espresso shot in your iced latte if you want to lower your caffeine intake.

Can I use hot coffee to make iced coffee?

Yes, you can use hot coffee to make iced coffee. For this method, use half the amount of water you would normally use in a pour-over. That way when you pour it over ice it does not taste diluted.