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Iced Latte vs. Iced Coffee: Three Main Differences

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For coffee lovers out there, are there times you’re confused whether to get an iced coffee or an iced latte? You might think of them as the same thing, but what really are their differences?

While both can be satisfyingly refreshing, especially during summer when you want something cold, yet you also need something to keep you energized, there are some differences between the two that you need to know.

For this article, we’ll tackle those differences that will help you identify whether to get an iced coffee or an iced latte the next time you visit a café.

First, let’s identify both drinks.

ice coffee in glass

What is Iced Coffee?

Iced coffee is a broad term, though we can generally identify it as a coffee beverage that is served chilled, or cold. Usually, iced coffee is made by brewing a coffee and then serving it over ice. Sounds simple, right? However, it takes lots of practice and experience to make a good quality iced coffee.

Generally, it is brewed stronger than usual hot coffee since it will still be diluted when the ice melts. For this reason, the ratio between the coffee, water, or milk, and ice is important, otherwise, it’ll turn weak, or tasteless.

If you want a sweeter taste, you are free to add sugar, though it is best to add it before adding ice since sugar melts faster in hot liquids. Some even use pre-dissolved sugar.

Some even take their iced coffee to the next level where they add ice cream, or even whipped cream.

pouring coffee

What is Iced Latte?

On the other hand, the iced latte is a drink that is made by mixing a shot of espresso, cold milk, and ice. Yes, it’s that easy, but like all other drinks, it takes time to master it.

However, there are various iced latte recipes that are being practiced all over the world, so the recipe that you want to follow really depends on you. Sometimes, an extract or a syrup is added into it.

Now, let’s get to their differences.

Iced Latte vs. Iced Coffee: What are the Differences?

1. Coffee to milk ratio

Iced coffee can be made without milk. It only acts as an ingredient to dilute the coffee, and water can do the job. If you prefer the pure taste of brewed coffee, then you can leave the milk out.

Meanwhile, it is essential for iced lattes to have milk in them. In fact, the Latin word “latte” means milk! Iced latte is more milk than espresso. So, for those who prefer a creamy coffee, this is the better choice for you.

Simply say, iced coffee has little to no milk, while iced latte has more milk than coffee.

2. Coffee Type

Iced coffee should be made by brewing actual coffee, and you should brew it strong. If you’re making iced coffee using instant coffee, then you’re not really making an iced coffee.

On the other hand, an iced latte can be created by using a shot, or a double shot of espresso (depends on how strong you want it), or you can even use instant coffee if you’re in a hurry.

It’s safe to say that this is easier to make compared to iced coffee since you won’t need to brew actual coffee. However, an iced latte is not a strong-tasting coffee, since more milk is added to it.

3. Blending

As mentioned, it is quicker to make iced latte. Just pour in ice, coffee, and milk. Stir and it’s ready to be served.

Meanwhile, iced coffee takes more effort and time. Some masters even take hours to brew coffee! That’s why it is recommended to brew them at night so it’ll be ready to be served in the morning.

pouring cream on coffee

In a nutshell:

  • Iced coffee can be made without milk, while an iced latte needs milk.
  • Though the process is more complex, iced coffee has a simpler recipe, while iced latte has various recipes that differ between countries.
  • Iced coffee uses brewed coffee, whereas iced latte uses espresso or instant coffee.
  • Iced coffee contains coffee, water, and ice cubes, while iced latte contains chilled milk, an espresso shot, and may contain added ice cubes.
  • Iced coffee has a more liquidy texture since only water is used, while iced latte has a creamier and smoother taste because of the milk.
  • Iced coffee has a stronger coffee flavor, with a hint of sweetness and bitterness, while iced latte is milkier due to the huge amount of milk added on it. Basically, we can consider that the iced latte is a coffee-flavored milk drink.

As we get to the end of this article, let me share with you a short guide on how to make both iced drinks.

How to Make an Iced Coffee

To make an iced coffee, first of all, you need to brew a coffee of your choice, but make sure to make it stronger than usual. Some take up to 8 hours to blend it, though you can also do it for a short time.

Transfer it into a tall glass, then add water. You may also add cream or milk, though it is optional. After that, add ice cubes and sweetener. Stir and enjoy!

Basically, iced coffee is sweeter, more bitter, and more acidic.

tall glass with iced coffee

How to Make an Iced Latte?

As mentioned, there are many ways to make iced latte, but here’s one recipe that I’ll share with you:

First, prepare your tall glass and put ice cubes in it. After that, pour in your espresso shot (either one shot or two shots).

And then, grab your shaker and fill it with chilled milk and sweetener. Shake it until you form a creamy foam. Finally, pour the foamy milk into the tall glass. And that’s about it!

Because of the coffee to milk ratio of the iced latte, it tastes more like sweetened milk with a little bit of coffee flavor.

For this reason, an iced latte is perfect for those who don’t want a very strong and acidic coffee. Iced latte can be enjoyed by kids, or by those people who have restrictions when consuming coffee.

In the end, both coffee-based cold drinks are delightful to our taste buds. They can be enjoyed on a warm night, or on a hot summer day, and even in the morning. However, keep in mind that caffeine intake should be limited.

And that ends our article. If you enjoyed today’s article and find it helpful, please feel free to share it with your coffee-loving family and friends! Thank you very much for reading with us today!