Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Know Your Cold Joe

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Iced coffee and iced latte are satisfying beverages for hot and cold seasons. Unfortunately, many people still think that these two refreshments are alike. Let’s make it clear: iced coffee and iced latte are not the same. 

Here’s your chance to learn the difference between iced coffee vs iced latte. 

Quick Comparison: Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte

Iced CoffeeIced Latte
Coffee-to-Milk RatioLittle to no milk1/4 coffee, 3/4 milk 
Brewing MethodAny kind of coffeeEspresso shot 
Flavor Similar to hot brewed coffee Flavorful and creamy
Caffeine Content (in an 8-ounce drink)95 mg126 mg (double espresso shot)

What Is Iced Coffee?

An iced cup of cold brew coffee

Iced coffee is a general term for chilled black coffee poured over a glass of ice. The history of iced coffee is strange since people really don’t know where the drink originated. Some speculate that it came from Vienna, while others say it was from Algeria.

What Is an Iced Latte?

An iced latte, made with espresso and milk

Caffè latte is an espresso-based drink with steamed milk. While Italy is the birthplace of this hot beverage, the origin of iced lattes isn’t crystal-clear. It is believed to originate in the United States and has become popular worldwide. 

Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Coffee-and-Milk Proportion

The amount of milk is a primary determinant in distinguishing the two caffeinated beverages. Iced coffee requires much coffee and little to no milk, while an iced latte has a bigger milk-to-coffee ratio. 

How much milk do you put in an iced latte?

To make a cafe latte, you need to pour steamed milk and a layer of foamy milk after the espresso shot. The standard ratio is 3 parts unsteamed or chilled milk and 1 part espresso.

Do you need to steam milk for your iced latte?

You don’t have to create latte art or make your drink foam since you don’t need to steam milk, unlike its hot version. Therefore, you can save time in preparing your coffee drink.

Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Brewing Method

How do you brew coffee for iced coffee?

Iced coffee is simply hot brewed coffee with ice. You can also brew your coffee with any coffee maker (e.g., drip coffee, French press, or pour over). 

Here are the steps to making tasty iced coffee at home:

1. Use medium-roast Arabica or Robusta coffee beans with the correct grind size for your coffee maker.

2. Brew your ground coffee with a water temperature between 90 to 96 degrees Celsius to prevent under-extraction.

3. After brewing time, fill ½ of the glass with ice and slowly pour the freshly brewed coffee.

4. Wait for the coffee to cool down before adding milk and simple syrup (sugar won’t dissolve easily) for extra flavors. Don’t forget to stir well.

How do you brew coffee for an iced latte?

For iced lattes, the extraction of fine-grind coffee beans has to be done with an espresso machine to produce your concentrated coffee shot. After that, you can pour it into a glass and stir it with milk and ice. Don’t worry if you don’t have that fancy machine; you can still use Aeropress espresso, a Moka pot, or French press espresso.

Here is a step-by-step process for making a homemade iced latte:

1. Make your espresso shot (or shots) using your espresso machine. 

2. After the extraction, pour your espresso into a glass half full of ice and let it cool down.

3. Add 3 ounces of your favorite milk for each shot of espresso.

4. You can also add some sweetener that suits your taste. Make sure to mix everything well.

Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Flavor Differences

Which tastes more bitter?

Iced coffee and iced latte also differ in taste. In general, iced coffee is more bitter than iced latte since it has more coffee and less milk. However, you should also remember that the kind of coffee bean and milk also affect the refreshment’s overall flavor.

Which tastes creamier?

If both drinks use the same kind of coffee beans and milk, the iced latte will be creamier because it has more milk. But you can always add extra milk to your iced coffee if you want a creamier flavor.

Which tastes more like coffee?

Iced coffee tastes more like coffee than an iced latte since it’s just brewed coffee with little to no hint of milk on it. While an espresso shot tastes stronger and is more concentrated, mixing it with ice and milk softens the coffee flavor.

Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte: Caffeine Intensity

Not all people can handle much caffeine. Therefore, it is necessary to know the caffeine level when choosing the right coffee drink. 

Does iced latte or iced coffee have more caffeine?

Espresso is stronger than coffee in terms of caffeine per ounce, but 8-ounces of iced coffee has more caffeine (95 mg) than a single-shot iced latte. An espresso shot only contains 63 mg of caffeine, and the amount of milk mellows out the drink. 

However, a standard 8-ounce iced latte is made with a double shot of espresso. At 126 mg, that means it has more caffeine than a cup of iced coffee. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do iced lattes have caffeine?

Yes, iced lattes are caffeinated drinks. In fact, a collaborative study conducted by Crema Coffee Garage has found that espresso shots contain the most caffeine (63 mg per shot) of any brewing method. 

The type of coffee bean for your iced latte also matters. Arabica and robusta beans are the primary coffee beans for iced lattes. NIH discovered that robusta beans have a higher caffeine level than arabica beans. Hence, if you want to be more caffeinated, you should choose robusta beans for your iced latte.

Which Should You Drink: Iced Coffee or Iced Latte?

Both are delicious cups of iced Joe, but they are totally different from each other. If your taste buds love strong coffee, you should choose iced coffee. On the other hand, you should try an iced latte if you prefer your coffee to be milky and weaker. So the next time you go to a cafe, you now know what to order.

Iced coffee and iced latte are not the only types of coffee drinks that you can enjoy cold. You should try a cold brew if you like smoother flavors. And if you like the frothiness of Guinness, you can even turn your regular cold brew into a homemade nitro cold brew.

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