Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee: 5 Huge Differences!

Iced drinks have the magic power of making you feel like it’s summer in January, but you know what’s better than that? A smooth and cold iced brew that will keep you alert and refreshed, any time of the day. And it doesn’t even have to be 5 o’clock somewhere to enjoy an icy cup of joe. Let’s dive into the battle of iced latte vs iced coffee.

Topics Explored

  1. What is an Iced Latte?
  2. What is an Iced Coffee?
  3. 5 Key Differences
  4. How to Make Iced Latte?
  5. How to Make Iced Coffee?
  6. More Questions

What is an Iced Latte?

Iced latte is the cold relative of the traditional latte, which is made with a shot of espresso and steamed milk.

In the iced version, you pour the shot of espresso in a cup filled with ice and add frothed milk on top. You can add a flavoring syrup too.

Iced Latte
Iced Latte

Contrary to the hot latte, which originated in Europe somewhere between Vienna and Italy, the iced latte is deemed to have originated in the US before the American Civil War.

The idea came from coffee enthusiasts residing in the warmer regions of the US who couldn’t stand drinking hot coffee on a hot day.

What is an Iced Coffee?

Iced coffee is the chilled version for hardcore caffeine enthusiasts who want a cold but not milk-infused coffee.

It’s made by brewing any coffee, an espresso, Americano, or even instant coffee and pouring it over ice. Milk or cream can be added afterwards.

Iced Coffee
Iced coffee, so simple to make

Iced coffee originated in 1840 in Algeria, where they prepared it with coffee syrup and cold water. It gained massive popularity in the US in 1920 when big coffee chains started introducing it.

Today iced coffee is a broad term that varies from country to country.

Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte

We’ve made picking your favorite coffee drink on a hot day easier by explaining the basic differences between iced latte vs iced coffee.

There are a couple of giveaways as appearance and ingredients, and some you wouldn’t have imagined, like the brew method and caloric value!

Iced Latte Iced Coffee
3/4 Milk
1/4 Espresso
Optional: Milk & Sugar
Brew Method:
Any way you make your espresso (e.g. espresso machine, moka pot, aeropress)
Brew Method:
Any way you prefer to brew your coffee (e.g. coffee machine, french press, pour over)
Very milky with coffee flavor Coffee is the dominant flavor
3 visible layers.
Coffee (base), milk (middle), & ice (top). Froth can be added on top.
2 visible layers.
Coffee (base) & ice (top). Milk can be added after.
High in calories due to milk content Very low in calories if additives are omitted

1. Composition

Iced latte is made the same way as a regular latte, except there’s a whole lot more milk involved.

An iced latte has 3/4 milk content, while the hot version has 2/3 milk. Yes, it’s mostly milk.

Iced coffee, on the other hand, doesn’t include milk in the preparation process, but you can add some later.

2. Brewing Method

The brew method is what distinguishes the two drinks the most. Iced latte is prepared with espresso, and you’re free to use any type of espresso-making machine, including Moka pots and an Aeropress.

Iced coffee doesn’t require espresso, and you can make your coffee in a french press via pour-over, etc.

3. Taste

Due to the variation in ingredients, the two flavors are wildly contradictory. Iced latte has a mild, milky flavor with just a hint of coffee. It’s expected when you consider the amount of milk and ice added.

Iced coffee has a strong coffee taste that’s just a tad softer because of the ice.

Don’t enjoy the bitterness of iced coffee? Round out its overall flavor with milk and syrups.

4. Appearance

The iced latte has three visible layers: the coffee base, the milk in the middle, and the ice on top. Optionally, milk foam can be added on top. Iced coffee has only two layers – coffee and ice on top. Milk is optional and can be added after preparation.

Iced coffee vs iced latte, like night and day

5. Calories

The caloric value in both coffees depends on what you chose to add to your coffee, like flavoring syrups, the milk type, whether it’s full fat or skim milk, and other additives.

As a rule of thumb, iced coffee is lower in calories since the original recipe doesn’t contain any additives.

Iced Latte Calories

  • Starbucks (Grande, 2% milk): 130 cals(1)
  • McDonalds (Medium, whole milk): 120 cals(2)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts (Medium, whole milk & sweetener): 270 cals(3)

Iced Coffee Calories

  • Starbucks (Grande, sweetener): 80 cals(4)
  • McDonalds (Medium, light cream & sweetener): 180 cals(5)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts (Medium, whole milk & sweetener): 130 cals(6)

How to Make Iced Latte?

If you decided to treat yourself to an iced latte at home, you’d need a double shot of espresso, milk, a sweetener of choice, and an optional frother. The method is simple and easy to follow; we’ve summed it up in a couple of steps.

Iced Latte Recipe

Straightforward Iced Latte

Yield: 1 serving (8 - 10 oz)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Why spend more at the coffee shop when you can easily make your favorite Iced Latte at home. This straightforward Iced Latte recipe is so simple, it can be done in under 10 minutes.


  • Espresso: 2 shots
  • Milk: 6 oz
  • Ice


    1. Brew two shots of espresso with your favorite brewing method. You can use different brewing devices, but the coffee has to be espresso. If you're going to add sweetener, mix it in while the espresso is hot, so it dissolves completely. Two Shots Espresso
    2. Let the espresso cool for a few minutes so that it doesn't warm the drink right away. While waiting, fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Ice in Glass
    3. Pour the espresso over the ice. Make sure you're using a glass large enough to fit the milk and froth afterwards.Iced Coffee Making
    4. In a mason jar or martini shaker, pour 6 oz of your milk of choice and seal it tightly. Give it a nice shake (about a minute) or until there’s a good amount of froth around.Cold Milk
    5. Pour your milk in the glass with ice and espresso, and add some froth on top if you desire.Iced Latte


If you don’t have a mason jar or shaker, you can skip the frothing step altogether. It won’t affect the taste of your iced latte.

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How to Make Iced Coffee?

The process of preparing iced coffee is straightforward.

It starts with a strong cup of coffee but it doesn’t have to be espresso. You’re free to use any brewing method you want.

If you decide to use espresso, add some water to dilute it. If you’ll be adding sweetener, add it to the hot coffee.

Fill a glass with ice cubes and pour cooled coffee over. Optionally you can add milk of any kind, like plant-based or regular, or cream.

How to Make Iced Coffee
Leftover crema from the espresso

The Bottomline

Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee

The main difference between iced latte vs iced coffee is the milk. You can’t make iced latte without milk which affects the taste and caloric value. The consistency is creamier, and the taste of coffee is very light.

Iced coffee is made with any coffee and doesn’t contain any additives. The coffee flavor is more pronounced, but the ice still dilutes it.

More Questions

Is an iced latte stronger than iced coffee?

No, an iced latte is not stronger than iced coffee. In fact, the regular iced latte contains only 1/4 of espresso.

But if you choose to make a more robust iced latte and use two double shots of espresso, you can up the caffeine content to over 120 mg.

Is iced coffee just cold coffee?

Iced coffee is made by using heat when brewing it and then pouring it over ice. It goes through the same preparation process as regular coffee, but it gets chilled and diluted by the ice cubes.

It’s not made cold like the cold brew. So yes, iced coffee is just coffee made hot and chilled over ice.

Does an iced latte taste like coffee?

Iced lattes are made with coffee – a double shot of espresso, to be precise, so they do taste like coffee.

The flavor is not as pronounced because of the large amount of milk used. It’s not as pronounced as iced coffee, but you can taste the coffee.

Verified Sources

Wondering where your info comes from? We totally understand. Hey Joe only obtains our information from reputable sources. Contents from this article are sourced from the following publications:

  1. Starbucks Iced Latte:
  2. McDonald’s Iced Latte:
  3. Dunkin’ Donut Iced Latte:
  4. Starbucks Iced Coffee:
  5. McDonald’s Iced Coffee:
  6. Dunkin’ Donut Iced Coffee:
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