iced latte vs. ice coffee

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Summer is when you throw out your regular hot coffee and get your hands on refreshing iced coffee drinks! Which is your favorite iced coffee drink?

Two popular options are usually iced lattes and iced coffees. But if you had to pick just one of them, which one would you pick? Make no mistake, both these drinks are excellent choices, but it’s important to have clarity on the iced latte vs. iced coffee debate, which is what we’ll be settling today, so read until the end.

What Is an Iced Latte? 

Iced latte is an icy twist to the traditional latte drink made using a shot of espresso and hot milk. In an iced latte, you pour a shot of espresso into a cup containing ice and then add the steamed milk on top of it. 

iced latte vs iced coffee

How to Make an Iced Latte

Perhaps the biggest plus of an iced latte is that you can prepare and enjoy a lip-smacking cup of iced latte at home. All you need is a glass, espresso, milk, ice, and a shaker (optional). 

Follow these steps once you’ve gathered the required tools:

  1. Pull out a shot of espresso from the espresso machine
  2. Put the espresso shot in a cocktail shaker
  3. Add cold milk until the glass is 3/4 full
  4. Add ice and any sugar or flavored syrup
  5. Shake the ingredients properly
  6. Pour it into a tall glass and enjoy

Pro Tip: Do not pour the espresso directly onto the ice or the other way around, as it can alter the espresso’s flavor.

What Is an Iced Coffee?

Iced coffee is a chilled coffee drink primarily for die-hard coffee-lovers who crave cold coffee without any milk. All iced coffee demands is that you brew coffee, be it Americano, espresso, instant, or any other coffee, and put it in a cup filled with ice. 

With that being said, you can also add a bit of milk or sugar to your iced coffee if you want. Relax! Adding milk to your iced coffee won’t make it an iced latte. 

iced latte vs iced coffee

How to Make Iced Coffee

You can fulfill your craving for an iced coffee at home — just like an iced latte! Grab a glass, brewed coffee, and ice, and follow these steps:

  1. Brew your typical hot coffee and let it cool down
  2. Add some ice to a glass
  3. Pour coffee into it
  4. Add sugar or milk (optional)
  5. Stir and enjoy

Moreover, the same steps can be employed to carve out different iced coffee recipes, including an iced Americano coffee and more.

Pro Tip: Go for the simple syrup and not the regular sugar. Also, you can freeze the iced coffee in an ice cube tray.  

Iced Latte vs. Iced Coffee

Having discussed the ingredients and brewing process of each of these iced coffee drinks, it’s time we dive deeper into the iced latte vs. iced coffee comparison to understand the difference between them.


The most noticeable difference between an iced latte and iced coffee is their coffee to milk ratio. There’s no milk in iced coffee, whereas iced lattes are mostly milk. Even if you add milk to an iced coffee, it still won’t qualify as an iced latte.

A caffe latte means “coffee with milk” in Italian. People often play around with the milk quantity to foam and make their iced latte creamier. On the contrary, iced coffee may or may not contain milk. Milk, if at all used, is used only to dilute its taste a little.

Type of Coffee

Iced lattes can be prepared with a strong espresso shot or instant coffee, which is why it’s the go-to beverage for those not willing to devote a substantial amount of their time brewing and pouring drinks from one container to another. You’d probably be right if you call it a lazy drink. 

Iced coffee demands granulated coffee — instant coffee just won’t do! So, you have to spend some time brewing authentic coffee, and if you don’t, you haven’t made an iced coffee.

Brewing Method

An iced latte needs only a couple of minutes, ice cubes, espresso, and milk. You stir everything together, and that’s the end of the brewing process!

The good thing about iced coffee is that you can use any type of brewed coffee in it. Although it can be made instantly like an iced latte, some coffee enthusiasts prefer to take the long (and professional) route.

Iced coffee needs much more time to blend perfectly. So, you’ll have to plan ahead and blend the coffee at night so that it settles down by morning.


You must be aware that espresso coffee is more flavorful than regular coffee. So, a strong espresso shot makes an iced latte (not to mention the milky twist of the drink) your taste buds’ friend. On the other hand, ice coffee has a strong coffee flavor, which is a tad softer due to the ice.


You can see three distinct layers in an iced latte: the coffee base, milk at the center, and ice at the top. You can also add milk foam at the top, per your liking.

Iced coffee has just two layers — coffee at the base and ice at the top. Milk is not the norm, but as mentioned earlier, it’s up to you to add it or not.


Sure, the calorie content of a drink depends on the recipe and its ingredients. But if we were to draw a generic comparison between iced lattes and coffees about their calorie content, it’d look something like this:

Iced Latte

  • Starbucks grande with 2% milk contains 130 calories
  • McDonald’s medium with whole milk contains 120 calories
  • Dunkin’ Donuts medium with whole milk and sweetener contains 270 calories

Iced Coffee

  • Starbucks grande with 2% milk contains 80 calories
  • McDonald’s medium with whole milk contains 180 calories
  • Dunkin’ Donuts medium with whole milk and sweetener contains 130 calories


Espresso has much more caffeine than most other brewed coffees. This may lead one to believe that an iced latte has more caffeine than an iced coffee. However, that might not always be the case since the caffeine content depends on your drink’s size, provided you use the same coffee beans to prepare the two drinks.

According to Mayo Clinic’s report, 8 ounces of brewed coffee has 96 mg caffeine, whereas one espresso shot, i.e., 1 ounce, has 64 mg of caffeine. 

Say you make 8 ounces of iced coffee and iced lattes. The latter will contain 64 mg of caffeine, whereas the iced coffee will contain 96 mg. But what if you want a strong iced latte? You double the espresso shot, increasing your caffeine intake from 64 mg to 128 mg.

Which Is a Better Cold Coffee Drink for You?

Now that you know the exact differences between the two iced coffee drinks, which one are you more likely to treat yourself with? Tough call, isn’t it? 

We’ve simplified it for you. We suggest:

  • Iced coffee for when you want a strong coffee flavor with more caffeine
  • Iced latte if a balanced coffee with a good amount of milk is on your mind

Can You Use Instant Coffee to Make Iced Lattes or Iced Coffee?

In case ground coffee isn’t available, feel free to use regular instant coffee for both iced lattes and iced coffee. 

For an iced latte, you can use instant coffee to make a shot of espresso using an espresso machine. Moreover, you can also use an instant espresso to make the base of your iced latte. Keep the coffee to water ratio in mind to concentrate the flavor correctly.

However, instant coffee doesn’t provide the flavor and aroma one can expect from ground coffee beans. The difference is all the more noticeable in an iced latte prepared with instant coffee. But using instant coffee for an iced coffee is simple, quick, and effective.

Bottom Line 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this iced latte vs. iced coffee discussion. We touched upon their major differences, including their tastes, appearances, ingredients, brewing methods, calories, and caffeine content. Did you notice a commonality between the two? Milk or not, both are coffee-based drinks with ice on top!

Enjoy a cup of iced coffee on a hot summer day, but occasionally turn to a simple yet delicious iced latte drink as well.


Is Latte a Weak Coffee?

A latte typically has one shot of espresso, each of which comes with approximately 60-100 mg of caffeine. But compare a latte to drinks like mochas, hot lattes, and cold brew, and you’ll find that it’s one of the weakest if not the weakest coffee out there.

Is Iced Coffee Just Coffee and Ice?

More or less, YES! To prepare a cup of iced coffee, you take a cooled (originally hot) coffee and pair it with ice. Nonetheless, it’s an extremely refreshing drink on a hot summer day.

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