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Iced Coffee vs. Iced Latte: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 13, 2023
Iced coffee is simply coffee served over ice, while iced latte involves mixing espresso with cold milk and serving over ice.

Key Differences

Iced coffee is a popular beverage, especially in warmer climates and seasons, providing a refreshing alternative to its hot counterpart. The preparation of iced coffee generally involves brewing coffee and then cooling it with ice, often sweetened and sometimes mixed with milk. Conversely, an iced latte takes its roots from the traditional latte, which is espresso combined with steamed milk, but in this variation, cold milk replaces the steamed milk and it’s served over ice, maintaining a chilled and refreshing quality.
Notably, iced coffee can often be brewed in a few different ways, including regular brewing, cold brewing, or using a concentrate. Iced lattes, however, tend to have a standardized method involving combining chilled milk with freshly brewed espresso. Iced coffee tends to have a stronger, more robust coffee flavor since it is predominantly coffee, while the iced latte, with its ample milk, exhibits a creamier, lighter taste and texture.
One discernible characteristic difference between iced coffee and iced latte is the presence and quantity of milk. Iced coffee may be consumed black, with just a touch of milk, or with a generous pour, depending on personal preference. In the case of an iced latte, milk, specifically in a larger quantity, is a non-negotiable component, contributing significantly to its flavor and texture.
In terms of visual and experiential aspect, iced coffee and iced lattes present a distinct difference too. Iced coffee is typically a uniform color, reflecting the coffee and any milk mixed into it, and is often served simply. On the other hand, iced lattes might exhibit a gradient where the espresso meets the milk, creating an aesthetically pleasing beverage, especially if served in a transparent glass.
Variations of iced coffee might include additional flavors, different brewing methods, or alternative sweeteners, while iced lattes can also be customized by opting for different types of milk, flavored syrups, or adjusting the espresso-to-milk ratio. Thus, both beverages, while maintaining their core differences, offer a multitude of possibilities for customization and variation.

Comparison Chart

Basic Composition

Cold coffee over ice
Espresso with cold milk over ice

Milk Quantity

Optional, variable
Significant, integral

Brewing Method

Varied (e.g., cold brew, regular)
Standard (espresso)

Flavor Profile

Strong, coffee-dominant
Creamier, milder

Visual Appearance

Generally uniform color
Can exhibit a milk-espresso gradient

Iced Coffee and Iced Latte Definitions

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is brewed coffee cooled and served over ice.
The iced coffee provided a refreshing escape from the sweltering heat.

Iced Latte

Iced lattes have a milder flavor due to the prominent milk content.
His iced latte, with its smooth and mild flavor, was a gentle pick-me-up.

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee may include additional flavorings like syrups or cream.
Vanilla iced coffee is her go-to summer drink.

Iced Latte

Iced lattes can display a visual gradient from the espresso mixing with milk.
The aesthetic gradient in her iced latte made for a perfect Instagram post.

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee can be served black or with added milk and sweeteners.
He opted for a black iced coffee with a touch of sugar for sweetness.

Iced Latte

An iced latte combines cold milk with espresso, served over ice.
She sipped her iced latte, enjoying the creamy, cool beverage on a hot day.

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee can be made through various brewing methods.
She prefers her iced coffee made through a slow cold brew process.

Iced Latte

Iced lattes can be customized with different milks and flavored syrups.
He ordered an iced latte with almond milk and a dash of caramel syrup.

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee generally possesses a stronger and more robust flavor.
The rich, bold flavor of the iced coffee invigorated my senses.

Iced Latte

Iced lattes contain espresso as the coffee component, distinguishing them from other iced coffee drinks.
The sharp, rich espresso balanced the cold milk in her iced latte perfectly.


Does iced coffee always contain milk?

No, iced coffee can be served black or with varying amounts of milk.

How is the coffee in iced coffee brewed?

Iced coffee can be brewed in various ways, including cold brew, drip brew, or French press, then cooled.

Is an iced latte sweeter than iced coffee?

Not necessarily, as sweetness can be adjusted in both, but iced lattes tend to be creamier due to milk.

Can I add flavors to my iced coffee?

Yes, you can add various syrups, creams, or spices to flavor your iced coffee.

How much milk is typically in an iced latte?

An iced latte usually has a substantial amount of milk, often making up more than half of the beverage.

Is there a visual difference between iced coffee and iced latte?

Yes, iced lattes often showcase a gradient of espresso and milk, while iced coffee usually has a uniform color.

Can I make an iced latte without espresso?

Traditionally, no—iced lattes specifically contain espresso, but adaptations can be made using strong coffee.

How is an iced latte made?

An iced latte is made by mixing espresso with cold milk and serving it over ice.

Is milk a mandatory ingredient in iced lattes?

Yes, milk is a crucial component of iced lattes, distinguishing them from other iced coffee drinks.

Can I make iced coffee from regular brewed coffee?

Yes, you can cool down regular brewed coffee and serve it over ice as iced coffee.

Can I use different types of coffee in iced coffee?

Yes, iced coffee can be made using various coffee types and brewing methods.

Can I make iced coffee without a coffee maker?

Yes, methods like cold brew or instant coffee can be used to make iced coffee without a coffee maker.

What is the primary difference between iced coffee and iced latte?

Iced coffee is simply coffee over ice, while iced latte specifically involves mixing espresso with cold milk and ice.

Does iced coffee have to be sweetened?

No, iced coffee can be enjoyed black or with varying levels of sweetness according to preference.

What kind of milk is used in iced lattes?

Any kind—while whole milk is standard, alternatives like skim, almond, or oat milk can also be used.

Which has more caffeine, iced coffee, or iced latte?

It can vary, but generally, iced coffee can have more caffeine due to larger coffee quantities used in brewing.

What is iced coffee?

Iced coffee is coffee that has been cooled down and is served over ice.

Which has a stronger coffee flavor, iced coffee, or iced latte?

Iced coffee generally has a stronger coffee flavor due to a higher coffee-to-milk ratio.

Can I customize my iced latte?

Absolutely, you can customize your iced latte with different types of milk, syrups, and toppings.

What kind of coffee is used in an iced latte?

Espresso is used in the preparation of an iced latte.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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