Coffee comes in different styles, flavors, and preparation techniques, which makes it a versatile beverage loved universally. While many individuals are usually only familiar with a few basic coffee styles, there is a wide range of specialty coffee drinks available. Two of the most popular choices are a latte and iced coffee. Though they share the same foundation of coffee, milk, and water, the resulting drinks differ significantly in taste, appearance, and method of preparation.
Latte: A Creamy Delight
Latte is an Italian coffee drink, which consists of espresso, steamed milk, and a small layer of foam on top. It is sometimes called a ‘café latte’, which means ‘milk coffee’ in Italian. It is a creamy, silky, and indulgent beverage that can be customized to one’s preferred level of sweetness, flavor, and milk foam density. A standard latte recipe calls for a 1:3 ratio of espresso and steamed milk, respectively. The espresso is poured into a cup, and then the steamed milk is poured into it, creating a latte art design on the surface.
- 1 shot of espresso
- 1 cup of steamed milk
- Latte flavorings (optional)
- Latte art (optional)
Start by pulling a shot of espresso using an espresso machine. A typical espresso shot contains about 2 ounces of concentrated coffee, with a rich aroma and dark color. While it’s prepping, pour 1 cup of milk into a milk jug, then place it in the steaming wand machine. Allow the milk to steam and create froth, making it creamy and sweet. Once steamed, pour the milk into a latte glass, leaving about 1cm or more at the top. Next, add the espresso shot, pouring it carefully down the side of the glass. You may add a latte flavouring of your choice or make some latte art.
Iced coffee: Cold and Bold
Iced coffee, on the other hand, is more of an American style coffee that’s brewed hot, then cooled down and served over ice. It usually contains more caffeine than latte and is perfect for hot summer days. Iced coffee is refreshing, bold, and can be sweetened to one’s preference using various sweeteners, including syrup, honey, and sugar. Many coffee shops serve up their signature iced coffee drinks as well, which may include whipped cream, chocolate or caramel sauce, and other toppings.
- Coffee beans
- Ice cubes
- Sugar or sweetener (optional)
Start by grinding the coffee beans and brewing them in a coffee maker. Brew the coffee to be twice the strength you would for a normal cup of coffee because the ice cubes will dilute it. Then allow the coffee to cool for a while, preferably in the fridge. After about 30 minutes or when cold, fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Pour the coffee into the glass, leaving just a bit of room for cream or milk. Add sugar or sweeteners for some extra flavor, stir and enjoy!
The Main Differences Between Latte and Iced Coffee
At first glance, it may be difficult to distinguish between these two coffee drinks since they both contain espresso, milk, and water. However, several notable differences exist that set them apart.
The primary difference between latte and iced coffee is the method of preparation. A latte requires an espresso machine to be produced, while iced coffee can be made using a variety of brewing methods such as drip or French press. Iced coffee is eventually chilled in the refrigerator or with ice, while a latte is served hot.
Their serving preferences differ also. A latte is usually served in a shallow dish, made of glass material to showcase latte art. Iced coffee, on the other hand, is served in a tall glass with a straw. The glass could be plastic or glassware material.
Taste and Consistency
Both latte and iced coffee are unique in taste and consistency. A latte has a creamy, silky feel highlighted by coffee, steamed milk, and foam, while the iced coffee is bold and refreshing due to the amount of coffee and ice cubes used. A cold latte also exists which is an iced version of latte, still silky and smooth.
Which is Better?
When it comes to latte vs. iced coffee, it’s all about personal preference. Do you like creamier coffee or refreshing bold coffee? Served hot or cold? It all depends on what you are in the mood for.
Both iced coffee and lattes have health benefits. They offer a significant energy boost, not to mention the benefits derived from coffee, such as antioxidants and energy. Be mindful of the milk and sugar content to ensure you adhere to a healthy diet. Reduced milk and reduced sugar options are best recommended for those worried about caffeine intake.
The difference between latte and iced coffee comes down to the brewing and preparation methods, taste, and consistency of the coffee served. While some coffee purists may argue that nothing beats a hot latte, the vast majority of coffee lovers would agree that iced coffee is perfect for beating the heat. Ultimately the choice is yours, and it all depends on the mood or occasion.
Most Common Questions and Answers
- Q: Is a Latte Stronger than Iced Coffee?
- A: No, iced coffee typically contains more caffeine since it has a higher coffee-to-water ratio than latte, which gets diluted by milk and foam.
- Q: Is Latte or Iced Coffee Healthier?
- A: Iced coffee, on its own, has fewer calories than latte. However, both are healthier accessible in reduced milk and sugar option.
- Q: Can I make a latte into a cold drink?
- A: Yes, you can make a cold latte. It is crisp, smooth, and perfect for hot days.
- Q: Can I add cream to iced coffee?
- A: You can, but iced coffee is usually made without cream. A better option is to use milk or whole milk.
- Q: What’s the difference between a mocha and a latte?
- A: A mocha is a variant of a latte, with added chocolate syrup or powder to the espresso shot, milk, and foam.
- Sugiyanto, J., & Faridah, I. (2020). Temperature and time of extraction on total soluble solid and caffeine content of Vietnamese iced coffee. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 423(1), 012071.
- Irvine, L. (2021). How to make a latte at home. Retrieved 13 August 2021, from https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-latte-home
- Kim, H. J., Choi, E. J., & Lim, T. G. (2018). Determination of caffeine content and antioxidant activity of cold brew coffee. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Science and Nutrition, 47(7), 562-568.