Is it a Latte Hot or Cold?

How do you like your latte? Should it be iced or hot? You make a hot latte with espresso and steamed milk with a light foam layer at the top. You would make an iced latte with more milk a lot of ice, and they typically contain more espresso.

Lattes are good hot or cold, as it all depends on your personal preference. Both iced and hot lattes are made with the same ingredients, but you prepare them differently. Iced lattes are typically enjoyed in the warmer months, while nothing is better than a hot Latte on a cold day.   

Coffee Latte

If you want a beverage with a little more sweetness, a hot latte is your best bet. If you want something more robust and without all the foam, iced coffee may be the way to go. Read below and learn more about hot and cold lattes.

What is an Iced Latte?

An iced latte is like a hot latte, except it is served cold and poured over ice. Another distinction between the iced latte and hot latte is that the milk is cold and not frothed or steamed in any way in an iced latte.

Steamed or frothed milk would not work in an iced latte because the foam would be unable to keep its structure intact over the ice. It would not take to foam or froth.

Another notable difference is that iced lattes are typically enjoyed in the summer. They are delicious and can quench a mean thirst when served ice cold.

What is a Hot Latte?

You would make a hot latte by mixing coffee with milk. The milk creamer is usually a combination of steamed milk and a layer of foam. A milk frother is used to perfect this technique.

A latte is like a cappuccino, except that it has more steamed milk and a more balanced froth ratio than the cappuccino.

At Starbucks™, for example, you make a latte by mixing two shots of espresso topped with steamed milk and then milk foam. If you want a rich, creamy beverage, a hot latte is an ideal choice.   


The Iced Latte Explained

The iced latte has all the same ingredients that a hot latte has. However, you prepare it differently. You do not get a quality drink simply by ordering a hot latte and putting a few iced cubes in the drink. A cold latte is another drink that only works well when prepared correctly.

The following explains the difference between a hot latte and an iced latte:

Cold Milk Without Foam

The milk is prepared differently with an iced latte. In a hot latte, the milk is steamed and frothed. The outcome is a creamier beverage compared to a cold latte. A hot latte will typically make the coffee drinker feel fuller due to the creaminess of the drink.

Another essential variable of the hot latte is that a good part of the milk is aerated. The barista crafts it with attention to volume, not weight. In an iced latte, the milk is not steamed, and the result is that there is no foam on top.

In an iced latte, the volume of the drink is equal to its weight. With an iced latte, you will likely taste more of the actual milk, as opposed to the foam. However, the drink tends to get watery with an iced latte, so it does not fill you up the same as a hot latte.

Savor the Flavor

The milk plays a significant role in taste with an iced latte, and the iced latte is also less sweet than a hot latte. There is more natural sweetness from the milk, as opposed to a syrupy sweetness. A barista has a couple of choices when making the iced latte.

An iced latte can be poured and stirred. All the ingredients are poured into the cup once the ice enters the cup. Then, the latte is simply stirred. Stirred drinks are not as aerated. You will get all the flavors from the milk and the coffee.

The other way the iced latte is made is that it is shaken. This process is when the barista shakes the drink in a metal shaker with some ice, and then it is ready to be poured. This method is typically used when there is not so much ice, and it is a smaller latte.

The iced latte is ready to drink, and it has some bubbles at the top of the drink, which means that the latte has been shaken well. It creates a much different drink than a hot latte with foam and froth.  

Iced Lattes Are Often Larger

If you are getting iced lattes from a coffee place, like Starbucks, their drinks tend to be on the larger side, so the difference is minimal. However, if you go to a regular coffee shop, it will come in a bigger cup to suit the ice.

The ice is what makes the drink larger. Coffee places will often pack a lot of ice into one cup, making the drink appear larger.

Iced Lattes Tend to Be Stronger

The ice in an iced latte requires less milk, which is the defining feature of a hot latte. Often, when you get a hot latte, you taste more milk than coffee. However, there is less milk to dilute the coffee with an iced latte.

Also, if you go to a coffee place like Starbucks, you will get an extra shot of espresso in a venti cup. A venti iced coffee at Starbucks gets three shots of espresso, while a venti hot latte only gets two shots of espresso.

If you want your hot latte to be as strong as an iced latte, you will need to order an extra shot. An iced latte is a more advantageous option for the coffee lover.

Iced Latte coffee with caramel syrup


At places like Starbucks, you can get a variety of unique and delicious latte flavors. They have many seasonal lattes to draw in coffee drinkers looking for something a little different and fun and obtain loyal customers. The following are the most popular latte flavors:

  • Vanilla latte
  • Caramel Macchiato
  • Mocha latte
  • Pumpkin spice latte
  • Cinnamon Dolcelatte
  • Pistachio latte
  • Peppermint Mocha latte
  • White Chocolate latte

Next time you stop at Starbucks for a pick-me-up, keep these great flavors in mind. There are no rules in terms of flavors with lattes, and you can always customize your drink to your liking.


Lattes can be either hot or iced. Hot lattes tend to be on the creamier side, while iced lattes tend to be stronger and contain more espresso.

Many people never think to get an iced latte unless it is a hot summer day. If you usually order hot lattes at your favorite coffee shop, you should consider giving the iced latte a try.


Charlie McFarlane

Specialty Coffee Enthusiast. Hungry for knowledge in the art and science behind specialty coffee and decided to document my journey, while sharing it with the public. More than 10 baristas were interviewed; over 21 farms were visited across 5 countries. Almost 100 Coffee Shops. Bean of choice: Pacamara. Preferred coffee country: Panama. Preferred Brewing Method: Aeropress. Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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