Iced Latte 101: Complete Guide To Iced Latte For Beginners

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There aren’t many cold coffees as refreshing as an iced latte. It’s no wonder this espresso drink is massively popular. The combination of bitter coffee balanced by delicate sweetness and creamy, frothed milk is an absolute delight.

But, over the years, many of my friends have asked me a variety of questions about Iced Latte. So, I decided to write this article to answer all the possible queries that coffee lovers like my friends may have about this delicious creamy cold beverage.

Key Takeaways:
  • To make an iced latte, 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 originated in the US before the American Civil War. 
  • An iced latte has a mildly sweet taste from added cold milk and a hint of coffee flavor from espresso.
  • An iced latte is a healthy beverage unless you don’t overload it with sugar or sweet syrups.
  • Iced latte can be fattening if you don’t have it in moderation. A typical 16oz. iced latte has 150 calories and all of those calories come from added milk.

What is an Iced Latte?

The name caffe latte means coffee with milk in Italian. So a traditional latte is a coffee drink made with milk. 

The breakdown is typically one part espresso, three parts steamed milk, and a layer of milk foam on top, where you might add some latte art. 

A regular hot latte involves steamed milk.

In the iced version of a traditional latte, also known as an iced latte, 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.

To make an iced latte, 1-2 shots of espresso are pulled from an espresso machine, and the amount of milk can range from around 175ml to 250 ml (occasionally more).

Where did Iced Latte originate?

Contrary to the traditional hot latte, which originated in Europe somewhere between Vienna and Italy, the iced latte 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.

How to make an Iced Latte?

You will need the following ingredients to make a basic iced latte:

  • 1-2 shots of espresso 
  • Milk (175-250 ml, full cream or light)
  • Ice cubes


Pull shot(s) espresso using an espresso machine.

Place the espresso in your glass or cup.

If you wish to add a sweetener to your iced latte, you should add it to the espresso before adding cold milk.

Pour cold milk over the top, so it mixes evenly.

Add ice cubes to the glass.

Sip and enjoy.

Is Iced Latte Sweet?

An iced latte has a mildly sweet taste from added cold milk and a hint of coffee flavor from espresso. If you prefer to have a sweeter iced latte, you may add sugar or any other sweetener to it. An iced latte typically has some sweetness from the cold milk, even without adding any sweetener.

Is Iced Latte Healthy?

An iced latte is a healthy beverage unless you don’t overload it with sugar or sweet syrups. An iced latte is made with espresso and milk, which are not harmful to health when consumed in moderation. Moreover, caffeine has disease-fighting antioxidants, and milk contains many essential nutrients.

Medical science suggests that moderate caffeine consumption can be incorporated into a healthy diet for most people.

Moderate coffee consumption has been linked to a lower likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and endometrial cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. It’s even possible that people who drink coffee can reduce their risk of early death.

The bottom line? Iced lattes are probably fine and may even have some benefits. But if you have side effects from having it, such as heartburn, nervousness, or insomnia, consider cutting back.

Is Iced Latte Coffee?

Iced latte is a type of cold coffee that is made using espresso and cold milk in a ratio of 1:8, 1 part espresso to 8 parts cold milk. An iced latte tastes like sweet milk with a hint of coffee flavor because of the large amount of chilled milk and ice added to it.

Iced latte is prepared with espresso, and you’re free to use any type of espresso-making machine, including Moka pots and an Aeropress.

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. 

Is Iced Latte Espresso?

Iced latte is an espresso-based cold coffee made with 1-2 shots of espresso with chilled milk poured over it and served in a glass full of ice. 

An iced latte is one of the milkiest iced coffees out there, so you can barely taste the strong, robust flavor of plain espresso.

The chilled milk and ice that is added to make an iced latte immensely cuts down the bitterness and rich flavor of espresso.

An iced latte has a 1:8 espresso to milk ratio, so it’s more of a coffee-flavored milk drink than the other way around.

Is Iced Latte Fattening?

Iced latte can be fattening if you don’t have it in moderation. A typical 16oz. iced latte has 150 calories and all of those calories come from added milk. 

Iced lattes are mostly made with whole milk because the whole milk froths the best and it has the highest milk fat.

That said, iced lattes are not fattening if you have them in moderation, but if you have too many of them, the calories can quickly add up.

You can also use 2%  in your latte if you’d like, but it won’t give you the authentic creamy taste of traditional iced latte as the 2% milk just tastes less rich.

Is Iced Latte Gluten-Free?

Yes, an iced latte is gluten-free because unless you add wheat or gluten ingredients, most coffee and coffee drinks are gluten-free.

So, any coffee, whether hot or iced, contain no gluten. The syrups available for flavor are also gluten-free.

An iced latte contains espresso and milk as its main ingredients. Plain espresso is gluten-free, milk is gluten-free and even sugar and sugar syrups are gluten-free. As with so many foods and beverages that start out gluten-free, the answer lies in the additives. 

The only way your iced latte could have gluten is when at a restaurant your drink order gets cross-contaminated, so you may want to explain this to the person taking your order and watch them make your iced latte to reduce this risk.

Is Iced Latte Safe During Pregnancy?

The short answer is yes, it is safe to drink an iced latte during pregnancy in moderation. 

When it comes to caffeine and pregnancy, experts advise women to limit their intake to less than 200 milligrams per day, which is about one cup of coffee.

An iced latte made with one shot of espresso typically has about 68-80mg of caffeine which is under the safe limit.

So, if you’re craving an iced latte during pregnancy, go ahead and have one but make sure that it has only one shot of espresso and limit it to just one iced latte per day.

That said, it’s important to watch your consumption of coffee, and caffeine overall, during pregnancy. 

Caffeine can affect your pregnancy and your baby in ways that aren’t completely clear.

It’s a good idea to cut back on caffeine during pregnancy as much as you can, though, because even smaller amounts could affect your baby. 

Caffeine can add up fast in various foods and beverages, and different brands of coffee have very different amounts.

Can Iced Latte Be Kept Overnight?

Iced latte can be kept overnight in a refrigerator. Since iced lattes contain milk, it’s not a good idea to drink one that’s been at room temperature for more than an hour.

After this time, bacteria can start to grow, causing spoilage and possible food poisoning.

If you know you’re not going to be able to finish the iced latte, it’s best to put it in the fridge before an hour is up.

Experts suggest that a cold coffee with added milk should not sit out of the refrigerator or cooler for longer than an hour. Cut that time down to half an hour in the summer if the temperature reaches 90 degrees F. After that time frame, bacteria can start to grow.

Ideally, you can keep iced latte overnight in the refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below. Storing an iced latte at this temperature extends overall shelf-life and helps retain its flavor.

Can You Get An Iced Latte Without Ice?

Yes, you can get an iced latte without ice. If you’re making one for yourself at home, use espresso and chilled milk but don’t add ice. Similarly, if you order an iced latte at a coffee shop, let the barista know that you don’t want ice in your iced latte. An iced latte without ice will taste creamier and have a stronger coffee flavor than an iced latte diluted with ice.

So If you like your iced latte a little stronger and creamier, ask for less ice, or even ice on the side.

To make an iced latte without ice, brew espresso and let it cool down until very cold in your refrigerator. Once very cold, pour into a glass, add chilled milk or a sweetener of choice, and serve.

Can You Put Sugar In Iced Latte?

Yes, you can add sugar or any sweet syrup to your iced latte to make it sweeter. If you wish to add sugar to your iced latte, make sure that you add sugar to the espresso when it’s warm and freshly brewed. Don’t wait till the end to add sugar to your iced latte when its cold and ready to be served.

Sugar dissolves better in higher temperatures than in lower temperatures. This is why sugar can easily dissolve in warm espresso, but when you add sugar to an iced latte, the sugar will likely fall to the bottom of the cup without mixing in or sweetening your drink, and then you’ll just end up drinking those extra calories for no added benefit.

Will An Iced Latte Wake Me Up?

Yes, an iced latte will wake you up because it contains espresso and espresso has caffeine in it. Caffeine is a stimulant and it raises your heart rate and blood pressure to boost your energy levels and mood.

Caffeine blocks adenosine, which is a compound that promotes sleep, from binding to its receptor in the brain.

The effects of caffeine vary from person to person, as with any drug the way your body reacts depends on how quickly it metabolizes the caffeine.

Typically, it takes anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes for caffeine levels to peak in your blood.

At that time your heart rate and blood pressure will rise, and that’s what gives you the awake feeling you craved when you wanted to wake up.

Can You Make Iced Latte With Nespresso?

You can make an iced latte using Nespresso coffee pods. To make an iced latte with a Nespresso machine, first, brew 1-2 shots of espresso using the coffee pods. 

Next, make cold foamed milk using Nespresso’s Aeroccino milk frother, or if you don’t have a milk frother that can also produce cold foamed milk, you skip the step and use normal cold milk.

Pour the milk into a glass filled with ice. Now pour the brewed espresso into the glass filled with milk and ice.

Your iced latte is ready to be served.

If you wish to add sugar or sweetener to your iced latte, it’s best to add it to the espresso when it’s warm and freshly brewed.

If you’re interested, you can check out the Aerocchino milk foamer here. 

Can You Make Iced Latte With Keurig?

You can make an iced latte with a Keurig coffee machine. Pour chilled milk in a glass filled with ice, use a regular dark roasted k-cup of your choice and brew the coffee directly into the glass. You may also add sugar or sweet syrup of your choice to your iced latte. 

Can You Make Iced Latte With Instant Coffee?

Yes, you can make an iced latte with instant coffee. Add a tablespoon of instant coffee into a glass. Add about the same amount of hot water and stir.

Add a splash of cold water to cool everything down that helps ensure all of the ice doesn’t melt immediately.

Add the ice and pour chilled foamed milk on top of it.

2% dairy milk creates the most foam, plain soy milk has a rich, creamy taste, while almond milk has a mild sweet taste but not as creamy compared to soy. It works well with all milk types…and it really comes down to your personal preference.

Can You Make Iced Latte With Cold Brew?

Yes, you can make an iced latte with cold brew coffee. Start by pouring chilled foamed milk into a glass and adding the desired amount of ice to it. Now pour the cold brew directly on top of the ice. If desired, you can always add some syrup of your choice in the end.

Cold-brew coffee takes at least 12-16 hours to make, so be sure to make that first.

Always pour the coffee directly on top of the ice instead of into the milk to keep the layers separated.

Add more milk (1/3 cup) if you want more of the milk layer to show.

You can freeze more cold brew coffee in an ice cube tray and use the “coffee cubes” in place of the ice cubes for an even more pronounced coffee flavor in your iced latte

Can You Make Iced Latte With Almond Milk?

Yes, you can use almond milk to make an iced latte. You can use regular milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or half-and-half. Keep in mind that coconut milk and half-and-half will produce creamier iced lattes.

You can use any kind of milk you want from whole to skim cow’s milk to almond, soy, or coconut milk. Or any kind of milk in between as long as you love it.

Heavy cream isn’t really recommended for iced lattes. You’ll be adding 8 ounces of milk to your iced latte and the higher fat content in heavy cream doesn’t make it a great option for this drink.

Can You Make Iced Latte With Coffee?

Yes, you can make an iced latte with drip coffee. Pour chilled foamed milk into a glass filled with ice and pour chilled drip-brewed coffee on top of it. You may also add a sweet syrup, in the end, to make your iced latte sweeter.

What’s the best way to sweeten your iced latte?

The ways you can sweeten an iced latte are almost endless with 1 caveat. Don’t sweeten any of the cold coffee drinks with granulated sugar because it doesn’t dissolve properly. Liquid sweeteners, however, mix easily with the cold milk and espresso and dissolve seamlessly.

Maple syrup is a natural sweetener and it is a delicious way to sweeten your iced latte.

You may also use simple syrup which is a simple mix of equal parts water and sugar that you boil for 5 minutes. When the liquid is cool, it’s a basic syrup to sweeten your iced latte with.

Honey is also a great natural sweetener for cold coffee drinks. Honey will give your iced latte some floral flavor notes and it will enhance any naturally sweet flavors your espresso already has.

Written by:
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Amit Gupta

Hi, my name is Amit Gupta, and I am the owner and contributor at Cafeish. My obsession with coffee started when I received my first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, my love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets I own – has grown considerably.

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