Iced Latte Vs Iced Macchiato: Here are the Differences

Updated on: June 9, 2023
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Iced Macchiato vs Iced Latte

If you're not a coffee enthusiast, you might feel bewildered just looking at a local coffee shop menu. Especially when the differences between some drinks are so minuscule, like the iced latte vs iced macchiato!

Between latte's, frappes, and mocha's, it can be hard to understand what goes into each drink. And asking a barista what each drink means can be even more nerve-wracking!

Iced coffee drinks are popular, even during colder months. You may have got an iced latte or an iced macchiato at one point, but as they have similar flavors, it's hard to understand the difference between the two drinks.

You'll learn about the difference between an iced macchiato and an iced latte in this article. We'll cover which drink tastes stronger, what type of milk is used, and how to make each drink.

To avoid feeling stuck the next time you're ordering an iced coffee, keep reading!

The Difference Between An Iced Macchiato vs An Iced Latte

The main difference between an iced macchiato and an iced latte is how they are made!

Iced latte and iced macchiato, or iced latte macchiato, can look very similar, so you might not be able to tell them apart at first glance. However, each drink is made differently.

An iced macchiato is made by pouring whole milk into a glass, adding a good amount of ice, then topping off with two espresso shots.

As the espresso falls into the liquid, you'll see a visually pleasing marble effect as the coffee and milk combine.

The ingredients in an iced latte are similar, but they're placed in a different order. A single espresso shot is added to the glass first, milk is added next, and the ice cubes are added last to top off this coffee drink. Unlike a macchiato, the drink is one color and resembles a milky coffee.

Here are the main differences between these two types of coffee drinks:

  • An iced macchiato will have an extra shot of espresso, creating a stronger coffee drink.
  • The ingredients in both drinks are layered differently, creating a different appeal.
  • Each drink uses different kinds of cold milk. Iced lattes are normally made with lower fat milk, while iced macchiatos use whole, full-fat milk.

However, if you're purchasing an iced espresso-based drink from coffee shops, you may be able to ask the barista to use a milk of your preference for each drink.

For instance, vegans may ask for an oat milk iced latte. Those on diet plans may prefer an iced macchiato with low-fat milk.

You can see here that there isn't a massive difference between the two drinks, so it's understandable why some may mistake one for the other.

Now you know why an iced macchiato and an iced latte are different, you can decide which one you may prefer the next time you're at a coffee shop.

You'll find the recipes for each drink below for you to look over, or even make at home. It'll be easier to figure out which one you prefer by trying both of them out for yourself.

Iced Macchiato Method

Iced Latte vs Iced Macchiato

You can make both drinks with ingredients that you'll probably have in your kitchen. An iced macchiato uses two shots of espresso and normally contains whole milk. This gives the drink more flavor and a different taste compared to its latte counterpart.

Macchiatos are also smaller and more potent than lattes, as less milk is needed to make the drink.

To make an iced macchiato, you will need:

  • Two shots of espresso (we recommend using an espresso machine)
  • Ice cubes
  • A quarter cup of whole milk (60ml)

After you've gathered your ingredients, you can begin making an iced macchiato for yourself! Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Begin by pouring the whole milk into a tall glass.
  2. Fill the glass with some ice cubes. You'll need enough ice cubes to keep the milk cool, but not so many that they start overflowing the glass.
  3. Finish the drink off with the espresso shots, pouring them on top.

If done right, the dark espresso will spiral down into the lighter milk, creating a beautiful marble effect.

Have you heard of the Iced Caramel Macchiato? It's the same idea as the Iced Macchiato, but sweeter as it has vanilla syrup in the iced coffee drink with caramel drizzle on top.

Coffee lovers rave about it, and so do we!

Iced Latte Method

Iced Latte

An iced latte needs more milk than an iced macchiato and it's normally lower in fat too. As they only use a single shot of espresso, iced lattes tend to be less powerful in flavor than a macchiato.

This may be ideal for those that prefer lighter, or milkier coffees, but those that like strong coffee may prefer a macchiato.

To make an iced latte, you will need:

  • A 3/4 cup of cold 2% milk (180 ml)
  • A single espresso shot
  • Ice cubes

You don't need lots of ingredients to make an iced latte or a macchiato for that matter. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose a glass you like and add the espresso shot.
  2. Pour in the milk slowly to avoid spills.
  3. Finish the drink by topping it off with ice cubes. The ice should cool the coffee down nicely, creating a satisfying, refreshing drink.

Simple, right? As you add the espresso shot before the milk, the drink looks mixed, whereas a macchiato has a visually striking effect. Nevertheless, if you don't care about appearances, an iced latte is just as tasty as an iced macchiato, just in a slightly different way.

Are Lattes Weaker Than Macchiatos?

Compared to macchiatos, lattes aren't as strong in flavor as they use just one shot of espresso. They also use more milk, which tones down the potent flavors coming from the coffee.

Macchiatos use two shots of espresso and less milk than a latte. They're also usually made with whole milk, which has more fat than 2% milk.

The fat and creaminess from the milk pair well with the extra strong coffee, producing a well-rounded, full-flavored drink.

Espresso shots are a necessary part of iced coffees, but they can create a large difference between the two drinks.

A single shot of espresso needed for a latte may taste sweet, but these flavors intensify when needed in a macchiato, as the drink needs two shots.

You may be able to use a different type of milk at home, but using the type of milk that was intended for each drink will help you get the most out of the experience.

This can also help you pick up on the noticeable flavor differences with each drink so you can tell them apart easily.

Coffee Beans You Need For An Espresso

Espresso Beans

If you want your iced coffee to taste perfectly delicious, don't make it with instant coffee or low-quality espresso beans.

Your coffee choice will dramatically change the flavors in your drink, so try to purchase better quality espresso beans whenever possible.

If you have an espresso machine, you can easily create espresso at home. Espresso machines can be expensive, but if you don't have one available, you can purchase a Moka pot instead.

These are placed on the stove to extract espresso-like coffee from the coffee grounds.

Moka pots are relatively affordable and can create great-tasting coffee. Keep in mind that this coffee won't be espresso, as espresso can only be extracted at 9 bars of pressure or above.

However, Moka pot coffee resembles espresso well. Even coffee enthusiasts struggle to tell the difference between the two, so you'll be fine to use Moka pot coffee in your iced drink.

The type of coffee bean you go for will depend on your preferences. Darker roasted beans create a fuller-tasting espresso, but if you prefer a lighter taste, light roast beans may be a better choice.

Medium roasted beans contain a nice amount of flavor. They're ideal if you like to add things like sugar, sweeteners, or cinnamon to your coffee, as the beans' flavors will still shine through the extras.

Dark roasted beans will have a similar effect, but the taste of the coffee may mask any additives.

Dark coffee beans may suit a macchiato, as the drink is made with two shots of espresso, but this could highlight the bitter notes inside the beans.

Light Roast Medium Roast and Dark Roast

It's always a good idea to try making several coffees with different kinds of coffee beans. This will help you figure out which type of roast you prefer, which can narrow down your choice later.

This will also help you when you're purchasing coffee from a cafe. For instance, if you know you prefer a darker roast, you can request the barista to make a coffee with their darker roast beans.

Caffeine Content

Some people care about the caffeine content in their coffee. If you want more caffeine in your drink, opt for Robusta beans.

Coffee beans come in two main kinds, Robusta and Arabica. Arabica beans are used more often, but Robusta ones can have almost double the caffeine seen in Arabica.

Don't make the mistake of believing darker roast beans have more caffeine than lighter ones. One dark roast bean will have the same caffeine content as one light roast bean. However, darker roasted beans are cooked longer than lighter ones, so they lose some of their mass.

With the caffeine content remaining the same regardless, the same 20 grams of dark roast beans will have more caffeine than 20 grams of the lighter ones, because there will be more dark roasted beans in 20 grams compared to 20 grams of light roast ones, as the dark ones are less dense.

If measured by volume instead of weight, a scoop of light roast beans would have more caffeine than a scoop of dark roast ones.

We tend to measure coffee by volume instead of weight, so keep this in mind if you care about your coffee's caffeine content.

Bold Flavors

Iced Macchiato Or An Iced Latte: Which Drink Is Better?

Both of these drinks have their place in the coffee world, but everyone will have a different preference. Those that like stronger iced coffees may prefer an iced macchiato, as these will contain more espresso.

People who prefer a balanced drink may prefer an iced latte, as there's more milk to round off the espresso.

These drinks have slight differences between them, but these can matter when deciding which one you should go for.

Appearances and ease of use also matter. Those that want a quick drink that they can drink immediately may prefer an iced latte.

An iced macchiato is better for those that like the look of the coffee and milk layers, as well as those that have more time for the liquids to mix.

Your choice of coffee beans also makes a difference. You may not like a macchiato with a dark roast bean, as the espresso may taste too strong. However, switching the beans to a medium, or light roast, could be the step you need to enjoy.

Similarly, a latte may taste bland when using a medium roast, but changing to a darker bean could make them more palatable for your taste.

This also applies to your choice of milk. As mentioned previously, a macchiato is generally made with whole milk, as the creamier flavors blend well with the robust espresso. Opting for lower fat milk, like 2% or nut milk, may change how the drink tastes entirely.

Lattes are usually made with 2% milk, but whole milk could overwhelm the espresso, diluting the taste of the coffee.

It's always best to trial and error a few different drinks, types of milk, and coffee beans to see which style you prefer.

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Now you know the differences between an iced macchiato and an iced latte! These drinks are made with very similar ingredients, but they are made differently.

Iced macchiatos are made by layering the milk first, then topping off with two espresso shots. This creates a well-loved marble effect down the glass as the espresso swirls into the milk.

Iced lattes begin with a single espresso shot, then milk is poured last. The drink looks premixed and resembles a milky coffee.

Iced lattes are a good choice for those that prefer neutral coffee drinks. Iced macchiatos will suit people who like stronger coffee as they use more espresso.

If you're not sure which one to choose, try both and see which one suits your taste better. But, do remember that your coffee bean choice and the milk you use will matter too.

Felipe is a tea expert with an engineering background! He loves to drink and learn all about tea and coffee. His love for tea was discovered while living in Japan and his favorites are Sencha & Pu'er!

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace professional medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Do not consume any type of coffee, tea or herbal infusion if you are allergic to it. The information in this article is not intended to treat serious medical conditions. Please seek professional medical advice before using home remedies.



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