Iced Coffee vs. Iced Latte – What’s the Difference?

Last Updated on December 10, 2022 by brewthatcoffee

Iced coffee and iced lattes are a couple of the most commonly ordered drinks at coffee shops, but what’s the difference? In this post, we’ll go over how an iced coffee vs. iced latte is made, their calories, caffeine content, and some other coffee drinks they’re commonly compared with.

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

Iced Coffee vs. Iced Latte

What is an Iced Coffee?

Iced coffee is a chilled brewed coffee that is often served with milk and sweetener.

Ratio: Iced coffee is typically served either black or 90% brewed coffee and 10% milk/sweetener.

What is an Iced Latte?

An iced latte is a drink that includes espresso and milk, often served over ice with sugar or other flavors.

Ratio: Iced lattes are 1 part espresso to 3 parts milk.

Differences Between Iced Coffee and Iced Latte

As we can see above, the main difference between an iced coffee and an iced latte is that iced coffee uses brewed coffee versus espresso used in iced lattes.

Also, there is a lot more coffee in an iced coffee compared to an iced latte, which uses a small amount of espresso.


Iced Coffee = Ice + Brewed Coffee.

Iced Latte = Ice + Espresso + Milk.

Ingredients & Calories: Which is healthier?

Determining whether an iced coffee or iced latte is healthier can be a bit subjective. For the purposes of answering this question, we will look at calories and sugar.

Since iced coffee is served black or with a splash of milk/sweetener, these drinks tend to be under 100 calories. More specifically, an 8 oz black iced coffee is only one calorie and contains 0 grams of sugar. Even if you decide to double the amount of iced coffee consumed, it will still be only 2 calories.

When included, around 1 fl oz of milk is typically used in iced coffee. Here is what that roughly equates to in calories.

Add-In (1 fl oz)CaloriesSugar (g)
Whole Milk171.5
Sweetened Condensed Milk6210.5
Unsweetened Almond Milk5.05
Vanilla Almond Milk101.6
Coconut Milk641
Fat-Free Milk (Skim)101.4
Comparison of different milk add-ins (1 fl oz) for brewed coffee.

Iced lattes tend to be a lot higher in calories since they are 3/4 milk. The type of milk used will greatly influence the total number of calories.

In a regular iced latte, you can expect to use around 3/4 cup of milk. See the chart below to find out how many calories this translates into.

Milk Base (3/4 Cup)CaloriesSugar (g)
Whole Milk1029
Unsweetened Almond Milk37262
Vanilla Almond Milk60.3
Coconut Milk3846
Fat-Free Milk (Skim)608.4
Comparison of different milk bases (3/4 cup) for iced lattes.

Do you enjoy adding sugar to your coffee? There are roughly 48 calories per 1 tbsp of sugar.

The Takeaway: If you want the least number of calories and sugar possible, opt for a black iced coffee.

Caffeine Content: Which is Stronger?

The source of caffeine in an iced coffee is brewed coffee while the source of caffeine in an iced latte is espresso.

Brewed coffee contains around 95 mg of caffeine and espresso has around 75 mg of caffeine. Since the number of espresso shots in a latte can vary, one isn’t always stronger than the other.

However, per volume, espresso is much stronger than brewed coffee.

If you’d like some specific examples, please read on.

Iced Coffee vs. Iced Latte at Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts

The overall difference between iced coffee and iced lattes from Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts is the ingredients.

Starbucks has the most classic preparation methods as well as the least amount of preservatives/artificial flavors. Both McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts have a fair amount of unexpected ingredients.

Starbucks Iced Coffee vs. Iced Latte

Starbucks Iced Coffee is made with ice, brewed coffee, and classic syrup. If you are looking to reduce calories, ask for no syrup.

Starbucks Iced Caffe Latte is made with milk, ice, and two shots of brewed espresso (grande).

McDonald’s Iced Coffee vs. Iced Latte

McDonald’s Iced Coffee is made with liquid sugar, brewed coffee, ice, and light cream.

*Liquid Sugar Ingredients: Sugar, Water, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Citric Acid.

*Light Cream Ingredients: Milk, Cream, Sodium Phosphate, DATEM, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Citrate, Carrageenan.

McDonald’s Iced Latte is made with ice, water, espresso, and whole milk.

Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee vs. Iced Latte

Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee is prepared black, meaning it only contains brewed coffee and ice.

Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Latte is made with Coconutmilk: Coconutmilk (Filtered Water, Coconut Cream), Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12), Dipotassium Phosphate, Sea Salt, Sunflower Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum, Ascorbic Acid (To Protect Freshness), Natural Flavor; Brewed Espresso Coffee.

Starbucks vs. McDonald’s vs. Dunkin’ Donuts: Calories, Sugar, and Caffeine

*Sizes: Starbucks grande, McDonald’s medium, and Dunkin’ Donuts medium.

DrinkCaloriesSugar (g)Caffeine (mg)
Starbucks Iced Coffee8020165
Starbucks Iced Caffè Latte13011150
McDonald’s Iced Coffee18028N/A
McDonald’s Iced Latte1209N/A
Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee50297
Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Latte501166
Comparison of calories, sugar (g), and caffeine (mg) from Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Iced Coffee vs. Iced Cappuccino vs. Iced Latte vs. Iced Macchiato

Iced coffee is brewed coffee over ice.

Cappuccino is a coffee drink that is made with espresso, steamed milk, and foam. in equal parts

Iced latte is a drink that includes espresso and milk, often served over ice with sugar or other flavors.

Iced macchiato is a drink that includes espresso with a splash of milk.

RELATED: Want to learn more about coffee? Find out the difference between an iced Americano and an iced coffee.

Popular Questions

French Vanilla coffee has a richer, nuttier flavor than regular vanilla coffee.

Much of the time, no. You will need to check product labels and/or ask your barista whether there is dairy in their French Vanilla flavoring/creamer.

This is a matter of personal preference. You may want to try different brands and flavors to see what you like best.

Final Thoughts

With so many types of coffee drinks to choose from, it can be difficult to pick, let alone memorize what all of them are. Iced coffee and iced lattes are two of the most popular coffee drinks, and now that you can differentiate between the two, you’re off to a great start.

If you love a strong coffee with loads of caffeine, opt for an iced latte with an extra shot of espresso. For cutting back on calories, black iced coffee is the best way to go.

Do you have a favorite way to take your iced coffee or latte? Let us all know in the comments! As always, thanks for reading.

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