Most people seem to think that lattes are either hot or cold, but what is the best temperature for a latte?

Is it better to drink them when piping hot out of the coffee shop, or should they be chilled and enjoyed as an iced beverage?

In this article, it’s time to explore the different ways to enjoy lattes and find out the best temperature.

So, whether you like hot or cold lattes, read on to discover all there is to know about this delicious coffee drink.

So, are lattes hot or cold?

Most lattes are served hot, but they can also be served cold. A hot latte is an espresso with steamed milk and a milk foam topping, while an iced latte is an espresso with cold milk and ice.

Both lattes have many variations, but traditionally, the latte is served hot. Until a few years ago, when the iced coffee trend really took off, we started drinking our lattes on ice.

Homemade decaf iced coffee.

Which, if you ask me, is the perfect way to enjoy a delicious caffeine-packed drink on a hot summer day (or whenever you feel like drinking one).

A comparison between a hot latte and an iced latte

For a quick overview of all the differences between a hot latte and an iced latte, you can have a look below:

Comparison: Hot latte: Iced latte:
Espresso? Yes, it will be added hot Yes, it will be added hot
Steamed milk? Yes No steamed milk
Milk foam topping? Yes No milk foam topping
Cold foam? No cold foam Cold foam optional
Ice cubes? No ice cubes added Yes
Sweetener? Optional Optional

Now, let’s get into the rest of the article to figure out how you can keep your latte as hot (or cold) as possible and see which version you’ll like better.

Can lattes be served hot and cold?

Yes, you can serve lattes hot and cold. Proper preparation of a latte requires the correct ratio of espresso to milk.

If you’re using a standard espresso machine at home, that means one espresso shot and 3/4 cup (0.18 l) of steamed milk.

Brewing espresso shots.

You can use either whole or low-fat milk (or a milk alternative of choice). Check out this complete guide if you want to learn how to make the perfect homemade latte.

Some coffee shops will prepare a cold latte by mixing espresso with cold milk and pouring it over ice.

Others will simply stir espresso with ice, pour it into a glass, and top it with cold foam for a more textured latte.

Cold foam is made by frothing low-fat milk until it turns thicker so it can lay on top of the cold espresso, creating the same latte layers that we all know and love:

Homemade iced latte, ready to be enjoyed.

You can learn how to make cold foam at home by following this easy step-by-step guide, or you can stick to just adding cold milk as the basis for your iced latte!

What is the ideal latte temperature?

The ideal latte temperature is between 155 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything hotter than that can cause the milk to scald; anything cooler will make the latte too cold and unpleasant to drink.

Below, you’ll find more information on both the hot latte temperature, as well as the iced latte temperature for that perfect drinking experience:

Hot latte temperature

The ideal latte temperature is between 155 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that the milk is frothed correctly and that the coffee is heated to the perfect temperature.

Perfect espresso will have a nice crema, and the steamed milk will have that nice velvety texture and a nice foam layer.

A top-down view of espresso crema.
Espresso crema

If you’re not happy with the results, don’t worry, you can always turn it into an iced latte by adding some ice cubes and giving it all a good stir.

And if the taste isn’t perfect, try adding a sweetener such as homemade coffee syrups or a homemade sauce to it!

Iced latte temperature

There is no ideal iced latte temperature because it depends on your preference. Some people like their iced lattes very cold, while others prefer them a little warmer.

You can experiment with different temperatures to find what you like the best.

My rule of thumb for making an iced latte is adding at least eight ice cubes (with already cooled milk and espresso coffee) to a glass.

Homemade Nespresso iced latte, ready to drink.

This results in a nicely cooled but not too cold iced latte that you can enjoy any time of the day.

Are Starbucks lattes hot or cold?

Starbucks lattes are available in both hot and cold versions.

When ordering a latte at your local Starbucks, your barista will usually ask if you want it hot or cold.

If this is not the case, make sure to ask your barista for a “hot latte” if you want it hot or an “iced latte” if you prefer it cold.

Many latte variations are available in Starbucks, especially around early November when the holiday menu is revealed.

Tip: Check out this complete article to learn all about the upcoming Starbucks holiday drinks!

One of the most popular lattes around that time is the gingerbread latte, which is the perfect way to heat up:

Homemade gingerbread latte.

You can even make one at home if you don’t feel like hopping into your local Starbucks. Check out this delicious recipe to give it a try!

How do you make sure your latte stays hot?

There are a few ways to ensure your latte stays hot, which I’ll cover below. I’ll review the best ways to keep your homemade and takeaway lattes hot.

A general tip to keep your latte hot is to drink it quickly after ordering (or making) it; this will minimize the amount of time the drink spends in the open air.

Tips for keeping your homemade latte hot

Making a homemade latte is one of the best ways to start the day. Below are some tips to make sure your latte stays hot for longer:

  • Preheat your mug or cup with some hot water.
  • Pour the espresso shot into the preheated mug or cup.
  • Try brewing your espresso and steaming your milk at the same time, so none of the two will cool down before combining them.
  • Add enough foam on top, which will help insulate the drink and keep it warmer for longer.

Tips for keeping your takeaway latte hot

There are so many coffee takeaway locations that you’ll likely order a delicious latte soon.

Here are a few tips to keep your latte as hot as possible while you drive back home or when you want to enjoy it for longer while driving:

  • Order it with an extra shot of espresso, which will help keep it warm for longer.
  • Keep the lid closed as much as possible. It’s best to keep it closed entirely until you’re at home. If you’re going to enjoy it while on the road, make sure to close the lid properly after each sip.
  • And finally, you can ask for it to be packaged in a thermal cup or mug, which will help to trap in heat. You can bring your own thermal mug at most coffee places, and they’ll most likely give you a discount on your drink. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Conclusion

In the end, it’s important to remember that whether or not you enjoy your latte hot or cold is entirely a personal preference.

What matters most is that you take the time to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee – however you like it!

I’ve talked about the best ways to keep your latte hot or cold when you decide to order one from your local coffee shop or make one at home.

If you’d like to try some amazing latte recipes, have a look below at some of my favorites:

Latte recipes to try

Picture of Jeffrey, Author at Your Dream Coffee
Author

On my coffee blog you will find everything you need in order to start brewing coffee at home. Ranging from the basics; to the newest coffee recipes everybody talks about! You can learn more about me here.

Pin It