Are you in the mood for a refreshing iced beverage but can’t decide between a cold brew or an iced latte?

Both are popular choices among coffee drinkers of all levels, but how do they differ?

To help you decide, let’s explore what sets these two beverages apart and which is right for whatever drinking occasion you have in mind.

Quick Answer: What is the difference between cold brew and iced latte?

The main difference between cold brew coffee and an iced latte is how they are brewed. Cold brew coffee is made by steeping ground coffee in cold water for 15 hours – while an iced latte is made by pouring espresso shots over ice and the milk of choice.

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between cold brew vs. iced lattes!

Cold Brew vs. Iced Latte: How Do They Differ?

Cold brew vs. iced latte, how do they differ?

Before diving into all of the differences in-depth, you can have a look at what sets these coffees apart below:

Comparison:Cold brew:Iced latte:
Flavor notesSmoother and sweeter tasteCreamy, subtle flavor
Coffee used?Cold brew coffeeYes, two espresso shots
Milk added?No milk added6 ounces (180 ml)
Caffeine content250mg of caffeine128mg of caffeine
Number of caloriesAbout 5 calories110 calories
How is it served?Served on iceServed on ice
Add-in used?Served as is with optional sweetenersSweetener of choice

As you can see from the overview above, there are many differences between these delicious drinks.

Now that you know the basics of these drinks, it’s time to cover each difference in-depth below:

Is cold brew coffee stronger than an iced latte?

Cold brew is definitely stronger than an iced latte. Because cold brew is served as is, the flavor will be much stronger than an iced latte made using espresso shots, milk, ice cubes, and a sweetener of choice.

Cold brew involves steeping coarsely ground beans in cool water for 12-24 hours (I usually go 15 hours), then slowly straining the grounds from the concentrated coffee solution:

Stirring the fine ground cold brew coffee to speed up the process.

During this time, all of the essential oils and flavors are extracted from the bean, resulting in a smooth flavor profile and higher caffeine content.

This makes cold brew significantly stronger than espresso-based drinks like lattes.

On the other hand, iced lattes have several variables depending on how you make them – milk ratio, espresso shots used, & type of syrup (if any).

Generally speaking, though, an iced latte will contain two shots of espresso with anywhere between 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of milk served over ice with or without sweetener added.

A homemade iced latte.

So, at its most basic level, a cold brew will be stronger than your average iced latte.

What is the flavor difference between these drinks?

When it comes to flavor differences between a cold brew and an iced latte, there are a few key characteristics that make them quite distinct.

Firstly, cold brew is made with coarse-ground coffee beans, which are then steeped at room temperature for 15 hours. The grind size used looks like this:

The grind size used to make cold brew coffee at home.

By contrast, an iced latte is brewed with espresso shots poured over ice – you can also add dairy milk or non-dairy milk alternatives and some sweetener if desired.

The flavor difference lies in the brewing method; because cold brew has been steeped for so long, it tends to have a bolder and more robust taste than traditional espresso, which you can find in an iced latte.

Due to its extraction method, the espresso used for lattes provides a smoother yet sweeter taste profile. The grind size for espresso coffee looks like this:

Espresso grind size.

Espresso on its own can be quite strong, but both options deliver their own unique sweetness depending on what’s added – creamers, milk, or syrups will all bring additional notes into play when it comes to enjoying either one of these drinks!

Is cold brew less acidic than an iced latte?

Cold brew has significantly less acidity than an iced latte. The two drinks are produced differently, resulting in different levels of acidity.

High temperatures extract the flavor and caffeine quickly from the beans for hot coffee.

This can create a bitter taste that is then balanced out with the addition of milk and sugar for lattes.

However, coffee grounds are soaked in cold water for 15 hours when making cold brew coffee instead of being exposed to high temperatures.

Steeping cold brew in a mason jar.
Steeping cold brew in a mason jar

This allows more intricate flavors to be extracted from the ground beans while eliminating most of their bitterness or sourness due to reduced acidity levels in the final product.

Additionally, because cold brew is not exposed to heat during production, many vital oils (which can only be released through heat) remain intact during brewing; this gives it a richer taste than traditional-brewed coffee without any additional sweeteners.

Therefore, if you’re looking for something smooth and low on acidity – try a cup of cold brew instead!

How many calories are in these drinks?

The number of calories in a particular drink can vary widely, depending on a variety of factors.

  • Cold brew coffee without any added ingredients usually has close to 5 calories per serving.
  • On the other hand, an iced latte made with whole milk will typically contain 110 calories per serving.

There are plenty of additional ingredients that you may add to your iced latte or cold brew coffee that could also affect its calorie count – for instance, flavored syrups and sauces will typically add about 20-50 calories each.

Homemade cinnamon syrup.
Homemade cinnamon syrup

If you’re looking for a low-calorie drink, a refreshing cold brew coffee may be your best!

What is the caffeine difference between a cold brew and an iced latte?

When it comes to comparing the caffeine content of cold brew coffee and an iced latte, there is a noticeable difference.

Generally, cold brew coffee contains around 250mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup, while an iced latte with a double espresso shot has 128mg of caffeine in the same-sized cup.

That means cold brew coffee has nearly twice as much caffeine on average as an iced latte!

How to make cold brew coffee at home.

Remember that depending on how long the cold brew is steeped, the caffeine content may be lower or higher than this.

And when ordering an iced latte, you might only get it with a single espresso shot, which would half the caffeine content.

Which is better, cold brew or iced latte?

When it comes to cold brew vs. iced latte, there’s much debate about which is the better beverage.

From taste to caffeine content, each has its own benefits and drawbacks—so by reading this article, you have a good idea about which might be the best choice for you.

A side-by-side comparison between cold brew coffee and an iced latte.
Cold brew on the left. Iced latte on the right

If you’re not sure which of these drinks would fit you better, I suggest the following:

  • Go with cold brew coffee if you’re looking for a smooth and mellow flavor that packs a punch (and has a high caffeine content!)
  • Choose an iced latte if you love a drink with creamy textures without the overwhelming bitterness or acidity that plain espresso shots can sometimes have.

As you can see, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. I prefer drinking cold brew coffee only in the summer, while I can order an iced latte year-round.

Related coffee comparison articles

Are you wondering how cold brew and a latte compare to other coffees?

Great! Check out the articles below for more in-depth coffee comparisons:

And to compare more coffees, visit the coffee comparison hub!


Ultimately, deciding between a cold brew and an iced latte is up to your preference and taste.

You can always experiment with the different options by ordering them at different strengths or with different milks.

Try combining flavors like an iced mocha latte, for instance. Exploring different combinations and seeing which ones work best for you is fun.

To sum it up, cold brew will give you more energy from the higher caffeine content but might not be as flavorful as an iced latte.

An iced latte will have less caffeine but provide more flavor variations that could be more satisfying for some people.

So go ahead, take the plunge, and make your order — no matter what option you decide on, it won’t be a mistake!

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