Do you often find yourself staring at the menu of a coffee shop, wondering whether a cold brew or latte would best suit your tastes?

It can be confusing to differentiate between the aroma, flavor profile, and mouthfeel. So, what is the difference between a cold brew and a latte?

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

The main difference between a cold brew and a latte is the brewing method. Cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in room temperature or cold water for 12-24 hours, while lattes are brewed with steamed milk and espresso coffee.

Cold Brew vs. Latte: All the Differences You Need to Know

In this article, I’ll discuss all the key differences between cold brew vs. lattes so that you can confidently choose your needs. Let’s get started!

Cold brew vs. latte, how do they differ?

Before getting into all the differences in-depth, have a look at the table below for a quick overview:

Comparison:Cold brew:Latte:
Flavor notesSmoother and sweeter tasteCreamy and milk-heavy
Coffee used?Cold brew coffeeYes, single or double espresso
Milk added?No milk addedWhole milk
Caffeine content250mg of caffeine64 to 128mg of caffeine
Number of caloriesAbout 5 calories110 calories
How is it served?Served on iceServed hot
Add-in used?Served as is with optional sweetenersSweetener of choice

Now that you have a good idea about the main differences between these delicious drinks, it’s time to cover each of them in-depth below:

Which is stronger, cold brew or a latte?

When it comes to cold brew and latte, one key difference is the strength of the beverage. Cold brew is generally stronger than lattes for a few reasons.

Cold brew coffee is generally known for being stronger than a latte. This is because cold brewing requires more grounds per cup of water (in comparison to hot brewing methods).

The longer the grounds steep in these conditions, the higher levels of caffeine will be released into the beverage.

Adding a lid to the mason jar cold brew to let it steep.

Additionally, because cold brew does not involve hot water extractions like other brewing methods do, flavors like bitterness and acidity are not as pronounced – many people find it smoother.

So, if you’re looking for an incredibly strong cup of joe with a smooth flavor profile, reach for a glass of cold brew!

What is the serving temperature of these drinks?

When it comes to the serving temperature of drinks, there are some clear differences that you should be aware of.

First off, let’s look at a latte. A latte is made with espresso and steamed milk and served in an 8-10 oz glass or cup.

Upside-down latte, ready to drink.

As such, these types of drinks should always be served hot – around 150°F (66°C). This ensures that the drinks’ flavors come together as intended.

On the other hand, cold brew coffees are easily identifiable by their dark hue and smooth flavor profile due to not being exposed to any heat during their production process:

Cold brew in a mason jar, ready to strain.

These types of beverages should always be served ice cold for maximum enjoyment!

This helps bring out all of the nuances in flavor without sacrificing its texture or aesthetic appeal in any way.

In short, lattes should always be served hot, while cold brews have fewer restrictions but should still stay relatively chilled for best results.

What is the flavor difference between these drinks?

When it comes to the flavor difference between a cold brew and a latte, some key distinctions set them apart.

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in water for several hours and then straining out the grounds, resulting in a concentrated beverage:

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

This method delivers a smooth taste with low acidity. Its flavor is sweet, mellow, and nutty with subtle earthy notes.

On the other hand, lattes are usually espresso-based drinks that are combined with steamed and frothed milk to create foam on top of the drink.

Depending on how much sugar or other syrups you add to your latte, it may have a sweeter flavor than cold brews.

It also may bring out more of the roasted flavors from dark roasts compared to cold brew, which has only been steeped in water for many hours instead of brewed with intense heat like espresso does.

Is a latte or cold brew less acidic?

Cold brew is less acidic than a latte when comparing the two drinks side-by-side.

This can be attributed to how each drink is prepared; a latte typically uses espresso, which is produced by forcing hot water through tightly packed coffee grounds, resulting in an intensely flavorful beverage with more acidity.

Brewing espresso shots.

On the other hand, cold brew relies on steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in room temperature or cold water for an extended period before filtration; this creates a smoother and sweeter flavor profile with lower acidity levels.

How much caffeine is in a cold brew vs. a latte?

When it comes to cold brew vs. latte, there’s a big difference in the amount of caffeine you get from each—cold brew has much higher levels than lattes.

On average, a standard cup of cold brew contains an impressive 250mg of caffeine, while a latte only has 128mg per cup (made with a double-shot espresso).

If you make a smaller latte or with a single espresso shot, the caffeine content of a latte will drop to just 64mg of caffeine.

Homemade chocolate cream cold brew, ready to drink.

The higher amount of caffeine in cold brew is mainly attributed to its unique brewing process.

Unlike other types of coffee drinks where hot water is used over ground beans to extract flavor and aroma compounds quickly, cold brew takes longer because no heat is applied during extraction.

The method—which can take anywhere between 12-24 hours—allows for more concentrated flavors and aromas as well as more caffeine content.

So, if you’re looking for an extra boost throughout your day without sacrificing taste or quality, then opting for a cold brew could be just what you need!

What is the calorie difference between a cold brew and a latte?

There is a significant calorie difference between a cold brew coffee and a latte.

Cold brew typically has very little to no calories, as most cold brewers dissolve coffee grounds in water overnight and then strain out the used grounds — essentially creating a brewed beverage with no added ingredients.

A cup of cold brew made this way contains only 5 calories per serving.

On the other hand, a latte made with whole milk can contain up to 110 calories per serving.

Adding freshly steamed milk to a glass.

This is because lattes are typically composed of espresso shots combined with steamed milk, adding additional fat in delicious form!

That being said, there are ways to reduce the calorie count of your beloved morning beverage by choosing non-dairy alternatives like almond or oat milk and limiting added sweeteners or flavors.

Which is better, cold brew or a latte?

Whether a cold brew or a latte is better depends on personal preference.

From a taste perspective, each has its own unique flavor and attributes that differentiate it from the other:

  • Cold brew tends to have a deeper, bolder flavor due to its higher coffee-to-water ratio and lengthy steeping process.
  • Thanks to the milk, lattes are known for their creamy texture and richer aromas.
A side-by-side comparison between a cold brew and a latte.
Cold brew on the left. Latte on the right

If you’re not quite sure which would fit you the best, I recommend the following:

  • Cold brew coffee is the perfect option if you love drinking a refreshing and ice-cold drink that packs a punch.
  • Do you instead love sipping on a milk-based coffee that has a smooth flavor? Then a latte might be the better option for you!

I love each drink just as much, and they’re both wonderful options for different times of the day.

You can quickly start the day with a delicious latte and drink a refreshing cold brew while sitting out in the sun!

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!


There are a variety of ways to enjoy your coffee, and it can come down to personal preference at the end of the day.

Cold brew and lattes each have unique flavors, making them enjoyable drinks.

If you’re looking for a robust taste, go for the cold brew, but if you need more sweetness and creaminess, a latte is just right for you.

Try out both and see what works best for you! You may even develop a new favorite combination of flavors when ordering your next coffee beverage.

So why wait? Get out there and explore the wonderful world of coffee drinks-you won’t regret it!

Espresso-based recipes to try

Picture of Jeffrey, Author at Your Dream Coffee

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.

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