In a world as busy as ours, coffee and other caffeinated drinks are a must. Plus, they’re delicious!

At coffee shops around the world, some of the most commonly ordered drinks are iced coffee and iced lattes, but how different are these drinks really? They might be more distinct than you think!

In this article, we’ll discuss iced coffee vs. iced lattes, how they differ from one another, their ingredients, caffeine content, and so much more. Read on to discover everything you’ve ever needed to know about the differences between iced coffee and iced lattes.

Iced Coffee vs. Iced Latte

Even though they might look similar once they’re in a cup, iced coffee and iced lattes aren’t actually the same drink. Although there are similarities like having caffeine, being highly customizable flavor-wise, and being deliciously cold and milky, these two drinks aren’t interchangeable!

What Is an Iced Coffee Made From?

Traditionally, iced coffee is made from hot or cold brewed coffee and ice cubes. It almost always contains a type of milk as well, like regular cows milk, heavy cream, oat milk, almond milk, or any other milk substitute.

Iced coffee can also contain flavor additives, both in dry spice and flavor syrup form.

Ratio of iced coffee: Either 100% black coffee or 90% black coffee with 10% milk or cream.

What Is an Iced Latte Made From?

An iced latte is made from espresso, ice, and milk or cream of some sort. Like iced coffee, milk substitutes work just as well as regular milk.

Iced lattes can’t be served black; otherwise, it would just be a shot of espresso over ice. Flavor additives also go nicely with iced lattes.

Ratio of iced latte: 3 parts milk to 1 part espresso.

The Differences Between Iced Coffee and Iced Latte

The differences in iced coffee and iced lattes are all in the ingredients; iced coffees use hot or cold brewed coffee and iced lattes use espresso as the coffee element. 

While the espresso in the iced latte is stronger on its own, it is much more diluted by milk than the brewed coffee of an iced coffee. This means an iced coffee is going to have a stronger coffee flavor than an iced latte.

Which Is Healthier: Iced Coffee or Iced Latte?

Figuring out whether iced coffees or iced lattes are healthier really depends on how you prefer to drink them. A black iced coffee with no milk is going to be nearly zero calories, but the calorie count goes up as soon as you add milk or flavorings.

The same holds true for iced lattes, but because iced lattes contain more milk than iced coffees, they naturally have a higher caloric count than black iced coffee.

Calculating the calorie count of any coffee can get confusing when additives are put into the mix, but our simple charts below can help.

If you’re going strictly by calorie count, then an iced coffee is the healthier of the 2 choices. 

Iced Coffee Calories

Black iced coffee has 1 calorie per serving, but this changes when you add things like milk or sweetener.

Calories of Iced Coffee With Milks
Skim Milk + Black Iced Coffee 15 calories
2% Milk + Black Iced Coffee 26 calories
Full Fat Milk + Black Iced Coffee 30 calories
Calories of Iced Coffees With Sweeteners
Iced Coffee + Sugar 16 calories per tsp of sugar
Iced Coffee + Flavored Coffee Syrup 20 calories per pump
Iced Coffee + Agave Liquid Sweetener 21 calories per tsp

Iced Latte Calories

Iced lattes have higher calorie counts than iced coffees, but they can vary depending on which milks or sweeteners are added. For example, iced lattes with skim milk will have fewer calories than iced lattes with full-fat milk and sugar.


Calories of Iced Latte With Milks
Skim Milk + Iced Latte 67 calories
2% Milk + Iced Latte 120 calories
Full Fat Milk + Iced Latte 136 calories
Calories of Iced Latte With Sweeteners
Iced Latte + Sugar 16 calories per tsp of sugar
Iced Latte + Flavored Coffee Syrup 20 calories per pump
Iced Latte + Agave Liquid Sweetener 21 calories per tsp

Which Has More Caffeine: Iced Coffee or Iced Latte?

All of the caffeine in iced coffees and iced lattes come from the espresso or coffee within. Espresso as a rule has a higher caffeine content than brewed coffee, but things get a little more complicated when you consider the fact that there is more coffee in an iced coffee than there is espresso in an iced latte.

  • Caffeine in 1 shot of espresso: 95mg
  • Caffeine in 1 serving of coffee 75mg

McDonalds, Starbucks,  And Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffees and Iced Coffees

Three of the most popular places to get iced coffees and iced lattes are McDonalds, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts. These drinks can vary in ratios, ingredients, sweeteners, and calorie content.

Starbucks, being a traditional coffee shop, has no additives, while the other two fast food restaurants might have extra ingredients you wouldn’t expect.

Below, we’ve listed the calories, sugar, and caffeine content of the iced coffees and lattes from these 3 restaurants. 


Iced Coffee vs. Iced Latte at Starbucks


Iced Coffee: 80 calories 

Iced Latte: 130 calories



Iced Coffee: 20 grams 

Iced Latte: 11 grams 



Iced Coffee: 165 milligrams 

Iced Latte: 150 milligrams

Iced Coffee vs. Iced Latte At McDonalds


Iced Coffee: 180 calories 

Iced Latte: 120 calories 


Iced Coffee: 28 grams 

Iced Latte: 9 grams 


Iced Coffee: 12 milligrams 

Iced Latte: 14 milligrams

Iced Coffee vs. Iced Latte Dunkin’ Donuts


Iced Coffee: 5 calories 

Iced Latte: 50 calories 


Iced Coffee: 0 grams 

Iced Latte: 1 gram 


Iced Coffee: 297 milligrams 

Iced Latte: 166 milligrams

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

  • Iced Coffee: Cold coffee, served either black with some sort of milk or cream, and over ice. Optionally, sweetener or flavors can be added.
  • Iced Cappuccino: Espresso over ice with some sort of milk or cream and topped with milk foam. Can also have sweeteners or flavors added.
  • Iced Latte: Espresso over ice with some kind of milk or cream. Usually 1 shot of espresso is used, and sweetener or flavors can be added as well.
  • Iced Macchiato: A layered espresso drink, with milk or cream poured over ice and carefully topped with espresso. If flavor or sweetener is to be added, it is layered below the espresso.

Common Questions

  • Which Iced Drink Has the Most Caffeine: Iced Lattes or Iced Coffees?

Typically, an iced coffee will have more caffeine than an iced latte, even though the espresso in an iced latte has more caffeine per volume than the brewed coffee in an iced coffee.

Since there is so much more coffee than espresso in the respective iced drinks, iced coffees end up having more caffeine.

  • Is an Iced Coffee Sweeter Than an Iced Latte?

Iced coffees and iced lattes both typically contain no sweetener, so in their most basic forms, neither are sweet. Which one ends up being sweeter depends on how much flavor or sweetener is added to the drink by the consumer.

  • What Is the Difference Between Espresso and Coffee?

It might surprise you to know that espresso is a type of coffee. The real difference comes in how espresso and the brewed coffee used in iced coffee is prepared.

Espresso is highly concentrated coffee, traditionally a dark roast, that is brewed under high pressure to create the incredibly strong caffeinated drink. Espresso also has a crema foam on top.

Brewed coffee is made when water is used to extract flavor from ground coffee beans. Hot or cold water can be used.

Final Thoughts

Although they both have distinct differences, iced coffees and iced lattes are both wonderfully chilled coffee drinks that can put a pep in our step when we need it. They are highly customizable to our individual tastes, so whether you like flavored, unsweetened, or sweetened coffees, either of these iced drinks might work for you.

Now that you know the difference between the two, it will be so much easier to pick your favorites! Or maybe you enjoy both iced coffees and iced lattes, and it just depends on what sort of drink you’re craving day to day.

If you want a strong coffee flavor, or a black, nearly 0 zero calorie coffee, then iced coffee is the way to go. Since this drink can be taken black, it’s the best choice for people trying to cut calories.

If you want more room for milk or cream, go with the iced latte. An iced latte can be made stronger with additional espresso shots as well.