Last updated on December 8th, 2023

Iced Latte vs. Iced Cappuccino: What Is The Difference Between Them?

An image introducing an article comparing iced latte vs iced cappuccino and their differences.

SUMMARY: When comparing an iced latte and iced cappuccino, what is the difference between the two drinks? The primary distinction is the milk ratios. Similar to the differences between hot lattes and cappuccinos, an iced cappuccino features less milk and more foam, with an overall bolder espresso taste. An iced latte, however, offers a creamier texture and a gentler coffee flavor due to its higher milk content. For a stronger coffee and slightly fewer calories, choose an iced cappuccino, or go for an iced latte if you prefer a smoother, milkier beverage.

Have you ever gotten confused by the array of iced coffee options at your local café? Somehow all of the drinks are informally called iced coffee, and yet, iced coffee is itself a separate drink.

So, it is completely understandable that you might be confused about the definitions of these cold coffee drinks and what distinguishes them. Best of Brewing has similar articles covering these distinctions, such as:

But, in this article, I will quickly cover the differences between iced lattes and iced cappuccinos. I cover:

  • The foundations of espresso, milk, and foam in various espresso coffee beverages
  • The bold and textured world of the iced cappuccino
  • The creamy subtleties of an iced latte
  • Comparing the two beverages: flavor profiles, mouthfeel, and nutritional content

On the one hand, both drinks are more similar than they are different. But for now, let’s go into coffee geek mode and get picky about what sets them apart!

**Best of Brewing is supported by our readers, and we sometimes earn a commission through the affiliate links on our website.**

The Difference Between Iced Lattes and Iced Cappuccinos

At their core, both the iced latte and the iced cappuccino are blends of chilled espresso and milk. There are many recipe variations, and you will likely encounter different interpretations of these drinks at various coffee shops. However, the primary difference between iced lattes and cappuccinos is the ratio of espresso, milk, and foam. Expect an iced latte to have more milk and no foam (because you do not steam milk for cold espresso drinks.) An iced cappuccino, however, uses less milk and takes up more room with cold milk foam.

a graphic explaining the difference between iced latte and iced cappuccino

Understanding the Basics: Espresso, Milk, and Foam

Any drink using espresso as the base has to balance the rich coffee flavors and intense concentration of espresso. Milk is the most common partner to espresso as it adds a soothing creaminess and a natural sweetness. Espresso and milk combine to form many popular drinks such as:

However, since you do not typically steam milk when making cold versions of these drinks, the differences highlighted above become more subtle. So, I want to dig into the details of each drink to highlight what I think gives them a distinct characteristic.

The Iced Cappuccino: More Espresso Forward

Because an iced cappuccino has less milk than an iced latte, it boasts a more robust espresso flavor. If you usually enjoy an intense coffee flavor, you will probably enjoy a cold cappuccino more than a latte.

And, besides being espresso-forward, people enjoy an iced cappuccino for its velvety foam, something its latte counterpart does not have. Similar to the hot version of this drink, an iced cappuccino’s foam elevates the milk’s sweetness and contributes texture.

Zulay Powerful Milk Frother Handheld Foam Maker
  • Rich, creamy milk froth
  • Perfect for lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, or hot chocolate
  • Easy cleaning and storage (metal stand included)
  • Lifetime guarantee

One upside of the iced cappuccino is that you don’t need any extra shots to get a strong espresso flavor. I always find iced lattes without extra shots taste too weak. You can add more shots to an iced cappuccino, but you will still have a solid blend of espresso and milk without them.

The Iced Latte: Creamy, Smooth, and Mellow

In contrast to its espresso-forward cappuccino, the iced latte is a milder choice. By using 1/3 espresso and 2/3 cold milk, the smoothness of the milk is the dominating flavor, rather than the robustness of espresso. Even if you order an additional shot, the milk tends to mellow out those flavors, along with the natural dilution of cooling hot espresso.

When I worked as a barista (and even now when I hear people order drinks at coffee shops,) it seems people love to personalize iced lattes. Besides changing the default milk to something like almond or oat milk (which tend to be sweeter,) adding flavored syrups and spices is also popular.

Plus, since an iced latte usually does not include any foam, adding whipped cream to the top is a common way to add texture and sweetness.

See Also: Homemade Iced Latte Recipe: How To Make This Delicious Drink

Flavor, Texture, and Nutritional Differences Between Cappuccino and Latte Iced

iced cappuccino vs iced latte picture

The flavors between these two drinks will differ from cafe to cafe. Every coffee house has a unique approach to their coffee drinks. Plus, even coffee professionals argue over the definitions of these various espresso and milk drinks. I remember seeing one coffee shop that refused to put drink names on their menu except one: an espresso and milk beverage!

But as a general rule, ordering an iced cappuccino will get you a more pronounced espresso flavor, a direct result of the higher espresso-to-milk ratio. However, the cold foam adds a fluffy texture, making some of this intensity more palatable. So, if you’ve never tried one, you may be surprised at how balanced it can taste.

When you order an iced latte, expect a milk-dominated flavor, even more so than you get with a hot latte, since hot espresso drinks steam milk which takes up more volume with less milk. Personally, I always put an extra shot in an iced latte to avoid an overly milky flavor.

Iced Latte vs Cappuccino Calories

The nutritional differences between these drinks come down to the quantity of milk since coffee alone barely has any calories or nutritional content. Milk has a small amount of sugar and fat, depending on the type of milk. Eight ounces of milk contains roughly 12 grams of sugar, and switching to an oat or almond milk will probably add even more sugar.

For anyone on a diet who might be calorie counting, the iced cappuccino is a more prudent choice. So, because an iced cappuccino has lower milk content, expect fewer calories, assuming that you do not add other syrups or sweeteners.

Like all coffee drinks, the primary calorie driver will be adding toppings or sweeteners. I tend to avoid these to allow the natural sweetness of milk and the espresso acidity to find a balance. Plus, avoiding sweeteners in coffee, on average, means you consume 69 fewer calories per day.

Caffeine Content: Comparing an Iced Cappuccino vs an Iced Latte at Starbucks

Caffeine content is a tricky topic in coffee brewing since so much depends on the specific beans and brewing process. However, I’ll use Starbucks as a general reference to highlight these drinks’ caffeine content.

You may or may not even see an iced cappuccino on a coffee shop’s menu, including at Starbucks. Since they are so similar, you can assume they contain the same number of espresso shots. At Starbucks, their shots contain:

  • Single Shot: 75 mg
  • Double Shot: 150 mg

Taste: Is An Iced Latte or Iced Cappuccino Better?

Obviously, answering any kind of flavor question involves subjective opinion. For me, I always prefer having a more intense espresso flavor in my milk drinks. So, I would either go with an iced latte with added espresso shots or an iced cappuccino.

At home, making an iced latte is certainly faster—I do it regularly by simply pouring cold milk into my usual AeroPress espresso recipe. However, I do own a milk frother that has a cold setting. So, when I’m not feeling lazy, I will froth some milk to put a layer of foam on top. In this case, I tend to enjoy the fluffy sweetness of the milk while still getting a strong espresso flavor.


To summarize these drinks and clear up any remaining confusion, here are answers to some commonly asked questions about comparing these two drinks.

Why are iced cappuccinos not a thing at many coffee shops?

While you can make cold foam for an iced cappuccino, many coffee shops have to rely on their espresso machine steam wands to produce foam. And, milk foam and ice do not tend to get along well, usually creating a weird texture.

Are iced cappuccinos sweet?

Iced cappuccinos have a subtle sweetness coming from the layer of milk froth on the top and a small amount of liquid milk incorporated into the drink. However, they are not as sweet as an iced latte, which uses twice as much milk.

What is the main difference between an iced latte and an iced cappuccino?

The primary contrast between an iced latte and an iced cappuccino lies in the milk-to-espresso ratio and the milk texture. An iced cappuccino typically has a rich espresso flavor because it uses less milk, while an iced latte has a creamy and sweeter flavor due to its stronger milk ratio.

Comparing Iced Cappuccino vs Iced Latte: Final Thoughts

As you can now tell, there’s a reason people get confused between these two drinks…they’re quite similar. The only difference is that an iced cappuccino uses less milk and includes a foam layer on the top. An iced latte, though, uses twice as much milk and tends to have a smoother/creamier taste.

I hope you have a clearer understanding of the distinction. Don’t get too obsessed, since at the end of the day, all these drinks are some combinations of espresso and milk!

Want more coffee tips directly in your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter here.

Show 1 Comment

1 Comment

Comments are closed