Getting a cold and refreshing coffee drink when it’s warm outside can be a bit confusing for those who are not coffee experts, since ordering an iced drink often feels like you’re getting the same thing regardless of what you asked for. Two of the most popular options for iced, milky coffee drinks are the iced latte and the iced macchiato. But is there much of an actual difference between these two iced coffee beverages? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, but the difference between the two is very simple. An iced macchiato is stronger and more layered compared to an iced latte, which is mixed, and weaker. If you enjoy iced coffees in the summer or at any time of the year and are interested in learning more about how your favorite cold coffee drinks are made, let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two popular types of iced coffee in more detail. What’s the main difference between latte and macchiato?
The Main Differences Between Iced Macchiato and Iced Latte
Comparing the average macchiato vs latte is fairly easy when you know where you are looking. The biggest differences between these two drinks are in the strength of the coffee and the extra ingredients that are added. In comparison with an iced macchiato, an iced latte will usually be a fairly weaker drink, which is thoroughly mixed and contains a higher milk content. On the other hand, an iced macchiato has a more marbled effect from pouring the coffee over the cold milk.
The difference in the milk used is another important distinction to make between these two types of drink. Iced lattes use low-fat, lighter milk while whole milk or cream is typically the top choice for an iced macchiato. An iced latte may also come with foamed milk on the top or may simply be coffee and cold milk, while an iced macchiato tends to come with whipped cream and syrups drizzled onto the top.
It’s also worth considering the histories behind both of these drinks. Iced lattes have been on the menu in commercial coffee shops since they became a thing, while iced macchiatos are a newer addition that have only joined menus in the last few years and were made popular by Starbucks.
Similarities Between Iced Lattes and Iced Macchiatos
What is a macchiato vs latte? Despite the differences between these two drinks, they are both rather similar in many ways. Both use espresso as a base rather than regular coffee and are both simple drinks that combine milk and espresso and work well with lots of different additional flavors. Since they are quite simple to make, they are both popular coffee beverages for the summer and with people who want to start making their own iced coffee at home.
Both drinks differ from the hot version of each one in that the milk, the critical element of the drink, is different when it is iced. In an iced latte, the milk is not steamed, like it would be for a hot latte. And iced macchiatos tend to have more milk in general than what you would expect from a regular hot macchiato.
Both drinks do taste similar, other than when it comes to the intensity. In fact, the only difference between the two is going to be the intensity of the coffee taste if both these drinks are made with the same coffee and syrups, with the macchiato the stronger option.
How Do Iced and Hot Lattes Differ?
What exactly makes an iced latte an iced latte? This drink isn’t the same thing as the hot version and has some differences to be aware of. A classic, hot latte is made with a combination of espresso coffee and steamed milk that is combined at a 1:2 ratio. It’s a simple type of coffee drink to make and doesn’t require a lot of complicated equipment or effort.
On the other hand, the iced version of the latte is even simpler and has a few changes from the hot version. One of the major differences between making a hot latte and a cold latte is that rather than steaming the milk before adding it, the milk is typically poured over cold. Cold cream is also a popular addition to add to the top of an iced latte rather than milk foam, to add some flavor and texture to this popular iced coffee drink.
How Do Iced and Hot Macchiatos Differ?
While most people tend to be familiar with the latte even if they do not drink a lot of coffee, a macchiato is not such a well-heard-of option. So, what exactly is a macchiato? Traditionally, a macchiato is served hot and is a drink that falls somewhere between a regular shot of espresso and a cappuccino. It also has more coffee than milk, with just a small amount of milk included to add some sweetness and texture to the espresso coffee.
On the other hand, an iced macchiato is a very different types of drink. In fact, iced macchiatos tend to have very little in common with their hot counterparts. They usually contain a lot more milk or cream compared to a hot version of the macchiato and usually comes with whipped cream and flavored syrups on the top.
What is a Latte Macchiato?
If you have ever seen a ‘latte macchiato’ on a coffee shop menu, you might be feeling a little confused to learn that the latte and the macchiato are actually two different drinks and the difference between macchiato versus latte. A latte macchiato is yet another drink – it’s a type of inverted espresso macchiato that focuses on the milk rather than on the coffee. To make it, you need to make a steamed glass or cup of milk, that has espresso poured over the top. It is usually a layered drink similar to the macchiato, but this time the milk is at the bottom, then the espresso, then foam.
Since a latte macchiato is mostly made using milk with a shot of espresso added, it is usually weaker compared to a regular latte drink. Unlike a latte, however, it is usually made with whole milk, which gives it a richer flavor. You can also get an iced version of the latte macchiato, which does not usually have foam on the top.
Other Iced Espresso Drinks and How They Compare
It’s not just a latte and a macchiato that you can get iced from a coffee shop these days; in fact, most hot coffee drinks that you enjoy will also come with an iced version that you can order. A cappuccino, for example, is an espresso drink that falls somewhere between a macchiato and a latte, containing more foam compared to a macchiato and more coffee compared to a latte. In the case of an iced cappuccino, the main difference is that usually, no milk is added to the coffee. An iced cappuccino is usually served with cold foam, which is made by frothing cold milk that has not been steamed. Flavorings and sweeteners such as simple syrup can also be added to the foam.
An iced espresso, which is a straight-up shot of espresso served cold, is another option to consider, and popular with espresso fans in the summer. If you prefer the taste of hot espresso but want a cold, refreshing espresso drink, another great one to consider is an affogato, which is an espresso shot served over vanilla ice cream.
How to Make a Tasty Iced Espresso Drink
Whether you want to make an iced latte or an iced macchiato at home, both these recipes are very easy and simple to make at home, as long as you have the correct ingredients. To make either of these drinks, you are going to need:
Coffee beans: Choose some high-quality espresso beans to make your iced drinks. You will want to make sure that they are freshly roasted and ground correctly. The best option is to grind your own using a burr grinder, since this ensures that the beans are as fresh as possible. Coffee beans for espresso should be finely ground with a sugar-like consistency.
Milk: You can make lattes with lots of different kinds of milk, so choose your favorite for making an iced latte. Lots of dairy-free options work well with iced lattes, particularly coconut milk, as it’s often creamer than others. On the other hand, to make an iced macchiato, your best option is high-quality, whole-fat milk.
Syrup: If you want your coffee to have a sweeter flavor, a syrup is essential. Make simple syrup using equal parts water and sugar and reduce until thick but not caramelized. You can also buy ready-made coffee syrups to use.
Caramel Sauce: If you’re making an iced macchiato, caramel sauce on top will finish off the drink. Let your simple syrup mixture cook until it’s a golden-brown color, before taking it off the heat and adding some water back in gently to prevent it from going solid. Add some vanilla extract and salt.
If you love iced coffee, iced lattes and iced macchiatos are popular options, but the two do have some big differences.