Iced Cappuccino vs. Iced Latte: What’s the Difference?

Did you think ordering coffee would be easy in 2022? With each passing month, coffee seems to get segmented into further spin-offs and varieties. And while cold coffee drinks are more acceptable to the palette, they’re not all built alike. Among these beverages, the leading two coffee drinks are the iced Cappuccino and the iced latte.

An iced cappuccino and iced latte both contain a shot of espresso, a portion of steamed milk, and a layer of frothed milk at the top. The iced Cappuccino has more frothed milk and less milk overall, while the iced latte has more milk, less foam, and multiple flavor options.

In this article, you will learn more about what these differences entail and which beverage is better for you based on your taste, coffee consumption history, and health. By the end, you will know which one you should order.

Iced Cappuccino: A Brief Overview

If you look up #coffee on Instagram, you’ll find a certain frothy drink dominating the feed. Being one of the most visually pleasing beverages made with espresso, Cappuccino has dominated the coffee market and has become synonymous with the word “coffee.”

However, not everyone likes piping hot coffee, which is why every iteration of the drink has an iced or cold equivalent. An iced cappuccino is simply a cappuccino that is served with ice, which turns it into a cold beverage fit for summers. 

It is available at Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, and Gloria Jean’s, as well as at smaller mom-and-pop coffee shops. As long as a barista has a coffee maker and ice, he can serve an iced cappuccino.

Iced Cappuccino Flavor Profile and Key Features

Iced Cappuccino has a frothy texture and silky aftertaste. It tastes like espresso mixed with cold milk and sugar but with a chocolate-like taste. The sugar content of an iced cappuccino alongside the milk and the espresso produce a dark dessert-like flavor.

In other words, if you’re a fan of warm Cappuccino, you might not get the exact same taste at a different temperature. The iced version will feel sweeter and not last as long. It will also be presented differently. 

Where the regular Cappuccino gets served with art on its foamed milk surface, the iced version of the drink is presented with a whipped cream topping and syrup drizzle. Aside from the decorative top layer, there are no other cappuccino variations, which gives the beverage a unified, predictable flavor.

Iced Cappuccino Caffiene Content

Compared to lattes, Cappuccino has a relatively strict flavor and content boundary. This makes it easy for us to access the drink’s caffeine and calorie contents. An iced cappuccino features one shot of espresso, which includes 85 mg of caffeine. It comes with a portion of milk and a higher ratio of frothed milk. 

Assuming average sugar quantity, a serving of Cappuccino has 130] calories. This is significantly more than the calories in black coffee. However, given that Cappuccino contains more frothed milk, one can see why it has fewer calories: a bulk of frother milk volume is made up of air. And to some, that might be a drawback.

Pros of Iced Cappuccino

Before we explore the possible drawbacks of an iced cappuccino, let’s explore its merits. Remember, taste is subjective, so the features listed here are valid only if you value them.

Better for Weight Control 

This advantage applies only in comparison to iced lattes. If you compare iced Cappuccino to black coffee, the milk-free version comes out ahead. But compared to iced lattes, a serving of Cappuccino is less fattening.

Predictable Taste 

There are very few things one can mess up when making Cappuccino, and its limited ingredient set and lack of variants ensure that the people making it regularly get enough practice to streamline a consistent cappuccino experience. If you get a cappuccino from any Starbucks, it will taste the same. 

More Social Acceptability 

Again, this is a feature that is valid only when comparing an iced Cappuccino to an iced latte. Lattes have become too broad as a category, to the point where the word can mean coffee but can also refer to a beverage that barely has any coffee. 

That’s why iced lattes are not taken as seriously by coffee lovers. If you care about such gatekeeping, you might enjoy having an iced cappuccino in public which is seen as an actual coffee serving more than an iced latte, even though both feature the same espresso quantity.

Cons of Iced Cappuccino

Having established the pros of an iced cappuccino, let’s look at the potential drawbacks. Again, the validity of these cons depends on whether or not they matter to you. There are no objective drawbacks of Iced Cappuccino that make it inherently worse than an iced latte. Ultimately, it is a matter of preference.

Fewer Options

If you prefer to have more flavor options with similar texture, you might want to opt for an iced latte as iced Cappuccino comes in only one flavor: milk + espresso. While this results in a relatively predictable product, it also comes with a lack of variety. Sometimes, unpredictable beverages can pleasantly surprise us.

It can be too watery

If you switch from hot Cappuccino to cold Cappuccino, you might struggle to enjoy the frothed milk texture because the ice dilutes the overall serving. This disadvantage applies to iced lattes, too, but since the iced beverage does not have as much frothed milk, the dilution is not as noticeable.

Should I Get an Iced Cappuccino?

If you’re a regular cappuccino consumer but are tired of having the hot drink in the summer, you can switch over to the iced version. It will have the same calorie and caffeine contents, albeit diluted flavor. In about two servings, you will get used to the texture variation. The choice is good for you if:

  • You want to limit your calorie intake 
  • You don’t like colorful flavors and sugary coffee drinks
  • You want to stay close to an authentic coffee consumption experience.

An Iced Latte, a Brief Overview

Latte art is a concept that took the once-obscure coffee drink and turned it into a mainstream phenomenon. It also diluted the term’s currency with coffee lovers and resulted in multiple offshoots and spin-offs. From Spanish latte to Oreo Crumble latte, there seem to be thousands of iced lattes one can try. But what is this drink at its core?

Iced latte is the iced version of a regular latte drink: a beverage that features espresso, milk, and frothed milk. The slim disk of foamed milk at the top of the latte has a stronger foundation in steamed milk, which allows the barista to pour the beverage artfully and produce “latte art.” One can also use a stirrer to make latte art.

The iced version is served in a transparent glass or a plastic container, which shows the beverage’s color. This incentivizes the propagation of colorful flavors and variation, which makes the beverage’s flavor a little hard to pin down.

The Iced Latte Flavor Profile

An iced latte feels a lot more like a milkshake than an iced cappuccino. It can feature an espresso shot, milk, and steamed milk but often also contains a flavored syrup. A regular iced latte tastes like a milk and coffee drink with less coffee than an iced cappuccino. This is not because of less espresso but because of more non-frothed milk.

Caramel, chocolate, and saffron are some of the most common syrup additions to lattes. The syrup flavor is added to the beverage name when creating a spin-off. You can technically make a flavored latte drink from any food syrup, including but not limited to vanilla, strawberry, cheesecake, blueberry, and orange.

Iced Latte Caffeine and Calorie Contents

An iced latte is taken less seriously by people who gatekeeper the term coffee. But the fact is that a latte contains as much caffeine and coffee essence as an americano (black coffee) or an iced cappuccino. However, stronger flavors prevail, and while milk dominates much of what one tastes in an iced latte, syrups overtake the first impression.

When you sip an iced latte, you first taste the additives like sugar and syrup. Then you get a hint of coffee and milk and are ultimately left with an espresso aftertaste. Throughout the consumption experience, you can notice the smoothness of the drink. It is a decent gateway drink for people who do not love coffee but want to get a hit of caffeine. 

But that doesn’t mean it is for coffee novices only. Regular latte drinkers opt for the iced version in the summers because of the weather. The iced latte is not as different in taste and texture from cafe latte as an iced cappuccino is from a regular Cappuccino. And that might be a pro or a con based on your preferences.

When it comes to calories, an iced latte is one of the most calorie-dense coffee beverages. Even when you compare the plain iced latte with the iced Cappuccino, the latte comes out ahead because it has the most milk. But when you venture into its vast flavor options, each comes with a minimum of 50 calories more than an iced cappuccino.

Pros of Iced Latte

So is the almost infinite variety of flavors a feature or a drawback? Let’s explore that and other characteristics of iced latte in this section. The pros covered here are subject to your preferences.

More Options

As an iced latte consumer, you have far more options than someone who likes to have iced Cappuccino. You can keep trying new flavors throughout the year and partake in seasonal classics like Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice latte or the Christmas Latte.

Tastebud Friendly

Whether you love black coffee or not, you’ll agree that it is an acquired taste. With an iced latte, the “acquisition” is not a big ask. You can get used to its taste much quicker than you would get used to a cappuccino (iced or not). Moreover, the flavor variety allows you to add a lot of sugar without reaching a nauseating point. If you add too much sugar to simpler coffee beverages, it takes over the entire flavor profile.

Cons of Iced Latte

The iced latte has drawbacks that keep plenty of people from buying the iced version of the traditional latte. But most of these individuals don’t consume caffe latte (the warm version) either. So, if you like hot latte drinks, you might not find the following drawbacks to be valid. But on the off chance that you might, let’s look at the cons of consuming an iced latte.

Calorie Dense 

An iced latte might not have more calories than a warm latte of equivalent flavor, but it contains more sugar and carbs than an iced cappuccino. You can get a plain iced latte and use low-fat milk and sugar-free sweetener to offset this drawback.

Not Taken Seriously 

Coffee lovers will not see you as one of their own if you stick to iced lattes only. This doesn’t make a difference unless you care about whether or not people see you as a “Serious” coffee consumer. There might be some social implications in offices and work meetings if you’re the only one with an iced latte when everyone else has an Americano or a cappuccino.

Can Have an Inconsistent Taste 

With great flavor, variety comes great responsibility. plain iced latte has a relatively stable and predictable flavor profile, but when it comes to flavored lattes injected with syrups, the inconsistency of syrup volume can produce different results ranging from barely noticeable to downright nauseating.

Should I Get an Iced Latte?

You should get an iced latte if you don’t like the overwhelming taste of espresso and want to minimize it. This holds true for regular cafe latte lovers as well as coffee novices. Remember that the beverage can introduce more calories into your system than its alternatives, so you should look up your calorie needs and make sure ordering the iced beverage is healthy.

Final Thoughts

Iced Latte and iced Cappuccino are not too different when one compares their basic flavor. Cappuccino tastes stronger and has fewer calories. But when you introduce flavors, iced lattes become more complex and different. Both beverages are acceptable ways to get your espresso fix without drinking black coffee.

Tim S.

Tim loves roasting, brewing, and experimenting with coffee. After years of perfecting this craft, working as a barista, and owning a small coffee service in college, he has decided to share his knowledge with the world.

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