Iced Macchiato vs Iced Latte

Iced Macchiato vs Iced Latte

You're seeing more and more people asking for an iced latte or iced macchiato but you don't know what the difference is? Well, they're both sweet milky coffee drinks but they're actually very different when it comes to their texture. One is also significantly stronger in Starbucks than other coffee shops. Keep reading to find out what is what and how you can make your own.


Difference Between Iced Macchiato and Iced Latte

Even though iced macchiato and iced latte seem very alike, there's an important difference you can make between the two. Yes, they're both made with espresso and milk, have a lot of calories and you can drink them with ice to make the hot summer days more bearable. There is an important step in the preparation process that makes the difference..

Iced Latte

Generally speaking an iced latte is made by 1:3 espresso to milk ratio and ice, it's also often served with added milk. Does it sound like iced macchiato? Well, they're very similar and we're here to help you make the difference between the two.

Many coffee enthusiasts have been annoyed by the fact that the macchiato and the latte are considered different drinks. The key difference is that an iced latte is stirred when an iced macchiato isn't. 

Now, if that subtle difference isn't enough to annoy you, you should know that some coffee shops make their lattes using different methods. We took two of the popular coffee chains and did our research on how they make their iced latte.

Starbucks iced latte - to get an iced latte at Starbucks you'd have to ask for an Iced Caffé Latte. They make it by pouring two shots of espresso with milk over ice.

Dunkin Donuts iced latte - The Dunkin Donuts Iced latte is a significantly weaker coffee as it's made by just one shot of espresso. The rest is again milk and ice.

Iced Macchiato

An iced macchiato is probably very confusing for a lot of people. Just like with the iced latte, macchiatos are made differently in different coffee shops. To fully understand what is an iced macchiato, we should first look into what a regular macchiato is and how you make it.

The direct translation of the Italian word macchiato to English is stained or spotted. This is because you make a macchiato with two shots of espresso and two teaspoons of steamed milk. This literally stains the coffee with milk.

Due to this stained look that macchiatos have, it doesn't work as well as iced macchiato. In a regular coffee shop, a macchiato is simply milk with two shots of espresso or any other strong coffee like Moka pot coffee.


Just like for an iced latte, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts both have their own way of making this type of coffee. While there isn't a huge difference, it will probably be enough to make you choose one over the other.

Starbucks iced macchiato - Starbucks call their iced macchiato the Iced Caramel Macchiato and as you guessed, it's made with caramel on top of the milk and coffee. Additionally, it has some vanilla syrup, making the double shot of espresso significantly sweeter. The caramel is added last, making it the sugar bomb you'd need on a hot summer's day.

Dunkin Donuts iced macchiato - This version of the iced macchiato is a lot simpler with no fancy toppings or syrups. Dunkin Donuts simply pour two shots of espresso over milk with ice.

What Is Iced Latte Macchiato?

Just when the difference between an iced latte and an iced macchiato couldn't get any more subtle, there's more? Well, that's the coffee world for you.

A latte macchiato is essentially an inverted espresso macchiato. It's made with a steamed glass of milk with just a stain of espresso. Here the focus is on the milk and not the coffee. In addition, it's usually a layered drink with the milk at the bottom, a thin layer of coffee and a lot of foam on top. 

Because of the milk focused approach, a latte macchiato is weaker than your regular latte. This drink is made with a single shot of espresso but just like the regular latte, there's whole milk added to it. This gives it a slightly richer flavor.

The latte macchiato is here to give you the best of two worlds. There's the steam of a latte with the beautiful layering of a macchiato.

How to Make an Iced Macchiato?

Making an iced macchiato is simple if you own a Moka pot or an espresso machine. The idea is to have a strong shot of coffee as you'll be adding a lot of milk.

Now, let's look into how you can make your very own iced macchiato at home. Before you start you'll need

  • a Moka pot (or an espresso machine)
  • an Ice Cube or two
  • 2 oz of whole milk

Once you've acquired your ice (not rapper), you can get cracking with your iced macchiato.

  1. Pour the milk into a tall glass.
  2. Fill the glass with ice. You'll need at least two ice cubes, or maybe even more but make sure you don't overflow the glass.
  3. Add the coffee to finish off your iced macchiato.

If you've followed the instructions correctly, you'll end up with a macchiato with a beautiful marble effect.

Iced Macchiatos vs Hot Macchiatos

Even if you're not big on coffee, you've probably at least heard of a latte. What about a macchiato though?

A macchiato is what coffee aficionados refer to as a drink that's halfway between a shot of espresso and cappuccino. It has a lot of coffee that's "stained" with a hint of milk.

For yet another plot twist in this article, an iced macchiato barely has anything to do with a hot one. Made popular by some major coffee chains, a cup of iced macchiato usually has significantly more cold milk or cream than the regular macchiato. In some places you might also get a flavored syrup topping for that extra bit of sweetness.

How to Make an Iced Latte?


To make a delicious cup of iced latte, you'd need around 3 times as much milk as you'd do for a macchiato. If you're trying to lower your calorie intake, this might be the way to go as you don't need whole milk and a 2% will be perfect. 

Additionally, an iced latte is made with a single shot of coffee, so if you don't like a lot of caffeine in your coffee, this is the perfect solution. In general, it's great if you're looking for a lighter, milkier coffee.

Here's what you'll need for the perfect cup of iced latte:

  • 6 oz (or 3/4 cup) of cold 2% milk
  • A single espresso or Moka pot coffee shot
  • A few ice cubes

When you've acquired your ingredients, you can start latte-ing your life up.

  1. Take your favorite glass and add the espresso shot.
  2. Slowly pour the milk.
  3. Add the ice cubes. They will make your regular latte into an iced latte.

It's that simple. When you add the milk to the coffee, the drink is mixed, so it doesn't have the beautiful visual effect of a macchiato. Nevertheless, if you don't care about looks, you might consider an iced macchiato even better than an iced latte.

Iced Lattes vs Hot Lattes

While adding ice to your latte is the main difference to a hot one, it's not only that.

Generally speaking, a regular latte is a mix of delicious coffee (Moka or espresso) and steamed milk with a ratio of 1 to 2. It's straightforward to make so if you're new to the coffee world that might be good news as you won't be needing any fancy equipment.

The iced latte is even easier to make. You won't need to steam the milk and you simply add it to the coffee. It's also become a trend to have an iced latte served with cold cream or caramel as a topping or instead of the regular foam for a sweeter taste.

Iced Latte vs Iced Macchiato. Which Is the Stronger Coffee?

How strong your coffee comes out depends on multiple factors. Among these are the coffee bean, the roast, the grind and how it's brewed. 

Coffee aficionados will agree when we say that espresso is probably the strongest coffee brew out there. This large amount of caffeine is achieved through the extraction process and the high water pressure an espresso maker generates.

Another very strong coffee is the one made in a Moka pot. The Moka pot, just like the espresso maker, uses water pressure to extract coffee. That's why it's also often referred to as stovetop espresso. If you make your latte or macchiato with coffee from a Moka pot, it'll be slightly weaker than espresso but in our opinion more delicious.


Another factor that will affect the strength of your coffee is the bean you use. If you bought whole bean coffee and ground it yourself, your coffee will be fresher and more of the taste will be preserved. While this won't make a drastic difference when it comes to caffeine content, it'll definitely affect the taste of your iced latte or macchiato.

There are two types of coffee beans grown today: Arabica and Robusta. While Arabica has the smoother and sweeter taste with chocolate and sugar flavor notes, Robusta is stronger. 

Now, about the roast. It might sound counterintuitive but if you make coffee with a light roast, it'll come out stronger than with a dark roast. This is because as the beans are roasted for longer they start losing their caffeine. 

When it comes to iced macchiato or iced latte, it also depends on where you're buying it from (or how you're making it). The iced latte in Starbucks is made with a double shot of espresso, while the one in Dunkin Donuts with just one. This will make it around twice as strong in Starbucks.

When it comes to iced macchiato, they're both made with two shots of espresso. This will give you the same amount of caffeine and a similar kick.

If you're looking for the strongest possible iced coffee drink, go for the iced latte macchiato from Starbucks. It's made with an impressive triple shot of espresso, which will wake you up, even after the longest night.

The weakest drink, on the other hand, is the Dunkin Donuts iced latte. If you're not feeling like a lot of caffeine, but would rather simply enjoy a cold sweet coffee based drink, this is the way to go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Macchiato vs Latte vs Cappuccino vs Espresso

The espresso is the base of all macchiatos, lattes and cappuccinos. That's why they won't be stronger or weaker than a regular shot of espresso.

The difference comes from the amount and type of coffee used to make them. A cappuccino consists of equal parts of espresso, steamed milk and foam, which gives it a more intense coffee flavor than the other two.

A latte (be it iced latte or regular), is made with more milk. This gives it a less intense flavor.

A macchiato is just "stained" with milk. This means that there is significantly less milk and the taste is stronger.

Should You Stir an Iced Macchiato?

No, you shouldn't. If you stir your iced macchiato, you'll end up with an iced latte.

Should You Shake an Iced Macchiato?

Again, no, you shouldn't. The point of a macchiato is to have the beautiful "stained" effect of the drink.

Final Word

Both the iced macchiato and iced latte are delicious drinks that we love drinking in summer. While they're very similar, it's easy to say what is what as there's a big difference in the texture. 

How strong they each are mainly depends on where you buy them from. Starbucks tends to make their lattes and macchiatos stronger than Dunkin Donuts.

If you want to have full control over your drink, though, you might want to make it at home. The best way to do that is in a high-quality Moka pot. Go to our catalog and get yours now.


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