Are Lattes Hot or Cold? 7 Surprising Latte Temperature Facts

By Mark •  Updated: 04/30/23 •  10 min read

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A steaming cup of aromatic bliss or a refreshing glass of frosty indulgence?

Lattes have become an essential staple in the world of coffee, loved by connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.

Originating from Italy and taking the global coffee scene by storm, these delightful beverages have won the hearts of many.

Are Lattes Hot or Cold
Are Lattes Hot or Cold?

However, a common question lingers among coffee enthusiasts and curious beginners: are lattes hot or cold?

Lattes can be enjoyed hot or cold, depending on your preference and the occasion. The traditional latte is served hot, combining freshly brewed espresso with steamed milk and a layer of frothy milk foam. Conversely, an iced latte is a refreshing alternative to espresso, cold milk, and ice, perfect for warmer weather or a quick pick-me-up.

In this article, I’ll dive into the captivating world of lattes, exploring their rich history and versatile nature to answer your burning (or chilling) question about their ideal serving temperature.

The History of Lattes

The latte story begins in Italy, where “caffè latte” translates to “milk coffee.”

Traditionally, Italians would enjoy this milky coffee beverage during breakfast, combining equal parts espresso and steamed milk. As a comforting morning ritual, it was pivotal in Italian households.

The latte’s journey continued as it crossed borders and gained popularity worldwide.

In the 1980s, the modern latte we know today was popularized in the United States, thanks to the rise of specialty coffee shops. The American version transformed the classic caffè latte into a beloved beverage by adding a layer of frothy milk which made for a sweeter latte.

The History of Lattes
The History of Lattes

As the latte spread throughout Europe, North America, and beyond, it became a symbol of coffee culture and a canvas for creativity.

Baristas worldwide started crafting intricate latte art, turning the humble latte into an Instagram-worthy masterpiece.

Today, the latte is prominent in the global coffee landscape, showcasing the power of a simple yet versatile drink.

Espresso: The Foundation Of a Latte

Espresso forms the heart of a latte.

It’s a concentrated coffee beverage brewed by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure. The result is a rich, robust, and full-bodied coffee with a signature crema.

The quality of the espresso significantly impacts the overall flavor of a latte. 

Factors such as the freshness and roast of the coffee beans, the grind size, and the brewing technique all contribute to the taste of the espresso.

What Is a Classic Latte?

Ah, the classic latte – a beloved coffee shop favorite that has captured the hearts of caffeine aficionados everywhere.

This delectable concoction combines the boldness of espresso with the creaminess of steamed milk, topped off with a delicate layer of milk foam.

What Is A Classic Latte
What Is a Classic Latte?

Making a classic latte is like creating a warm hug in a cup:

  1. Start by brewing a rich shot of espresso that packs a flavorful punch. 
  2. Next, work your magic on some milk – steam it until it transforms into a velvety, smooth texture. 
  3. Gently pour the steamed milk over your espresso, and watch as they meld together perfectly. 
  4. To crown your creation, carefully spoon a dollop of milk foam onto the surface, adding that irresistible, creamy touch.

While lattes come in all shapes, sizes, and temperatures, the classic latte truly shines when served piping hot. The warmth of the beverage highlights the rich espresso notes and offers a cozy, satisfying experience that’s perfect for savoring – sip by delightful sip.

Iced Lattes

When the sun’s blazing, and you’re craving a frosty, caffeinated treat, the iced latte swoops in to save the day. A refreshing spin on the classic latte, this icy delight offers a t

Iced Lattes
Iced Lattes

Whipping up an iced latte is a breeze, with just a few tweaks to the traditional preparation method:

  1. Start by pulling your bold shot of espresso and letting it cool slightly. 
  2. Next, grab a tall glass filled with ice and pour in cold milk, leaving enough room for the espresso. 
  3. Gently pour the cooled espresso over the milk and ice, creating a swirling, mesmerizing effect. Give it a quick stir, and voilà – your icy indulgence is ready to enjoy!

By their very nature, iced lattes are designed to be served cold

The chilly temperature revitalizes the coffee experience and highlights the espresso’s subtle flavor nuances. With every frosty sip, you’ll appreciate the crisp, refreshing sensation that only an iced latte can deliver.

How to Enjoy Lattes: Hot Latte vs. Iced Latte

Decisions, decisions: choosing between a hot or cold latte…

As the seasons change, so do our cravings. 

On a chilly winter morning, a steaming hot latte might be just the ticket to warm you from the inside out. But an icy cold latte can be the ultimate refresher when summer’s heat is in full swing. Let the weather guide your choice!

When it comes to coffee, everyone’s palate is unique. Some people adore the cozy embrace of a hot latte, while others prefer the bracing chill of an iced version. Listen to your taste buds, and choose the option that brings you the most joy.

FeatureHot LatteCold Latte (Iced Latte)
TemperatureHot (steamed milk)Cold (iced)
Milk PreparationSteamed with frothy milk foamCold milk, no foam
EspressoHot espresso shotHot or cooled espresso shot
TextureCreamy and smoothLighter and more refreshing
Ideal forCold weather or comfortWarm weather or a quick refresh
Customization OptionsFlavors, milk typesFlavors, milk types, toppings
Serving GlasswareCeramic or glass mugTall glass
Hot Latte vs. Iced Latte – Which Do You Prefer?

My preference?

I’m not a fan of iced lattes, and I always opt to have mine served warm. That’s just me, though. You do you!

Your choice of latte is also influenced by the time of day. 

A hot latte could be the perfect companion for a leisurely morning, while an iced latte might be just what you need for an afternoon pick-me-up. As you move through your day, let your energy levels and mood guide you.

Scrumptious Latte Pairings

A hot latte’s best friend? 

Think warm, buttery croissants or a slice of banana bread. The decadent pastries complement the smooth, creamy latte, creating a relaxing, indulgent moment.

For iced lattes, light and fruity treats are the way to go. 

Try a mixed berry tart or a lemon-poppyseed muffin. These sweet delights balance the bright, refreshing iced latte for a perfect harmony of flavors.

Are you ready to create a memorable coffee-tasting experience at home? Let’s dive in!

  1. Variety is the spice of life: Experiment with different latte variations and flavors. Mix and match flavored syrups and non-dairy milk alternatives, or even dabble in latte art!
  2. Snack attack: Whip up a selection of sweet and savory treats. Choose ones that complement your lattes, from flaky pastries to rich, chocolatey desserts.
  3. Presentation perfection: Beautiful cups, saucers, fancy spoons, or elegant glassware elevate your coffee-tasting experience.
  4. Savor every sip: Take time to appreciate each latte. Share your impressions with friends or family, and revel in discovering new coffee favorites together. Cheers to that!

My Favorite Tips For Making The Perfect Latte at Home

Ready to whip up lattes like a pro? 

Start with a trusty espresso machine and a high-quality grinder for fresh, aromatic beans. To froth milk, you’ll need a steaming wand or a standalone milk frother. Lastly, grab a thermometer to ensure perfect milk temperature.

My Favorite Tips For Making The Perfect Latte at Home
Making The Perfect Latte at Home

For that dreamy, creamy hot latte, frothing milk is vital. Here’s how:

  1. Use cold milk straight from the fridge.
  2. Aim the steam wand at a slight angle to create a whirlpool effect.
  3. Heat the milk to around 150°F (65°C) – not too hot or cold.
  4. Tap the frothing pitcher to remove air bubbles and give it a swirl to create a silky texture.

Lastly, to make an iced latte that truly hits the spot, try these cool tricks:

  • Espresso ice cubes: Freeze espresso in an ice cube tray. As they melt, they’ll keep your iced latte flavorful and robust.
  • Chill your glassware: Store your glasses in the freezer for an extra frosty touch.
  • Layer it up: Pour cold milk over ice, then add the cooled espresso on top for a mesmerizing, layered effect. Stir and enjoy!

Health Benefits of Coffee And Lattes

Coffee lovers, rejoice! Your daily cup of joe may offer some health benefits. Studies suggest moderate coffee consumption may reduce the risk of diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and type 2 diabetes. Coffee is also rich in antioxidants, which may help protect your cells from damage.

With their perfect marriage of coffee and milk, Lattes bring their own nutritional perks. 

The milk in lattes provides a good dose of calcium, protein, and vitamins

But be mindful of the extras! 

Added sugars from flavored syrups and whipped cream can quickly turn your latte into a calorie-laden treat. Opt for unsweetened or sugar-free options and choose non-dairy milk alternatives. Enjoy your lattes with a balanced approach, and savor every sip!

Are Starbucks Lattes Hot or Cold?

Are Starbucks Lattes Hot or Cold

Starbucks lattes are brewed either hot or cold, depending on your choice. When you order, specify your preference, and the Starbucks barista will prepare your latte accordingly. You can customize your coffee drink with various flavors, milk options, and additional toppings.

What Is a Cold Latte Called?

What Is a Cold Latte Called

A cold latte is typically called an “iced latte.” It’s made with espresso, cold milk, and ice, creating a refreshing and chilled coffee beverage. You can also find other cold coffee drinks like cold brew, iced coffee, and iced cappuccinos.

Are Cold Lattes a Thing?

Are Cold Lattes a Thing

Yes, cold lattes, also known as iced lattes, are a popular choice among coffee enthusiasts. They’re perfect for warmer weather or when you’re in the mood for a refreshing coffee drink. Iced lattes can also be customized with various flavors, milk options, and additional toppings.

Do Lattes Taste Better Hot or Cold?

Do Lattes Taste Better Hot or Cold

The preference between hot and cold lattes is subjective and depends on individual tastes. Some people enjoy the comforting warmth of a hot latte, while others prefer the refreshing chill of an iced latte.

Can I Get a Latte Hot?

Can I Get a Latte Hot

Yes, you can get a latte served hot! The classic latte is traditionally served hot, with steamed milk and a layer of velvety milk foam. When you order, request a hot latte, and enjoy the rich, creamy experience.

Before You Go…

I hope you enjoyed the hot vs cold latte debate, while I am firmly in the “hot latte” camp I encourage you to experiment and test the hot and iced latte versions before deciding.

And if you would like to dive deeper into the world of latte comparisons, here are our 3 most popular latte comparison articles 🙂


G'day from Australia! I'm Mark, the Chief Editor of Portafilter. I'm super passionate about everything coffee-related and love to spend endless hours mastering pulling the perfect shot on my Breville Barista Express. Follow on: Linkedin and Facebook.

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