Are lattes hot or cold?

Are lattes hot or cold?

A latte is a distinct type of coffee beverage, and this article will distinguish it from other java drinks. Next, we’ll compare hot lattes with iced ones to help you understand the key differences between these two popular variations. 

Are lattes hot or cold? The answer might surprise you as we reveal they can be served both ways!

Are Lattes Hot or Cold? Exploring Ideal Latte Temperatures

What is a Latte?

A latte, short for a caffe latte, is a popular coffee drink that originated in Italy. It consists of espresso and steamed milk, with the option to add various flavors or sweeteners. Lattes are known for their creamy texture and rich taste, making them a favorite among coffee enthusiasts worldwide.

The Components of a Latte


The base of any latte is made from one or two shots of espresso. Espresso is brewed by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure, resulting in a concentrated form of coffee. Learn more about brewing espresso here.

Steamed Milk

To create the velvety texture lattes are known for, milk must be steamed to produce microfoam – tiny bubbles that give the milk its silky consistency. Steaming also heats the milk without scalding it so as not to overpower the flavor profile provided by the espresso. 


A layer of frothy foam sits atop each latte; this foam can range from dense and creamy (microfoam) to light and airy (macrofoam). The amount and type of foam used will depend on personal preference as well as the barista’s skill level. 


Many people enjoy adding flavored syrups, such as vanilla or caramel, to their lattes. Additionally, some prefer a touch of sweetness from sugar or other sweeteners like honey or agave nectar. 

Caffe Latte

Comparison between a Hot Latte and an Iced Latte

When it comes to enjoying your favorite latte, you might be wondering whether to go for a hot or cold version. When making a decision, it is important to consider one’s personal preferences and the current climate. Let’s dive into the differences between these two popular coffee drinks.

Hot Lattes: A Classic Choice

A hot latte, also known as a caffe latte, is crafted from espresso and steamed milk with a light layer of foam on top. This classic choice offers rich flavors that are perfect for sipping slowly while catching up with friends or getting some work done at your local coffee shop.

Hot lattes are comforting in colder weather, bring out deeper flavor notes in coffee beans, and can be customized with various syrups or spices. 

Iced Lattes: A Refreshing Alternative

An iced latte, on the other hand, consists of espresso poured over ice and then mixed with cold milk. It provides a more refreshing alternative that is especially appealing during warm summer days when you need something cool to quench your thirst.

In terms of which one is better for you, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and your current mood. For a stimulating lift on a hot day, try an iced latte.

3 Can Lattes Be Served Hot and Cold?

The popularity of lattes can be attributed to their versatility, enabling them to be served hot or cold. A traditional latte can be enjoyed in hot and cold forms, depending on one’s preference.

Latte Coffee

Hot Latte

A hot latte is made by combining espresso with steamed milk, topped with a small amount of frothy milk foam. This creates a creamy texture that balances out the bold flavor of the espresso while providing warmth to savor during colder months.

The process of steaming the milk not only heats it but also adds air to create microfoam which gives lattes their signature velvety mouthfeel. To learn more about making perfect hot lattes at home, check out this guide.

Iced Latte

An iced latte offers an alternative for those looking for something refreshing in warmer weather or simply enjoying drinking chilled beverages throughout the year. Iced lattes are created by pouring freshly brewed espresso over ice before adding cold milk and stirring until well combined. 

Some variations may include using sweetened condensed milk instead of regular dairy options or even substituting almond, soy, oat, or coconut milk to cater to dietary preferences and needs.

To prevent dilution from melting ice cubes when preparing an iced latte at home, use pre-chilled ingredients like refrigerated espresso shots. Alternatively, freeze coffee in ice cube trays to use as your “ice” for an extra kick of flavor.

Though the customer’s preference is key, an ideal temperature for a latte should be taken into account when choosing hot or cold. 

Iced Latte

What is the Ideal Latte Temperature?

When savoring a delectable latte, the temperature is an essential factor in augmenting its taste and the entire experience. 

The ideal latte temperature varies depending on whether you prefer your drink hot or cold. In this section, we will discuss the optimal temperatures for both hot and cold lattes.

Hot Lattes

For a hot latte, the ideal temperature range is 150°F (65°C) to 170°F (77°C), ensuring milk steaming without scalding and creating microfoam for a creamy texture. This range ensures that the milk is steamed properly without scalding it, which can result in an unpleasant taste. 

Optimal temperature helps in:

  • Maintain Flavor: Keeping your latte within this temperature range preserves the delicate flavors of both coffee and milk.
  • Safety: There is a lower risk of burns when consuming beverages below 170°F.
  • Better Texture: Properly steamed milk results in silky microfoam for improved mouthfeel.

Cold Lattes

An ideal cold latte should be served at temperatures around 40°F (4°C), similar to refrigerated milk. This chilling enhances the natural sweetness of the espresso while still maintaining its boldness. 

Optimal temperature helps in:

  • Refreshing: A cold latte is perfect for hot summer days or when you need a refreshing pick-me-up.
  • Sweetness: Chilled espresso tends to taste sweeter, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer less bitterness in their coffee drinks.
Iced Caffe Latte

Are Starbucks Lattes Hot Or Cold?

Starbucks lattes can be both hot and cold, depending on the specific menu item that is ordered. 

At Starbucks, a hot latte is typically made by first pulling one or two shots of espresso, which is then mixed with steamed milk and a dollop of foam. This creates a creamy, warm beverage that is popular among coffee lovers.

However, Starbucks also offers a variety of iced lattes for those who prefer a cold coffee beverage. Popular iced latte flavors include the iced caramel latte, the iced vanilla latte, and the iced cinnamon dolce latte.

In addition to hot and cold lattes, Starbucks also offers seasonal and specialty beverages, some of which are served hot and cold. For example, the pumpkin spice latte is a popular fall beverage that can be ordered either hot or iced, while the cold foam cold brew is a year-round option that can be served either hot or iced.

Overall, Starbucks offers a variety of latte options, both hot and cold, to cater to the preferences of its customers.

How Do You Make Sure Your Latte Stays Hot?

To ensure that your latte stays hot, it’s important to use preheated cups and steam the milk to the proper temperature. The latter should also be consumed as soon as possible, as the heat will dissipate over time. 

Additionally, keeping the latte in a thermos or insulated cup can help to retain heat.

Why Do Cold Lattes Usually Cost More?

Cold lattes typically cost more due to the extra materials and labor required to make them. Iced lattes require additional ingredients such as ice and sometimes flavored syrups, which increases the cost. 

Additionally, the process of making an iced latte can take longer than a hot latte due to the need to chill the drink and add the ice, leading to higher labor costs.

Are Pumpkin Spiced Lattes A Hot or Cold Drink?

Pumpkin Spiced Lattes are typically hot drinks. The beverage is made with espresso, steamed milk, and pumpkin spice flavored syrup and topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. However, it can also be served over ice for those who prefer a cold version of the drink.


Whether you prefer your latte hot or cold, there is no denying that this coffee drink is a favorite among coffee lovers. The ideal temperature for a latte depends on personal preference, but the standard temperature for a hot latte is around 150-160°F, while the ideal temperature for a cold latte is around 40-50°F. 

No matter how you enjoy your latte, it’s sure to be a delicious cup of coffee.

So, the next time you’re wondering whether lattes are hot or cold, remember that they can be enjoyed both ways. Whether you’re in the mood for a steaming hot cup of coffee or a cool drink on a hot day, a latte is always a great choice.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge beyond coffee and into music production, check out The Music Ambition, where we provide helpful resources for aspiring musicians.

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