15 Types Of Iced Coffee, Explained

There are some food and drinks out there that are so divisive, the various camps stay stubbornly headstrong that their side is best. Coffee is undoubtedly one such topic that provokes passionate preference. For a segment of coffee lovers, nothing surpasses the comfort of a steaming hot cup, enjoyed equally in tropical humidity or in the frosty embrace of a snowy winter. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who revel in the refreshing chill of iced coffee, savoring it on Christmas morning as enthusiastically as they would on a balmy Fourth of July.

Regardless of the faction you resonate with, both hot and cold coffee realms offer a vast selection of drinks to discover. While the spectrum of cold coffee may initially seem narrow, especially considering the dominance of certain well-known categories, it too presents an abundance of innovative options to delve into. After you reach beyond a basic iced coffee, you'll see that there are numerous intriguing iced coffees that exist, each boasting individual flavors and distinctive preparation techniques.

Cold brew

We're huge fans of cold brew as a fantastic variant of iced coffee. These beverages are made from coffee that is brewed at room or cold temperatures, meaning the coffee never gets heated, hence maintaining its temperature integrity. Often, cooling down originally hot coffee can result in flavor loss due to the icing process, but this isn't a concern with cold brew.

Making cold brew at home is quite straightforward. All you really need is a container to hold the coffee, coffee grounds, water, and, of course, a good dose of time and patience. Similar to tea, you let the coffee steep in the water, but differently than tea, the steeping times are measured in hours rather than minutes. After straining out the coffee grounds, you are left with a refreshing cold brew.

We particularly enjoy the cold brew offered by Starbucks, especially with the added cold foam on top. However, Starbucks is far from being the only provider of this delightful drink. Nowadays, thankfully, you can find cold brew at most coffee shops.


For a captivating and smoother iced coffee indulgence, nitro cold brew merits serious consideration. This innovative concoction is essentially cold brew coffee imbued with nitrogen gas. This infusion imparts a captivating cascading effect to the beverage, akin to the frothy head of a traditional draft beer, greatly enhancing its visual appeal and textural experience. It yields a smoother, creamier, and richer mouthfeel, augmenting the overall drinking experience to an elevated level of enjoyment.

Despite our appreciation for the aesthetic allure and unique texture of nitro cold brew, it doesn't top our list due to its ideal consumption method. The nitro effect is best preserved when the beverage is enjoyed without the addition of creamer or sugar. These additions could potentially diminish the majestic nitrogen effect, thus altering its signature characteristic. Nonetheless, for black coffee enthusiasts in search of a chilled alternative, nitro cold brew offers an unrivaled experience, combining a visually enticing presentation with a distinctively smooth and rich flavor profile.

Iced espresso

If you prefer a stronger coffee flavor and are seeking an alternative to iced coffee, we highly recommend trying an iced espresso. It's a straightforward concept: hot espresso poured over ice to cool it down. In contrast, if you order an Americano, you'll receive espresso combined with cold water and ice. However, with iced espresso, only the ice and espresso are used to craft the drink. When it comes to flavor, the main distinction between regular iced coffee and an iced espresso is that the former offers a more fruity taste, while the latter brings out a nuttiness in the drink. Also, an iced espresso tends to be a stronger drink, as espresso typically has a more concentrated dose of caffeine.

Unlike other coffee preparations like cold brew, this iced coffee is made from previously hot espresso, which means it will dilute significantly when poured over ice. While an Americano is always a pleasant choice, we believe that the simplicity of pure espresso overrides the need for cold water to enhance the drink's palatability. At your favorite coffee shop, you can also personalize your iced espresso with creamer or any flavoring of your choice.

Iced mocha

Sometimes, we crave a coffee that satisfies our desire for something sweet and indulgent. In such moments, ordering a mocha becomes an excellent choice. Similar to a latte in terms of ingredients, the mocha has one crucial addition: mocha sauce. Additionally, most cafes offer an iced version of the mocha, and some even offer an even sweeter alternative in a white chocolate mocha.

When you order an iced mocha coffee, you'll receive a decadent beverage consisting of mocha sauce, espresso, milk, and ice. Ideally, your skilled barista will take the time to blend the mocha sauce seamlessly with the espresso before incorporating the cold milk. There's nothing worse than encountering thick syrupy slugs of mocha when what you should be savoring is a harmoniously blended fusion of flavors. To top off the delicious indulgence, iced mochas typically come with a fabulous dollop of whipped cream and often feature chocolate shavings as a garnish.

Iced macchiato

Iced macchiatos, much like nitros, have a distinct appearance that sets them apart. While nitros feature a cascading effect with cold brew, macchiatos exhibit a similar cascading effect, but with espresso.

When ordering an iced macchiato, the basic ingredients will typically include ice, milk, and espresso. In the case of an iced macchiato, the espresso shot is poured last and directly over the milk. As you allow the drink to chill for a few moments before sipping, you'll observe the espresso gradually sinking into the milk, creating a visually appealing effect. It is quite common to see people immediately stirring their macchiatos upon receiving them, but we would encourage you to resist that temptation. Instead, take a moment to let the espresso work its magic and flavor the drink as it permeates through the layers. By stirring it prematurely, you would miss out on the cool effect distinguishing an iced macchiato.

Vietnamese iced coffee

For a distinctive and delicious iced coffee experience, Vietnamese iced coffee is definitely worth a try. This coffee has a delightful hint of chocolate flavor and is made using robusta coffee beans, along with a phin (a traditional Vietnamese coffee filter). What makes this iced coffee really special is how the coffee gets sweetener and milk using sweetened condensed milk as both. While it may be a bit more challenging to find at everyday coffee shops, it is possible to prepare your own version at home.

To make a homemade version of Vietnamese iced coffee, you can start by brewing some cold brew using a dark roast coffee. Once the cold brew is ready, mix a portion of it with sweetened condensed milk and pour the mixture into ice cube trays. The remaining coffee can be stored in a container in your fridge. Allow the ice cubes to freeze, and then place them in a cup before pouring the rest of the coffee over them. As the ice cubes melt, they will gradually sweeten and enhance your coffee with their delicious mixture.


We're obsessed with Starbucks' shaken espresso drinks. One of the reasons we love them so much is the perfect balance of ice and sweetness in these beverages. Interestingly, these drinks actually draw inspiration from the Italian cold coffee drink known as a shakerato.

The shakerato is a traditional Italian beverage where sweetened espresso is shaken with ice and then strained into a small cup. It's a refreshing and invigorating way to enjoy coffee, especially during the hot summer months. However, when you order a similar drink at Starbucks, you'll spy a notable difference. The ice remains a prominent component of the drink, serving not only as a cooling element but also as a key part of the overall experience. The inclusion of ice in Starbucks' version helps to keep the drink wonderfully chilled and adds a nice texture to each sip. While the Starbucks version may differ from an authentic shakerato, we can't help but appreciate the amazing twist it's put on the concept.


If you're a fan of having your coffee blended into a frothy, refreshing concoction rather than sipping it with ice cubes, a frappe might just be the perfect choice for you. Originating in Greece, this iced coffee beverage typically includes instant coffee, sugar, ice, and water, all blended together to create a frothy mix.

It bears some similarities to the iconic Starbucks Frappuccino, although the latter offers a plethora of variations, including cream-based options like Strawberries and Cream or even the earthy matcha. These variants diverge quite significantly from the traditional frappe blueprint.

It's crucial to remember, though, that when you incorporate diverse flavorings into the mix, a Frappuccino ceases to be a conventional frappe. But let's be honest, Frappuccinos are exceptionally tasty, so why not savor what brings you joy without fretting over precise definitions? Whether it's a classic frappe or a cream-filled Frappuccino, these captivating beverages serve as a tasty treat and an irresistible Instagram subject. Even though they might stray toward the realm of fancy milkshakes, we're absolutely fine with that.

Iced latte

Lattes, renowned for their harmonious blend of frothed milk, foam, and espresso, possess a cold counterpart in iced lattes. Beyond the stark difference in temperature, a crucial variation between an iced and a hot latte is the function milk assumes in each. In the case of an iced latte, you won't encounter the foam or frothed milk familiar to a hot latte, yet you'll still relish the presence of chilled milk designed to balance and soften the beverage's flavors.

Iced lattes present a distinct advantage in terms of flavor profile, offering a smoother and more subtle taste courtesy of the milk and espresso combination. This makes iced lattes an ideal choice for those who appreciate the intensity of espresso but prefer it tempered with the creaminess of the milk.

A noteworthy distinction between an iced latte and a mocha is in their ingredient lineup. Unlike a mocha, an iced latte typically doesn't include syrup in its standard recipe. However, the customizable nature of this iced coffee means flavorings can be added according to personal preference, allowing each iced latte to be tailored to individual tastes.

Aussie iced coffee

When you want an iced coffee but want dessert at the same time, consider the Aussie iced latte. This one has all the trappings of an iced latter but adds a scoop of ice cream.

Although vanilla ice cream is a delectable choice for this concoction, the versatility of the Aussie Iced Latte allows for an array of alternative flavors to customize your drink. Options extend beyond vanilla to include enticing choices like chocolate, strawberry, or even adventurous selections like Rocky Road or salted caramel to amplify the complexity of the beverage.

While this drink might resemble Italy's affogato, a notable distinction lies in the Aussie iced latte's inclusion of ice and milk alongside the espresso and ice cream. This subtly transforms the drinking experience, shifting it from the dessert realm of an affogato to a more balanced beverage. Consequently, the Aussie iced latte emerges as an indulgent yet practical coffee choice, one that could seamlessly integrate as your sweet treat of the day.

New Orleans iced coffee

Among the diverse variations of iced coffee drinks, the key differential lies in the manner coffee is blended with other components. However, New Orleans iced coffee is set distinctly apart by the inclusion of chicory, a unique ingredient that profoundly enhances its appeal.

In this distinctive concoction, chicory is seamlessly mixed with the coffee beans, offering a flavor profile that is refreshingly interesting and characterized by a particularly robust coffee. The strength of this flavor is so impactful that the inclusion of a sweetener and cream becomes almost indispensable, serving to balance and mellow the intensity.

Despite the significant difference in taste introduced by the chicory, the method of preparation remains identical to other coffee variants. We advocate for a cold brew method for this variant, especially if using New Orleans' favorite Cafe Du Monde coffee since this longer steeping period truly unlocks the chicory flavor. Anticipate a taste that is a pleasant blend of earthy, woody tones, and a slight nuttiness. 


Citrus might not be the first flavor that springs to mind when considering coffee, but a foray into the world of Algerian mazagran will convince you of its enjoyable compatibility. This vibrant twist on iced espresso creates a harmonious blend of ice, water, espresso, and a zesty squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Resulting in a unique coffee-based lemonade, mazagran offers a refreshing respite from traditional coffee flavors. However, the exciting experimentation doesn't have to stop at lemon. Diverse citrus flavors, such as the sweetness of orange or the tart punch of lime, can be introduced for a dynamic taste experience.

You can even mix in some flavors that depart from, but also complement, citrus. For a luxuriously smooth finish, consider introducing vanilla and honey to the mix. The soft sweetness of vanilla coupled with the rich, syrupy essence of honey can balance the tanginess of the citrus, resulting in a beautifully rounded flavor profile and a tangy iced coffee treat.

Dalgona iced coffee

We're big fans of a viral food trend, and at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were plenty to choose from. One standout among these was the fun dalgona coffee. The magic of this Korean-inspired beverage lies in its simplicity; its core ingredients are just instant coffee, water, sugar, and vigorous whipping. Intriguingly, cheaper coffee often outperforms its pricier counterparts, yielding a more substantial, robust foam as you energetically whip it.

To craft a refreshing dalgona iced coffee, the triumvirate of primary ingredients are as we just discussed, instant coffee, water, and sugar. They are whipped to a frothy consistency, and the volume of the mixture multiplies as air is incorporated, creating a creamy, velvety texture. The degree of frothiness can be adjusted according to personal preference, allowing for a customizable drinking experience.

To transform this into an iced variant, the whipped coffee is gracefully layered over a cup filled with ice and your preferred choice of milk. A final touch requires several thorough stirs to unify the layers into a homogeneous blend.


Italians and Australians aren't the only ones loving ice cream and coffee. Germans enjoy a similar drink called an eiskaffee. This exquisite blend comprises cold coffee, ice cream, and a generous topping of whipped cream, served in a tall glass with a long spoon for easy enjoyment. With its dessert-like composition, the eiskaffee offers a satisfying treat rather than a quick caffeine fix, distinguishing itself from the espresso-based Italian affogato.

To craft your own eiskaffee, begin by placing several scoops of vanilla ice cream into a large glass vessel. Then, pour chilled coffee over the ice cream; while any variety of coffee can be used, a bolder blend often enhances the overall flavor profile. The finale is a luxurious topping of whipped cream, which should be liberally applied.

Once assembled, your role becomes incredibly simple: Savor the experience. Settle down and relish the harmonious blend of flavors and textures as they meld together. This German iced coffee isn't a rushed morning beverage or a portable option for on-the-go; it's a pleasure to be leisurely indulged in, a moment of sweet respite in your day.

Bạc xỉu

We love Vietnamese iced coffee sweetened with a thick milkiness. However, the lesser-known drink called bạc xỉu is even more interesting and offers a fun preparation. This drink is sweeter and more milky than traditional Vietnamese iced coffee.

The journey to a perfectly brewed bạc xỉu begins with a phin, the traditional Vietnamese coffee filter we mentioned earlier. While the coffee slowly brews, you can commence the crafting of the drink's heart. Bring together ice, sweetened condensed milk, and cold milk in a shaker and go to town. If you do your job properly, you'll end up with a creamy mixture and plenty of fabulous froth. Once the coffee has finished brewing, gently pour it over this cold, milky mixture in a glass. The merging of the warm, aromatic coffee with the chilled milk results in an inviting gradient of colors and flavors. While an opaque drinking vessel can be used for serving, a clear one is recommended to appreciate the stunning visual aspect of this drink.