If you’re a coffee lover like me, it doesn’t matter if the summer kicks in and the weather is hot – you still need your daily dose of coffee. However, you might want to refresh yourself with an iced version of your favorite beverage. The two most popular versions are the Iced Vanilla Latte and Iced Caramel Macchiato. They look similar, but the question is – what makes them different?
Although the ingredients are virtually the same (other than some toppings), the order you put them into the drink is what differentiates a latte and a macchiato. Also, you should stir your Iced Vanilla Latte, while the Iced Caramel Macchiato needs to remain layered.
To make any of the two, you’ll need shots of espresso, vanilla syrup, milk, and ice. Let’s see what additional ingredients you might need, how making these drinks works, and what makes them unique compared to one another.
What is an Iced Vanilla Latte?
To understand what an Iced Vanilla Latte is, you must first know how to make a regular latte. A cafe latte is a type of coffee consisting of espresso and milk. What separates a latte from a macchiato is the quantity of milk in the beverage and their order.
The espresso shot comes first, and then you pour milk over it. How much milk you put in will determine the flavor; less milk means a stronger coffee taste. To make an iced latte, all you need to do is to add ice to the beverage. The latte is then stirred, unlike macchiato, which needs to be layered by default.
Now, to make an Iced Vanilla Latte, simply add some vanilla syrup to the mix. Starbucks and other coffee shops put the syrup in last because it determines the sweetness of the drink. The more syrup, the sweeter the latte.
What is an Iced Caramel Macchiato?
While it is called an Iced Caramel Macchiato, the beverage doesn’t contain caramel syrup, nor is it a real macchiato. Although, it has some similarities with the traditional drink. There are two ways of making real macchiato: The traditional espresso macchiato and latte macchiato.
The espresso macchiato is a shot of espresso topped off with a small amount of milk foam. It’s not stirred, but the milk instead stays on top, making a white mark (hence, the name macchiato, meaning “marked” or “stained”). Latte macchiato requires the milk to be poured first and then “stained” with a shot of espresso.
While the Iced Caramel Macchiato is neither of these things, what it has in common is the ingredients and the layered nature of the beverage, which is why it carries the name macchiato, even though it isn’t the traditional version of the drink.
You don’t stir the ingredients when they are all inside the drink, and you serve it in a see-through glass to see the layers and enhance the drinking experience. The drink itself requires vanilla syrup (not caramel syrup), some milk, espresso, ice, and caramel drizzle to top it off. It’s essential to put the ingredients in the correct order to get the beautiful layered effect.
Iced Vanilla Latte vs. Iced Caramel Macchiato: What’s the difference?
As you probably noticed, the ingredients are similar in the Iced Vanilla Latte and the Iced Caramel Macchiato. Even the vanilla syrup goes in both. However, they are so different when you taste them. There are a couple of crucial things that make them similar but so different.
The Iced Caramel Macchiato has one more ingredient, and that’s the caramel drizzle. However, just by looking at these drinks, you’ll see that one is a homogeneous mixture while the other is a layered, heterogenous beverage. That’s because you should stir an Iced Vanilla Latte, while you shouldn’t stir the other drink before drinking.
The order in which you put the ingredients is also different. In a latte, you put the espresso in first and pour milk and vanilla syrup over the top, while the Iced Caramel Macchiato works the other way around; you put vanilla syrup and milk in the glass first and then pour the espresso and caramel drizzle over the top.
One more significant difference is the texture. Using low-fat milk in the Iced Vanilla Latte will make it more even and light, with equal density from top to bottom. However, the Iced Caramel Macchiato has layers, meaning you won’t have the same thickness and texture throughout the entire drink.
Sure, the ingredients mix and blend as you drink, but the magic of an Iced Caramel Macchiato lies in the fact that you can feel the difference between the layers.
Both of these beverages are awesome for a nice summer day, and whichever you choose will give you the slight energy boost, the incredible taste, and the refreshment you longed for.
How to make an Iced Vanilla Latte?
Making an Iced Vanilla Latte isn’t as hard as you might think. You can easily do it at home, but if you want it to taste anything like the one you can get at Starbucks, you need high-quality ingredients. Cheap espresso or instant coffee won’t trick because a latte needs to have that recognizable coffee aroma and aftertaste.
Therefore, make sure you have a quality espresso at hand. If you don’t have an espresso machine, strong-brewed instant coffee works fine, too. Also, I prefer using low-fat milk because it gives a better texture to your beverage when combined with espresso and vanilla syrup.
Both espresso and vanilla syrup are pretty dense, so adding full-fat milk might make your latte too thick. When you make sure you have an excellent vanilla syrup, too, you can start making your Iced Vanilla Latte.
First, get a regular 0.3 l glass and fill it with ice. Brew a shot of espresso (or a double shot for strong instant coffee) and pour it over the ice. Next, add low-fat milk to the mix, and top it off with the vanilla syrup – careful with the syrup, though, because it determines the sweetness of your drink. Please give it a good stir in the end, and you’re good to go!
How to make an Iced Caramel Macchiato?
Like with the Iced Vanilla Latte, you should ensure that you have quality ingredients if you want the beverage to taste good. You can’t make excellent roast chicken if you don’t have high-quality chicken meat, right?
The order of the ingredients is a lot more critical in an Iced Caramel Macchiato than in the before-mentioned Iced Vanilla Latte. I’ll walk you through the process; it’s quite simple. You’ll need ice vanilla syrup, milk (it can be full-fat milk or even cream if you prefer it), espresso, and caramel drizzle. Serve it in a regular 0.3 l glass, just like the Iced Vanilla Latte.
Start by filling the glass with ice. Pour vanilla syrup over it, followed by around 0.15-0.2 l of milk. Gently pour two shots of espresso (or three shots of strong-brewed instant coffee) over the top.
I prefer double espresso because the milk, vanilla syrup, and caramel drizzle give you a lot of sweetness, and I love to taste the coffee a bit more. You can put in a single shot if you don’t like it that way. Lastly, top it off with as much caramel drizzle that suits your taste. Some people add whipped cream, but I find it unnecessary. Don’t stir to have that incredible layered marble effect.