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Coffee Classics: The Vanilla Latte

In this blog series, we bring you everything you need to know about some of our classic cafe offerings. From lattes to cappuccinos to Gibraltars, we dive into your favorite coffee beverages!

Vanilla Latte on a gold plate


A latte is a uniquely American term that has gone global, but its roots are in Italy, the birthplace of espresso. It’s a milk-based coffee drink that is traditionally light and sweet, but its American incarnation loves to pack on the extra flavors with the use of spices, syrups, chocolate, and more.

Lattes are linguistically and gastronomically related to other beverages like the French cafe au lait (different from the American drink of the same name!), the Spanish cafe con leche, and of course the Italian caffe latte. There are many differences in how each of these drinks and others are prepared, notably in the type of coffee used (drip vs. espresso, for example) and how the milk is added (warmed, cold, steamed, frothed).

A “traditional” American-style latte nowadays is typically made with espresso coffee and steamed milk, with microfoam, and latte art on top. Our iced vanilla latte uses cold brew coffee and then cold milk and ice.


A vanilla latte is a very specific, and very iconic type of espresso-based drink. While you could just make some vanilla-flavored coffee, it’s not the same thing. 

A Vanilla Latte on a blue plate with vanilla beans

We make our vanilla latte using espresso coffee, steamed milk or alternative milk, and a house-made vanilla syrup. The vanilla in our house-made syrup is pure vanilla extract for that extra boost of authenticity. We serve vanilla lattes both hot and iced. Do we have a preference? Not really, as long as it’s freshly made! 

While some could argue it’s not really a “latte” once it’s been iced down and has regular milk added but not steamed or frothed, we say that coffee is meant to be enjoyed, and language is a growing, living thing. An iced latte is related to a hot latte like a hot latte is related to an Italian caffe latte: they’re not identical, but they are related branches from the same (delicious) tree.

A vanilla latte can be spruced up or “upgraded” in any number of ways: an extra shot of espresso, some caramel or chocolate syrup, or switching out regular dairy milk for almond or oat milk. At a Kaldi’s Cafe you can also upgrade your vanilla latte by requesting the Single Origin espresso, which rotates nearly monthly.

Making an espresso shot, frothing milk, and a finished vanilla latte


As the weather gets lovelier day by day, you’re probably going to want an iced vanilla latte within arm’s reach! For our cafe’s recipe, just watch the video on our Iced Vanilla Recipe Page, courtesy of Kiersten! Below the video will be a step by step recipe breakdown, as well.

Please enjoy our iced vanilla latte recipe - we know it will keep you cooled off and sweetly caffeinated.



Go to Our Iced Vanilla Latte Recipe Page (+ Youtube Video!)




Introducing the Gibraltar Espresso Drink | Kaldi's Coffee Blog
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