From what I have discovered, when making an iced latte it's always best to mix the milk and espresso before adding ice. Simply so the ice doesn't melt as quick and the espresso isn't shocked by the abrupt change in temperature. It's even as if there is a strange bitterness to the drink when the espresso is poured directly onto the ice. By mixing the milk and espresso first then adding ice, the drink seems to be extra creamy as if the crema is still playing a large part. Also, the espresso tends to be more vibrant in the milk, there is less melted ice to make the drink taste watery. 

 It drives me nuts when a barista extracts a shot directly on the ice. Maybe it's just me though. 

 

Does anybody else agree that the order you mix an iced latte truly affects the outcome?

 

Can someone explain this phenomenon of bitterness?

 

Thanks!

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Nick Cho does.  Haha
i get the best flavor/least bitterness by pulling my shot into a chilled shot glass. that brings the espresso down in temp enough to not melt ice or mess with the milk. also, i throw the shot(s) on top of the iced milk.
oh, and with ice last...i hate it when i stick the straw in and get luke coffee milk from the bottom. please shake or toss it!

My shop adds the milk, flavor, ice and then espresso.  I am not sure mine is the best method though because you have to stir twice if your flavor is chocolate or a thick sauce like that.  And you always have to stir at the end to get the espresso to mix past the ice.  I do not find, however, that the espresso melting the ice is that big of a problem with this method.  I am not sure why...

 

But maybe shaking our iced lattes would solve all my problems. 

 

Now to experiment.

Syrup, then milk, then shot, then ice, then shake, then serve.

Three things to add to this:

 

We build these drinks in a heat-resistant measuring glass. This lets us measure the bases, milk, and then add ice to the proper level. This also guarantees at least one thorough mix, as it is tossed from this into the cold cup, and eliminates the problem of sweet pockets.

 

If a thick sauce is used it goes in the mixing glass first, followed by the espresso. A swirl helps thin the mixture. Then milk is added and everything combines quite nicely. As others have noticed, if you add cold milk to thick sauce, it gets even thicker and doesn't mix well. Ice goes last.

 

For the record, I've never noticed drinks being more bitter from the espresso being poured over ice. You'll definitely get a far waterier drink that way though, which is probably why the OP perceives the other way to taste creamier. That's also why I don't do it that way. Water doesn't add flavor. For those that haven't seen my past rants on this, I feel that the deleterious effects of "shocking" espresso by pouring it directly onto ice to be highly exaggerated.

We make ours just like Brady describes: flavor(or a little milk) first, then the shot to thin the sauce/syrup, then the milk. And all this goes into a shaker. I live by James Bond rule of "shaken not stirred." It really gives the milk a creamy, airy mouth feel to it and we never have flavor on the bottom. Plus the customer loves the theatrics of the shaker. Can't lose. Maybe we should add some flippy "Cocktail" moves.

Brady said:

Three things to add to this:

 

We build these drinks in a heat-resistant measuring glass. This lets us measure the bases, milk, and then add ice to the proper level. This also guarantees at least one thorough mix, as it is tossed from this into the cold cup, and eliminates the problem of sweet pockets.

 

If a thick sauce is used it goes in the mixing glass first, followed by the espresso. A swirl helps thin the mixture. Then milk is added and everything combines quite nicely. As others have noticed, if you add cold milk to thick sauce, it gets even thicker and doesn't mix well. Ice goes last.

 

For the record, I've never noticed drinks being more bitter from the espresso being poured over ice. You'll definitely get a far waterier drink that way though, which is probably why the OP perceives the other way to taste creamier. That's also why I don't do it that way. Water doesn't add flavor. For those that haven't seen my past rants on this, I feel that the deleterious effects of "shocking" espresso by pouring it directly onto ice to be highly exaggerated.

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