The Search for the Cheapest Cup of Iced Coffee

by |
07/08/2008 10:01 AM |

Why is iced coffee so expensive? Is it the ice machines? No. The plastic cups? No. A difference in the coffee? Not usually. Straws? No. In fact,

Iced coffee may actually be cheaper to make
than hot coffee, because it often uses several-hours-old coffee that
would otherwise be thrown down the drain. Coffee has a very short life
span where it still tastes good hot, but when poured over ice it is
impossible even for connoisseurs to tell the difference. [Forbes]

The Forbes hypothesis is that stores make their iced coffee expensive simply because they can, preying on our caffeine requirements and our blurry understanding of the variables–our assumption that’s it’s probably more expensive to make, somehow, in some way, because of that thing.

So, 1) Where is the cheapest iced coffee? I think $1.50 is the average bodega/deli cheap price. Where is it less?

2) Are there some mysterious facts about iced coffee I don’t know?

9 Comment

  • 1.50 is the cheapest I’ve seen, but just getting off coffee for a sec, thanks for that Vietnamese sandwich place tip.

    Also, too late to mention but last weekend there was a sale at one of the supermarkets I wont mention the name but they had whole watermelons for $4 per piece. and also if you bought 5 12 packs of coke, it was $10. which is pretty ridiculous discount, that comes to about 17 cents a can. Only problem was carrying all those watermelons and cokes home!

    ok, back to work.

  • Mysterious Fact About Iced Coffee, #207:

    If you are getting an iced coffee for L Magazine Music Editor Mike Conklin, and you get it with regular granulated sugar rather than simple syrup, he will probably throw a hilarious diva fit.

  • According to this article the correct way to make iced coffee is cold brewing, if you get iced coffee made of hot coffee by just throwing ice in, it will not be as good. You can taste a huge difference. Anyway it is usually overpriced, but the small iced coffees are usually bigger than a small hot one. I like it at Mazzola’s in Carroll Gardens, though I don’t recall the price.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/27/dining/27coff.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

  • According to Starbucks, the cost of ice coffee is higher simply because it’s more labor intensive. They brew they’re ice coffee by double-strength brewing the coffee hot, then icing it, so the ice coffee is regular strength (if you just dump ice into regular hot coffee the result is weak and not tasty). So the added price (as far as Starbucks is concerned) is strictly to cover the extra labor in making the product.

  • Yes, that’s interesting, and wasn’t addressed in the Forbes article. But makes sense.

  • Coffee ice cubes are also a key to not-watery ice coffee.

  • Pet peeve: When my ice coffee contains 3/4 ice, 1/4 coffee. Seriously. I try and ask them to go easy on the ice…but…never!

  • When I lived in the East Village, I would stop at St. Mark’s Market every morning on my way to the 6 train and get a $1.25 “small” iced coffee. For 25 cents more, I could get a large. The iced coffee is tasty and the sizes were pretty big, unlike Starbucks.

    On a side note, one of the workers once explained to me that they do not carry Splenda because it is known to do evil animal testing. Good to know!