Speed Reads


Here's why your iced coffee is so expensive

Ah, the question that plagues caffeine addicts every summer: Why should I pay more for my cold coffee? It's just coffee with ice, right?

Well, Gothamist spoke to coffee shop owners and did a bit of digging into the subject, and it turns out there are a whole host of reasons why you're burning a hole in your wallet during iced coffee season.

First off, there's the cost of the ice. "[T]he reality is we go through tons of ice. We have a maker, but we buy ice to supplement. And our electric bills go up just to run the ice maker," Autumn Stanford of Brooklyn Kolache Co. told Gothamist. There are plenty of other costs on top of that, too: The plastic cups used for iced coffee are more expensive than their paper counterparts — since they're a petroleum product, their price depends on the (often rising) price of gas.

The coffee itself is also to blame. The process of cold-brewing coffee is more time-consuming and more costly, as it requires twice as many beans. And don't forget about the beans themselves: drought, flooding, and even a deadly fungus have negatively effected the coffee harvest, resulting in a price surge.

All of that together makes it pretty tough for coffee shops to keep the price of your favorite chilly brew down, lest they start losing money. So the next time you're sipping on a refreshing iced coffee, just know that you're not getting price gouged. And maybe tip the barista. Read Gothamist's in-depth story here.