Broken down into a few major points:
1. Unlike bodegas and diners which just add ice to their hot java, better coffee shops use a cold-brew method to make iced coffee. But cold-brewing (steeping grounds in room temperature filtered water for 12-24 hours) requires more coffee. In the end, a cold brew uses 62 cents worth of coffee and a hot cup uses about 35 cents.
2. THE CUPS. Those clear plastic cups that sweat on a hot summer day? They’re more expensive than the paper ones. Paper cups cost about six cents while the plastic ones can go up to 12 cents a pop.
3. Straws. Customers might think nothing of grabbing one of the hundreds of straws sitting in a dispenser, each of which cost one to two cents. But that adds up when you’re selling a lot of coffee.
4. Napkins. The aforementioned sweaty plastic cup means customers will grab a handful of napkins on their way out to grip the cold drink. And usually more than they really need (I’m guilty of that.)
5. Renting an ice machine costs $12/day. But if the ice machine breaks? Ice bags en masse from Gristedes, and they’re not cheap!
The good news for coffee shop owners? Hot coffee goes bad in about 30 minutes, but the cold-brewed concentrate can last up to a week. More bang for your buck…just don’t tell the customers.
So there you have it. All variables considered, iced coffee costs about 80 cents more than a comparable cup of hot.
It’s a summer survival tool that’s well worth the markup.