Emily Baines
Updated May 06, 2016 @ 12:47 pm
Credit: Shutterstock

Sometimes, it feels like iced coffee should be cheaper. After all, doesn’t it cost the coffee shop less than a regular coffee, what with all the, you know, ice? As it turns out, nope. That’s not the case. The cost of iced coffee is totally justified.

The folks at Fast Company have broken down the reason for the rising prices of iced coffee and, frankly, they do make sense.

And you have to admit, sometimes cold brew just hits the spot:

Iced coffee is more expensive than hot coffee for two main reasons:

The cost of materials

According to the folks at Brooklyn-based Lofted Coffee, the cost of materials for an iced beverage is more than the price of those for a hot one. Iced drinks require plastic cups (as opposed to paper), not to mention straws. Iced coffee also requires ice, which means the shop needs to have an ice machine. Of course, these costs are minimal — but we all know minimal costs can add up and become quite substantial!


The trendiest — and, of course, priciest — way to serve decent iced coffee is to “cold brew” it. (Even Starbucks is now offering cold brew!) Fast Company defines the cold brew process as: “grinding beans coarsely, having them sit in room-temperature water overnight, and then filtering the grinds out to produce cold-brew concentrate. This extract is then cut with water to make what we know as iced coffee.” Now, yes, some coffee shops dilute the concentrate more than others. Regardless, the amount of cold-brew iced coffee you can pull from one bag of beans is much, much less than what you would get if you used it for regular drip hot coffee. Plus, you have to consider the increase in labor costs for cold brew — making batches of cold brew requires a great deal of labor and planning. Hence the price increase.

With the summer fast approaching, we can all thank our lucky stars that iced coffee is an option — and that we understand why we pay a little extra to enjoy it.