Why Iced Coffee is More Expensive Than Hot Coffee

Coffee lovers may be wondering why their iced coffee is pricier than their hot coffee.

Summer is around the corner and coffee drinkers are more likely to order that iced cold coffee than their usual hot latte. Those who need a daily dose of caffeine may be wise to allot a budget for their coffee addiction because iced coffee can cost as much as 60% more than hot coffee.

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According to CNBC, consumers pay a pretty penny at shops that utilize a cold brew method to make iced coffee. For example, a grande cup of Nitro Cold Brew at Starbucks costs an average of $3.60 in the U.S. Starbuck’s regular cold brew is priced at $3.25 for a grande while their regular hot dip coffee is cheaper by over a dollar.

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The underlying reason for the price difference is that the cold brew coffee process is expensive. Cold brew coffee uses cold or room-temperature water rather than hot water for the extraction process. The temperature of the water affects the speed of the extraction and the amount of coffee used.

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The process of extraction using cold or room-temperature water yields coffee with a different chemical make-up. Coffee beans have a number of different components such as caffeine, oils and fatty acids. Brewing coffee at these temperatures result in coffee with lower acidity and lower caffeine content since the substances in the beans are not completely dissolved.

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Hot temperatures lead to more dissolved solubles that result in a brew that can be described as more full-bodied and flavorful. On the other hand, a cold brew can sometimes be described as “dead” or flat.” Cold brew is also not as aromatic as its hot brew counterpart.

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Cold brew can take anywhere from a few hours to half a day to make. The standard water to coffee ratio is typically 17:1 while the cold brew ratio is 4.5:1. In addition, materials such as plastic cups and straws are more costly than simply paper cups for hot coffee. Ice is also a considerable expense.

The amount of time, number of materials and extra labor results in the price increase in iced coffee.

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