Why Is Iced Coffee More Expensive?

Have you ever strolled the supermarket’s aisles and wondered why is iced coffee more expensive than regular coffee? It’s easy to assume that the markup is because they’re cold and refreshing on a hot day. However, there’s more to it than that. Is it worth the extra money?

Why Is Iced Coffee More Expensive?

Iced coffee is more expensive than its hot counterparts due to the differences in the type of material used to package it, the machinery used, the brewing method, and labor costs. For example, brewing iced coffee requires twice as many beans as hot coffee so iced coffee needs to be stronger so it won’t get diluted.

A woman wearing a black blouse and scarf holds an iced coffee placed on a plastic cup

The additional equipment needed to brew iced java adds to its cost. You’ll need a separate brewer to dispense cold and warm water at different temperatures. Plus, you might have to hire an extra employee to make sure everything runs smoothly during peak hours.

Other Reasons Why Iced Java Might Be So Pricey

The price tag on iced drinks makes sense if they’re made with organic beans; however, many people find them overpriced when they’re just as good as any other iced beverage. So what are other reasons why chilled coffee costs so much?

Iced Java Has Twice as Much Coffee

The math of ice java is simple: use twice as much coffee. When brewing hot coffee, you need only one tablespoon of ground beans for every six ounces of water.

However, you need two tablespoons of ground beans for every six ounces of water when making ice java.

The reason for this is that to extract all the flavor from the beans; they need to steep longer than required for hot brewing methods like drip or French press.

Ice Java Needs to Be Freshly Brewed

When you order an iced drink, you get a fresh batch of java made moments before you order it. This means the beans needed have to be ground fresh for each cup of coffee, which adds time and costs more money.

Ice Java Often Incorporates Sweeteners and Flavor Enhancers

Ice coffee is often more expensive than its hot counterpart, and it’s not just because of the cold. Sweeteners and flavor enhancers tend to be added to iced java more often than regular coffee.

This is because iced drinks need a flavor boost, as the ice waters it down. This means that any flavor for your coffee needs to come from somewhere else, so companies will add extra sugar or flavoring agents just for good measure.

Iced Coffee Is a Novelty

People are willing to pay more for something marketed as a novelty. When you’re paying extra for your iced java on a hot summer day, you’re not just buying the drink itself; you’re paying for the experience of enjoying something cool and refreshing.

It Requires More Ice Machines

It might cost up to hundreds of dollars per month to lease an ice machine, a widespread practice among cafés. These costs increase quickly because most coffee shops serve iced java all summer. This usually means they need multiple machines just to make it.

How to Make Your Ice Coffee if You Do Not Want to Pay Extra

If you love to drink coffee, then it is very likely that you have started making it at home. However, if you are unwilling to pay extra for coffee, making your coffee is much cheaper than going to a coffee shop. Making coffee at home could save you up to $1,100 annually.

A person wearing black long sleeves holding an iced coffee from Starbucks

To make one at home, you will need:

Step 1: Brew Some Strong Coffee

For this recipe, you’ll want a French press or other methods that brew strong coffee. If you’re using a drip coffee maker, brew the coffee extra-strong (about double the usual amount).

Step 2: Prepare Milk

Make room-temperature milk by heating whole milk in a saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pan (about 10 minutes). Add sugar or sweetener as desired; let cool slightly before proceeding to step 3.

Step 3: Mix Everything

Put ice cubes in a glass (or two), add espresso and milk, stir well, and enjoy!

Related Questions

How Do You Reduce the Costs of Iced Lattes?

To reduce the cost of iced lattes, you can make your iced latte at home or bring your reusable cup when buying from a coffee shop. Many coffee shops offer discounts when you use reusable cups instead of disposable cups or paper cups.

How Much Does Ice Coffee Cost at Starbucks?

If you order a tall iced coffee from Starbucks, it will cost you $2.75. If you order a grande, the price will be $3.25. However, a tall hot, brewed coffee costs only $1.75.


Iced coffee costs more than its hot counterparts due to the type of material used for packaging, brewing method, machinery, and labor. Sweeteners and flavor enhancements present also increase its cost.