Back when I was in full time student mode, I used to order iced coffee a lot. I always went with Dunkin Doughnuts since the Starbucks version was way more expensive. However, I’ve noticed recently that iced coffee in general is ridiculously overpriced compared to the hot coffee comparable product. Here’s why.
No free refills on iced coffee
Virtually every place but Starbucks will give you free refills on hot coffee. However, if you want to refill the cold stuff, good luck. I’m writing this sitting at Panera Bread right now. If you buy any of their drinks, you get free refills on virtually anything. You can choose between different kind of brews as well.
So while purchasing iced coffee at Starbucks for $3 plus tax, you could have gotten the hot stuff at Panera for $1.85 with free refills.
The Ice causes you to get less product for your buck
Whenever you buy iced coffee, you are getting fewer ounces for the same size. Most every iced coffee I’ve seen is around 70% ice and 30% coffee. For a 32 ounce, that means you are getting something like 10 ounces of actual coffee. Compare that to a typical size of 20 ounces, and not only are you paying more for the iced coffee, you’re getting fewer ounces to drink.
It’s about the caffeine isn’t it?
If you’re trying to be efficient, you want to get the maximum caffeine kick for your buck. If you are writing a term paper or trying to power through a problem set for math class, why not just get a hot coffee? It’s going to be much better for you than buying energy drinks. I used to drink those until I discovered they basically had a dump truck full of sugar.
So the next time you’re thinking about buying iced coffee, consider the bang for your buck. Consider that if you have unlimited free refills on hot coffee, you can sit in Panera Bread for hours and not have to buy anything else. Living frugally is all about achieving the maximum value per dollar spent. At almost every place you can buy it, iced coffee does not meet this test.