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I just paid $4.25 for an iced coffee - what the...?

Okay, so the quality of coffee has recently risen in NYC. Certainly. With the emergence of Stumptown, Blue Bottle, etc., we have finally become a reputable coffee town. The prices, however, are out of control.

I'm a big fan of iced coffee in the summer and I'm lovin' the cold brewed stuff. Birch Coffee and Think Coffee being my two recent faves. But today I ordered an iced coffee at Grumpy. It cost 4.25! I mean come on, I'm happy to pay 2.75, 3 bucks, maybe even a quarter or so more (I do understand the labor involved with making iced coffee well), but 4.25? Jesus!

Costa Rican bean. Great. Brewed in a clover. Nice. That'll be 4.25 please. Um...no!

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Think Coffee
1 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012

Stumptown
18 W 29th Street, New York, NY 10001

Birch Coffee
5 E 27 St, New York, NY 10010

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  1. I agree completely, even as I've set my top at, oh, $2.25. There's always a price/value ratio, and I'm convinced iced coffee can never be worth $4.25--it serves a much more plebeian function. By the way, I'm wondering how iced coffee demands more labor overhead than hot coffee. But if folks are willing to pay, then they will be so charged. Count me out.

    1. A few years ago, one of the local newspapers questioned the ridiculous cost of iced coffee vs. hot coffee and did a breakdown, figuring in the cost of the ice, the electricity it took to produce the ice and that fancy clear plastic cup (why does it have to be in a clear cup?) they give you. I think they came up with about a 5 cent extra cost per cup and that was being generous.

      1. That kills me. I went out of my way to stop into Grumpy to try their iced coffee, and had to walk right out. I really like Grumpy now that they're roasting, so I'm sure it's good, but I think even $3 is steep.

        Also, unlike hot coffee, iced isn't brewed multiple times per day... I even question if some places brew it daily at all. The concentrate from a cold brew probably keeps a while at that, so they're essentially just diluted it to make a pitcher.

        I'm also finding more and more that leftovers in a french press with some ice can go a long way, and taste better than some notable coffee shops.

        13 Replies
        1. re: sugartoof

          >I'm also finding more and more that leftovers in a french press with some ice can go a long way, and taste better than some notable coffee shops.

          Rising prices finally persuaded me to start making it at home this summer, and I've been delighted with the result. I'm not cold-brewing; just putting paper-filter drip coffee in the fridge a day ahead (and an extra cup or so in an ice cube tray in the freezer, so I'll have coffee ice cubes on hand). Recently I've been using Gimme's French roast or Jampit beans, dark roasts that seem to do well on ice. And I'm always open to switching it up, if anyone has other suggestions.

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          Gimme! Coffee
          228 Mott St, New York, NY 10012

          1. re: squid kun

            The Jampit is also what I'm using right now, and the day old iced method is wonderful with it. On a good day, it compares to Stumptown's chocolate-y cold brew.

            I think I'm going to try their Piccolo Mondo next, but I have no idea how it will hold up iced. The funny part is Gimme's own iced is lousy.

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            Stumptown
            18 W 29th Street, New York, NY 10001

            1. re: sugartoof

              I'm enjoying that chocolate note, too. Wish I'd gotten into this habit years ago.

              Never had a cup of coffee at the shop. And now I'm not at all tempted.

              1. re: squid kun

                I like to try the coffee in the store, and taste it brewed properly, so I can decide which beans to buy.

                They feature 2 different roasts each day, and it's a good way to sample. Their hot coffee is $1.50 for a small. I find that their absurdist flavor descriptions are pretty accurate, but this way I can find one I'd enjoy drinking every day.

              2. re: sugartoof

                If you like a chocolately cold brewed iced coffee, try it at Saturdays Surf NYC, which opened recently in Soho. They use La Colombe beans I think.

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                La Colombe
                270 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                1. re: kathryn

                  Kathryn, I'll have to try that...it will be hard to give up on La Colombe's own iced coffee nearby, with the shot of espresso, though.

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                  La Colombe
                  270 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                  1. re: sugartoof

                    Hmmm...an A/B comparison is in order. Just bring a friend and multiple straws! They're only a few blocks away from one another...

                  2. re: kathryn

                    If you like La Colombe, b/w 3-6pm all coffee drinks (la Colombe is used) are half off. A large iced coffee is $1.23 after tax. Not to mention you can get lattes and cappuccinos half off as well.

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                    La Colombe
                    270 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                    1. re: bvanvoorhees

                      Witchcraft also has half priced coffee after 3:00 PM, $1. plus tax for hot, don't know what iced is though.

                      1. re: BluPlateSpec

                        Just saw that every coffee drink is half off from 3 to 6 PM.

                         
                      2. re: bvanvoorhees

                        Should be clarified, that this referenced 'Wichcraft's coffee happy hour.
                        If only La Colombe had a happy hour!

                        As noted in the duplicate comment before, it's a good deal, but iced coffee in the afternoon tends to have a strange after taste.

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                        La Colombe
                        270 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                2. re: sugartoof

                  My home cold brew process requires a LOT more grounds than hot coffee, and straining the grounds is kind of annoying, so I'm willing to pay a markup for that.

                  1. re: sugartoof

                    Good point about the French press stuff. I use the leftover which is usually a bit too strong and the ice cuts in nicely. Can't imagine how much $ I must be saving over a month or two!
                    JeremyEG
                    homecooklocavore.com

                  2. Coffee prices in general in NYC have been pretty high lately... but to pay more than $2.00 for a regular coffee (hot or iced) is getting a bit much.... maybe $2.50 for a really good, large cup, but even that is pushing it. I've been making my own at home lately and have been much happier with the quality--and price!

                    1. it's interesting, because even a drink i can't really replicate at home, a cappuccino, is jacked up here. Other major coffee towns have them for as low as $2.25, and seeing them at $2.50 isn't uncommon. That's unheard of here.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sugartoof

                        That's why I make it at home. Iced, espresso, whatever. Time to get real.