As much as the coming holiday season is famous for its traditional foods such as turkey, stuffing and candy canes, this time wouldn’t be as festive without its delicious drinks, namely the wide variety of coffee that begins to emerge in the last few months of the year.
Many coffee drinkers have strong opinions about which type of coffee is best, with most of the debate focusing around hot versus iced coffee.
Having grown up in a house of hot beverage drinkers, I appreciate the perspective of those who prefer hot coffee, and I’m perfectly happy cozying up with a warm cup of chai tea or a steaming pumpkin spice latte. However, my own experience has shown me that iced drinks, particularly iced coffee, are by far superior to any other beverage.
First of all, iced beverages are truly year-round drinks. It’s not something you’d think would be true, but it is.
Whenever I go to a café during the winter, I always notice a good portion of the customers drinking frappuccinos and chilled lattes regardless of the temperature outside.
On the other hand, it seems that hot beverages are “too hot” for the heat of summer. Besides those who only order a drip coffee no matter what café they are at, most people aren’t going to order a drink similar to the temperature outside in summer like they would in winter.
With this in mind, taste is clearly a serious factor. Why else would people drink freezing cold coffee in both the boiling heat of summer and the icy chill of winter?
For me, iced drinks also get their superiority from the artisanal skill required to make them.
Knowing I can make drip coffee at home, I am much less inclined to spend money on a marked-up beverage when the ingredients are sitting in my pantry. Every sip — however delicious — has me thinking of what spices I would have added were I back home.
With cold beverages, things are very different. I know that in no way, shape or form would I be able to construct a peppermint mocha at home; I don’t even have a blender.
For me, I like knowing that I’m getting a unique experience with my drinks. If I can make it at home, I am much less likely to spend $5 on it at a café. Iced coffee is something you can only really enjoy outside of your home, unless you can afford to pay for the blender and specialty ingredients.
Unfortunately, this advantage is a double-edged sword. Hot drinks are naturally easier to prepare than colder ones and are therefore much cheaper. If someone wants a caffeine rush without having to leave their house, then a drip coffee will be their best bet.
However, for those who simply want to enjoy good coffee — or a good drink, for that matter — think about all those who put up with shivering and shaking during the winter in order to taste a frappuccino again, or those who crave the acai flavor but can’t find the ingredients in their supermarkets.
At the end of the day, an iced drink will always taste better and be better made than a hot one.