Iced coffee: a beverage for all seasons

When the weather starts to chill, more and more Americans chill out with iced coffee1. In the last few years, U.S. consumers have been ordering more and more of the cold-served beverage at restaurants and coffee houses. According to market research firm Mintel, one in five Americans drink iced coffee, with young adults aged 18 to 24 the heaviest consumers2. Mintel data also shows that iced coffee’s share of all coffee on menus at U.S. restaurants and coffee houses increased from 19 percent to 22 percent between 2009 and 2012. And in the first quarter of 2013, its share jumped to 24 percent, indicating that consumers’ interest in iced coffee goes well beyond summertime.

To meet consumers’ new cold-weather beverage demands, restaurants are brewing up a host of iced, caffeinated drinks ideal with meals, as snacks or as dessert beverages. Many operators are brewing traditional iced coffee and then adding flavored syrup in seasonal varieties such as gingerbread and peppermint. In addition, some are creating crave-able iced caffeinated cocktails, mixing everything from brandy and licorice liquor to tequila and rum with coffee or espresso, syrup and cream and then pouring it all over ice. A few select operators are using Japanese brew towers and other slow brew systems to extract the most flavor from every bean in their iced coffee. Whatever the concoction, operators are finding iced coffee easy to make, highly profitable and servable winter, spring, summer or fall. So, go ahead. Brew up a few cold ones and give your customers more reasons to chill at your place all year-round.


1Source: Burson-Marsteller (For Dunkin Donuts) survey, January 2012

2“Some like it…cold? Sales of iced coffee, tea” by Sarah M. Kennedy for Dairy Foods, 10/15/2013