Drinking Iced Coffee in the Winter

I live in New England, and there are few things a New Englander likes better than drinking iced coffee. In all seasons. Even in the dead of winter. (The only possible change in winter is the addition of an insulating Styrofoam cup, but that’s strictly optional.)

I once saw someone drinking iced coffee while walking in downtown Boston when the temperature with the windchill was easily -10F. And then I saw a few more people doing the same thing. (To silence the skeptics, the Boston Globe ran an entire story on this phenomenon, complete with lots of photographic evidence.)

I relate this story not to impress (or shock) you with the culinary customs of New Englanders, but to point out that coffee shops willingly serve us this iced coffee, even in the dead of winter.

One large chain even did some customer research on iced coffee drinking back in 2012. Here’s some of what they found:

Iced coffee drinking is hot and getting hotter. 

An overwhelming majority (84%) of those we asked said that they will be drinking more iced coffee this winter than they did last, and 86% said they were drinking more this winter than they did three winters ago.

Can iced coffee give your career a boost? 

77% of those we asked feel that iced coffee bolsters their productivity at work.  And, nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents believe that drinking iced coffee gives them a mental edge over their colleagues.

It’s hip to be cold.

Iced coffee can keep you feeling cooler in ways beyond just refreshment. More than half of respondents (55%) reported looking cooler and feeling trendier while holding a cup of iced coffee.

They could have presupposed that no one would want to drink iced coffee in the winter and stuck to serving hot coffee. But instead they listened to their customers and not only serve iced coffee in the winter, but even advertise iced coffee right alongside the hot coffee. As a representative of the chain mentioned above notes, “Our research team has found that consumers view iced coffee as a beverage that is refreshing and delicious, and people are looking for that refresher throughout the year, not just summer months.”

When you think about your business, do you have “iced coffee” blind spots? Are you making some costly assumptions about what your customers are likely to buy — and spend?

Try this: Next time you talk to your customers, have one “crazy” idea in your back pocket and ask them what they think. They might just surprise you.

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