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The Cult of Year-Round Iced Coffee Drinkers: an Exposé

It’s time to give a platform to this small population

04.24.17
Iced Coffee April 2017 Man Repeller1

When we hired Matt, our first male employee at Man Repeller, we joked about how it would feel for him to be surrounded by women all day, every day. What we didn’t predict is that another defining trait would ultimately alienate him from the group and force him to defend his kind.

He’s a year-round iced-coffee drinker.

I find this problematic. When the sun poked through the clouds for the first time this spring and warmed my bare shoulders, I felt reborn. The first time I ordered an iced coffee, shortly thereafter (and in lieu of a hot one), a jolt of unadulterated joy shook my cerebral cortex. Sipping coffee through a straw tasted like summer and happiness. In the fall, switching to hot signals coziness.

It only recently came to my attention that not everyone partakes in this perfect, biannual transition. Year-round iced-coffee drinkers are a strange breed, one that has existed quietly among us for years. Ever since I found out Matt was one of them, I’ve side-eyed him every morning. The problem is, I love Matt and want to be around him. I knew the only way to abate this conflict between us was to address it head on.

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Clearly Matt is passionate about his YRICD identity. I had a feeling he just needed a platform.

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This was eye-opening. Matt thinks that drinking iced coffee year-round is a privilege he has to check. I found this to be both hilarious and ludicrous and pressed him further. Eventually, I got to the heart of the matter:

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Matt’s choice boils down to efficiency. He wants to mainline caffeine as quickly as possible. His addiction is stronger than his desire to remain in emotional rhythm with the seasons. Interesting. I was eager to see if such pragmatism was common to this subset of coffee consumers, so I tapped my network to find others.

This is Jake. He’s a stranger. Jake’s focus is less on efficiency, more on refreshment — a concept I clearly find troubling:

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Did anyone catch that? “Coziness is curling up on a couch…during a snowstorm with an ice cold coffee.” True or false: Jake is a friendly snake alien posing as a human.

Meet Grant. He is also stranger to me, but that didn’t stop me from attacking him via iMessage about his YRICD. Grant started off with the same snake-ish song and dance as Jake, which is that he thinks iced coffee is refreshing 365. Then came this justification:

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Grant sounds like a logical sort, doesn’t he? Consider this follow-up sentiment: “The biggest comment I get from people in general is like, ‘How can you enjoy that in this weather?’ Am I standing outside in the arctic tundra enjoying my coffee? No. I am in the same climate-controlled office year-round. The office temperature never changes, so why should my coffee?”

Man Repeller photography intern Louisiana — who revealed her true nature as a YRICD when this conversation came to light — doubled down on this reasoning:

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I understand this intellectually, but just can’t get there emotionally. It’s like wearing a sundress in December and saying it’s okay because the heat is on. Holiday cheer is a warm-and-fuzzy state of mind, yes, but it’s largely supported by behaviors like wearing sweaters and hugging mugs with your hands.

I needed more.

Meet Ellie. She’s been drinking iced coffee exclusively since high school. When I asked her why, she ventured into an entirely different territory…

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Iced coffee as an aesthetic is actually my favorite reason so far. It’s like the chilly counterpart to the XXL Starbucks cup of an aughts Olsen twin.

I sought out additional perspectives from Instagram, posting a story asking those who identify as YRICD to DM me immediately and expecting a few to trickle in over the day. Instead, I had 30 messages in less than an hour, which threw me for a damn loop. Overwhelmed and upset, I deleted the story immediately so as to slow the onslaught. This population is without a doubt underrepresented in the media. I had short conversations with as many as I could get to, and they confirmed the reasoning of my original five subjects:

  1. It’s refreshing.
  2. You can drink it quickly.
  3. It tastes better, so why wait?

I must admit they have somethinof a point. When I set out to write this story this morning, my coffee sat idle by my side, undrinkably hot. (It’s chilly today.) Having skipped caffeine yesterday, a headache was brewing and waiting to drink it suddenly felt like a niche form of punishment. Have they brainwashed me or am I just in a summer state of mind? I pray for the latter, but I suppose we’ll only really know come fall.

Are you a year-round iced-coffee drinker or do you find such a practice as unsettling as I do?

Photo by Edith Young.

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  • Adrianna

    The main reason I opt for iced coffee is that it’s less likely to upset my stomach. Hot coffee will frequently be over-brewed

  • Zoe

    I’m not a YRICD–I just go by my own weird internal gauge. If I want to relax, hot. If want to get fired up, iced. Regardless of outdoor temperature.

  • OK so I live in the Midwest now but spent the first 25 years of my life in south Florida, where the weather permitted me to drink iced coffee year round. Hot coffee was reserved for days when the office was particularly chilly. The past four years of my life have been really confusing because I still instinctively order iced coffee year round and then am like OH NO WAIT IT IS 10 DEGREES OUTSIDE. I’m definitely starting to adapt to the hot coffee in winter / iced coffee in summer trend.

  • Molly

    My fiancé is the opposite of this and drinks hot coffee year-round, which I find equally weird. We could be at a farmer’s market in July and he’ll get a hot coffee — and we live in Florida! He says he just doesn’t like iced coffee, that it’s not the same drink.

    • Catherine Bohner

      I’m with him! Iced coffee just isn’t satisfying.

    • Hannak

      Same here! Hot lattes all year round and loving it.

      I actually never had an iced coffee… Feel like I need to try it though. For research.

  • Helen

    Ellie’s reason for being a YRICD is the exact reason I am not. It makes me feel like Nicole Richie circa 2005

  • YRICD here! 🙋🏻 I drink it even when it’s 3 degrees out (which is totally fine if you’re wearing gloves). Here’s why I’m addicted tho: hot coffee doesn’t give me the same jolt/burst of energy that iced coffee does. I know it’s psychological because it’s not like it has more caffeine than hot coffee (actually I read somewhere that hot coffee has more bc it hasn’t been watered down). Maybe it has to do with ice, but that first sip of iced coffee in the morning is heaven and immediately wakes me up. Hot coffee doesn’t come close to that. Also iced coffee just tastes better. And YES it’s also more aesthetically pleasing. The sound of ice rattling around in my cup makes me feel cozy af.

  • Bee

    Omg, this is me! I didn’t realize there was a cult of others. I was just telling my friend this weekend that I only drink iced coffee/chai even when it’s freezing out. For some reason, hot drinks get me overheated no matter what.

  • snakehissken

    I’m such a seasonal eater that I don’t touch ice cream all winter so I don’t understand this at all

    • pamb

      I eat ice cream at home in the winter, wrapped in a blanket on my couch. I won’t go out to eat it, but it’s still cozy at home!

    • Melissa

      Ice cream in the winter is actually the best. Don’t ask why. It just tastes better.

      • Jade

        I love ice cream in the winter.

  • Jenelle

    Also a YRICD! Always have been, always will be. However, I still love hot beverages – I have a hot green tea every morning (year round), and in the winter enjoy hot cocoa. But to me, coffee is just not as enjoyable hot as it is cold. Maybe it’s because I view tea as my morning habit and coffee is my treat during the day and it feels much more like a treat when it’s cold than when it’s hot. I also only drink iced almond matcha lattes – matcha is just disgusting to me hot but tastes delicious cold.

  • Millie Lammoreaux

    I live in Massachusetts and YRICD-ing is kind of just a way of life around here. Not for me, because nah, but it’s very very common. Also, large men who wear shorts all year, even in a blizzard. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • Elizabeth

      Born and raised in Mass, current Boston resident: YRICD is indeed a way of life (as is the white-guys-wearing-shorts-in-blizzards phenomenon). There are at least three joints in my neighborhood that unofficially only do iced. I think we view it more like a soda or energy drink than a coffee, especially at those iced-only places where they come in a zillion flavors.

      • nicolacash

        Another current Bostonian here ~ can confirm that since I moved to Boston, my year-round iced coffee habit has seemed way less out of the ordinary since I’m definitely not the only one with a cup in hand when I walk outside.

        • Jade

          I’m in Boston too. I drank Starbucks black iced coffee all winter, even while working at Macy’s during holiday shopping season.

    • ashley

      hahaha was coming down here to write about New England and the fact that YRICDing is just the natural resting state. how about sundresses with black tights and north faces? also a thing up here, albeit much more disturbing

    • Jade

      This. I just posted that in Boston many people drink iced coffee year round. Actually I started doing it after moving to Boston.

  • pamb

    Iced coffee only in the summertime. But it’s really a quad espresso over ice, because iced coffee just gets watered down with all that ice.

    But even more: soda from gas station convenience stores. 99 cents gets you 32 ounces, and I don’t care if I don’t finish it all. Some fountains even have flavor buttons (lemon, lime, cherry) if you want to add flavor. That’s my real summertime afternoon treat.

  • Andrea Raymer

    I am a YRICD. Sort of. I guess for me Iced coffee is more of a treat reserved for days when I want to reward myself or I desperately need the extra caffeine boost (too much caffeine makes me cry). When I want a cozy hot beverage I usually go for tea. However, neither is part of my daily morning routine (that spot is reserved for my daily bowl of cereal and skim milk).

    I also just hate the case of hot coffee.

  • ltshirt

    Discussion re: the aesthetic of YRICD-ing is incomplete without mention of the badass queen of YRICDs, Nancy Botwin! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/89facc600d460d193fb1e877a8c9ede80b824f6523f76aac67b22aa23bd1fc38.gif

    • miss that crazy lady.

    • NewSobriquet

      She was first thing I thought​ of when I read that.

  • dietcokehead

    OH WHAT DO YOU JUST ONLY DRINK YOUR WATER HOT IN THE WINTER? DO YOU BOIL A COCA-COLA ON THE STOVETOP? NO? Hot beverages are weird, man, don’t judge me.

  • Mon Valdés

    Well, I love coffee either hot or cold, and I’ve been doing my own cold brew lately and I’ve been enjoying it a lot!, but I live on the beach, and my grandma (who grew up in Cuba) always told me they used to drink hot coffee on the hottest days to regulate their internal temperature – and IT WORKS!

  • Matt Little

    Ellie you’re an inspiration and I would like to amend my answer to include an aspirational aesthetic. So heartened by the support and camaraderie <3

  • Zoë

    I’m a YRICD and I think the main reason is I’m too prideful to order my coffee at “kids temp” which is what it needs to be in order for me to drink it without burning myself. Also I drink it so much it’s like water to me at this point, and who wants to drink hot water?

    • Rheanonn Perez

      lol yasss team kids temp!!!

  • Rheanonn Perez

    i’m a YRICD & i like it black, too! it tastes stronger & better to me. i’ve always wanted one of those dumb graphic tees “i like my coffee cold & black like my heart”. i’ll settle for hot coffee at work bc that’s how it’s made & there’s no ice lol.

    i feel like ppl who drink hot coffee all year (YRHCD) are the weirdos!!! like, wyd, it’s 80 degrees & humid af!!!

    frheak.net

    • Jade

      I like it iced and black too!

  • Kristin

    Am I alone in YRHC– hot coffee all year except when hungover?

  • You perfectly captured how I feel about drinking my first iced coffee of the season! I also think Matt’s reasons as exactly the opposite of why I don’t drink IC all year round – I drink it way too fast. It’s so refreshing in the heat, and hard to not slurp. BUT! The ice takes up nearly half the volume of the cup so you should let him know he’s loosing out on some extra caffeine!

    http://www.shessobright.com

  • Wow I can’t express how much respect I have for this woman Ellie, haha. Iced coffee as a look. It’s so good.

  • wilma

    I’m definitely a YRICD! I was born that way. Everyone thinks it’s funny, because I live in Finland. I like iced coffee with soy or coconut milk and some sweetening (caramel/salted caramel/nougat). Iced coffee is a state of mind, I’m a summer girl!

  • Danni Surgnier

    YRICD. Unless I’m at a diner because diner mugs.

    • Alison Dick

      i’ve ordered iced coffee at a diner before and it’s never worth it

  • Basil

    I live in London. Iced coffee is realistically (if you’re going by drinking it when it’s hot) only feasible for about 4 days a year.
    I aspire to be a year round iced coffee drinker

  • Gina Fuchs

    I personally think the year round HOT coffee drinkers are more strange. (See: my dad). What are you doing?? hot coffee paired without the constant swallowing thick and sweaty hot summer air?? Blech. It’s so funky I don’t get it.

  • YT

    I agree 100% with this assessment of iced coffee! As someone who not only drinks it all year round, but walks to work with a cup of it, sometimes in the snow (I’m in DC), I can say unequviocally that there is no better drink on a hot day OR a cold day, than a refreshing iced coffee. thats what gloves are for, right?

  • Jessica Downing

    I’m a year-round iced tea drinker; plain, unsweetened iced black tea is my jam regardless of the weather!

  • Bernie

    As a barista, in the middle of winter when every person is ordering a hot beverage it’s a shining light when someone orders an iced coffee bc its so quick to make.

  • Jade

    Where I live (Boston) a lot of people drink iced coffee year round. I am one of them. I never thought it was unusual.
    I also eat frozen yogurt and popsicles year round.

  • Rahmination

    While in school, I was convinced that Winter was the best time to eat ice cream bars (vs a candy bar) when walking outdoors since it wouldn’t melt.

    • Hannak

      That is so interesting. I always wondered what the appeal of ice-cream is when it is already freezing outside (just have mousse! Chocolate! Anything!), and that is the first time I heard this. Fair enough I guess.

  • Maria Chiara Rizzi

    Italian MR fan here 🙂 funny discussion for me as in Italy we have Cappuccino which, when made properly, is served lukewarm. Seriously-that’s how it is supposed to be. So you can drink it straight away without burning your tongue of freezing your teeth. Perfect in summer and winter. But I noticed abroad even if you ask for cappuccino they will serve it boiling (whyyy?). Try it – new YRLCD addiction 😉

    • Kelly

      I’m from Melbourne, a place that takes its coffee very seriously, and if the coffee is good it shouldn’t be too hot to drink straight away. If it is scalding, your barista is no good.
      But like Maria, this is a latte or cappuccino, not a black drip style coffee.

  • jessica marie

    As a year round iced coffee drinker and someone who works in retail, it’s not just the deliciousness of iced coffee that makes me prefer it (black, no sweetener), but also a certain level of practicality. If I grab a hot coffee on the way to work and it’s a busy day, it might get cold and less delicious before I get the chance to drink it. An iced coffee has more longevity; even if the ice starts melting and waters it down a bit, it’s still good.

  • Charlsey

    It just tastes so much better! Hot coffee? How??? Why!!!!

  • Sydney Wagner

    Iced and black with one sugar, year-round, 24/7. I honestly love it on winter mornings when there’s a cold breeze on my face as the iced coffee packs a punch to my sleep-deprived soul. Everyone just gives me a horrified look any time I mention this.

  • Elif Nimet

    YEAR ROUND ICED BABY!

  • Grace B

    Kinda hooked on the Stumptown Roasters Coffee with Milk cartons…

  • Tanya

    My coffee preference depends on my mood and NEVER the weather. I will get hot even if it’s 95 out and I will get an iced even if it’s 50. Coffee is both an accessory and an act/ritual. It really is about how you are feeling that day, what you are wearing (style-wise), and what you are doing and sooo much less about the forecast. 7:30AM at home before work? Pour-over in a ceramic mug at your kitchen counter. About to read this week’s New Yorker on public transport? Iced Americano. Having a spring brunch with girlfriends at a new trendy spot? Cappuccino with your mimosa. Beginning of your work day after you checked your email? Hot black coffee from the office kitchen. Wearing all black and large sunglasses? Triple latte in a to-go cup. Shopping day by yourself? Nitro cold brew. Splash of almond milk if you are feeling less aggressive. [Disclaimer: I am from California, but still….! We have “cold” days/like feeling “cozy”]

  • Zoe

    I drink iced coffee year round and I always ask for extra ice. 🤷‍♀️💁

  • Joilyn Jackson

    I am a proud year round HOT coffee drinker!

  • Zel

    I thought I was alone in this world, but now I know my YRICD snake alien people exist out there.

  • Kelsey Georgesen

    My closest friend drinks hot coffee year round! She won’t buy hot coffee even on 90 degree, 80 percent humidity July days!!! As a YRICD, I am appalled. I hate drinking hot beverages in hot weather.

    thewonderof.co

  • nicole klatchko

    I am a firm believer that those who remain to drink their coffee’s with such a high temperature that it is nearly obnoxious will soon go extinct.

  • Lea Bolante

    I’m a proud YRICD! It’s refreshing, yet it gives me a jolt of energy and focus~~~

  • Faz

    I adore this article. As a Brit, hot coffee is still more of a thing than iced coffee. I’m much more partial to Cold Brew rather than Iced Coffee, but Flat White is and always will be bae.
    Bisous, Faz
    http://www.livinglikeaparisienne.com

  • Lola

    i’m obsessed with iced coffee, and my reasoning is more that i simply hate hot drinks of all kinds virtually, i even will normally try to put ice in my hot chocolate. I think that for some people it’s an internal temperature thing and I am severely warm blooded and forged this practice living in a place where winter is like 70 degrees! So for me drinking hot coffee just feels like torture, even if it’s in the winter, i would rather warm my external body with like a space heater or something and save my tongue for sucking back that sweet sweet iced coffee. it tastes better fools, get some gloves and make the change!

  • christihaha

    There are dozens of us!

    I’m hot natured AND live in Texas so iced coffee just makes sense. I don’t want my coffee to make me sweat.

  • PCE

    Year round!!!! People look at me like I’m out of my mind but I don’t care, it tastes fantastic.

  • As an YRICD I can say that getting that confused look from baristas when giving in your ice latte order while it’s freezing outside is … kind of satisfactory

  • Proud YRICD in a New England climate. For the instant gratification, the taste (it’s better, yeah? at least at Starbucks?), and also, yes, the look of it all.

  • Emily A. Blasik

    I’ve just recently become an iced-coffee drinker, and I have to say, it trumps hot coffee any day. But then again, I live in Texas. So snowy winters aren’t really a thing here.

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