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

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

04.24.17
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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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