An Illinois woman is currently in the process of suing Starbucks for $5 million over a problem many coffee drinkers face: too much ice combined with too little coffee. Stacy Pincus claims that the company falsely advertises the sizes of its iced drinks, and she’s not alone in feeling ripped off for a cold beverage.
But according to Fast Company, there’s a reason customers are paying more money for sometimes less liquid. Companies likely have to make up for the fact that iced coffee supplies are more expensive, since they require plastic containers and an energy-consuming ice machine, says Lofted Coffee’s Aric Carroll.
There’s also the issue of how the coffee is made. While some shops will make a normal brew and then cool it down, a lot of places offer “cold brew” coffee, brewed without hot water. According to a Starbucks barista, cold brew requires that ground coffee beans be steeped for 12-24 hours, making them much more labor-intensive and space-consuming than an average cup of joe.
Regardless of the method, though, Carroll admits that there might not be a good answer for charging so much more. As long as people are willing to pay upwards of $6 per cup, the trend is likely to continue.
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