Iced Coffee vs. Hot Coffee: October’s Most Agonizing Decision

hot coffee vs cold coffee graphic

Of all the months in the year, October is one of the most acute limbos of coffee temperature decision-making. The period between opening your eyes in the morning and standing at the counter of a cafe or bodega is a rollercoaster of physical and emotional embattlement, so easily swinging from one direction to the opposite: iced or hot? ICED OR HOT. You could go either way, and that’s precisely the problem. Below, a time-stamped account.

7:30 a.m. You’re lying in bed under a marshmallow-y duvet, having just extricated yourself from the similarly comfortable womb that is REM sleep. You itch the mosquito bite on your left forearm and curl your toes back and forth and yawn. You repeat these primitive actions a few more times until your cognitive abilities ooze forth like a snail from its shell, just far enough to croak out a single thought: coffee.

7:40 a.m. Your brain is now cooking with enough gas to transition from knowing that coffee is the solution to your throbbing fatigue to fantasizing about what the experience of drinking it will be like. Still under your warm duvet, you picture a frosty glass of caramel-colored espresso swirling with creamy whole milk and a handful of floating iced cubes. Your scalp tingles and the tips of your fingers feel cold with anticipation.

7:50 a.m. TOO COLD. TOO. COLD. You’ve just emerged from under your blanket and your bare legs are covered in goose bumps thanks to the brisk October breeze wafting in through the window you left open last night so you could slumber as al fresco as possible in a fourth-floor New York walk-up. The idea of drinking iced coffee is rendered instantly, hilariously unthinkable. You chortle at your prior delusion. It’s the middle of October, for pumpkin spice’s sake.

8:15 a.m. But it’s kind of warm out for October, huh, you ponder internally as you step out of your building. You’re wearing a wool crewneck sweater under a trench coat which seemed like a great idea when you were getting dressed (chic!), and now seems functionally compromised by the 30-minute walk to work that lies ahead. Maybe today will be an iced coffee day after all. The last iced coffee of the season!, you conclude jubilantly, unbuttoning your trench for proper air flow.

8:20 a.m. Hmm. Not as temperate as you thought. Kind of cold in the shade actually. You re-button your coat. Hot coffee sounds perfect.

8:35 a.m. Not to be dramatic, but you are BOILING UP. And no wonder–given that you’re walking to work at a fast clip in 66-degree weather while wearing a wool crewneck sweater and a trench coat. You pause to wind up your hair in a bun so the back of your neck can cease to suffocate. You are damp with a fine layer of sweat from head to toes, which happen to be ensconced in leather loafers sans socks. Nightmare. You can’t wait to slurp down an iced coffee and restore your body to its normal temperature.

8:45 a.m. You stumble into your favorite coffee shop, which isn’t air-conditioned because it’s the middle of October and only 66 degrees outside, and resist the urge to fan your face with your hands while you order a large iced latte. Your eyes widen like a cartoon character’s when you have the cup in your grasp and you lower your head to take the inaugural sip—the sip you started imagining right when you woke up. You shiver a little bit as the liquid hurdles down your throat. You are reborn anew.

9:00 a.m. You’re sitting in your office, halfway finished with your caffeinated beverage, when you notice you haven’t stopped shivering. Your hands are faintly purple-ish. Each time you pick up your iced latte, they turn from purple-ish to white. Your eyes narrow in on the thermostat, which you realize with horror is set to auto-cool. “Is it just me, or does it feel like Antarctica in here?” you ask your coworkers. They shrug, holding mugs of hot, steamy coffee with infuriating nonchalance. “Maybe because you’re drinking iced coffee in October?”

Tomorrow will be different, you whisper, gripping the sides of your desk with determination. Tomorrow I’ll choose right. 

Graphics by Coco Lashar. 

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

More from Archive