Rooftop Iced Coffee

One man attempts to debunk the myth that a Northeast winter day can't instantly freeze a hot cup of coffee


I heard something on the radio the other day during the hysteria surrounding the frigid snap that recently gripped the northeast. A man was telling the story of how he was working in single digit weather and bought a hot cup of coffee. He had to place the coffee down and go off to handle a chore. He was gone just a few minutes, but when he had returned to his coffee, it had turned to ice.

Now I know it’s been cold out there, but, really, a hot cup of coffee instantly turning to ice? It made me think of the polar opposite; when the temperatures hit three (Fahrenheit) digits and the tall tales about frying eggs on the sidewalk begin to circulate.  The last time that happened, in the summer of 2011, I thought I would test the theory. I dropped an egg on the sweltering rooftop where I live to see how quickly it would fry. The result of that experiment was documented here on Fried Neckbones…and Some Home Fries with the post: Rooftop Fried Eggs.

Since I tried the fried egg theory here, I thought I could do the same with coffee. I started, of course, with a hot cup of coffee.

I checked the temperature.

Granted, New York  was not in the single digits. I would take the balmy 12 degrees into account.

I brought the hot coffee up to the roof and then got out of the cold.

After a half hour I checked on it. The coffee wasn’t frozen. In fact, it was actually lukewarm.

I returned in an hour. The coffee was very cold now, but still no ice.

After one more hour, I returned to the roof. And what did I find?


Iced coffee.

And really, what’s more refreshing than a cup of black iced coffee on a 12 degree day?

So what did we learn from this little exercise? That hot coffee freezes in twelve degree weather in roughly two to three hours? Or more importantly, that the author of this experiment has much too much time on his hands?

Brian Silverman chronicles cheap eats, congee, cachapas, cow foot, cow brains, bizarre foods, baccala, bad verse, fazool, fish stomach, happy hours, hot peppers, hot pots, pupusas, pastas, rum punch and rotis, among many other things on his site Fried Neck Bones...and Some Home Fries. Twitter: neckbones@fried_neckbones.


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