Operators cater to winter iced-coffee cravings


More Americans are drinking iced coffee this winter, according to a survey conducted by Dunkin’ Donuts, and restaurateurs are looking to accommodate them by offering a variety of cold, caffeinated drinks.

Dunkin’ Donuts found that 84 percent of iced coffee fans say they’re drinking more of the beverage this winter than last winter. The iced coffee craving comes most often between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when 41 percent of survey respondents said they drink it, the survey found. The next most popular period is 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., at 37 percent.

Sixty-four percent of the respondents said drinking iced coffee gave them a mental edge over their work colleagues, and 77 percent said it made them feel more productive at work.

Dunkin’ Donuts contracted public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller to conduct the online poll, which surveyed 500 people ages 18 to 49, which is representative of the U.S. population who drink coffee. It was conducted between Dec. 27, 2011, and Jan. 3, 2012.

The vast majority of iced coffee drinkers — 90 percent — drink it with some kind of flavoring, the most popular being French vanilla, at 30 percent, followed by mocha, 27 percent, and caramel, 21 percent.

Fifty-five percent of the respondents said they feel cooler and trendier when holding iced coffee. That response skewed higher — 60 percent — among people ages 18 to 24.

Restaurants across the country have acknowledged their customers’ growing penchant for cold coffee drinks and have responded accordingly.

Federal Donuts, an independent shop in Philadelphia, cold-brews its iced coffee in Japanese brew towers calibrated to extract the right amount of flavor from the beans.

“Nothing goes better with a fresh doughnut than a full-flavored cup of coffee,” co-owner Thomas Henneman said. “We created this smooth, round blend by working with a talented roaster and tasting it alongside our doughnuts to be sure it was perfect.”

Iced coffee goes with Mexican food, too, according to Michael Kamio, founder of Anna’s Taqueria, a six-unit chain based in Boston. Anna’s offers an iced Mexican coffee — a strong brew topped with whipped cream and cinnamon.

Uncle Julio’s Fine Mexican Food, which has 16 units in Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Boca Raton, Fla., and Washington, D.C., has created a line of after-dinner iced coffee cocktails prepared with a tequila-based liqueur. Selections range from a spiked Mudslide containing tequila liqueur, cream liqueur, chocolate and whipped cream, to a Raspberry Truffle with raspberry and coffee liqueurs, chocolate and a mint sprig.

Numero 28, a small pizza chain in New York, serves iced cappuccinos at all of its locations, but at its fourth restaurant, slated to open in a few weeks, it will have a full liquor license and will offer the Italian Iceberg — chilled espresso, Sambuca, coffee beans, a touch of half and half, and chocolate shavings, served over ice.

Bookstore Bar at the Alexis Hotel in Seattle also offers a coffee-based cocktail, containing equal amounts of espresso, coffee liqueur, peppermint schnapps, and half and half. The cocktail is shaken and served over ice with an espresso bean garnish.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the correct unit for Anna's Taqueria.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com.
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