Food  |  News

It’s Freezing, But DC’s Freaks of Nature Are Still Drinking Iced Coffee

Here's to hoping your lips don't freeze on that cold brew.
Photograph via iStock.

It’s a balmy 19 degrees in Washington, and your correspondents are writing to you stiff-limbed and waddling from 15 layers of thermal wear.

Commutes this morning were filled with balaclavas, down coats, and scarves galore, but one outlier managed to squeeze its way in: Was that…iced coffee?

Even though coffee shops have been unusually slow this morning due to the cold, says Lawrence Hailes of Pleasant Pops, he still sold about five iced lattes or cold brews to the 40-ish customers that came in. This is a normal occurrence, says the barista, even though his personal ideologies don’t align with such behavior.

“I do think it’s weird,” he says. “Especially when they go outside with it. Everyone mostly took them to-go.”

In a different camp is barista Carlos Fernandez of the Wydown. He sold about seven-to-ten iced drinks out of around 150 transactions, all mostly iced lattes or cold brews. But, unlike most of his fellow warm-blooded creatures, he gets the appeal.

“I love to drink iced drinks even if it’s cold. It’s like eating ice cream after dinner—it’s a treat.”

And, if a cold drink is your go-to order, it’s pretty hard to trade it in for anything else, says Abie Siegel of the Philz Coffee on Connecticut Avenue. “People stare at the menu for a really long time and then say, ‘I can’t order anything else,'” she says. Out of about the 238 cups the store has sold today, 12 have been iced mochas, seven cold Mint Mojito coffee drinks, and two cold Gingersnap coffees. “People still love that Mint Mojito,” even in freezing temperatures, says Siegel. “It’s trademarked.”

While folks at Tryst typically order warm drinks on cold mornings and hot toddies on cold weekends, says barista TJ Buonomo, the spot has sold a few cold drinks this morning, too. He has a scientific perspective on the bizarre anomaly: “Maybe they counterintuitively, uh, cool their internal temperature so the contrast isn’t as large,” he says.

That’s one approach. Or you could, just, you know…drink something warm.

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Assistant Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She previously was the editorial assistant at Walter Magazine in Raleigh, North Carolina, and freelanced for PoPVille and DCist. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Adams Morgan.

Will Peischel
Editorial Fellow