Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hot or iced coffee? How readers decide

Posted By on Tue, May 13, 2014 at 11:04 AM

It’s that time of year when summer starts making its way through the chilly spring wind, which reminded us of a serious question for coffee drinkers: How do you decide between hot and iced?

Readers on Facebook responded in force, some with complicated systems or reasons for choosing one or the other. But first, a breakdown of all responses:

For quite a few traditionalists, it’s no decision at all: Hot is the only way to go. Iced coffee has its loyal defenders, too, though not quite so many of them. But the people who will go for both have to choose in some way, and some reported weighing a number of different factors, from the time of day to what they’re planning to do later. Others just go by instinct. Here, simplified for tallying purposes, are the most common deciding factors:

Weather was a dominant one, unsurprisingly, and one that could use further investigation. Everyone agreed that cold weather means hot coffee and hot weather means iced coffee, but those who mentioned a specific temperature drew the line all over the place — 40 degrees, 50 degrees, 90 degrees, “freezing my ass off.” A variation on this was personal temperature — whether you’re feeling hot or cold — as well as special rules for buildings with their air conditioning turned way up.

Other reasons were less frequently cited, but still interesting. Choosing by season seemed distinct from weather, in that some people associate summer with iced coffee and winter with hot coffee regardless of the weather on a particular day. Making the switch is almost like turning a calendar page.

Time of day came up a lot in some of the more complicated equations, with noon as the most popular dividing line between hot coffee early in the day and iced coffee later on. Others cited location or activities, like hot coffee for a morning at home or eating at a diner, and iced coffee for running around doing errands.

A few people actively shot down the notion of deciding based on weather, saying they just know what they’re in the mood for. If you’re the opposite of those people and hold up the coffee line trying to decide, you may want to check out the newly launched Is It Iced Coffee Weather? website and app, which gives you a suggestions based on the weather forecast. Right now, for downtown Spokane, it says yes.

We’ve previously tallied responses about leftover pizza and favorite condiment with fries from Zip’s. Got ideas for other questions? Send them to me at [email protected].

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Lisa Waananen

Lisa Waananen is the web editor and a staff writer at the Inlander. She specializes in data and graphics, and her recent cover stories have been about family history, the legacy of Spokane photographer Charles A. Libby and genetically modified food...