Like many of the newly employed-ish, I am always searching for ways save a little cash. I have expanded my definition of the acceptably soft avocado, abstained from fancy imports such as Olde English, and I make my own coffee as often as my days allow. However, on torpid summer nights, I usually lack the foresight and/or sobriety to brew a pot and refrigerate it. As such, I am generally willing to drop a couple of bucks on a large iced coffee to make an inexplicable 15 minute wait for an L that much more pleasurable.
But I mean a few dollars. When the L Stop Cafe opened last Saturday at 490 Metropolitan, I had hopes that anyone heading to Lorimer from the west would have an efficient, affordable alternative to Sunac, and their occasionally hot-to-the-touch iced offerings and limited counter space. But at $4, L Stop’s large iced is 60 percent more expensive than that at Sunac, Atlas, and almost any other shop nearby, where the going rate is $2.50. Even at Oslo, Grumpy, and your other ethos-included joe slingers, you’re talking $2.75 or so. (Smaller maximum size, perhaps, but a darn sight better.) At the chains, you’ll pay up to $3.03 at Starbucks, $2.65 at Cafe Europa, and about $3 for a large at Dunkin’ which, I believe, is roughly equal in volume to your recommended daily intake of oxygen. In fact, the only other place I’ve ever seen a $4 iced is Espresso 77 in Jackson Heights. As the lone upmarket coffee shop in that ‘hood, I was willing to chalk that up to supply and demand, but the L Stop, with plenty of competition nearby, has no such excuse. So is this the way the world is headed? Seems like only yesterday, before Neapolitan pies, people ate slices of pizza and the ever-rising cost of those had the city all worked up, talking inflation this, income disparity that. Is our ritualized, warm-weather caffeine boost any less important? Why get mad when our newly-arrived street urchins ask for our change if we’re willing to throw it away on such grossly overpriced refreshments? And does anyone have any other examples of the $4 and up large brewed iced from around town to add to my nascent blacklist?
(Bonus: If someone can explain to me how the refrigerator space and ice require the huge markup on iced coffee to begin with, I’ll buy you one myself. The $2.50 kind, that is.)