For some New Englanders, ‘iced coffee is a way of life’ — even in the dead of winter

An iced coffee person in the Back Bay on Tuesday.
Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff
An iced coffee person in the Back Bay on Tuesday.

Anne Jarek will drink iced coffee in the coldest New England weather until the day she departs the earth. Even then, she says, you might have a hard time taking it from her.

“You can pry my iced coffee from my cold, dead hands,” the Charlestown resident said in an e-mail to the Globe. “Iced coffee is a way of life. End of story.”

It turns out Jarek isn’t alone — by a long shot — when it comes to ordering up an iced coffee from her local barista, even when temperatures plummet toward single digits with the wind chill.


Warnings from weather forecasters about the dangers of frostbite and hypothermia overnight Wednesday into Thursday be damned: It’s not enough to stop diehard locals from braving the brisk air to grab a drink typically sipped on a hot day under the summer sun.

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An unscientific Globe survey on Twitter found plenty of people proud of being such intense New Englanders that they’re still drinking iced coffee during this cold snap. By mid-afternoon Wednesday, 66 percent of the approximately 700 respondents said they opt for chilled beverages over the alternative.

“Wait, there’s a hot version of coffee?” one person quipped in response to the survey.

People walking the bitterly cold streets of the city seemed to fall in line with that sentiment Wednesday morning. At a Dunkin’ Donuts near Faneuil Hall, customers bundled up in scarves and thick winter coats and gloves lined up to get — yes — their iced coffee, before stepping back outside onto the icy sidewalks.

For Alex Daluz, 29, purchasing a hot coffee is a rarity, an event that only takes place about three times each year. Every other day, it’s coffee, chilled — be it rain, shine, or snow.


“I don't care how cold it is, I’m just going to get it. No matter what the weather, I get an iced coffee,” he said, as he carried a tray holding his iced coffee placed in a hot cup, to keep his hands warm, and a second piping hot coffee for a friend.

“It’s second nature in a way. You get an iced coffee because you get it every day,” he added.

Sitting at a window seat in the same shop, Dennis Rama clutched an iced coffee (also in a hot cup) as he scanned a tablet.

“It looks stupid, but I don’t know,” the 26-year-old New Hampshire resident said, contemplating his choice of drink. “I don't have to wait for it to cool down. It’s already cool.”

At a Starbucks nearby, Josh Belko, 32, stood by the sugar-and-milk table and mixed in some ingredients to his grande iced coffee.


Asked why he preferred iced coffee during the winter to hotter drinks, he said it cools him down while in the office. It might be chilly outside, but the same can’t always be said for the indoors.

“I’m a big guy. I get hot easily,” he said. “And in the winter, it’s even hotter inside, so having a hot drink with the forced hot air gets pretty hot. It’s mainly because of the heat factor — I like to be cool.”

Belko said he doesn’t necessarily get odd looks or stares — after all, he seems to be in the majority on this particular issue — but people will sometimes say, “What the heck? Why do you get an iced coffee?”

His response is always the same: “It’s what I do.”

Ever Morales, a barista at George Howell Coffee in the Boston Public Market, said there is always a steady stream of customers who ask for cold coffee during the winter. This week was no different. He said from half to three-quarters of the people he served Wednesday had requested beverages like cold brew, iced coffee, and even iced lattes.

“It’s just a regular day,” he said.

At least for some hearty New Englanders.

Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear. Globe correspondent Jeremy C. Fox contributed to this report.