Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 9, 2016

Roll Call After Dark Quaff of the Week: Iced Coffee Challenge

(Chris Hondros/Getty Images News)

(Chris Hondros/Getty Images File Photo)

In each of our caffeinated hearts, there is a special place for iced coffee.

Arguably more refreshing than a beer, cheaper than wine, fewer calories than a lemonade, and more caffeine than iced tea: Iced coffee might be the perfect summer beverage.

But not all iced coffees are created equal. So Roll Call After Dark has taken up the challenge to do a quick comparison.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but the start of what we hope is a productive, August-long conversation.

First up: Iced Americanos.

The advantage of iced americanos is that it guarantees a fresh shot of espresso, over ice, with space for sugar and cream if desired. (Note to decaf drinkers: any coffee place that claims they don’t have cold brew or pour over available can often manage a shot of decaf espresso. Add some ice and water, and voila: iced coffee.)

Starbucks: Iced americano, $2.75 for 16 ounces. Starbucks is the go-to for most espresso drinks, though lines can be long and the rewards program, while once being a shining example of customer loyalty services, is now one free drink for every 12 orders. Starbucks does give you a free drink — any size, any price — on your birthday. And if you’re lucky, the barista may even deliver it with a smile.

Pret A Manger: Iced americano, $1.99 for 16 ounces. Pret is the go-to if you want quick service and a smile with your iced coffee. The meticulously stocked coffee bar includes soy milk at no extra charge. Ask for a coffee card and after eight coffee orders, the ninth one is gratis.

Cafe Phillips: Iced americano, $3.29 for 24 ounces. Phillips may be the choice of those confined to office buildings, but sometimes even the scowl and overpriced coffee isn’t worth it. They have earned some customer loyalty with the frozen coffee iced cubes, but even that isn’t worth the extra cost, as a regular americano is 60 cents less. Buy 10 coffees and the 11th is free.

Have a suggestion for a coffee place Roll Call should try? Let us know on Twitter @beckgale.

  • Aleksandra Sandstrom

    Dunkin Donuts has fantastic iced coffee and it’s super cheap.

    Cafe Phillips loses major points because it doesn’t have simple syrup — an absolute must for those who love sugared coffee. I love coffee ice cubes, but at work, I feel like most people drink coffee fast enough to offset any melting of plain water cubes.

    Peet’s has a solid iced coffee and good milk choices/simple syrup.

    • Rebecca Gale

      We will definitely feature Dunkin in an upcoming post soon!

  • Sachchit

    Lum Lum’s in the Library of Congress tunnel between the Madison & Jefferson buildings makes some incredibly strong but well balanced iced coffee – simply espresso over ice. Their regular house coffee is also, in my opinion, very good.

    The iced variety is quite a bit stronger than Starbucks (at least the one in the Library’s Café), and the Dunkin’ Donuts version is like iced tea in comparison.

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