FOX43 Finds Out: your coffee choice could be costing you

YORK, Pa — Iced or Hot?

Which ever way you prefer your coffee could be costing you a lot of extra cash.

Besides are you really getting the coffee you’re paying for at some chain shops?

FOX43 Finds Out puts two of the most popular coffee chains to the test to see which cup of joe gives you more bang for your buck.

When it comes to that morning caffeine boost, people can be pretty particular about their choice.

Whether you like it hot or iced, that cup of joe isn’t free.

FOX43 Finds Out put Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks to the test to see which offers the best deal and the most coffee.

We hit the drive through and ordered every option.

At most Dunkin’ Donuts locations, like this one on South Queen Street in York Township, you have 7 options for coffee between iced and hot varieties.

we bought them all.

Then grabbed a measuring cup and a strainer to make sure to get the ice out.

Here’s what we found in our test:

A small hot coffee is about 10 ounces
A small iced coffee is at 14 ounces.
Medium hot coffee – 15 ounces
A medium iced coffee is about 18 ounces.
A large hot coffee – 19 ounces.
Large iced coffee is about 24 ounces.
And the biggest size, an extra large hot coffee, is also about 24 inches.

It appears that your sizes don’t exactly match up meaning a small iced isn’t the same as a small hot.

Instead, it looks like your small iced and medium hot coffee give you about the same amount of liquid.

When it comes to cup sizes, those seem to match up too.

Now let’s look at price.

Here’s our receipt for this particular Dunkin’ location:

A small hot coffee is $1.79

Where a small iced coffee is 80 cents more, at $2.59.

Remember, the iced coffees give you more coffee here.

Let’s compare the small iced to the medium hot,  which have about the same amount of liquid.

That difference is about 40 cents with the iced being more expensive.

If you bought an iced coffee instead of a hot coffee every day for a year at dunkin, that’s an extra 146 bucks.

Now let’s head to Starbucks.

We drove thru the Starbucks on Springwood Road in York Township.

This store also offers 7 sizes, four iced coffees and 3 hot.

We put the starbucks coffees to the same test.

Here’s our  FOX43 Finds Out results:

A Tall Starbucks iced coffee is about 10 ounces.
The hot verison of that size is pretty close, a bit more than 10 ounces.
A Grande iced coffee is 12 ounces.
A Grande hot – is 16
Then a Venti iced coffee came in at 18 ounces.
The Venti hot is 20 ounces.
Then the largest size is a Trenta iced coffee, which measured 24 ounces.

The interesting thing here is thatStarbucks has measurements on it’s website as to which each coffee should be.

here are those numbers:

Tall [12 fl. oz.]

Grande [16 fl. oz.]

Venti® Hot [20 fl. oz.]

Venti® Cold [24 fl. oz.]

Trenta® Cold [31 fl. oz.].

You can see they don’t exactly match up.

In the case of the Trenta iced coffee you could be missing out on about 6 ounces.

When we asked Starbucks about the difference, this is the response we got from a company spokesperson: “The variance in liquid between hot and iced coffee is due to the ice in the beverage. Exact amount of liquid can also vary by customer request (e.g., room for cream, light/no ice, etc). As always, if a customer is not satisfied with their beverage preparation, we will gladly remake it.”

Let’s compare prices again.

Just like at Dunkin Donuts, the iced coffee at Starbucks is more expensive than a hot coffee.

However, the different between liquid in the hot and iced coffees is minimal.

The price difference between a tall iced and a tall hot is still about 50 cents.

Again, an extra $182.50 a year if you prefer iced over hot.

When we let some coffee drinkers in on these results – their feelings – like their coffee choices were – mixed.

“Because they’re putting ice in it it’s more expensive, but I don’t see why it’s more expensive just because your adding one extra little thing in it,” SAID Caylah Steiner of West York.

Bob Bowersf of York said, “It’s a specialty item. Iced coffee is a specialty. Hot coffee is just coffee. It’s been around for a zillion years. I would assume the lattes and all of those kinds of things would be a little more expensive.”

We also reached out to Dunkin’ Donuts with a few questions after our experiment, here’s what they had to say:

Why is iced coffee more expensive than hot coffee?
Iced Coffee is brewed differently than a regular hot cup of coffee. Dunkin` Donuts` famous iced coffee is made through a unique process called double brewing that uses twice the amount of ground coffee, brewed hot to ensure flavor and freshness when served over ice. Additionally, we have very different cups sizes for iced and hot coffee. For instance, a Small Hot Coffee is a 10 oz cup whereas a Small Iced Coffee is a 16 oz cup.

Why do prices vary from store locations?
Our suggested retail price for Iced Coffee is slightly higher than for Hot Coffee due to the different brewing processes and the difference in the quantity of coffee used when brewing. Exact prices may vary by store, as each franchisee makes their own pricing decisions.

We also conducted a little experiment and discovered that when it comes to actual coffee liquid, it seems like a small iced coffee and a medium hot coffee have about the same amount of coffee in them – is there a reason for that when it comes to sizing and pricing?
Iced Coffee and Hot Coffee are served in different sized cups and therefore hold different amounts of each beverage – a Small Iced Coffee is 16 fl oz and includes ice, and a Medium Hot Coffee is 14 fl oz with liquid only. The suggested retail price for Iced Coffee is based on its unique double brewing process, using twice the amount of ground coffee.

Is there a method on the cup either hot or iced as to where a ‘fill’ line of coffee would be? I also noticed that the only cup that has actual ounces on it is the small hot coffee, which is about 10oz – so is there a standard of how much coffee should be in the other cups?
The small hot cup is filled to the notch that is present on the interior seam of the cup, and the larger hot cups have a fill line near the top of the cup. Cold beverages are filled to the top ‘ring’ of the cup, which leaves just enough room for placing the lid with no spillage.