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It's iced coffee season all year long now

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CBS News Miami Live

MIAMI - Cold drinks are hotter than ever.

At Starbucks, cold drinks made up 75% of US beverage sales last quarter. Cold espresso drinks in particular rose 13% last quarter from a year ago, and drinks with cold foam are the fast-growing customized orders at Starbucks, the company said last week.

The increase has been fast: Just five years ago, coffee, teas, lemonades, and other cold drinks made up less than half of Starbucks' beverage sales.

This trend isn't exclusive to Starbucks, as other coffee companies are catering to a growing demand for cold drinks. Keurig introduced K-Iced, its first line of single-cup brewers designed with iced coffee in mind, earlier this year. And Maxwell House last month launched instant iced lattes with foam, its first new product in nearly a decade.

TikTok-friendly treats
Analysts say it's younger consumers who are driving the shift to iced and cold ready-to-drink coffees, teas and other beverages.

Gen Z is significantly more likely to buy ready-to-drink coffee than traditional hot brewed coffee, according to customer surveys by market research firm Mintel. Half of Gen Z consumers own a drip coffee brewer, compared to 60% of all coffee consumers, Mintel said.

Why? Younger consumers view cold coffee beverages as more refreshing, better tasting, and more of a treat than hot coffee, the surveys show. They're more easily customized and offer a wider variety of flavors and toppings.

Plus, cold coffees and drinks also make for better posts on Instagram and TikTok.

"The clear cups, bright colors, and various toppings in iced drinks make them highly attractive for social media posts," said Dorothy Calba, a senior research analyst at Euromonitor International. "Customization has emerged as a significant trend across the industry."

Cold brew has been the fastest-growing non-alcoholic drink on restaurant menus over the past decade, said Lizzy Freier, the director of menu research and insights at Technomic, a food industry consulting firm.

Iced macchiato, iced specialty tea, iced espresso, and iced americano have also ranked among the fastest-growing non-alcoholic drinks on menus tracked by Technomic.

As Freier said, "It's no longer a seasonal thing."

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