Iced Coffee as Gay Culture: An Exploration

The International Coffee Day content you didn't know you needed.

This past weekend, I took a much-needed vacay to visit my very best and queerest friend in Boston. When she got word that I hadn’t seen gay teen blockbuster Love, Simon, we immediately altered our itinerary to include a screening in her cozy apartment. The film was everything I wanted: that wholesome, cheesy goodness only a storyline from a YA novel could provide, plus queer inclusion. I was smitten instantly.

Being the coffee fiend that I am, though, one part of Simon’s internal monologue at the beginning of the film stuck with me: “We do everything friends do: We drink way too much iced coffee, we watch bad ‘90s movies, and hangout at Waffle House dreaming of college and gorging on carbs.”

GIPHY

Note the iced coffee shout-out. It was a small scene in the movie, but the name-drop of my perennial drink of choice was enough to have me snorting in my seat. “Right?” my best friend said, knowing instantly what I was thinking.

I nodded and raised my ever-appropriate cold brew toward the screen in solidarity. “Iced coffee is gay culture.”

By now, the queer community’s affinity for iced coffee is something of a joke. During Pride Month 2018, my Twitter timeline was filled with tongue-in-cheek references to us gays and our penchant for chilled coffee beverages:

The jokes continued to percolate well beyond June:

Laughs and GIFs aside, though, is there any truth to the queer community’s claim on iced coffee? I can only speak for myself and my friends, but I kind of believe there is.

Iced coffee offers the best parts of a caffeine rush with the ease of transportability (cute tumblers!) and consumption (no waiting for it to cool down!) of any other chilled beverage. It’s more hip than your boss’ morning latte (with soy milk, please, and hold the foam) and way classier than your cousin’s daily Monster energy drink.

The beauty of iced coffee lies in its complete and utter customizability. Not unlike labels under the LGBTQ umbrella, there’s an iced coffee variety for people on each and every wavelength. Fancy yourself a city-cool hipster type? Grab yourself an iced Americano (espresso shots and water over ice. Trust me—it’s my morning coffee of choice, and it’s way better than it sounds.)

Stayed up way too late watching RuPaul’s Drag Race with your friends at your fave gay bar? I got you, boo: Cold brew, a particularly potent iced coffee variety brewed cold with a 12–24-hour brew period, will be your saving grace as you stumble into work.

GIPHY

More of a basic bitch? Girl, lean into it with some seasonal iced coffee flavors. I’m talking pumpkin, pistachio, peppermint mocha…pick your poison, princess.

View this post on Instagram

Fall is on its way! You ready? (: @adamtots)

A post shared by Logo (@logotv) on

Iced coffee is to the queer community what pinot grigio is to suburban wine moms: a substance, yes, and an ingestible crutch in difficult and/or awkward times, perhaps, but also a tool to build community.

It’s the sort of thing that gets you out of your dinky apartment in Brooklyn and into a hip coffeehouse with your best and gayest pals. It’s a vice of the lesser degree, the sort of chemical-slash-social addiction you can laugh about with your coworkers. It’s a daily ritual you can actually afford (that is, until your credit card statement arrives, and you realize you spent $200-plus on iced coffee last month. A tragic tale that I can’t relate to at all…)

As we celebrate International Coffee Day this October 1, may we all know and love the glory that is iced coffee. From our lips to Lesbian Jesus’ ears, a-freaking-men.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
@_sammanzella