The one good thing about hot and humid DC weather: iced coffee. It’s cold, refreshing, and best of all, it’s loaded with caffeine. The downside: buying one or two iced coffees a day adds up.

Say you buy a venti iced coffee at Starbucks. That’s around $3 with tax. If you do this every day for six months, that’s $546 down the drain. By going somewhere cheaper, and employing some serious food hacks, you could save $186, which could go toward other fun things like a camping trip in the Shenandoahs or a really nice meal at one of Washington’s very best restaurants.

However, price was not the determining factor when I walked into a 7-Eleven one Saturday afternoon for iced coffee. I wasn’t concerned about price or quality. I just needed icy, cold caffeine, stat, and while driving up to Chesapeake Bay Beach from Arlington, all I could find were 7-Elevens.

I expected 7-Eleven’s pre-made iced coffee to taste similar to Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee: weak with a high cream-to-coffee ratio, and sweet enough to make your teeth hurt. I knew I needed to MacGyver an iced coffee to make this work. I filled up a large iced coffee cup to the brim with ice, then filled the cup three-quarters of way up with 7-Eleven’s machine-mixed Vanilla iced coffee. Next, I filled the rest of the cup with hot dark roast coffee (very important step), topped it off with more ice, and stirred. I handed over $2.19 to the cashier, and took my first sip.

And it. Was. Good.

At first I was confused at how such a cheap coffee concoction could be so satisfying. But my confusion quickly transformed into delight as I sucked down the rest of the cold, creamy goodness that is a 7-Eleven Chiller (with dark roast coffee). I will admit, the cream-to-sugar-to-coffee flavor proportions could be better (it needed more coffee, obviously), but in a pinch, and for a little over a $2, the 7-Eleven iced coffee was pretty damn good.

Want to try this iced coffee hack for yourself? See how you can make it (in just five steps):

Originally published on Washingtonian.

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June 14, 2016

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