Cool Beans

An iced coffee startup is percolating at Endicott.

Casey Arnold ’14 of Big Ass Iced Coffee Photo by Terry Slater
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Casey Arnold ’14 was living in Seattle, the coffee capital of the world, but missing Dunkin’ iced coffee from Massachusetts—the extra-large kind that stays cold for hours even on the sweatiest July days. 

When the pandemic lockdown hit, the cafés shuttered, and the iced coffee challenge lit up TikTok with aspiring millennial baristas shaking up beans, milk, and ice in need of a caffeine fix. 

“It became my obsession,” Arnold remembered. “I found a new sense of joy and a hobby in figuring out the way to make the best big ass iced coffee.” 

Casey Arnold ’14 of Big Ass Iced CoffeeOne teaspoon per cup of cold water—then shake vigorously—and you have yourself a Big Ass Iced Coffee 

At the time, she was working 24/7 in marketing for Amazon. “I was making great money, getting promoted, and learning a lot. But I was ignoring the voice in my head that was very unhappy.” 

That voice got harder to silence during the lockdown when her job became even more demanding—and Arnold’s mental health took a hit. 

As a way of prioritizing self-care, she began her days with a long walk, while binge-listening the Skinny Confidential podcast. Arnold was hyped up by an interview with Saint Archer Brewing Company’s founder Josh Landan, who built a $100 million business on one smart idea. 

“I have to come up with an idea,” Arnold thought to herself. And that idea was obvious—to develop a flawless iced coffee product for home use. Her company, Big Ass Iced Coffee, was born. Soon, Arnold resigned from Amazon and embraced life as a solopreneur.  

“At Endicott, I learned the sense of community and how important it is to find a community that speaks to you and challenges you but still feels supportive.”

She started off experimenting with instant coffee but “everything tasted terrible,” was packed with harmful preservatives and sugar, or needed to brew for 48 hours before drinking. 

Eventually, Arnold landed on a small, fair trade coffee company sourcing 100% Arabica beans from Colombia. She also learned how to operate a freeze dryer that dehydrates brewed coffee so a customer just needs to adds ice and water to enjoy a giant tumbler of iced coffee whenever, and wherever.

Casey Arnold ’14 of Big Ass Iced CoffeeArnold plans to expand Big Ass Iced Coffee with the purchase of more freeze dryersBut to really grow her business and re-balance her lifestyle, Arnold decided to move back to the place that felt most like home—Beverly, Mass. “At Endicott, I learned the sense of community and how important it is to find a community that speaks to you and challenges you but still feels supportive,” she said. 

It was thanks to the support of the Endicott community, particularly the Colin and Erika Angle Center for Entrepreneurship, that she was offered mentoring opportunities and space on campus to incubate Big Ass Iced Coffee. Today, her company operates like a small-batch whiskey distillery model. 

She drops new releases through her website and mails customers the product. And, though she’s busy, “I feel like I’ve found my balance,” Arnold reflected.

Her last drop sold out in 14 minutes. 

It was this exciting momentum and a convincing pitch that landed Big Ass Iced Coffee the Grand Prize in the Spark Tank 2022 competition, Endicott’s annual version of Shark Tank, hosted by the FUEL Club. Arnold said that pitching was intimidating at first but she was “immensely inspired” by her fellow contestants’ confidence. 

She ultimately bagged a check for $10,000—funds she’ll use to level up her business in an XL way by purchasing equipment to triple production and hiring a trademark and patent lawyer to protect the company as it expands. 

“There’s no way I could have grown my business and pursued my dream this quickly without the Endicott and FUEL communities,” she said.