Looking for an iced coffee to pep you up and cool you down? Long Island has thousands of delis and Dunkin’ Donuts to satisfy you.
Looking for an iced coffee fit for a connoisseur? Head to Georgio’s Coffee Roasters in Farmingdale.
Georgio Testani, who was running Fairway’s coffee program when many of Long Island’s young artisanal roasters were still using sippy cups, lavishes all his decades of experience on his ice coffee.
First, the beans: Testani uses East African beans, lightly roasted. “Coffee has a whole spectrum of flavors,” he said. “When you roast it dark, you lose a lot.” The ground beans (medium-coarse-ground at that) are portioned into one of four towering cold-brew contraptions. Over the course of about 18 hours, filtered water slowly drips through the grounds, through a spiral glass coil, into a bulbous 3,000-cc (3-quart) beaker. The coffee concentrate is then mixed with anywhere from ½ to 1 part water, depending on its strength.
Savored neat, the cold brew has the complexity and smoothness of a good single-malt Scotch. But Testani is a realist and knows that the market for iceless iced coffee is small. So he serves it over ice cubes made from coffee so as not to dilute the beverage. (The cubes are made from the same East African beans as the cold brew, but, to keep up with demand, Testani uses coffee that has been brewed in a regular drip coffee maker. Using cold-brewed coffee to make coffee ice cubes would be, you know, obsessive.)
It surprised me that Testani’s favorite way to enjoy the ice-cold brew was not unadorned, but with of a splash of half and half and a shot of sugar syrup. “The milk and sugar just open it up,” he said.
I have a Philistine's palate compared to Testani, but I have never had better iced coffee.
A large cold-brewed iced coffee is $3 at Georgio’s Coffee Roasters, 1965 New Highway, Farmingdale, 516-238-2999, georgioscoffee.com.