As the Bay Shore-based publisher of coffeeandteanewsletter.com , Lynda Calimano has sampled coffees and teas from around the world. Great iced coffee, she says, starts with great coffee beans.
"If you put ice in bad coffee, you're just going to get cold, bad coffee," she says. "But if you start with good-quality coffee beans that were freshly roasted, and the coffee was made fresh, then you're going to get a superior iced coffee."
Of course, you can find coffee over ice at the big chains, but here are a few other places on the Island that also are worth considering.
Georgio's Coffee Roasters : 146 W. Jericho Tpke., Huntington Station, 516-238-2999, georgioscoffee.com . Cost: $1.84 (18 ounces) to $2.25 (24 ounces)
Roasters Georgio and Lydia Testani own the shop, where they brew iced coffee using direct-trade, shade-grown organic Don Telmo Reserva coffee beans, which they spend more money to buy directly from farmers in Colombia. "We hot-brew the coffee, let it rest for two hours and chill it before we add organic ice coffee cubes to it," he says. Doing it that way, he explains, "doesn't water it down, and when you get to the end of the cup, it tastes like the very first sip."
Love Lane Kitchen : 240 Love Lane, Mattituck, 631-298-8989, lovelanekitchen.com . Cost: $2.50 (20 ounces)
The iced coffee at this North Fork restaurant is made using its house-roasted blend, chilled and also served over frozen coffee ice cubes, which keep the coffee from becoming diluted, says general manager Jennilee Morris. As for the flavor, "most of our coffees are a medium roast," she says. "We don't tend to roast things too dark. We feel it takes away some of the natural characteristics of the coffee." They also offer simple syrup as a sweetener to customers who don't want the hassle of stirring hard-to-dissolve sugar crystals into their brew.
The Cheese Store of Cedarhurst : 532 Central Ave., Cedarhurst, 516-295-3099. Cost: $2.25 (10 ounces) to $15.95 (1-gallon box)
The main business actually is cheese at this small, bustling fancy-food shop, but it also has become known for its iced coffees, available plain and in about 80 flavors, with names like Cinnamon Cappuccino and Peanut Butter Swirl. Drinkers also can request flavor combinations.
In business for 32 years, owner Mitch Rakita uses beans from White Coffee Corp., a coffee roaster based in Long Island City that he says has "the best roasted beans out there." Brewed fresh one day, it's then chilled inside a walk-in freezer overnight and served over ice the next day.
Massapequa Perk : 117 Front St., Massapequa Park, 516-541-7375. Cost: $1.50 (16 ounces) to $2 (24 ounces)
At this newer, chic coffeehouse across from the Massapequa Park Long Island Rail Road station, owner Lisa DiBenedetto uses exotic blends from all over the world and beans from a "micro-roaster" in Park Slope. The water and ice for the iced coffee also are triple-filtered on-site, and the coffee brewed, iced and served the same day. It's made from a blend of three beans - Costa Rican, Tanzanian Peaberry and Guatemalan - that she says "have a bold flavor, but they're low acidic, so it's very palatable."
Reader Pick Cafe at Equinox Fitness : 7550 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury, 516-714-8100
"I love iced coffee," says Brenna Goldberg of Dix Hills, who enjoys the cold brew served in the cafe at Equinox Fitness after early-morning workouts. "When I'm done at 7 o'clock and it's 7:02, I get an iced coffee. Even if I'm not working out, I will go out of my way to have an iced coffee there."