I'm a year-round iced coffee drinker. To be honest, I generally prefer iced lattes to iced coffee because they taste less bitter, and I don't even feel the need to sweeten them. The one exception to my latte-specific love is cold-brewed iced coffee.
My good friend Sydney introduced me to cold-brewed iced coffee during one of my visits to see her in New York City. She keeps a pitcher of this cold-brewed iced coffee in her fridge at all times. It definitely has less of a bitter edge than typical iced coffee. I don't even sweeten it, whereas I normally would with iced coffee.
The coffee she uses, which I now use for the coffee concentrate, is Trader Joe's Organic Fair Trade Breakfast Blend. It's sold in whole beans, but there are coffee grinders at the store which you can use to grind it yourself. The grounds need to be coarse (or even "coarse for French press" depending on the options on the grinder).
One of these 14 ounce coffee canisters is enough to make three batches of this coffee concentrate. Since it's a concentrate, it's very strong and definitely needs to be watered down before you drink it.
The plus is that it won't be watered down simply by adding ice, since it's already so concentrated. Using about equal parts of the concentrate and milk (or water if you prefer your iced coffee black) is a good ratio, but at the end of the day, adjust it to your preference. I actually go a bit heavier on the coffee concentrate than on the milk.
Although I wouldn't keep this coffee concentrate in your fridge indefinitely, it easily lasts for up to a week, although you may finish it before then if you're an avid coffee drinker. And since it's so easy to make, with little to no effort, you can whip up a batch any time you're running low! Just beware that if you double the recipe, you may want to swap out your coffee filter for a fresh one halfway through straining, as it can really start to slow down after a while.
Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee
Makes about 2 1/2 cups coffee concentrate
4 1/2 ounces coarse ground coffee (about 1 3/4 cups)
3 1/2 cups water
Place the coffee grounds and water in a 2-quart pitcher, and stir to combine. Cover and let steep at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
Line a strainer with a coffee filter and place over a medium bowl. Working in batches, slowly pour the coffee into the filter until all of the liquid has strained (this may take a while); stop when you reach the solids at the bottom of the pitcher. Discard the grounds and the contents of the strainer.
Wash and dry the pitcher. Transfer the strained coffee back into the pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled. This concentrate keeps for up to a week in the fridge.
To serve, for each cup of iced coffee dilute the concentrate with an equal portion--give or take--of milk or water. Sweeten with simple syrup, if desired, and serve over ice.