How To Make The Best Thai Iced Tea
In Asia, Thai tea is almost as famous as green tea. In the Western world, Thai tea is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its tasty sweetness and robust earthy notes. It's also an incredibly easy beverage to brew at home thanks to a short cook time and easy prep.
Discover the luxurious sweetness of Thai tea today. We've put together an easy-to-follow recipe so you can try this Southeast Asian delight right in your own home. Want to mix things up and make other fun iced tea flavors? Check out our collection of the best teas for iced tea right here.
What Is Thai Tea?
Thai tea is made by combining tea leaves, milk, and sugar and is known as cha yen in Thailand. It can be consumed as a hot tea or as an iced tea. The drink traces its roots to Thailand where it can be found as a staple beverage in restaurants and cafes.
Thai tea is traditionally made using Ceylon tea or Indian Assam black tea. The drink is often flavored using ingredients such as star anise, tamarind, and orange blossom water. Authentic Thai tea recipes call for evaporated milk or condensed milk when brewing this tea. Sometimes coconut milk or whole milk is substituted for a creamy or more tropical flavor.
The iced drink is traditionally consumed in large tall glasses when served at Thai restaurants. At night markets and at street food carts, the drink is poured into a plastic bag, tied, and consumed using a straw.
Today, Thai iced tea can be spruced up by adding tapioca pearls, vanilla beans, and unique tea flavors including green tea and hibiscus tea. Some vendors use half and half in place of condensed milk while others substitute nut milk to offer a vegan-approved option.
Thai tea features a bright orange color that resembles the first rays of sunlight on a misty morning. Many tea shops add a few drops of orange or yellow food coloring to enhance the color of this tea. Thai tea tends to be slightly sweeter than most normally brewed teas thanks to the presence of condensed milk. Tea ice tea recipes can be adjusted to suit your taste buds. In general, you can expect to find earthy notes, nutty undertones, and a kick of sweetness.
Traditional Thai Iced Tea Recipe
Thai tea can be made using tea bags or a Thai tea mix. These bags are available at Asian grocery stores and can be found online as well. Popular brands include Taste Nirvana, Number One, and Pantai Thai tea mix.
If you don't have Thai iced tea mix, you can brew the stuff from scratch in your own kitchen. The best part about brewing your own is you don't have to worry about artificial colors and additives. Brew up some authentic Thai tea at home using this Thai tea recipe:
- 2 tablespoons loose leaf black tea (Assam, Darjeeling, Ceylon or Chinese Keemun are good choices)
- 2 cups water
- 1 star anise clove
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 small sliver of vanilla bean
- a dash of ground tamarind
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2-3 tablespoons condensed milk
- A dash of evaporated milk
- Sugar to taste
1. Add all the spices to a large pot of water on the stove. Heat on high and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Add the black tea leaves to the boiling water. Remove from heat and steep for 2-3 minutes as with regular black tea. Steep longer for a strong black tea mixture.
3. Use a strainer to remove the spices and tea leaves.
4. Add sugar and condensed milk. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
5. Pour the tea mixture into large glasses with a few ice cubes until three-quarters full.
6. Fill the remainder of the glass with evaporated milk. Enjoy with a dish of Thai food or as a stand-alone indulgence.
Thai Iced Tea
Enjoy a cup of Thai ice tea with this delightful recipe. It features all of the authentic ingredients to brew this Asian tea right in your own home. The tasty milk tea delivers robust flavor thanks to black tea leaves and a healthy dose of sweetness thanks to the addition of condensed milk. Grab your tea tools and whip up this tasty tea today!