How to Make Thai Tea

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Thai iced tea is a creamy drink with a distinct flavor, loved by many around the world. It's the perfect beverage to balance rich or spicy foods.

Thai iced tea is a must when enjoying a spicy dish like Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup or Thai Chicken Curry. It’s commonly served in Thai restaurants, but we’re going to show you how to make Thai tea at home. This recipe will come in handy when you need a cool pick-me-up!

What Is Thai Tea?

Thai tea is made from strongly-brewed Ceylon black tea, enlivened with spices such as star anise, vanilla bean, crushed tamarind seed, orange blossom and cardamom. Its deep amber hue, creamy mouthfeel and vibrant flavor notes make it popular in Thailand and the U.S. You’ll often see it on the menu at Thai restaurants, and it can also be a flavor option at bubble tea shops or offered in a can at Asian grocery stores.

Why Is Thai Tea Orange?

Thai tea gets its distinct orange hue from food dye. Most mixes include yellow dye to balance out the natural red hue of the tea. Then condensed milk gives the tea an opaque orange glow. If you’re sensitive to food dyes, look for organic Thai tea mixes that do not include a yellow dye.

How to Make Thai Iced Tea

Ingredients

Yield: 1 serving

  • 4 tablespoons Thai tea mix
  • 2-3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons unsweetened condensed milk, whole milk, half-and-half or coconut milk
  • Ice cubes

Editor’s Tip: If using sweetened condensed milk, then you may not want to add any sugar.

Directions

Step 1: Boil the water

Boiling water for thai teaMegan Barrie for Taste of Home

Bring one cup of water to a boil and pour over tea mix with a strainer or tea filter.

Step 2: Steep the tea

Steep The thai teaMegan Barrie for Taste of Home

Steep for about 5 minutes. Let sit a few minutes longer if you prefer a stronger flavor.

Step 3: Sweeten and serve

Sweeten And Serve thai teaMegan Barrie for Taste of Home

Add condensed milk and sugar and give the tea a stir. Taste, then adjust sweetness or creaminess as desired. Pour over ice, sip and relax!

Editor’s Tip: You can make a large batch of Thai iced tea in advance and store it in the refrigerator to enjoy at any time. After the second step, carefully pour the tea into a large Mason jar or covered pitcher and place it in the fridge to cool. When you’re ready to enjoy a glass, pour the tea over ice, then add sugar and milk.

Serve this with one of our favorite Thai recipes for a delicious meal.

Tips for Making Thai Tea

How can you make Thai tea dairy-free?

Just as you might enjoy coffee black, you can choose to enjoy Thai tea on its own without the added creaminess of condensed milk. However, if you’d like to recreate that creaminess of classic Thai tea, try using coconut milk for that subtly sweet creaminess. If using oat, almond, soy or other alternative milks, you might want to add a sweetener.

What is the best type of tea to use?

Pantai Thai tea mix is the best way to make classic Thai tea at home. It includes a mix of black tea, cardamom, vanilla bean, tamarind, cinnamon and cloves. If you can’t find this tea mix, use black tea and add a few cardamom pods, cloves, a dash of vanilla extract and a cinnamon stick.

How can you adjust the sweetness of Thai tea?

Thai tea is typically sweetened by adding condensed milk. The natural sugars from the milk provide sweetness, but if you want to reel it back, add unsweetened condensed milk or a less sweet milk like half-and-half or whole milk. Then add small amounts of sugar as you taste.

Thai Tea Benefits

It’s no wonder humans all around the globe have been sipping tea for millennia—tea has tons of health benefits. Thai tea, in particular, does the body and mind good.

  • Increased energy and focus: Black tea contains caffeine, making it the perfect beverage for work and study sessions. The caffeine and antioxidants in Thai tea help boost your metabolism, so when you hit the gym, it can help you burn calories more quickly. Just be sure to still drink plenty of water!
  • Healthy arteries: Drinking black tea expands your arteries, allowing them to pump blood more efficiently throughout the body. This can lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
  • Decreased risk of cancer: Some studies have shown that drinking tea lessens the risks of many cancers. This is because black tea is full of antioxidants, which protect your cells against the damaging effects of free radicals.
  • Alleviate stress: Tea helps soothe the body and mind. So, kick back, relax and sip on some Thai tea—hot or iced—for instant bliss.

Thirsty for more goodness? Indulge in healthy drinks for a boost of nutrition.

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Megan Barrie
I'm a home cook, instructor, and recipe developer focused on celebrating seasonal, comforting, Japanese-y food. I founded a platform called Seasoned Cook to give people the building blocks to make cooking approachable and enjoyable every day. My recipes are currently featured on Harvest Queen and Taste of Home.