About Thai Iced Tea
Thai Tea (also known as Thai Iced Tea) is a popular iced drink hailing from Thailand, commonly found in Thai restaurants across the US. The deep amber color of the tea and its milk-tinted upper layer make this beverage really stand out on your table, and the combination of strongly-brewed tea, dairy and sugar make it a perfect complement to hot weather and spicy food.
Thai Tea is is made from strongly-brewed black tea, often spiced with ingredients such as star anise, crushed tamarind, cardamom, and occasionally others as well (often making this beverage a favorite among masala chai tea fans). This brew is then sweetened with sugar and sweetened condensed milk, and served over ice. For the sake of flavor, consistency and visual appeal, glasses of Thai Tea are usually topped with additional dairy, such as evaporated milk, whole milk, half and half, or coconut milk (this last one, of course, is not actually dairy, but you get the picture).
An All-Natural, Organic Thai Tea Blend
The ubiquitous orange color of Thai Tea is one of the beverage’s hallmarks, but is unfortunately created with artificial coloring. Wanting a better solution, we set out to create our own all-natural, certified organic Thai Tea blend. The result is a wonderful combination of east Asian black tea, star anise, cardamom and vanilla bean that will not disappoint. Since our blend lacks the “traditional” artificial orange color, it brews up a lovely, natural light brown.
Restaurant-Style Thai Iced Tea Recipe
In the US, Thai Iced Tea is often "discovered" in Thai restaurants, and an immediate love affair begins. It complements spicy Thai food beautifully, and provides a wonderfully refreshing (and sweet!) cold drink. To recreate restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea at home, follow this easy step-by-step guide! Here's what you'll need:
- Arbor Teas’ Organic Thai Iced Tea blend
- Sweetener of choice: sugar or honey
- Milk or non-dairy milk substitute
Step One: Measure
Start by measuring 2 teaspoons of Arbor Teas loose leaf Organic Thai Tea blend for every 8 oz. you’re making. This is a single serving, but can be cut down to 1 teaspoon of tea per 8 oz. of you do not intend to add dairy.
Step Two: Steep
Place the tea in a do-it-yourself paper tea filter or an infuser, and then place the paper filter or infuser in your heat-resistant glass or iced tea pitcher. Next, heat your water to boiling. Use fresh water whenever possible - water that has been sitting in your kettle overnight may impart a flat or stale taste to your tea. Be careful not to boil your water for too long. Over-boiled water can impart a flat, undesirable taste.
Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over the tea-filled paper filter or infuser. Be sure the tea is covered completely with water. Steep for 3-5 minutes, then remove the T-sac or infuser. For a stronger brew, don’t steep longer, just use more tea. It's important to make the tea very strong, since it is ultimately diluted with ice and dairy.
Step Three: Sweeten
For traditional Thai Iced Tea, add sugar to the hot Thai Iced Tea and stir until dissolved. We recommend adding one 1 teaspoon of sugar per serving, but feel free to adjust to your taste.
Step Four: Chill
If you plan on drinking your Thai Iced Tea immediately, pour the infusion directly over an equal amount of ice. To drink later, allow the concentrate to cool gradually to room temperature, then place it in your refrigerator. Cooling the teas slowly helps avoid clouding caused by chilling tea too rapidly.
Step Five: Add Dairy and/or Lime
To complete your Thai Iced Tea, add lime or dairy before serving. Restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea is traditionally served with dairy, but don't underestimate the wonderful simplicity of serving this tea with lime alone. It’s delicious!
Dairy, such as sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, or half and half, can be added directly to the cool tea and stirred. We recommend adding 2 tablespoons of your preferred dairy per serving, again adjusting to your personal taste. For those avoiding dairy, it’s just as delicious with various dairy-free milks - we recommend coconut milk. Thai Iced Tea can also be "topped" with dairy. To top your Thai Iced Tea with dairy, you must have ice cubes in the glass. Using a spoon, slowly pour your preferred dairy over the ice cubes. The ice cubes will hold the dairy at the top of the glass and create a gorgeous layered effect! Do not stir.
Making Your Thai Tea In Advance
You can make a large batch of the sweetened tea concentrate in advance and keep it in the refrigerator. Just stop at Step 3, above. When you’re ready, you can simply pour pour the concentrate over ice, add your dairy, and top with evaporated/whole/coconut milk to serve.
Looking for Our Original Thai Tea Recipe? Here It Is!
- 3/4 C black tea leaves (approximately 3 oz.)
- star anise, ground tamarind, cardamom and/or other spices, to taste (optional)
- 6 C boiling water
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1/2 C sweetened condensed milk
- 1 C evaporated milk (most traditional), whole milk, half and half, or coconut milk
- Steep the tea leaves (and any optional spices) in the water for 5 minutes, then remove the tea leaves from the water (either by removing the infuser you're using, or by straining the water to remove the leaves if loose).
- While the tea is still hot, stir in sugar until dissolved, then stir in condensed milk.
- Allow tea mixture to cool to room temperature or colder.
- Fill tall iced tea glasses with ice, and pour in tea mixture until glasses are roughly 3/4 full.
- Slowly top off glasses with evaporated milk, whole milk or coconut milk, but do not stir (final dairy should remain primarily as its own layer at the top of the glass).
Makes 6 glasses of Thai Tea.