Thai tea is a popular iced drink that comes from – you guessed it – Thailand. You’ll find it listed on the menu in many specialty shops, but if you want to learn how to make your own, you can! Read on to find out how you can enjoy Thai tea without visiting a pricey tea shop.
What is Thai Tea?
If you’re in the United States, Europe, or pretty much anywhere but Thailand, you’ll find box mixes for Thai tea everywhere. The drink is most easily recognized because it has a distinctive orange tint to it. Unfortunately, this orange color is usually due to artificial colors.
You can, of course, avoid the artificial colors by simply making your own Thai tea at home. But if you insist on buying a box mix, check the ingredients carefully if you prefer to use natural products. Believe us when we tell you – your Thai tea will be just as tasty even if it’s brown.
Thai tea is frequently served in Thai restaurants in the “Western” world. It compliments the spices in Thai dishes very nicely, and is very refreshing after a spicy Thai meal. You don’t have to wait until you visit a Thai restaurant to enjoy Thai tea, though. You can brew your own, right at home.
How to Make Thai Tea
Thai tea isn’t so much a tea as a blend. You’ll use black tea to make the drink, and it’s best if you can start with something robust. Try Ceylon, Assam or Keemun for the best results.
We like using loose leaf tea the best, but you can use tea bags if you like. Either way, you’ll need to have your other ingredients on hand, as you’ll be steeping them all together.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 tablespoons black tea – your choice, but it’s best with something strong. Darjeeling and Earl Grey work well.
- 1 star anise
- ½ to 1 cinnamon stick
If you like, you can also use the following ingredients:
- Vanilla bean
- Ground tamarind (use to taste)
- A dash of almond extract
Okay, so that sounds like a lot of ingredients; it’s worth it, tough. Trust us.
Combine all of the above ingredients in about a cup of water on the stove, and let it simmer for five to ten minutes. Once the liquid is simmered, use a cheesecloth to strain the large materials out. Then, stir in about a tablespoon of sugar and allow it to dissolve.
Finally, you’ll add a dash of sweetened condensed milk and a slightly larger dash of evaporated milk. Pour the drink over ice, garnish with mint, and it’s ready to serve!
Thai Tea Variations
You get the general idea of how to make Thai tea, and what goes into it. Once you try the recipe above, feel free to play around a bit. You can add mint extract to your tea, or you can use coconut milk instead of evaporated milk. Vegan? You can use soy milk or almond milk if you prefer!
Once you get the recipe just the way you like it, you can double or triple it to make larger batches. The tea will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, so make a pitcher! You’ll love having fresh Thai tea on hand whenever the craving for a spiced tea hits.