This Thai Iced Tea is just like the drink you find in your favorite Thai restaurant – and so easy to make at home! Make this sweet and creamy drink to enjoy whenever you want.
A restaurant favorite at home
You know by now that I am a huge fan of Thai food. From Chicken Satay to Thai Peanut Sauce, I love it all. One of the special treats I love at Thai restaurant is Thai Iced Tea. The creamy, sweet iced tea has subtle flavors of vanilla, anise and tamarind, and is different than any other drink I’ve ever had. It is similar to Iced Chai, but the flavors are different.
How to make Thai Iced Tea at home
I was delighted to find out that making Thai Iced Tea at home is ridiculously easy. You can find authentic Thai tea mixes at Asian grocery stores or online (I ordered this one and this one). After steeping the tea, you mix in sugar, strain through a tea strainer (like this one), and chill. When ready to drink, pour over ice and add half and half to taste. Some people use sweetened condensed milk instead, or even coconut milk.
Why is Thai Iced Tea Orange?
Thai Iced Tea as Americans know it is a product of a combination of cultures – tea is relatively new to Thailand, and was imported from China. Iced tea (called Cha Yen in Thailand) was likely served first without flavorings along with street food. Eventually it was made popular in American Thai restaurants. Thai chefs started adding orange food coloring and spices to differentiate it from other types of iced tea and coffee.
The coloring is not needed, so if you prefer not to eat or drink dyes, you can purchase a Thai tea mix without dyes. I haven’t tried one yet, but next time I buy Thai tea it will be this kind.
How can I make Thai Iced Tea Vegan?
Thai Tea can easily be made vegan just by replacing regular half and half with a dairy free option. My favorite dairy free half and half to use is THIS ONE. You can also use coconut milk if you prefer.
How can I make Thai Iced Tea sugar free?
Making Thai Tea at home means you can customize it to your heart’s content. If you prefer no sugar, you can leave it out. You can replace it with your sweetener of choice. Or you can reduce the sugar for a drink that is still slightly sweet. If you prefer a very sweet iced tea, you can add more sugar, or use sweetened condensed milk instead of half and half.
HALF AND HALF OR SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK?
In this recipe I use half and half, but many recipes use sweetened condensed milk instead. The first time I experienced Thai iced tea made at home, my friends made it with sweetened condensed milk. It’s really a personal preference. Since I don’t like my drinks overly sweet, I use half and half.
How Long to Steep?
Many recipes call for steeping the tea for 20-30 minutes. I found that this made the tea bitter, and I prefer to steep it for a shorter time, about 5 minutes. However, if you want a stronger and more astringent taste, you can steep it longer.
More Recipes you will love
- 1/2 cup Thai tea mix
- 4 cups water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup half and half
- In a 3 quart sauce pan, bring water to boil.
- When water is boiling, remove from heat and add tea. Stir to make sure all tea is moistened.
- Steep 5 minutes, then add sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Strain tea. Transfer to a pitcher and refrigerate until chilled.
- When ready to serve, fill a glass with ice, fill 3/4 with tea, then top with half 2-4 tbsp of half and half to taste. Stir to mix and enjoy.
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