Written by Lindsey Goodwin
This recipe is for the creamy style of Thai iced tea that most Thai restaurants in America serve (ชาเย็น, also known as cha yen, cha nom yen or cha yen sai nom). While many Thai iced tea mixes often contain a low-grade powder or syrup, this authentic recipe gets its flavor from good-quality black tea and spices without any artificial ingredients. This means your Thai tea won’t be bright orange, since the color comes from a dye added to Thai tea mixes.
Similar to hot Thai tea, real Thai iced tea is a mix of black tea, spices, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. It’s a great drink for fans of masala chai and other spiced or milky black teas. The best part is it’s easy to make and far cheaper to make from scratch than buying it.
If you don’t have every one of the spices in this recipe on hand, that’s OK—you can skip one or two. But if you want the full flavor, seek out the somewhat unusual ingredients (such as tamarind powder) at your local Southeast Asian or Indian market. Although you can use tea bags, it tastes better with loose-leaf tea because the flavor is richer and more complex.https://1a9dd2d39c86e1720a1a9d546f6de4e5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.447.1_vi.html#goog_1537985969Volume 90% 1:19
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- 2 tablespoons loose-leaf black tea
- 1 pod star anise
- 2 pods cardamom
- 1/2 cinnamon stick, optional
- 1/8 vanilla bean, optional
- Tamarind powder, to taste, optional
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons evaporated milk, or coconut milk, or whole milk
Steps to Make It
- Gather the ingredients.https://1a9dd2d39c86e1720a1a9d546f6de4e5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
- Steep the tea, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, tamarind powder, and almond extract (if using) in the boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Strain the tea.https://1a9dd2d39c86e1720a1a9d546f6de4e5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
- Stir in the sugar and sweetened condensed milk until both are completely dissolved.
- Fill 2 tall glasses with ice.
- Pour the tea over the ice, leaving an inch or so of space at the top for the evaporated milk.
- Top up with more ice if needed, and then drizzle with 1 teaspoon of evaporated milk on each glass of tea.
- Use strong tea such as Ceylon, Assam, or Keemun. Alternatively, you can use 4 tea bags of strong black tea, or you can make a caffeine-free Thai iced tea with 4 tablespoons of rooibos tea.
- You easily can make this recipe vegan by replacing the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk with cream of coconut and coconut milk.
- You can adjust the sweetness of this Thai tea according to your tastes. This recipe is not as sickly sweet as some Thai ice tea mixes, but you can increase or decrease the sugar as desired.
- If you like this cha yen style of Thai iced tea, you also might enjoy cha manao Thai iced tea, which replaces the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk with lime juice and jasmine essence. It is especially refreshing in summer.
- And if you’re a coffee drinker, be sure to try Thai iced coffee, which has the same spiciness and creaminess with a coffee base instead of tea.
What is the difference between Thai tea and milk tea?
Milk tea is a popular drink iced or hot and is traditionally made using black tea. The “milk” can range from sweetened condensed milk to evaporated milk to whole milk to non-dairy milk. Thai tea is a type of milk tea that contains a more specific mixture of black tea, spices, sugar, and evaporated and/or condensed milk.