THAI ICED TEA, also known as Thai milk tea and cha yen (ชาเย็น), is a tasty and refreshing drink sold on many streets of Thailand. If you've been here, chances are you've had this Thai drink or seen people walking around carrying a plastic bag with an orange-colored liquid inside and a straw poking out (I know, I know...drinks in plastic bags 😂 We don't get any more Thai than that). Even if you haven't been to Thailand, you may have come across Thai iced tea already, as it's so popular that many Thai restaurants abroad do serve it. (By the way, did you know that I also have a Thai Tea Cheesecake Recipe available here on my blog?)
Making Thai iced tea is really easy. If you want to make this drink at home, you can follow my THAI ICED TEA RECIPE in this post. With just a couple of ingredients, you'll be able to enjoy as much of this drink as you want under 10 minutes!
THAI ICED TEA INGREDIENTS
1) Thai Tea Mix: A Thai tea mix is basically Thai tea leaves. It's called a mix because it's often mixed with vanilla flavoring and food coloring (Hence, the unique flavor and distinctive orange color!). There are many Thai tea brands out there, but one of the most common ones is ChaTraMue (pictured above). You can find this Thai tea mix at Asian grocery stores.
Without the flavoring and coloring, Thai tea is essentially black tea. So if you can't find ChaTraMue or aren't comfortable with the food coloring, you could try black tea with a bit of vanilla extract.
2) Evaporated Milk: Evaporated milk is a little thicker and creamier than normal milk. Carnation is a very popular brand here but you can use any brand you can find.
3) Sweetened Condensed Milk: This type of milk is thick, gooey and sweet. It's used to sweeten and whiten many Thai 'creamy' drinks.
THE SPECIAL TOOL FOR MAKING THIS DRINK: TRADITIONAL THAI TEA FILTER
A traditional Thai tea filter is a muslin bag or sock with a stainless steel handle. It's very old school, yet still used by most street vendors. This little tool cheap, reusable and does the job well. There are many sizes available but a small one will be enough for your homemade Thai iced tea. Again, you can get this on Amazon or use a fine mesh strainer you might already have.
HOW TO MAKE THAI ICED TEA
Start by boiling 3 cups of water in a kettle or over the stove.
In the meantime, take ⅓ of a Thai tea mix and put it in your Thai tea filter. Then, place the filter in a large cup or bowl - I recommend anything with a spout. It'll make it easier for you to pour the tea later.
Once your water is boiling, with one hand holding the handle of the tea filter, pour the water into the filter. Move the filter up and down a bit to extract the flavor of the tea and let the tea steep for 2-3 minutes before discarding. Do not steep it too long or the tea will taste off (best not to go over 5 minutes).
**If you're using a fine mesh stainer, for this step, simply pour boiling water into your tea and let steep for 2-3 minutes before straining.
Next, add sugar, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk and mix with a spoon. You can add more water if your Thai tea is too sweet or more sugar if it's not sweet enough.
Your last step is to fill a glass with ice, pour the tea in, drizzle some more evaporated milk on top and enjoy!
HOW TO STORE THAI ICED TEA
You can store Thai iced tea in the fridge (ideally in a bottle or anything with a lid) for up to about 5 days. If you don't think you can finish it within that amount of time, pour it into popsicle molds and freeze to enjoy later. The frozen version will keep for at least a month, but trust me it won't last that long. 🙂
OTHER RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
Thai Iced Tea (Cha Yen) Recipe
- ⅓ cup ChaTraMue Thai tea mix
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1⅓ cups sugar
- ⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup evaporated milk + more to sprinkle on top
- Boil 3 cups of water in a kettle or over the stove.
- Put ⅓ cup of Thai tea leaves in a Thai tea filter and place the filter in a large cup or bowl with a spout - this will make it easy to pour the tea later.
- Once the water is boiling, pour it into the filter and move the filter up and down a few times to extract the flavor of the tea. Then, let the tea steep in the cup for another 2-3 minutes before discarding. Do not steep the tea too long or it will taste off (best not to go over 5 minutes). If you're not using a Thai tea filter, in this step, you can pour boiling water into the tea, let it steep for 2-3 minutes and strain with a fine mesh strainer.
- Add 1⅓ cups of sugar, ⅔ cup of sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup of evaporated milk to the tea and stir. If the tea is too sweet, add more water. If it's not sweet enough, add more sugar.
- To enjoy, fill a glass with ice, pour the tea over ice and drizzle some more evaporated milk on top.
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