Thai Tea Recipe

Thai Tea
Ron Dollete/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
    10 mins
Ratings (6)

Similar to Thai iced tea and Thai iced coffee, Thai tea is a mix of black tea, spices, sugar and typically sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk -- serve chilled. But there ​are two styles of Thai tea: with or without milk. Tea with milk is called cha yen. Tea without milk is called cha dum yen.

It's a great drink for fans of masala chai and other spiced or milky black teas. It is popular in Southeast Asia and in many American restaurants that serve Thai food.

This Thai drink has traditionally been made ​from strongly brewed Ceylon tea. Other ingredients may include added orange blossom water, star anise, crushed tamarind seed or red and yellow food coloring, and sometimes other spices as well.

Thai tea is often made with a low-grade powder or syrup, but in this recipe, it gets its flavor from good quality black tea and spices.

If you like Thai tea, you might also enjoy Cha Yen Thai iced tea, which is similar to Thai iced tea, but replaces the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk with lime juice and jasmine essence.

What You'll Need

  • 2 tbsp. strong, loose-leaf black tea, such as Ceylon, Assam or Keemun (Alternatively, you can use 4 teabags of strong black tea, or you can make a caffeine-free Thai Iced Tea with 4 tbsp. rooibos)
  • 1 piece star anise
  • 2 pods cardamom
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1/8 vanilla bean (optional)
  • ground tamarind, to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp. evaporated milk (or coconut milk or whole milk)
  • Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

How to Make It

  1. Steep the tea and spices in boiling water for five minutes.
  2. Strain the tea.
  3. Stir in the sugar and sweetened condensed milk until both are completely dissolved.
  4. Pour into two small glasses and drizzle with evaporated milk (or coconut milk or whole milk).
  5. Serve immediately.