One of the things in Thailand I’m addicted to is Thai Iced Tea, or Cha Yen as the Thais call it. It’s sold everywhere in Thailand and at less than 60 cents a glass, it’s cheap.
Now, Thai iced tea is completely different than iced tea in the US. It’s thicker, it’s a rusty orange color, it’s loaded with evaporated milk and, oh, did I mention the sugar? Thai iced tea is probably one of the sweetest things you’ll ever drink but, man, it’s delicious.
So, the next time you’re craving a Thai iced tea and you’re nowhere near a Thai restaurant, here’s how to make it. It’s not that difficult. Really.
Buy Authentic Thai Tea – Thai iced tea is made with a particular blend of Thai red tea, tamarind and anise. You can make Thai-style iced tea with other teas, but it won’t taste the same. The best place to buy Thai tea is at a Thai supermarket but, if you don’t have one close by, you can also order it from many places online that sell Thai food and drink.
Ingredients You’ll Need To Make Thai Iced Tea – 1 cup of Thai tea leaves or Thai tea powder, 1 ½ cups of sugar, 1 ½ cups of evaporated milk, 6 cups of water – which will make enough tea for 4 to 6 people.
How To Make Thai Iced Tea – Pour the water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the tea, turn down to a simmer and now stir the tea and water for 10 minutes.
Pour the liquid through a ‘coffee sock’ (this is a large tea filter available in Thailand or from any Thai products website), so that all the tea is left behind in the sock. Wash out the saucepan and return the liquid to the pan and simmer again.
Then add the sugar and stir until melted (if you add the sugar when the tea is not cooking, it doesn’t taste as sweet as real Thai tea). Take the tea off the heat and cool.
When tea is cool, pour it over ice and add the evaporated milk. You can either stir in the milk to get the rusty orange color, or you can serve it with the bottom of the glass of tea still dark brown and the top a creamy orange, which can then be mixed in by your guests before drinking.
Authentic Thai Iced Tea in a Bag – If you want to serve a completely authentic Thai iced tea, then it should really be served in a plastic bag with a straw. In Thailand, at most of the little tea stalls, Thai iced tea comes served over ice in a plastic bag and that plastic bag is put into another small plastic bag with handles so it’s easy to carry.
It sounds like such a little thing, but I still find Thai iced tea tastes just that little bit better if it’s in a plastic bag. Most Thais would agree with me too.
Now that you know how to make Thai iced tea, don’t forget, it’s loaded with calories so you don’t want to drink too much of it or you’ll gain weight. Also, because the tea is very strong, the orange color stains very easily.
If you spill it on anything while you’re making the tea, wipe it up immediately, or you’ll soon find yourself living with a kitchen covered in orange stains.