Authentic Thai tea is made of orange-dyed black tea mixed with a bit of sugar, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. It can be served either hot or cold. When served cold, you have the people’s favorite, Thai iced tea.
The use of canned evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk came from the lack of refrigeration. Now it is synonymous with authentic Thai iced tea. However, in my recipe below, I opted to use fresh milk instead.
Thai tea uses both sweetened condensed milk and sugar. Why not stick to one sweetener? The reason is the sugar adds most of the sweetness. The sweetened condensed milk adds a bit of sweetness, but mainly it adds the creamy richness. When both are added, you have perfection.
For a beautiful presentation, the drink is topped with a splash of milk that creates a beautiful layering effect. If you stick to the more traditional evaporated milk, it tends to stay more at the top because the milk’s water content has mostly “evaporated” off. This makes evaporated milk much lighter in weight compared to the tea that sits below. Fresh milk also creates this layering effect if you pour slowly but it settles more quickly.
Whenever I make Thai iced tea, I usually make a large batch in which I add sugar and condensed milk while tea is still hot. I keep the fresh milk separate until I’m ready to serve so I can create that beautiful white layer as mentioned earlier. Of course, you can skip that and mix all the ingredients together.
Enjoy the recipe below.
Thai Iced Tea
- 7 cups hot water
- 7 heaping tablespoons Thai tea leaves
- 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3-1/2 cups favorite milk (1/2 cup per serving; keep separate)
- Ice cubes (1/2 to 1 cup ice cubes per serving)
- In a medium size pot, bring the water to a boil. Add Thai tea leaves. Turn off heat and allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes.
- Pour the pot of tea through a fine mesh or cheesecloth directly into a pitcher, discarding the tea leaves.
- Divide tea into 7 servings. For each serving, add 1/2 cup to 1 cup ice and slowly pour 1/2 cup milk over top.