Are you craving a delightful escape to the vibrant flavors of Thailand? Have you ever wondered how to recreate the magic of Thai iced tea in the comfort of your kitchen? With this step-by-step guide, brew the perfect Thai iced tea and savor its exotic blend of tea, spices, and sweetness.

Thai iced tea, also known as “cha yen,” is a beloved Thai street drink that originated in the 1940s. Its distinctive orange hue and rich taste come from the combination of strong black tea, condensed milk, and a touch of spice. Imagine bringing that authentic Thai street experience into your home.

Tea drinkers who value quality and wish to improve should read this guide. The article teaches how to create Thai iced tea for tea lovers and chefs wishing to add Thai flair. You’re in for a tasty adventure that will please your taste buds.

What is Thai Iced Tea?

a glass of cold thai iced tea placed on a wood board

Thai iced tea is a delightful beverage with a rich cultural history. Originating in the vibrant streets of Thailand, this iconic drink has become a beloved symbol of Thai culinary traditions. 

This fragrant tea is sold in local markets, street stalls, classy restaurants, and bustling cafés nationwide. The best Thai iced tea is usually found on Bangkok’s busy streets.

Thai iced tea is a tantalizing blend of strong black tea, sweetened condensed milk, and a hint of exotic spices. This unique blend balances robust flavors and creamy richness with flawless brewing. 

Adding star anise, crushed tamarind, and orange blossom water to tea leaves gives it a distinct flavor. Served over ice, Thai iced tea is a refreshing and cultural experience that captures Thailand’s culinary richness.

What sets Thai iced tea apart is its captivating orange hue, derived from the addition of the iconic sweetened condensed milk. This creamy touch not only enhances the tea’s visual appeal but also provides a luscious texture to every sip. A mint sprig or lime slice enhances the drink’s look and refreshes it. 

It is served in cozy cafés or on Bangkok’s bustling street markets, symbolizing Thai friendliness and culinary expertise. It’s diverse and simple for tea lovers and beginners to enjoy because of its sweet and spicy flavor. 

What Does Thai Iced Tea Taste Like?

The tea’s robust black tea base is complemented with the sweet tango of condensed milk for a creamy texture. A hint of vanilla and spices, like star anise and cardamom, give richness to the drink. Thai iced tea is a decadent drink with a delightful mix of sweetness, creaminess, and exotic spices. 

What is Thai Iced Tea Good for?

While star anise and cardamom aid digestion, powerful black tea contains antioxidants that boost health. The touch of sweetness from condensed milk enhances mood and serves as a delightful treat. Thai iced tea is a joyous experience beyond flavor, whether enjoyed as a refreshing drink or with a meal.

Thai Iced Tea Ingredients

This royal elixir, with its roots deeply embedded in Thai culinary heritage, beckons with a rich blend of tradition and indulgence. Let’s explore the essential elements of Thai iced tea.

1. Black Tea Leaves

Begin with the foundation of Thai iced tea by selecting high-quality black tea leaves. Their robust flavor forms the base of this exquisite drink, providing a bold and aromatic essence. Opt for loose leaves for an authentic touch.

2. Sweetened Condensed Milk (Optional)

Infuse your Thai iced tea with a touch of sweetness and creaminess using sweetened condensed milk. This rich ingredient balances the black tea’s strength and adds velvety texture. Adjust the amount to your desired sweetness.

3. Evaporated Milk

Elevate the richness of your Thai iced tea with the inclusion of evaporated milk. This dairy delight adds a luxurious creaminess, enhancing the overall taste of the beverage. Adjust the amount to achieve your preferred creaminess level.

4. Sugar (Optional)

Customize the sweetness of your Thai iced tea by incorporating sugar. Whether you prefer a hint of sweetness or a more pronounced flavor, this ingredient allows you to tailor the drink to your taste.

5. Ice Cubes

Immerse yourself in the refreshing experience of Thai iced tea by adding ice cubes. They not only cool down the beverage but also contribute to its signature chilled presentation. Feel free to adjust the ice quantity based on your preference for temperature and dilution.

6. Star Anise (Optional)

For a subtle hint of spice and an additional layer of complexity, consider adding star anise to your Thai iced tea. This optional ingredient introduces a touch of exotic warmth, elevating the overall flavor profile.

7. Cardamom (Optional)

Adding cardamom to your Thai iced tea adds refinement and aroma. Experiment with the quantity to find the perfect balance that complements the other flavors in your beverage.

8. Orange Blossom Water (Optional)

Infuse a floral and citrusy note into your Thai iced tea by considering the addition of orange blossom water. This optional ingredient adds a fragrant complexity, uplifting the overall drinking experience.

9. Cinnamon Stick (Optional)

Enhance the depth of flavor in your Thai iced tea with the addition of a cinnamon stick. This spice introduces a warm and comforting element, contributing to the overall richness of the beverage. 

How to Make Thai Iced Tea 

boiling thai tea

Follow these simple steps to make a delightful Thai iced tea that tastes like the Thai cuisine you want.

  1. Select Your Thai Tea Blend: Begin by choosing a high-quality Thai tea blend. Opt for a black tea blend with star anise and crushed tamarind for richness.
  2. Boil Water to the Right Temperature: Heat water to just below boiling, around 185 to 194°F (85 to 90℃). This ensures the tea leaves release their full flavor without bitterness.
  3. Steep the Tea Leaves: Place the Thai tea leaves in the hot water and let them steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the color; you’re aiming for a vibrant, deep orange hue that characterizes Thai iced tea.
  4. Sweeten to Taste: While the tea is steeping, add sugar to taste. Traditionally, Thai iced tea is sweetened with condensed milk, but you can adjust the sweetness according to your preference.
  5. Cool and Chill: Allow the brewed tea to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it until it’s nice and cold. This step is essential for achieving the signature refreshing quality of Thai iced tea.
  6. Prepare a Glass with Ice: Fill a tall glass with ice cubes, ensuring it’s ready to welcome your chilled Thai tea.
  7. Pour and Garnish with Milk: When the tea is sufficiently chilled, pour it over the ice, leaving some room at the top. Top it off with evaporated or condensed milk for that creamy finish.
  8. Give It a Gentle Stir: Using a long spoon, gently stir the Thai iced tea to blend the flavors and create that delightful swirl of colors.
  9. Serve and Enjoy: Your homemade Thai iced tea is now ready to be enjoyed. Sip and savor the unique combination of bold tea flavor and sweet, creamy goodness.

Tips for Making Thai Iced Tea

Create the perfect Thai iced tea with these essential tips. Follow these easy yet practical tea-making tips to improve your skills and enjoy its rich flavors. 

1. Best Brewing Time

To get the full spectrum of flavors in your Thai iced tea, pay attention to the brewing time. Allow the tea leaves to dance in hot water for about 3 to 5 minutes. This optimal duration ensures a harmonious infusion, extracting the rich essence that defines an authentic Thai tea experience.

2. Optimal Water Temperature

Maintain the authenticity of Thai iced tea by adhering to the ideal water temperature. Aim for a gentle simmer, not a rolling boil, to preserve the delicate nuances of the tea leaves. This nuanced approach guarantees a brew that captivates with every sip.

3. Best Rinsing Technique

Before embarking on your Thai iced tea journey, perfect the art of rinsing the tea leaves. After a quick rinse with hot water, the leaves begin rising, generating a mesmerizing infusion with every pour.

4. Quality Tea Leaves

Choose a robust black tea with a malty undertone, ensuring a base that stands up to the boldness of traditional Thai spices. Quality tea leaves lay the foundation for an unforgettable brew.

5. The Dance of Condensed Milk

In the realm of Thai iced tea, condensed milk orchestrates the symphony of flavors. Strike the right balance between sweetness and creaminess, allowing the condensed milk to meld seamlessly with the brewed tea. This dance of ingredients is the secret to a luscious and authentic Thai iced tea experience.

6. Add Larger Ice

Crafting the perfect Thai iced tea involves paying attention to the ice. Opt for larger ice cubes to cool the tea swiftly without diluting its potency. This strategic use of ice ensures that each sip maintains the robust character of the brew.

7. Presentation

Serve it in a tall glass, allowing the layers of tea and condensed milk to create a visually appealing spectacle. The aesthetics add to the overall enjoyment, turning your Thai iced tea into a sensory delight.

Thai Iced Tea Nutritional Facts

Indulging in the delightful flavors of Thai iced tea is a treat, but it’s essential to be mindful of its nutritional profile. In a standard serving:

  • Calories: 150 cal
  • Carbohydrates: 35 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Fat: 1.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 g
  • Sodium: 20 mg
  • Potassium: 60 mg
  • Sugar: 30 g
  • Calcium: 40 mg

Disclaimer: Modifying your tea, such as adding extra sweeteners or using high-fat milk, can increase the calorie and sugar content. Despite this, Thai iced tea boasts antioxidants, potentially offering various health benefits.

Thai Iced Tea Benefits

top view of thai iced tea on wooden table

Let’s explore the seven benefits of Thai iced tea that make this delicious drink suitable for your body and taste buds.

1. Relief from Inflammation

Savoring Thai iced tea could be your pleasant route to relief from inflammation. Anti-inflammatory antioxidants in this tea may relieve pain and improve health.

2. Protection Against Diabetes

For those mindful of their health, Thai iced tea emerges as a flavorful ally in the battle against diabetes. Regular ingestion may help balance blood sugar, making it a tasty treat for sweet tooths.

3. Improved Heart Health

Indulgence in Thai iced tea can be a heart-smart choice. The tea’s unique flavor may promote cardiovascular health, making it a pleasant, heart-healthy drink.

4. Energy Boost

Need an energy pick-me-up? Thai iced tea could be your answer. The combination of caffeine and invigorating spices makes it an excellent choice to help kickstart your day or overcome the afternoon slump.

5. Possible Remedial Effects for Asthma

Some studies suggest that Thai iced tea might offer potential relief for people with asthma. While additional research is needed, the beverage’s anti-inflammatory effects may benefit respiratory health.

6. Increased Bone Strength

Enjoying Thai iced tea may contribute to more than just a delightful sip; it could also play a role in supporting bone strength. The tea contains minerals that promote bone health, offering a delicious way to care for your skeletal system.

7. Reduced Risk of Ovarian Cancer

For women mindful of their well-being, incorporating Thai iced tea into your routine might have added benefits. Some research suggests regular drinking may lower ovarian cancer risk, making it a quietly empowering decision.


Does Thai Iced Tea Have Caffeine?

Yes, Thai iced tea typically contains caffeine, as it is often made from a strong black tea base.

What is Thai Iced Tea Made of?

Thai iced tea contains brewed black tea, sweetened condensed milk, and sometimes star anise or orange blossom water.

What Flavor is Thai Iced Tea?

Thai iced tea has a sweet and creamy flavor, with a unique combination of the robustness of black tea and the richness of sweetened condensed milk.

Why is Thai Iced Tea so Orange?

The vibrant orange color of Thai iced tea comes from the addition of food coloring or natural colorings like tamarind or orange blossom water.

Is Thai Iced Tea Stronger Than Caffeine?

Thai iced tea contains caffeine from the black tea base, so it does have caffeine. However, its strength depends on the tea concentration and can vary.