How to Make Thai Tea

Jan 27, 2021
This post may contain affiliate links. Simple Loose Leaf is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to If you love drinking tea with milk, Thai tea is a must try. It’s very flavorful, refreshing and usually served chilled. You can find it in almost any Thai restaurant and it accompanies Thai food perfectly. And the best of all, you can easily make it at home.

What is Thai tea made of?

Thai tea is made with strong black tea, hot water, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk and sugar. It can be served hot or iced. Thai tea can be made in different ways, from different ingredients. Traditionally, it’s made with spices such as star anise, cardamom and cinnamon, but you can make it with pure black tea leaves as well. Tea used for making Thai tea is a special Thai tea mix made with black tea leaves, vanilla flavoring and yellow food coloring. But rest assured, even if you don’t have the mix or want to make a 100% natural Thai tea, it will still taste delicious and refreshing. The base of Thai tea is a cup of strongly brewed black tea. You will usually need to use about 2 teaspoons of black tea leaves per cup and steep them for at least 10-30 minutes. Since Thai tea is made with a lot of sugar, any potential bitterness from over-steeping the tea leaves will not be noticeable at all. Choose broken or CTC tea leaves to get the best flavor. Lighter black teas won’t be suitable for making Thai tea. Thai tea is very sweet – you will usually need to add 2-3 teaspoons of sugar per cup. However, if you want to avoid sugar, feel free to add honey or any other sweetener of your choice. If you are using condensed milk, be careful with adding sugar – condensed milk is already very sweet. The alternative is evaporated milk, which has the same texture and creaminess, but it isn’t nearly as sweet as condensed milk. Alternatively, use half-and-half, full-fat cow’s milk or any non-daily creamy milk such as cashew or coconut milk.

Why is Thai tea orange?

Thai tea is made with strong black tea and condensed milk. When brewed with hot water, a cup of strong black tea will have a deep red-brown color. Add a bit of condensed milk and you will get a brown orange drink. However, Thai tea is often intensely orange. Special coloring is added to the regular Thai tea mixes that give this drink a specific orange color. You don’t need to use Thai tea mix or add any coloring to enjoy the best flavor, as coloring itself won’t impact the flavor.

Thai tea Benefits

Thai tea is made with black tea leaves, so it may provide the same benefits as a regular cup of black tea. However, traditional Thai tea contains a lot of sugar, which could have a very negative impact on your health. If you want to enjoy both the benefits and flavor, opt for honey instead, and use a healthier milk or a creamer. Black tea contains caffeine, smaller amounts of amino acid L-theanine, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Antioxidants in black tea could help boost immune system[1], increase focus, help reduce risk of some cancers[2], and have a positive effect on brain health[3]. Pure black tea may also aid in weight loss[4], but make sure to drink it without added sugars. IF you want to avoid caffeine, you can make Thai tea with decaffeinated black tea too. Most decaf black teas will have smaller broken tea leaves and will give a smooth and strong infusion.

How to Make Thai Tea

To make the simple cup of Thai tea, you will need only a few ingredients – black tea leaves, sugar, condensed milk and hot water. Our recipe includes a few extra ingredients, but feel free to exclude them or use a Thai iced tea mix instead. To make your Thai tea as quickly as possible, you can use tea bags instead of loose leaf tea, but don’t expect as intense and complex taste. Loose leaf tea is a far better option for making any milk tea if you want to enjoy the best possible flavor. Thai tea is usually sweetener with sugar, but you can use other sweeteners too.

Thai Iced Tea Recipe

Iced Thai tea is usually served over crushed ice. For example, Teh Tarik or Malaysian milk tea can be served both hot and cold and usually doesn’t contain spices, Indian Chai milk tea is always served hot and made with regular milk rather than condensed milk or creamers, and Boba tea is usually chilled and served with boba pearls. 

You will need:

  • 2 rounded or heaped teaspoons of black tea leaves such as Kenilworth Ceylon tea or Organic Assam
  • 1-3 teaspoon of honey or sugar
  • 1 drop of vanilla or bitter almond extract
  • a teaspoon of crushed cinnamon
  • 1 ½ -2 cups of water
  • 1-2 spoons of condensed milk
  • Crushed ice
  1. Add two cups of water into a smaller saucepan.
  2. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add tea leaves and spices. If you are using unbroken tea leaves, you can gently crush them to get the stronger flavor.
  5. Add cinnamon and vanilla or bitter almond extract.
  6. If you are using regular sugar, add sugar too. However, don’t add honey to boiling water. If you are using honey instead of sugar, add it after about 15 minutes.
  7. Steep for 15-30 minutes, covered. Strain.
  8. Fill a large glass with crushed ice and pour strained tea into a glass.
  9. Add 1-2 spoons of condensed milk and serve. 
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Every person is different and may react to different herbs and teas differently. Never use teas or herbs to treat serious medical conditions on your own. Always seek professional medical advice before choosing home remedies.


[1] [2] [3] [4]

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