As we approach the warmth of spring in Charlottesville, I’m drawn back to an icy drink that never fails to quench my craving for a refreshing sweet drink – Thai tea.
Thai tea is a relatively new drink, as the tea itself was only brought to Taiwan from China in the 1980s as a cash crop. Although it is not known exactly when Thai tea began, it has become a staple in street markets, vendors and restaurants throughout Thailand. Even now, it’s still a staple in nearly every Thai restaurant in the United States.
Growing up in northern Virginia where there are a plethora of Thai restaurants, I had the opportunity to experience exquisite Thai cuisine and of course develop my love of Thai tea which was always ordered with the food. .
My love for Thai tea was rekindled here in Charlottesville when I ordered the sweet drink from I have dumplings food truck. I remember sipping the deliciously sweet and creamy drink in the amphitheater as it instantly brightened up the rest of my day. If you walk to the end of Jefferson Park Avenue to Thai silkthey serve delicious Thai tea made in a tall glass and topped with whipped cream, making it more of a dessert than a normal frozen drink.
Although it’s my favorite drink, the cost of buying it almost every day – to satisfy my obsession of course – can add up quickly. Knowing that I wouldn’t have to spend so much, but also knowing that I couldn’t give up drinking Thai tea, I decided to learn how to make it at home.
Thai tea blend starts first with the black tea base and has added spices and edible food coloring that gives it that bright orange color. If you’re worried about consuming food coloring, my advice is not to buy Thai tea blend, but rather buy black tea and add the spices yourself at any local grocery store.
Cooking time: 40-50 mins
Yields: 1 drink or 8-10 ounces
- 3-4 bags or 1 cup of Thai tea blend
- ¾ cup condensed milk – or your choice of sweetener such as sugar, agave nectar or honey
- ½ cup half and half – or your choice of a cream such as oat milk or whole milk
- 4 cups of water
- 3-4 ice cubes
- Bring your water to a boil.
- Add your Thai tea bags. Adding more bags will make the tea stronger, while fewer bags will produce a more diluted drink.
- Let the tea steep in the water over low heat for at least 30 minutes. The longer you let the tea steep, the stronger the flavor will be.
- After steeping, remove the tea bags.
- Let the remaining liquid cool for about 20 minutes or put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes to cool it faster.
- Fill the glass of your choice with ice.
- Add your Thai tea, leaving enough room for your creamer.
- Pour your cream.
- Finally, add your condensed milk and stir well. The orange liquid should take on a nice creamy color.
This easy recipe lets you enjoy this delicious drink without causing major damage to your student bank. Now enjoy your Thai iced tea between classes, sitting on the lawn, in the comfort of your own home or on the go.