How to Make Thai Iced Tea at Home

Thai Iced Tea

The Thai Iced Tea is a sweet and creamy beverage that originates from Thailand. The essential ingredients of this beverage are black tea, milk, sugar, and spices. Learn how to make Thai tea at home with this simple recipe and easy-to-follow instructions. Thai tea is popular in Southeast Asia and is offered in many Thai restaurants.

Origins of Thai Tea

In actuality, the tea itself is a very recent idea that was reportedly introduced to Thailand in the 1980s from China. Traditional versions, which date back about 30 years, included black tea, condensed milk, and crushed ice. Thai Tea started to become a common ingredient in Thai street food around this time.

What’s in Thai Iced Tea?

Thai iced tea is often created by steeping a tea mix in hot water, mixing it with sweetened condensed milk, and then topping it with crushed ice. However, you may also prepare your own simple syrup, use standard white sugar, and combine it with any type of milk you like.

I’ve noticed that there aren’t many labels on the packets of Thai iced tea mix themselves. A tea of some kind (black, green, or even “tea powder”), maybe sugar, and always food coloring are listed on each of my test packages.

Why Is Thai Iced Tea Orange?

Thai tea is easily recognized for its vivid orange color. Black tea is not orange, though. What then gives it this unique color? It turns out that this might also have anything to do with its past. The king’s tea was traditionally prepared by the palace cooks. They then utilized the same leaves once more to provide enough for the domestic staff. They added spices to the drink because the repurposed leaves lacked flavor and scent. These include spices like tamarind and turmeric. Drinks naturally become orange when these spices are added.

Another explanation would be that Thai restaurant cooks applied orange coloring to distinguish Thai tea from Thai iced coffee, which looks similar. And finally, some sources state that when cooks adapted the drink to fit Western palates, chefs added the bright orange color. The added coloring was mainly to attract people’s attention. However, they also loaded it with spices and flavorings to make it more exciting.

What Does Thai Iced Tea Taste Like?

Thai tea contains sugar and condensed milk, which makes it sweeter than plain tea. Additionally, the milk thickens and creamies it. Therefore, the mouthfeel is chilly and reviving, but the spices also make it warm. The type of black tea used to prepare it imparts the flavor that is most noticeable. There are, however, a number of additional flavors that are present. Overall, if you enjoy tea, boba milk tea, or milkshakes, you’ll love this beverage. It’s also a great summertime beverage because many people serve it over ice.

The Calories of Thai Iced Tea

Around 200 calories are found in traditional Thai tea. However, you may lower the overall calorie count by adding more ice to the drink, cutting out on the sugar, and using skim milk. However, this calorie count rises sharply – up to 300 calories – if you add boba topping. Unfortunately, this beverage is not low in calories because it contains a lot of sugars and fats (from the milk). However, you may significantly reduce the number of calories in this beverage by leaving out the condensed and evaporated milk.

The Best Thai Tea Brands

After consulting with some of my friends, I found a few types of Thai tea mixed packages online. I tried three popular Thai tea mixes for this recipe:

  • Pantai Thai Tea Mix: Strong flavor without being too bitter. This mix is described as “authentic restaurant style” Thai tea, and I believe it!
  • Thai Tea Cha Thai: Good flavor, but not as bold as the Pantai Thai Tea Mix.
  • Cha Tra Mae brand Thai Tea Mix: Bitter and acidic notes. This tea was my least favorite.  

Pantai Thai Tea Mix was hands down my favorite among the three because of its bold flavor. Since you will be adding ice to this Thai milk tea, you want to make sure your tea is strong enough that it won’t be diluted by the crushed ice.

How to Make Thai Tea at Home

For the full list and amounts of ingredients, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  • Choose between using a pre-made Thai iced tea mix or plain black tea. This is the exact ingredient I used (bought on Amazon) to prepare this recipe, and it tastes just like the Thai iced tea you’d have at a restaurant. If you’re hesitant, look at the other mixes that are available and read reviews. I am unable to speak on their behalf.
  • After drinking your tea, choose a creamer. Due to my preference for less sweetness, I chose to use half and half instead of sweetened condensed milk. Try sweetened condensed milk or combine one part condensed milk with one part half and a half if you enjoy your tea sweet. You can also use any plant-based milk, evaporated milk, coconut milk, or ordinary cow’s milk.
  • Infuse the tea. I boiled 2.5 cups of water, covered the pot, and cooked the sugar and lose tea in it for around 20 minutes. On the whole, steeping tea for more than five minutes results in a tea that is generally bitterer.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh strainer or filter.
  • Allow the tea to cool.
  • Finally, fill a cup with ice (crushed, cubed, whatever you’ve got) and add the prepared and cooled tea approximately two-thirds of the way full. Fill the glass with milk or creamer of choice and stir to combine.
  • The ice will help dilute some of the sweetness so we want a strong and sweet base. Top it off with more ice if you prefer. Enjoy!


Does Thai Tea Have Caffeine?

Yes, given that it is made with black tea, it has about 20 to 60 mg of caffeine. Given various dilution factors, such as water, milk, and ice, the total amount of caffeine, however, varies substantially.

Which Tea Is Best for Making Thai Milk Tea?

Thai tea mix that is available in powder form is used to make traditional Thai iced tea. Use black tea for this dish as a healthier alternative. You can use loose tea and strain it through cheesecloth or a tea infuser. However, using tea bags is the best choice because they are easier to use in this recipe.

Can I Use Any Kind of Milk?

Yes. It’s not necessary to use both sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. You can use half and half, heavy cream, or even whole milk. I don’t recommend using low-fat milk because they’re not creamy enough and the beverage would be too watery. 

What If Thai Tea Is Too Bitter?

Thai tea concoctions can occasionally be too bitter for certain people’s tastes. Because everyone’s sense of taste sensitivity varies, the astringency of the tea can be too much for some people. Then, how may Thai tea be made less bitter? It’s simple. Here are a few ideas:

  • Maybe you soaked it too long. This indicates that the leaves are soaked in the hot water for an excessive amount of time. We advise steeping the leaves for no more than an hour, but no less than 30 minutes. The majority of our readers have found this formula and timing to be very effective!
  • If you’ve already prepared the mixture, add a bit more water until the flavor is more harmonious.
  • Or use roughly 30% of the tea leaves if you’re going to brew the mixture.
  • To lessen the astringency, you can add a bit of extra cream or half-and-half. You’ll get a creamier version of Thai tea, which is still really good.
  • To dilute the beverage, add more ice.

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