Hot Thai Tea Latte and Thai Iced Tea
This easy Thai Tea recipe is made with a homemade DIY Thai Tea mix. However, if you like the pre-made restaurant-style, I will also show you how to make Thai Tea from pre-packaged brands. Jump to Recipe
Hot Thai Tea Latte is not yet a ‘thing’, but Thai Iced Tea or Thai Cold Tea (Cha Num yen) is a very popular drink in both Thailand and even all over the world. This creamy, rich, almost floral black tea is usually served sweet and cold —perfect for Thailand’s scorchingly hot weather.
In Thailand, they’re sold in cafes, restaurants and many street food vendors. Basically, you can find them at every corner just like Timmies (Tim Hortons) in Ontario. However, although Thai Tea is well-loved, in Ontario it is only sold in Thai restaurants, or sometimes in Vietnamese restaurants, making it much harder to find.
On a hot day, you can hardly find a more refreshing drink option as you sit outside under the warming sun, but alas, it’s winter now. I want a piping hot beverage to warm up my cold fingers as I sit in front of my window gazing at the falling snow. Fortunately, making Hot Thai Tea Latte is very easy, as well as its Cold Thai Tea version.
How to Make Restaurant Style Thai Iced Tea
Many of the cha yen vendors use a pre-blended brand of tea, but I’m not sure what brand they actually use considering that in Thailand there are many different brands of pre-blended Thai tea packages, each with varying quality, and different region prefer different brands. However, the one I mostly see in North America comes in a red and white plastic bag packaging, labeled ชาตรามือ (Cha Dra Muer) which literally translates to ‘Hand Brand‘–marketed in English as “Number One Brand since 1945“.
The company was first established in Yaowarat, a China Town in Thailand. The shop, know as ‘Lim Meng Kee‘ began importing Chinese tea; mostly Oolong and Green tea. However, Chinese hot tea was not popular among the Siam, so they started importing red tea to make Thai Black Tea and Thai Milk Tea, which were served with ice. Now, you can find Thai Tea in any large Asian Supermarket or through Amazon and even eBay.
You will notice that using this pre-made Thai Tea, it is overly orange in tone, almost a bright sunset orange. A lovely color, but completely unnatural. You will find that C Yellow Number 6 is listed as one of its ingredients, a food dye that was also used in many North American food products before it got banned. Although studies have shown no connection to cancer-causing agents in C Yellow No. 6, some people vary from it.
How to Make 1 cup of Restaurant Style Thai Iced Tea using Pre-blended Tea, Cha Dra Muer
Use 1 tablespoon of tea leaves for every 350 ml of water. There are many different ways you can steep your tea leaves, either place the tea leaves in a cup and run it over with hot water and allowing it to steep for 3-6 minutes, or letting the tea leaves come to a boil and then steeping it in the pot on low heat for a few minutes. Both methods are fine, you just need to steep the pre-blended Thai tea in hot water for a few minutes until your tea is a nice shade of dark orange.
Add in your favorite sweetener (usually an even mixture of evaporated and condensed milk), taste test this hot mixture to make sure it’s a little stronger and sweeter than how you would usually take it, and pour it over shaved ice just before consuming.
How to Make Organic Hot Thai Tea Latte From Scratch at Home
Usually, Thai people drink Thai Hot Tea (Cha Rorn) or Dark Thai Hot Tea (Cha Dam Rorn) in the morning, but unlike its cold version, it is usually served with no milk content —just sweetened with sugar.
Thai Tea is made up of strongly brewed black tea, and a few spices such as star anise, cardamom, tamarind seed powder and sometimes orange blossom water. Although it’s easier to make the restaurant version of Thai Tea using the pre-blended Thai tea sold at any Asian grocery store, I prefer to make mine from scratch because I want to avoid/remove as many additives in my food as possible.
There are many different types of black tea out there, but the one I prefer for this Thai Tea base is Assam Black Tea; it’s flavourful especially when combined with milk and adds some bright natural color to our tea. In order to add a more smokey profile to this Thai Hot Tea Latte, I’ve decided to combine Assam Black Tea with some Lapsang Souchong —an ancient Chinese tea dried over smoky pine fires, giving it its distinctively smoky flavor.
Because it’s hard to find certain Thai Tea ingredients, for my Hot Thai Tea Latte recipe, I won’t be adding tamarind seed powder and orange blossom water. I could make the tamarind seed powder by frying some tamarind seeds on my stovetop until it’s cooked and then grinding it to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle, but I ran out of tamarind at the moment. For the orange blossom water, I just can’t find it anywhere at my local grocery store, but I will keep an eye out for it and when I get my hand on one, I’ll revamp this recipe to have two versions.
However, even without those extra ingredients, this Thai Tea recipe below is just as delicious as any restaurant’s Cold Thai Tea, but with the creaminess and warmness of a hot latte. Because personally, I think everyone needs a little Hygge in their drinks to compliment and appreciate all that winter has to offer. Now stop reading, although I really appreciate you reading my random ramblings, and make yourself a warming cup of Thai Tea Latte.
Shop for Thai Tea Ingredients
The Best Homemade Hot Thai Tea Latte
- french press
Thai Tea Dry Mix
- 3 tbsp Assam Tea or Black Tea for a stronger flavour, use loose leaf tea
- 4 tbsp Lapsang souchong Tea
- 4 whole Cardamom Pods
- 3 whole Cloves
- 2 whole Star Anise
- 1 whole Cinnamon Stick optional
Thai Tea Liquid Portion
- 2 tbsp Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 2 tbsp Evaporated Milk
- 2 cups Water
- 1/2 cup milk optional
- Combine all "Thai Tea Dry Mix" ingredients. Place the Thai tea mix into a french press.
- Bring water to a boil and pour it over the dry tea leaves. Steep the tea leaves for the desired strength of the brew. Tea usually takes less time to steep in the French press than coffee, but since it's black tea, give it 3 to 5 minutes for a more bold flavour.
- Fill a mug with equal parts sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk and pour in 1 cup of the steeped Thai tea. For an 8 oz. mug, I like to use 2 tbsp of condensed milk and evaporated milk.
- Optional: Warm-up 1/2 a cup of milk, froth it with a milk frother and top your Thai tea. Stir with a cinnamon stick and enjoy.