Thai tea is a mixture of black tea, anise, food colorings, sugar and milk. It is usually served chilled (Thai iced tea) although a variation is Thai hot tea that is commonly served in the morning.
Thai tea was developed in (of all places) Thailand, but has since become popular throughout the world. It is served in Thai restaurants, and due to the popularity of this tasty food Thai tea has become well-known.
In Thailand, Thai tea is served in a tall glass. The milk (either evaporated or whole milk) is poured over the tea and ice – it is not mixed prior to serving. This gives Thai tea a creamy appearance and taste.
When ordered as a take-out drink, Thai tea is served in a clear plastic bag that has first been filled with crushed ice.
Thai Tea Variations
There are several different versions of Thai tea. In Thailand, the drink described above is known as cha-yen. Thai tea served without milk is known as dark Thai iced tea (cha-dam-yen). There are also two versions of hot Thai tea – cha-ron (with milk) and cha-dam-ron (without milk).
As its popularity spread throughout Asia and to America and Europe, localized versions of Thai tea were developed. In some Asian countries, tapioca balls are added to Thai tea to make Thai bubble tea. Some western vendors sell Thai tea frappés.
Other variations of Thai tea substitute half-and-half cream or coconut milk for the condensed milk. Additional spices can be added as well. Some of the most popular for Thai tea are orange flowers, vanilla, clove, and cinnamon.
Thai tea is also available as a premixed powder. Just mix the powder with boiling water and add sugar and milk to taste. Hardly traditional, but a quick way to brew up a refreshing drink.