How to Make Thai Iced Tea

Thai Iced Tea

If you have ever eaten in a Thai or perhaps a Vietnamese restaurant, then you have probably seen an interesting orange colored beverage in a tall glass go by with a waiter or waitress you’ve often wondered just what kind of drink this might be. You’re pretty sure it’s a Thai drink…. after all, you are in a Thai restaurant! But, just what is it made of?

What you have seen is called Thai Iced tea. Surprise! It doesn’t look much like any tea that you are probably used to seeing. But, it is tea! It’s just prepared in a different way that you may not have heard of before. It looks intriguing, and it tastes wonderful, and is very welcome on a hot summer day, or whenever you are eating hot, spicy food.

Normally, Thai restaurants are not too giving when it comes to their recipes. But, the recipe for Thai Iced tea wasn’t too hard to come by. It is such a staple Thai beverage that almost anyone who knows their Thai food can tell you how to prepare it.

Thai Tea Recipe


  • Tea: The type of tea that is used in Thai restaurants is called Lapsang Suchong and it can be found on the internet. You can also use any good quality black loose tea and end up with the same results. You will need around 2/3 cup of black tea leaves to make two glasses of Thai Iced tea.
  • You’ll also need 1 and 2/3 cup of good-tasting water, preferably purified
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 ½ cups of evaporated milk, which is the amount that is in a 12 ounce can of the drink.
  • Add to the recipe ingredients a few pieces of kitchen equipment, such as a teakettle or a large cooking utensil to boil water in, a large tea strainer, or you can go Asian for this recipe and try to locate a traditional Asian tea sock! Have ready a pitcher that can take the heat of boiling water, and a long spoon for stirring.


  • Place the water into the kettle or utensil and bring it to a rolling boil.
  • Remove the water from the stove’s heat. You don’t want the tea to boil, as this would make it bitter.
  • Add the 2/3 cup of black tea leaves to the water, and stir them with the long spoon to make sure that they have all been covered with water. You want the tea leaves to steep for 5 minutes.
  • When 5 minutes have passed, it’s time to strain the tea into the pitcher, and remember, it needs to be a pitcher that can take the heat, for that tea is going to be very hot. This might take a little time, as 2/3 cup of tea is quite a lot to strain. Poor the tea through the strainer a little at a time, and when it begins to fill up with wet tea leaves, you can stop and remove the tea leaves, and then began to strain the tea again.
  • Once you have strained all of the tea, and it is safely in the pitcher, you can stir the ½ cup of sugar into the brew. It is best to do this while the black tea is still fairly hot, since the heat will help the sugar to dissolve faster. Have you ever tried to get sugar to dissolve in cold tea? It doesn’t work very well.
  • Now, you need to allow the tea to cool for a while, so place it in the refrigerator, and be patient! You’ll get to sample this tea soon enough!
  • An hour and a half goes by slowly…
  • Are you ready? Good! The tea should be cool enough now, so you can take it out of the refrigerator. Get out two tall glasses, preferably made of clear glass, as it shows up the intriguing looks of the tea much better than a solid colored glass would.
  • Fill the two glasses with ice cubes. Take the tea pitcher, and pour the cool tea over the ice, but do not fill the glass all the way to the top! You want to leave around one fourth of the glass empty up at the top.
  • Get out the evaporated milk, and slowly pour it into the top of each glass. You want two layers of color to show, so make sure you pour carefully to insure that they do. If you are having trouble with the layers mixing into each other on the first glass, you might want to try this tip on the second glass as you are preparing it. Take your iced tea spoon, and hold it over the glass. Pour the evaporated milk slowly onto the back of the spoon, letting it run into the glass of tea. This should do the trick.

You will need either a straw or an iced tea spoon to drink Thai Iced tea properly. Some people like to mix the milk into their iced Thai tea right from the start. Others enjoy sipping their sweetened tea through the layer of milk. It all depends on how it tastes best to you, and it’s fun to experiment with both ways!

Jon Stout is Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. For more information about Iced Tea and green tea go to the Golden Moon Tea web site

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