Let me take you back, friends. To a tiny Thai restaurant around the corner from my single-girl apartment, in a bygone era. Picture this– five girlfriends smushed around a corner table, ordering the spiciest dishes off the menu (and dying equally over how good they all were, and also how our mouths and subsequently, entire bodies were aflame from the inside), our only respite coming from the sweet, creamy Thai iced teas peppered all across the table. I don’t even think we knew whose was whose anymore– we just kept ordering them, passing them around, trying to quell the spice-fire.
And that, my friends, is the LAST TIME I had a Thai iced tea. I KNOW! My life has changed a bit since then, in that I am both neither a single girl anymore, nor do I live in that apartment– but certainly not because I don’t *like* Thai iced teas anymore (even typing that seems like blasphemy). Rather, due to the revolt that dairy has since decided to wage on my body and thus, sweeping them off the table.
So while I was a little glum when I saw a few samples of Thai iced tea dry leaf blends in my review pile, I knew I wanted to give recreation a go. AND THEN: I found coconut milk condensed cream at the hippie grocery store on our block and all was right with the world. I brewed this one up cold, overnight in a mason jar (my favorite iced tea method), and when it was steeped and strained, stirred in some deliciously sweet & creamy condensed coconut milk, gave it a stir, and was immediately transported back to that corner booth, mouth on fire, seeking respite in the cold, spiced, creamy and sweet Thai iced teas of my relative youth. Well done, Arbor Teas! I’ll be recreating this one in my kitchen again for many a day to come.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Arbor Teas
Finally, Thai Iced Tea with NO artificial flavors or colors!
Thai Tea (also known as Thai Iced Tea) is a popular iced drink hailing from Thailand, commonly found in Thai restaurants across the US. Our Organic and Fair Trade Certified Thai Iced Tea is a traditional blend of strong black tea, vanilla bean, cardamom and anise. It can be enjoyed hot or cold with a twist of lime as a self drinker (without milk). Or it can be brewed to create a traditional, restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea when combined with ice, milk and sugar!
To recreate a restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea, we recommend steeping a double strength cup of tea. Then sweeten the hot brew with sugar, and serve over ice. Glasses of Thai Iced Tea are usually topped with dairy, such as sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, half and half, or coconut milk (this last one, of course, is not actually dairy). The final addition of dairy usually rests on top of the ice cubes creating a beautiful layered effect in the glass! For illustrated step-by-step instructions, check out our guide How to Make Thai Iced Tea and/or see our how to video.
NO artificial colors or flavors! Did you know that the deep orange color of Thai Iced Tea served in restaurants is usually attributed to artificial coloring? Well, no longer! We’ve developed an organic teablend that includes no artificial colors or flavors. As a result, when dairy is added to this iced tea it will not turn orange, but a beautiful, natural light brown!
Ingredients: organic black tea, organic cardamom, organic anise seeds, organic vanilla extract, and natural vanilla flavor.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Arbor Teas
Thai Tea (also known as Thai Iced Tea) is a popular drink hailing from Thailand, commonly found in Thai restaurants across the US. Our Organic and Fair Trade Certified Thai Iced Tea is a traditional blend of strong black tea, vanilla bean, cardamom and anise. It can be enjoyed hot or cold with a twist of lime as a self drinker (without milk). Or it can be brewed to create a traditional, restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea when combined with ice, milk and sugar!
Learn more about this tea here.
If any of you have read my foodie reviews for various Thai restaurants in the Portland area, you are probably already aware of my fondness of Thai Iced Tea. In fact, now that I think about it, Thai Iced Tea is probably the first real tea that I fell in love with, because I had discovered it long before I started on my journey with tea in general, and for me, Thai Iced Tea was love at first sip.
So when I was asked to try Arbor Teas’ new Organic Thai Iced Tea Blend, I was excited!
The leaves and spices are very finely cut. This is perhaps the finest tea leaf cut I’ve seen, it is almost like dust. The dry leaf smells delicious, with notes of anise, cardamom and vanilla tantalizing my olfactory nerves. Because of the fine chop on these leaves, I recommend being careful when you measure it … a little goes a long way!
I brewed my first pot of this to try as a hot tea, because I personally think that all teas should at least be tried hot. It has been my experience that chilling often mutes some of the flavor of the tea, so I think to try it properly, all tea should be tasted hot first. Then I brewed more at an intensified strength so that I could add either sweetened condensed milk or coconut milk to it to try it traditional Thai Iced Tea style.
Served hot, this tea is really tasty. It has a good, strong black tea base which gives me a lot of hope for the iced tea version, because one of my biggest complaints about some of the restaurant Thai Iced Teas that I’ve had lately is that the black tea seems weak and is overpowered by the thick, creamy sweetened condensed milk. It is still tasty as a sweet, latte style iced tea, but, I found myself missing the black tea flavor in those other Thai iced teas, the strength of this black tea gives me reason to believe that I will TASTE the black tea in the iced tea I’ll be enjoying over the next day or two.
The spices are also accounted for in this hot cup, with the vanilla providing a sweet, creamy taste that accents the warmth of the cardamom and the zesty anise. This isn’t an overly spiced blend, I think that the spices are in good balance with the black tea and will make a stunning iced tea!
I went on to brew some double strength tea for the fridge. Tomorrow, I’ll be sipping on Thai Iced Tea! I can’t wait!
~The Next Day~
This is really good served as a traditional Thai Iced Tea. I first tried it with coconut milk, which gave it a nice creamy taste and a hint of tropical flair. But I must admit that I prefer it with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. Not a lot of milk, but just enough to give it that sweet, creamy taste that you’d find in a Thai restaurant. YUM!
Since I brewed this at double strength, I thought I’d do a little experimentation. I had some ginger ale in the fridge, so I decided to add a little bit of ginger ale to the glass before I poured the iced tea, and held off on the milk. This made for a very interesting “soda-like” taste. It was not quite as carbonated as a soda, but, it had a little bit of carbonation to it, and a sweet, crisp taste that was a little citrus-y, a little ginger-y and very refreshing. I could still taste all the elements of the tea, and it managed to cut through some of the sweeter elements of the soda that I often find to be a bit much for me. It was – to me – a perfect alternative to the traditional soda pop.