Monday, July 7, 2014

[KNOWLEDGE] THAI TEA


Thai Iced Tea
Photo by johnjoh / CC BY


Thai Street Vendor Thai Iced Tea and Coffee
Video by ImportFood


Bangkok Chatuchak Market Thai Iced Tea
Video by jasonomicron


Ingredients for making Thai Tea
Photo by johnnystiletto / CC BY



OTHER NAMES: ชาเย็น, Cha Yen (in Thai), Thai iced tea

Thai tea is a popular tea recipe in Thailand. Because the hot climate in Thailand, Thai iced tea can be found easily at street vendors and market stalls. The tea is typically poured over the crushed ice in a clear plastic bag or tall plastic cups. (See image and video on the left) At markets, it can be seen to be mixed through pouring the tea at heights of about 4 feet back and forth. (See 2nd video on the left)

TASTE

This drink has a distinctively floral and spicy flavor, sweetened by condensed milk. Note that Thai tea usually has a bright orange color. This is because red and yellow food colors are often added. [1]

HISTORY

Tea is a native in northern Thailand. Just like the Burmese, the Thais have a tradition of eating tea leaves as a vegetable. The first imported tea plants were coming from China and Taiwan in the late 1980's. [2]

Origin of Thai tea is still unknown, but the recipe of adding milk and spice is very likely to be influenced by Indian’s Chai. While climate in Thailand is often hot and humid, tea is often drunk cold with ice. The use of sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk are far more popular and convenience than cow milk, since they both don’t require refrigeration. 

Thai tea was used to be made from strongly brewed Indian’s Ceylon tea. However, due to Ceylon tea's high price, a local tea known as Bai Miang (a type of Assam) with added food coloring is commonly used. 

Today, Thai tea is widely known in United States and throughout Asia. In America, Thai restaurants usually serve Thai tea in a tall glass. Thai tea with tapioca pearls is also a popular flavor for bubble tea.

PREPARATION:
  1. In a pot, boil 3 cups of water
  2. When water is boiled, add 3 tablespoon of black tea leaves (or tea bag) While fire is still on, steep for 5 minutes. 
  3. Turn off the burner/fire.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk (add more if you want it sweeter)
  5. Add spice (depend on what you prefer: cloves, star anise, crushed tamarind seed, cardamom)
  6. Add an optional 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  7. Mix the tea with a spoon or spatula. Let tea cool to room temperature.
  8. In a tall glass, add ice cubes
  9. Using a tea leaf infuser, pour tea over ice cubes
  10. Lastly, add 3-4 tablespoons of evaporated milk/cow milk/half and half

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