Inside Thai Iced Tea

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Part of the Everything Hapa Asian Food Series, an in-depth dialogue into Fusion Cuisine, the Week of Tea Series explores the origins and fusion trends of Teas found around the world. As the convergence of Eastern and Western cultures becomes ever more prevalent, incarnations of traditional cuisines will be considered a commonplace.

Thai Iced Tea –A popular Southeast and East Asian beverage, Thai Tea or Thai Iced Tea (Cha-Yen) is made from the strongly-brewed oxidized leaves of Camellia sinensis, known as black tea with a combination of evaporated milk, coconut milk or whole milk. Thai Tea is served chilled with the milk generally poured over the tea, creating a layered and creamy appearance. In Thailand, condensed milk and sugar are typically mixed and poured over crushed ice and then topped with evaporated milk before being served in a clear plastic bag.

Origins of Thai Tea dates back to 1941 with the end of European colonial domination of Southeast Asia. Following the pioneering efforts of Mr. Prasit Poomchusri and the founding of Raming Tea Co. plantations in northern Thailand, the country became world-renowned for black tea cultivation. Due to limitations of fresh milk storage in a tropical climate and through European influences from the French and English, the use of sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk were adopted and commonly used in the region.

As a modern twist, Thai Tea can be found in a variety of mixes including Dark Thai Tea – Thai Tea served chilled without milk and sweetened with only sugar, Lime Thai Tea – a variation of Dark Thai Tea but flavored with lime or mint and sugar, Thai Bubble Tea – Thai Tea served with tapioca balls and Thai Tea Frappe – Thai Tea Milkshake. The drink flavor can also be found in ice cream, cookies and other desserts. Link, Link

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