Thai Milk Tea, It’s An Asian Thing
This recipe for Thai Iced Tea with Milk is a healthy twist to a refreshing favorite throughout Asia. perfectly paired with hot summer days and even hotter curries. This homemade spice-infused tea keeps the signature traits of Thai tea but omits the artificial colorants, sugar, and cream.
My First Experience Of Iced Thai Milk Tea
As a full-time pharmacist I would attempt drinking a cup of hot milk tea in the mornings before the rush but in reality landed up downing it ice cold about 2 hours after it was made 🙈, can anyone relate 🙋♀️ and to be honest I kind of liked it…when I got to Thailand and ice-cold milk tea was actually a thing… I was immediately intrigued and with all the spicey curries we were eating, I was relieved 🥵☀️.
Milk tea culture is huge and thriving with a massive influx of tea shops throughout Asia! People queue for hours to get their hands on the latest teas or tea-flavored ice-creams/cheesecakes/cakes from trending spots.
I too started drinking cold Thai milk tea at every cafe we stopped at until I realized just how much sugar/condensed milk I was drinking 😳 so I came up with an alternative.
The Tea Leaves:
The Thai red tea leaves are bought at local supermarkets in Asia or Asian stores worldwide. The tea itself holds the flavor when enjoyed with hot or cold water, black or with milk. The beauty of this tea lies in its great spice-infused flavor. Available as both loose leaves and, as I later discovered, in tea bags (and Instant powders are also available containing the tea, sweetener and milk powder combined).
There are plenty of different Thai tea brands available with slightly different tastes but with a few similar traits like hints of cardamon and stronger notes of vanilla. For health-conscious individuals, there is a downside to using Thai tea as your tea of choice since most of the Thai red teas available are loaded with yellow or red artificial colorants and have sugar included in them!
Original Thai milk tea recipes call for a ton of sugar or condensed milk (or a mix of both). I don’t want to take anything away from how it’s originally made because it really is delicious, and if you haven’t tried it, do yourself a favor and give it a go. But that’s just it, sugar is addictive!! I’m simply offering a healthy version that’s practically sugar-free and carries less than a quarter of the calories. I’ve written an article or two mentioning dates, and how beneficial they are in weight loss and are proven to be one of the healthiest sugar substitutes. My Date Syrup happens to work beautifully in this milk tea recipe and is used instead of sugar and condensed milk.
Some original Thi milk tea recipes use coconut milk which tastes great and is a dairy-free option, bonus! Others use regular cows milk or cream. I decided to use a mixture of coconut milk and almond milk. The almond milk (also dairy-free) will bring down the calorie and fat content as opposed to using plain coconut milk. If you really want the best tasting Thai milk tea have a look at my recipes on homemade almond milk and coconut milk made from scratch. Using whole-food ingredients is always the best way to go and in terms of taste, there’s no comparison!
80 per Glass
Nutrition In This Thai Milk Tea Recipe
The values below are based on one tall glass of Thai milk tea, made with almond and coconut milk in a ratio of 1:1. You can half the calories if you’re using only almond milk.
- Calories: 80 C
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Sugar: 6 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Fat: 6 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
Amounts per serving:
- Carbohydrates 8g 50% 50%
- of which is Sugar 6g 37% 37%
- and Fibre 1g 1% 1%
- Fat 6g 37% 37%
- Protein 1g 1% 1%
The Ingredients Needed:
- Strong black tea leaves/bags (Ceylon is best).
- 1 Litre boiled water OR cold water for overnight cold-brewing (explained below*)
- 1 piece star anise
- 2 pods cardamom
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1/8 vanilla bean or ½ tsp vanilla essence
- Ground tamarind (to taste). Optional
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Optional
- 2 tbsp date syrup or 4 whole pitted dates (fresh)
- Coconut Milk (almond milk for lower fat alternative)
- Ice cubes.
Cold-brewed tea shows higher levels of antioxidants than hot brewed tea. Seen in this study.
1. Steeping The Tea
Mix the tea leaves with the spices in hot water and let it steep for a few minutes (3-5).
If you’d like to reap the anti-oxidant benefits this great tea has to offer, simply pour the leaves/tea bags into cold water and let the tea steep slowly overnight in the fridge.
2. Making Date Syrup
While the tea is steeping prepare the date syrup. The sweetener I chose to replace the condensed milk is my homemade date syrup (I used this recipe all the time and store a big batch in the fridge for weeks). Basically, you need to soften a few dates by covering them with water and boiling them up on the stove, don’t forget to remove the pips, once soft enough, blitz in a blender and make smooth date syrup.
3. Making The Cream Mixture
Blend the coconut and almond milk into the Date Syrup and give it another go in the blender until very smooth and has a consistency of custard or thick cream. If you’d prefer a less fattening option substitute the coconut milk for almond or soy milk.
Finally, add the cream mix to the brewed and cooled Thai tea. For effect, try pouring the mixture over the back of a spoon into the tea, slowly resting the mix on the surface, giving it a whirly effect.
Top it up with a couple of ice blocks. And there you go, an ice-cold, refreshing, cafe-style Thai milk tea.
Thai Milk Tea Recipe
- Tea strainer if using tea leaves
- Blender (for creamy mixture)
- 1 handful Strong black tea leaves/bags. Ceylon is best.
- 1 piece star anise
- 2 pods cardamom
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon stick
- 1/8 of vanilla bean or ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 1 Pinch of ground tamarind to taste. Optional
- 1/4 tsp almond extract. Optional
- 2 tbsp date syrup or 4 whole pitted, preferably fresh dates
- 50 ml Coconut Milk almond milk for lower fat alternative
- 5 whole Ice cubes.
- Start by steeping the tea. mix the tea leaves with the spices in hot water for a few minutes (3-5).
- While the tea is steeping put together the creamy counterpart. The sweetener I chose to replace the condensed milk is my homemade date syrup. (I used this recipe all the time and store a big batch in the fridge for weeks). Basically, you need to soften a few dates by covering them with water and boiling them up on the stove, don't forget to remove the pips, once soft enough, blitz in a blender and make smooth date syrup.
- add coconut milk to the Date Syrup and give it another go in the blender until very smooth and has a consistency of custard or thick cream. If you'd prefer a less fattening option substitute the coconut milk for almond or soy milk.
- Finally, I add this mix to the brewed and cooled Thai tea. For effect, try pouring the mixture over the back of a spoon into the tea, slowly resting the mix on the surface.
- Top it up with a couple of ice blocks. And there you go, an ice-cold, refreshing, cafe-style Thai milk tea.
Thai Milk Tea Notes:
The original Thai milk tea recipe calls for on average 2 tbsp condensed milk and cream or a mixture of cream/coconut milk. This means one quick down of this delicious drink is on average 250 to 350 Calories per serving, compared to our 80 Calories in my healthier version! Not to mention the amount of sugar you’re consuming!
Food for thought- just because it’s only a drink doesn’t mean it can’t pack on the pounds just as quickly as a meal would, loaded with the same amount of calories. By using dates as our sweetener of choice we are combining the sugar content it has with fiber, meaning the sugar is released slowly and used up effectively when compared to the spike and fall in blood sugar levels with the alternative condensed milk. Have a look at my article on homemade date syrup and how incredible it is to use as a sweetener and how it can actually help you lose weight!
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