Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thai-style Iced Tea

Thai iced tea is easy to make and wonderfully refreshing to drink. Various types of tea can be used in this recipe for iced tea, from Ceylon to orange pekoe (or any black tea, such as Assam) to green tea. While packaged iced tea mixes appear attractively easy to make, once you try making iced tea from scratch, you'll wonder why you never did it before - it's nearly as easy, and tastes far better! It's also healthier for you (no chemicals, colorings, or preservatives). So make up a jug of Thai iced tea today and see for yourself how simple and thirst-quenching it is!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


  • SERVES 2 (Double the recipe for 4 or more)
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 4 tea bags (such as Assam, Orange Pekoe, Ceylon, etc..) OR 4 tsp. loose black tea (e.g. Lipton's Yellow Label)
  • juice of 1 fresh lime or lemon
  • 1 inch piece galangal OR ginger, grated
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup white sugar (taste-test for sweetness, adding more sugar as desired), or equivalent of syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • ice cubes or crushed ice
  • optional: 1-2 drops jasmine essence (available in tiny bottles at Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • garnish: slices of fresh lime or lemon and sprigs of fresh mint or basil


  1. Boil 4 cups water in a pot on the stove (I use a pot instead of a kettle, which makes adding the other ingredients easier).
  2. Add the loose tea or tea bags. Stir well. Allow tea to steep for at least 5-6 minutes while you add the other ingredients.
  3. Grate the galangal or ginger into the tea (it doesn't have to be grated too finely, as the larger pieces will be strained out later). Stir well.
  4. Add the sugar or syrup, starting with 1/4 cup. Stir to dissolve. Taste-test for sweetness, adding more sugar (1-2 Tbsp. at a time) until your desired sweetness level is reached.
  5. Squeeze the lime or lemon juice into the tea, and add a pinch of salt. Stir well.
  6. If using, add 1-2 drops of jasmine essence. Note: Be careful not to add much more than 2 drops, or your iced tea will turn out too "perfumed".
  7. If you have been using tea bags, use a spoon to press them to the side of the bowl before removing them (to extract as much of the tea as possible).
  8. Using a strainer and a ladle, strain the tea into a jug. Place jug in the refrigerator for an hour, or until tea is cold. OR, if you want to enjoy the tea right away, strain into glasses filled with ice.
  9. Garnish the glasses with fresh lime slices and sprigs of fresh mint or sweet basil. Add straws if desired. ENJOY!!

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