Yes, Thai tea typically contains caffeine from its black tea ingredient. To be clear, this answer covers both the American version and traditional Thai tea.
The American version, which also contains black tea, is a sweet and creamy iced tea beverage that is inspired by the traditional Thai iced tea. On the other hand, traditional Thai tea is also made from black tea leaves, often Assam tea, and a mixture of spices like star anise, tamarind, and sometimes orange blossom water. The tea itself has a more robust and complex flavor due to the spices used.
Black tea naturally contains caffeine, so unless the Thai tea is specifically labeled as “caffeine-free” or made from caffeine-free tea substitutes, it will likely contain caffeine. The caffeine content varies depending on factors such as the type of tea leaves used and the brewing method.
The American version is often served in Thai restaurants, cafes, and bubble tea shops. While it may be similar to traditional Thai tea, there are certain characteristics that distinguish it:
- Base Tea: The base tea used for American Thai tea is usually a blend of black tea, spices, and flavorings. The specific blend can vary, but the tea often includes ingredients like black tea leaves, vanilla, cardamom, and various spices.
- Sweetness and Creaminess: American Thai tea is known for its sweetness and creaminess. Sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk is commonly added to the tea to give it a rich, creamy flavor. Sugar or other sweeteners may also be used to enhance the sweetness.
- Vibrant Color: Similar to traditional Thai tea, American Thai tea is often artificially colored to achieve a vibrant orange hue. Food coloring is typically used to create this visually distinctive color.
- Iced Beverage: American Thai tea is almost always served over ice, making it a refreshing and cooling drink, especially popular during warmer months.
- Variations: In the U.S., there are many variations of Thai tea available. Some versions may include boba (tapioca pearls) to create a Thai tea boba drink, while others might incorporate fruit flavors, coconut milk, or even alcoholic spirits to create unique twists on the classic drink.
In conclusion, yes, Thai tea most likely will contain caffeine from its black tea content. This applies to all versions whether American or the traditional version.