What Does Thai Milk Tea Taste Like?

Pretend you’re on vacation.

Thailand. The Land of Smiles. Usually, when people think of Thailand, they think of golden Buddhist Temples and saffron-clad monks. They might think of the mighty Muay Thai fighters.

They may also think of the cool, sweet, and delicious Thai Milk Tea. But what is Thai milk tea and what does it taste like? Keep reading to discover more about Thai Milk Tea along with a handy little recipe guide!

What Does Thai Milk Tea Taste Like?

Thai Milk Tea is a wonderful flavor experience. Thai Milk Tea is a really tasty take on masala chai. Thai Tea, like masala chai, is typically brewed with black tea like Assamese or Ceylon black, cardamom, cinnamon, tamarind, star anise, sugar, condensed, evaporated, coconut, and/or whole milk. 

But what do all of these ingredients mean in terms of taste? Together they synergize to be spicy, sweet, innervating, refreshing, and did we mention sweet?

One of the secret weapon ingredients in Thai tea, condensed milk is as sweet as can be. Condensed milk is a popular ingredient in South East Asian beverages as anyone who has had the pleasure of trying Vietnamese coffee can attest!

But overall, Thai Milk Tea is a unique, sweet, refreshing, and energizing tea experience. Imagine all the cool languidness of a cocktail with the little umbrella by the beach or the pool, but with all the homey and nourishing flavors and caffeine of milk tea.

Thai Milk Tea is the next level of milk tea. While some milk tea can come out a bit lukewarm or even bland, Thai Milk Tea takes the flavor and aroma palette up to 11.

Thai Milk Tea is also reminiscent of the popular boba tapioca-pearl bubble teas. As tea and tea production is a relatively new thing in Thailand, the origins of Thai Milk Tea are a little fuzzy.

Some attribute its creation to a general with an interest in Western tea culture.

Wanting to emulate something like a British style milk tea popular in other parts of Southeast Asia like Hong Kong and Singapore, he developed the Thai Milk Tea.

Some others suggest that it is a riff off of the bubble-tea craze, just swapping out the tapioca pearls with condensed milk. Others still suggest it is Thailand’s answer to India’s masala chai since they both have many of the same ingredients. 

Whatever the case may be, Thai Milk Tea is sweet with a capital S. It has awesome spiciness thanks to the exotic herbs and spices that go into its brewing.

The black tea gives it a notable punch that will keep you brewing this drink again and again. As for the ice? The ice is cool. Very cool.

How To Make Thai Milk Tea

Thai Milk Tea in a plastic cup

Brewing Thai Milk Tea yourself is simple and fun. The real challenge with this one is mainly securing the ingredients.

Some may find it a bit difficult to grab star anise or coriander. But feel free to swap or substitute as best you can. Here’s how Thai Milk Tea is made!

What You Will Need

  • Black tea
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Tamarind
  • Star anise
  • Sugar
  • condensed, evaporated, coconut, and/or whole milk. 
  • Ice 
  • Pot or saucepan
  • Strainer
  • Filtered or purified water
  • Bowl

How to Brew It

  • First, bring 1 cup of your filtered or purified water to a boil in your pot.
  • Next, add your black tea, herbs, spices, and sugar then continue to stir the mixture for 3-5 minutes. Turn down the heat and let it steep for 10-20 minutes.
  • Now, carefully strain your tea mixture over a bowl Once it is nice and dark, set it aside to cool off a bit. You can even place it in the fridge to cool it faster.
  • Once your tea has cooled, fill a cup with your ice.
  • Pour in 2 tablespoons of your condensed or evaporated milk. Feel free to add 1 tablespoon of whole or coconut milk, too!
  • Add in your tea and give the whole thing a stir!
  • Enjoy your refreshing tropical drink!

Flavor Factors

drinking milk tea

When you prepare your Thai Milk Tea for the first time, you may notice some flavors might be a little off or not so palatable. If that is the case then try altering some of the ratios of herbs, spices, and other ingredients.

For example, if it is too bitter, try steeping for a shorter time. This will cut down on excess bitterness from your black tea leaves.

You can also try brewing with a little less tea if the flavor is still too strong or too bitter tasting. Some varieties of Thai Milk Tea use Oolong or green tea.

You can try switching it up and adding less robust and less naturally bitter-tasting teas like these to bring out a smoother taste in your Thai Milk Tea.

Adding in more sugar or more condensed milk should also do the trick. For those who are not familiar with using condensed or evaporated milk, these ingredients are very thick and syrupy.

But most importantly they are exceptionally sweet. This should ideally balance out any bitterness or intensity from your black tea leaves.

Also, if the herbs and spices are too overpowering, say like the coriander or star anise, then feel free to leave them out! Luckily Thai Milk Tea is exceptional even when paired down to just the basics.

If you want to try just the black tea and the milk to get your feet wet go right ahead! For those who are newcomers to use vibrant and vivacious herbs and spices, then certainly take things slow.

You don’t have to clear the spice rack for this one on a first time brewing experience!

Another factor that may affect tea is your water quality. Be sure to use filtered or purified water!

Now You Are on Vacation!

So, what is Thai Milk Tea, and what does Thai Milk Tea taste like? It is a delicious, sweet, and refreshing take on chai that will keep you coming back for more.

This wonderful tea brew is spicy, very sweet, a little nutty, refreshing, and innervating. Why not give this extraordinary tea a brewing today, courtesy of the Land of Smiles?

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