A great Vietnamese spot (Vietnam 1, for all you lucky Richmond-dwellers) has Thai iced tea on their menu. I had it when I was small, loved it, and walked across the parking lot to the Asian grocery store to buy some.
My first couple attempts to brew it hot were disappointingly weak. This beverage is best served ice-cold, brewed triple-strength, heavily sweetened, and topped with cream. For proportions, I used this nice recipe.
- 1 cup Thai tea (available at your local Asian grocery store or maybe Whole Foods, they seem to like carrying traditional Asian products at a high markup)
- 4 cups water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Heavy cream (to taste, but generally a couple tablespoons)
- For non-dairy, use coconut milk
I used the Wangderm brand tea, which comes with its own filter sock! Unfortunately, for a brew of this size, you must disregard the filter sock.
Boil the water. Dump all the tea into the pot, because straining it all out is a problem for Future You. Also, if you can’t handle a few small tea leaves in your tea, you’re a wimp. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true. Additionally, you’re cheating yourself out of the magical art of divination by tea leaves. There’s nothing better than seeing a shape, looking it up online, and coming to the conclusion that your future will present several challenges and also some good fortune.
Add sugar to your boiling tea. Take in a deep breath as your home starts smelling like a far better place. Continue boiling for 3-5 minutes, then let cool on the stove for 1 hour. Your pot will be half wet tea, half liquid. Grab a pitcher that won’t stain and dump the tea into there through a strainer or sieve. Dump the sieved out tea into the trashcan or down the drain, but be careful because the orange coloring can stain your surroundings. Stick it in the fridge to chill it the rest of the way.
Prep your glasses by adding some ice cubes. It’s time for that Future You problem! Pour the tea through a strainer on the way into the serving glass, and don’t be a wimp about the ones that get in anyway.
Add heavy cream to the glass, then observe the beautiful color gradient that you’ve got. I prefer drinking it when it’s only slightly stirred, but you can also just mix it into one big, plain, boring single shade of orange. That’s fine too, you homogenizing conformist. Behold the gradient and drink this lovely tea.