thai iced tea

Sometimes I bargain with myself.  You know: “if I’m really good about paying down my bills this month then next month I can reward myself with a little fun shopping,” or “if I go running three days this week I can pick up a blueberry turnover at the (amazing ) local bakery for breakfast on Friday.”  Another of my standard internal conversations goes like this: “if I get up early on Saturday and go to Pilates/yoga and get all my errands out of the way I can treat myself to Thai food for lunch.”

I love Thai food.  (I love it more than a friend.)  One of my favorite things to order at Thai restaurants is Thai iced tea.  It’s sweet, it’s creamy, it’s a little smokey, it’s orange, and it’s so easy to make.

I tracked down some Thai tea leaves at a local Asian grocery store though if those aren’t easily accessible where you are I’m sure it can be easily found and purchased on the interweb.  Get on it.

Thai Iced Tea

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup Thai tea leaves
  • ¾ to 1 cup sugar, depending on sweetness preference
  • ¾ cup half and half

Bring water to a boil.  Stir in tea leaves, remove from heat, cover with lid, and let steep for five minutes.  Strain tea through fine mesh sieve into pitcher.  Stir in sugar until it dissolves.  Put pitcher in fridge for two hours to chill.  Serve over ice with a splash of half and half.

mid-week treat

Last week I ate at an Indian restaurant with friends and had some of the finest Masala Chai Tea I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying.  Now, I’ve definitely sampled my fair share of chai tea over the years and used to buy cartons of the pre-made liquid kind from the grocery store, but after researching recipes this weekend I realized how easy it is to make from scratch.  And since I am always a fan of making things from scratch whenever possible I couldn’t resist.

Making the tea did require a trip to the spice section of the grocery store to buy ingredients in whole form: cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves, and black peppercorns.  Making the tea also gave me a chance to use the mortar and pestle my mom gave me for Christmas.  And I am always looking for an excuse to bust out the mortar and pestle.

I wish the masters of the interweb could figure out a way to transport scent through our computers because man oh man if you could smell it while the spices were steeping!  It was awesome– sweet and spicy at the same time.

After straining the spices you add milk, a bit of sugar, and finally the tea.

This cup is for you:

Masala Chai Tea

(Adapted from Indian Masala Chai recipe found on )



  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 black teabags (I used decaffeinated but certainly caffeinated would be fine too)

In a mortar crush the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, and black peppercorns, or use a coffee grinder.

Transfer the crushed spices to a small saucepan, add the water and ginger and bring to a boil.

Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let steep for 5 minutes.

Add the milk and sugar to the pan and bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat and add the teabags.  Cover and let steep for 3 minutes.

Stir the chai, and then strain it into a warmed teapot or directly into teacups.