Sunday mornings are my reading days, the one thing I look forward to when I wake in the morning before my partner’s family packs off for church. There is a rush of names being yelled out from downstairs to have the last of the breakfast, drink the last of the milk, and if everybody is ready or not. Then a flurry of kisses and goodbyes, and I settle in for my Sunday routine.
A good book. Absolutely essential. There’s also nothing worse than having a good book without having a good drink. Some days, you might want for a bit of rum and lime. I may be a cappuccino fiend, but some Sundays I also make tea. Thai iced tea, to be exact.
It is unbearably sweet, but also a little bitter, the way I like it. The thick, suffocatingly strong, sweet tea is made with an irresistible, aromatic bag of Thai tea dust. I’ve made this with different types of black tea dust before, and you can buy a few types from the supermarket at Siam Paragon. Although they’re good, they won’t be as authentic as this particular brand of black tea dust. It’s sold in little shops at BTS stations, which you can find in Nana, Phloen Chit, and Chit Lom.
There’s only a few things to remember when making Thai iced tea to make the perfect cup:
- Always brew your tea with sugar already in it.
- Always steep your tea directly in water (if you are using dust and not tea bags), and then drain it. Not the other way around
- Remember your ratios, and always be a little on a the sweet side. Condensed milk only goes that far
- Make it ahead of time, so you can serve it really chilled without too much ice
I find that this ratio works best to my liking, and because I like my tea fairly strong. For a 600ml pot of water, add 6 tablespoons of tea dust, with 3 – 4 tablespoons of white sugar. It is best if you find your favourite ratio, and stick with it for consistency. I always make my tea in the same tin, with the same measurements, for enjoyment.
This year has been chock full with books, my only regret of which is that I lack the memory to recall all that I’ve read. And so I am off, with Martin Booth’s The American in my hands, while my tea cools in the afternoon sun.
Thai Milk Tea
serves 4 – 6 small glasses
Tea dust isn’t like leaves; you would have to use a lot for a good strong cup. My ratios were mixed by trial and error, till I got my preferred strength. Using tea bags are always easier to measure out. Once the tea is ready and strained, it is often less than what you’ve begun with, so always prepare a little more. The tea is thickened with carnation milk and further sweetened by sweet condensed milk.
600ml boiling water
9 tablespoons of Thai tea dust (or roughly 6 – 8 tea bags depending on strength)
4 tablespoons white sugar
5 – 10 cloves
2 – 4 sticks of cinnamon
Serving for one glass
1 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp carnation milk
Mix water, tea dust, sugar, (cloves and cinnamon if you’re going for this), and steep for about 15 minutes or more. Never put ice into the warm or hot tea to serve, as that just melts into a layer above the tea and becomes fairly swamp like to drink. Strain the dust (or take the tea bags) out, and chill in the fridge for best results.
To serve: in a glass, line the bottom with the condensed milk and carnation milk. Pour the tea over, mix and serve. Do the same when serving it iced, although the last step would be to pour the chilled tea into a cup of ice before serving.
One trick to serving quickly is taking warm, room temperature tea (already mixed with condensed and carnation milk) and shaking it vigorously in a cocktail shaker with ice. Then strain out and serve with fresh ice in a glass.
What’s your favourite beverage to relax with?