It’s getting hot in Texas! Everyday it’s been over 90 deg F – and the humidity is climbing! One of the best ways to beat the heat, is a tall, refreshing glass of iced tea.
On one of these super hot weekends, my family and I visited my parents-in-law and we decided to get Thai food for dinner. While we were waiting for our food, we ordered a some cold drinks off the menu. I ordered something I had never had before – Thai Tea.
Thai tea is an ice cold, milky, sweet, tea. It is made with very strong black tea, that is sometimes flavored with vanilla or other spices, such as star anise and orange blossom. In particular, the most famous brand of tea used for Thai tea also contains a yellow food coloring, which gives the distinct ochre hue to the drink. Thai tea is sweetened with sugar or condensed milk, and then more milk is poured on top, giving a really cool layered appearance.
Honestly, when I first tasted the Thai tea I was blown away! It was cold, refreshing and sweet, with a hint of vanilla aroma. I was hooked! I had to make a healthier version of this at home.
The first thing I did was raid the pantry for black tea bags. I found a couple of large black tea bags and brewed a super strong batch of tea. Since these tea bags were unflavored, I added a slight vanilla flavor using pure vanilla extract. This provides so much gourmet flavor and really elevates the humble glass of tea.
Instead of using condensed milk to sweeten and make the tea milky, I opted to use two ingredients: honey and coconut milk.
Local raw honey is a great sweetener that also has many health benefits. Firstly, local raw honey will contain bee pollen that has been shown to provide natural allergy relief. Daily doses of raw honey can raise the antioxidant level in the body and boost the immune system. There is even a type of honey called Manuka honey. It is now used to help treat wounds, due to its high antibacterial strength. Of course, if you don’t want to use honey to sweeten your tea, you could use another type of sweetener such as maple syrup, stevia, agave etc.
My second healthy twist on this recipe is using turmeric powder. Turmeric contains curcumin, that has been shown to reduce inflammation and may also help to fight cancer cells. Other scientific studies have shown that turmeric can help to slow down or prevent blood clots, and even reduce pain. In this drink, not only are we using turmeric for its health properties, but we are also getting a slight yellow color, to mimic that yellow food coloring effect in the original Thai tea.
I used coconut milk in this recipe because I love that slight coconutty sweetness and creaminess. Coconut milk is a great alternative to other milks. It can help lower cholesterol, may improve your blood pressure, and doesn’t contain any dairy, soy or grains, so it’s perfect for people that may have to limit these ingredients in their diets.
When making a glass of tea, wait until the brewed tea is luke warm then stir in the honey. It’s a lot easier to stir in the honey and have it dissolve in the tea, when the tea is a little warm. Then add a handful of ice before topping it off with a little coconut milk. Now watch as the colors swirl together as you mix the milk into the tea. So pretty!
I hope you give this recipe a try. It is really so refreshing and a cinch to throw together. If you do, take a photo and tag me at @nourish_with_renata and #nourishwithrenata on Instagram! I would love to see what you make!
- 2 large black tea bags typically the tea bags used for making iced tea
- 2 quarts of boiled water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tsp raw honey
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- 1-2 tbsp coconut milk
- 1 handful of ice
In a large pitcher, add the tea bags and pour over the boiled water.
Allow to steep till the tea is a very dark black color, about 10-15 mins.
Remove the tea bags, add the vanilla extract, stir well and allow the tea to cool.
For each glass of tea, pour lukewarm tea into a glass and add the honey and turmeric. Stir very thoroughly. Add in the ice, leaving enough room at the top of the glass for the coconut milk. Gently pour over the coconut milk.
Stir before tasting to mix the coconut milk into the tea. Enjoy!
Feel free to use another type of sweetener, if desired.
Store leftover tea in the fridge for up to 1 week.