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Thai iced tea in a tall glass.

How to Make Authentic Thai Iced Tea (Cha Yen)

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Suwanee
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 5 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Learn how to make authentic Thai iced tea (Cha Yen) in two easy methods. Then indulge in the sweet, creamy, rich, and refreshing drink. It's the perfect drink to sip on all year round!


  • 6 cups hot water
  • 1 cup Thai tea mix. Use less (2/3 cups) if you prefer a lighter taste.
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14-ounces can
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons evaporated milk/serving glass


Stovetop Method

  1. In a soup or medium-sized stock pot, heat water until boiling, turn the water off, and remove it from the stove. Add the Thai iced tea mix into the hot water, stirring well until all the leaves are submerged. You'll start to see some of the orange coloring coming through. Let it steep for 8 minutes.
  2. While waiting for the tea to steep, add the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and salt to a large heat-proof bowl, pot, or drink pitcher. Then use a spatula to whisk the ingredients together. Stir well.
  3. When the timer is up after 8 minutes, use a tea sock, fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth, or a splash guard to strain the tea into a heat-proof glass bowl. A thick vase or water pitcher works great. Make sure they are heat safe!
  4. Use a spatula or whisk to stir the tea and the condensed mixture. Have a small taste of the tea and add more sugar if desired. White sugar is better than brown for this recipe. If too sweet, add more salt to round out the sweetness.

Let cool at room temperature, then serve in a glass with ice. Hot Thai tea is great too! Especially the cooler months. Pour 1-3 tablespoons of evaporated milk to top it off, and that's it!

French press method

  1. In a teapot or soup pot, heat water until boiling. Add the tea mixture to a French press while waiting for the water to boil.
  2. Pouring the hot water into the tea mix inside the French press. Stir well until all the tea leaves are submerged. Stir the Thai black tea leaves using a wooden or serving spoon with a long handle. Set a timer for 8 minutes.
  3. Add sugar, salt, and sweetened condensed milk to a small pot, heat-safe, or a large glass bowl while waiting for the tea to steep. A thick wide bottom vase works well too.
  4. After 8 minutes, pour the tea from the French Press into the glass bowl with sugar and milk in it. Use a fine mesh strainer, tea sock, or cheesecloth to catch additional loose tea leaves. (the French press won't strain without some loose leaves escaping into the serving bowl.)
  5. Stir the hot tea well until the sugar and sweetened condensed milk is dissolved using a baking whisk or long wooden spoon. Use a large spatula to scrape the stubborn condensed milk on the bottom to get it to dissolve.
  6. Taste the delicious creamy orange goodness. Add a small amount of sugar, salt, or more condensed milk as needed to taste. Let sit for 30-45 minutes to cool, or put in the refrigerator for a few hours. Prepare a tall glass with crushed iced, and leave 1-2 inches at the top.
  7. Pour 1 cup of the finished Thai iced tea and top off with 1-2 tablespoons of evaporated milk.  Stir well with a straw and taste the delicious and famous Thai drink filled with remarkable flavors in your mouth. Use the drink to help cool off your mouth when eating spicy Thai foods! 

Enjoy your creamy tea drink!

I used a 52 Oz French Press for this recipe. If you don't have a French press, use a medium-sized pot. I used the Pan Thai tea mix and the Number One brand of Thai tea mixture to test my Thai tea recipes. They are sold at most Asian grocery stores.


  • Store your leftover tea leaves in the freezer in an airtight glass jar for longer keeping.
  • Store tea in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a glass container to save the iced tea for a later drink. (More like the next day?!) Lol
  • For an adult beverage version, add 1-2 ounces of Kahlua, Irish bay, or creamy liquor to a fun cocktail. Enjoy!
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  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Thai Food