Thai tea (also known as Thai iced tea) or “cha-yen” in Thailand, is a drink made from strongly brewed Ceylon tea. However, due to Ceylon tea’s high price, a locally grown landrace (traditional or semi-wild) version of Assam known as Bai Miang, with added food coloring is commonly used. Other ingredients may include added orange blossom water, star anise, crushed tamarind seed or red and yellow food coloring, and sometimes other spices as well. This tea is sweetened with sugar and condensed milk and served chilled. Evaporated milk, coconut milk or whole milk is generally poured over the tea and ice before serving to add taste and creamy appearance.

However, in Thailand, condensed milk and sugar are mixed with the tea before it is poured over ice and then topped with evaporated milk. In Thai restaurants worldwide, it is served in a tall glass, though when sold from street and market stalls in Thailand it is more typically poured over the crushed ice in a clear (or translucent) plastic bag or tall plastic cups. At markets, it can be seen to be mixed through pouring the tea at heights of about 4 feet back and forth. It can also be made into a frappé at more Westernised vendors.

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