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Thai tea is a worldwide favorite beverage at Thai restaurants, including those in the United States. It’s a culinary combo of Thai street tea and the Western love for sweetened and strongly flavored iced beverages.
Thai tea is iced black tea with milk and spices. It has a unique flavor profile that’s distinct from other teas: pleasant and earthy, enjoyed for its rich, sweet taste.
Since black tea contains strong groups of polyphenols with disease-fighting potential, Thai tea may offer some health advantages.
Plus, the spices in Thai tea are abundant in powerful antioxidants and plant compounds that have been shown to promote health and fight disease.
Thai tea can, however, be heavily sweetened with added sugar.
Read on to discover what Thai tea is and why people rave about it, as well as the science behind its ingredients and their potential health benefits.
Thai tea, also known as Thai iced tea, is a spiced and iced black tea drink popular in Thailand and surrounding countries.
It has a distinctive orange-red color due to its spices — such as star anise, cardamom, and tamarind seed — and red food coloring.
Thai tea can be prepared from loose black tea leaves or Thai tea bags, and it may be served hot instead of iced.
Sweetened condensed milk, or evaporated milk mixed with sugar, is added to Thai tea before chilling it. This gives it a creamy layer on top. Generally, you’ll detect earthy undertones, nutty overtones, and a punch of sweetness.
The ingredients can vary, but typically the tea is made with a Thai tea mix, which can be made at home or purchased from a Thai restaurant.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), an 8-ounce (240-mL) serving of Thai tea provides 154 calories and consists of a considerable amount of sugar (
Other nutrients include:
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 31 grams
- Fat: 2.8 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sodium: 64.8 milligrams
- Sugar: 24 grams
- Calcium: 6% of the recommended daily intake (RDI)
- Iron: 2% of the RDI
Thai tea also contains caffeine. Tea bags contain an estimated caffeine concentration of 218 mg/L (2).
The amount of caffeine in different brewed teas may vary, though. Caffeine content is determined by a variety of factors, including where and how the tea leaves were grown and processed and how the beverage is prepared.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring, brain-boosting stimulant that people all over the world consume. Although there is evidence that caffeine improves performance, it may have numerous side effects, including sleeplessness and anxiety (
Thai tea may offer some health benefits, including anti-inflammatory potential, prebiotic functions, and more. These benefits can be attributed to the following components of Thai tea