Thai Iced Tea Recipe With Tapioca Pearls

Erika Marty

Thai tea is a delicious Asian tea that combines black tea, milk, and sugar. It's known as cha yen and can be found in Thai restaurants, local markets, and in plastic bags at street food vendors across Thailand. The tasty tea has also become a hit stateside.

Thai tea is made using high-quality Indian Assam or Ceylon black teas. Star anise, orange blossom water, and ground tamarind are added to create a bright orange color and tangy flavor. Coconut milk, half and half, or whole milk are added to create a creamy texture and rich flavor. The tea flavor is a rich blend of tropical notes and spiced aromas.

Find out how you can brew Thai iced tea in your home with this authentic recipe.

Loose Tea Vs. Ready Mix

One of the easiest ways to make Thai tea is to use a Thai tea mix. Tea brands including Pantai, Number One, and Adagio all sell Thai iced tea mix. The blends often contain orange food dye or yellow food coloring as well as powdered milk to make brewing quick and simple.

Thai tea bags have also become more prevalent as the beverage gains notoriety. These offer a convenient way to brew the tea without having to deal with separate ingredients. Just remember, tea bags don't infuse flavor as well as loose teas do. If you must use tea bags, look for one that has enough room for the tea leaves to expand.

We prefer to brew our Thai iced tea using natural ingredients. It makes it easier to add new spices or flavors to play up the natural taste of the tea. Read on for our authentic Thai tea recipe.

Thai Iced Tea Recipe (With Tapioca Pearls)

The total time of brewing Thai tea will depend on if you use a tea mix or brew from scratch. The cook time is a bit longer to brew without using a mix, but we think the flavor makes the effort worth it.


  • 3 teaspoons Assam loose leaf black tea
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cloves star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 vanilla bean (ground if desired)
  • 1 1-inch piece of tamarind (ground if desired)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (ground if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon condensed milk
  • Sugar (as needed)
  • 1 small handful of tapioca pearls

Instructions For Cooking Tapioca Pearls:

  1. Boil water in a large pot on the stove. You should use 7 parts water for every 1 part tapioca pearls.
  2. Add the tapioca pearls and cook until the pearls begin to float. Stir constantly to prevent the tapioca from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Once all the pearls are floating, remove the pot from heat and cover with a lid. Allow the mixture to sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Pour the pearls into a colander and run cold water over the top. Now the pearls are ready to be added to Thai tea or Boba.

Instructions For Thai Tea:

  1. Bring water to a rapid boil on the stove and add in spices. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the black tea leaves to the boiling water. Turn heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Strain the spices and tea leaves using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
  4. Blend in the coconut milk, condensed milk, and sugar. Stir vigorously.
  5. Add the tapioca pearls and ice cubes to a tall glass. Pour the tea mixture on top and enjoy!

Try Thai Tea

This Thai tea recipe creates a tasty milk tea that turns tea drinking into an indulgent experience. The tea tastes like a refreshing breeze and tangy dessert rolled into a coconut.

It pairs perfectly with Thai food and can even be brewed as a hot tea in wintertime. The tea also fits perfectly into Chinese, American, and French cuisine thanks to its rich flavor profile.

The next time you crave a refreshing glass of cold tea, try brewing Thai ice tea. You're sure to love Thai tea so pour yourself a tall glass and enjoy the exotic flavors.

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Erika Marty

As a digital nomad, I get to work from anywhere in the world and discover new teas every week. When I'm not working, you can find me mountain biking, hiking, and petting every stray dog I meet.

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