As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Welcome to the ultimate showdown of Thai beverages! In this post, we will explore the differences between Thai iced coffee and Thai iced tea and help you decide which is the perfect drink.
Whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or a tea lover, we’ll break down the flavors, ingredients, and cultural significance of these popular Thai drinks. So grab a seat, and let’s dive into the world of Thai beverages.
What Is Thai Iced Coffee?
Thai iced coffee, or Oliang as it’s called in Thailand, is a popular drink. It’s got strong, dark coffee, sweetened condensed milk, and sometimes a hint of cardamom or other spices. In Thailand, this drink can be found on just about every corner and is known for its robust flavor and creamy texture. This drink has taken the world by storm and offers a refreshing burst of flavors in each sip. The coffee here is typically a dark roast that keeps its rich chocolate taste even when the ice starts melting.
On top of that, you add condensed milk, which means your drink will feel super luxurious! The sweetness can also be adjusted to your preference, which is an added bonus. Some recipes call for spices like cardamom almond or vanilla extract flavorings.
This gives the Oliang Thai iced coffee even more depth if that’s what you’re looking for! It might be just me, but this can also be enjoyed at any time of day! Morning, pick me up? Check! Afternoon treat? Check! At night, because you’re craving some seriously delicious Thai iced coffee… Check!
What Is Thai Iced Tea?
Thai Iced Tea is Cha Yen, and as a drink, it looks just as good as it tastes. This classic concoction is made using a strong black tea, usually Assam or something similar, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, with a touch of sugar.
It creates this cool, refreshing glass of sweet and creamy goodness. One thing that separates it from other teas is the way it’s steeped.
Along with the tea leaves, they use things like cardamom and star anise, giving it a unique flavor profile. If you want to take things up a notch, add a hint of vanilla for extra aroma. Typically, the vibrant orange is made through food coloring in commercial Thai Tea mixes.
Instead, though, authentic Thai Iced Tea gets its color from high-quality tea and spices without using any artificial ingredients. You can enjoy this drink hot or cold; the flavor will make you return for more each time.
Differences Between Thai Iced Tea And Thai Iced Coffee
Flavor Profiles and Taste
The taste of Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea are as distinct as their ingredients. For starters, Thai Iced Coffee has a powerful taste. It’s creamy but also refreshing. The dark roast coffee used in this drink keeps its rich, chocolatey taste even after the ice melts. Since coffee can be bitter, sweet milk is added to balance it out and give it a thick texture. This drink is very customizable when it comes to sweetness.
Thai Iced Tea on the other hand is creamy and sweet. Rather than being robust, this tea’s flavor profile is light and refreshing. The traditional version of this warm weather favorite contains Assam or something similar for a strong base. Spices like cardamom and star anise are mixed in for depth of flavor, and some people throw in a bit of vanilla for fragrance. Orange food coloring is added to commercial Thai tea mixes to achieve the vibrant orange color often associated with this drink.
Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea also differ in the amount of caffeine they have. Thai Iced Coffee, made with dark roast coffee, has more caffeine due to the type of bean it’s made with. At the same time, Thai Iced Tea, made with black tea, has less caffeine. One cup of coffee is estimated to have 94.8 mg of caffeine, while one cup of Thai Milk Tea only has 47 mg. However, the amount could change depending on the specific type of coffee or tea used, how it was brewed, and how much you drink.
Health Benefits And Potential Drawbacks Of Thai Iced Coffee And Thai Iced Tea
While delicious and refreshing, Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea have different health benefits and potential drawbacks.
Oliang (Thai Iced Coffee)
Thai iced coffee, or Oliang, is made with strong, dark coffee. Sweetened condensed milk and a touch of cardamom or other spices are added to the coffee. The coffee beans used for Thai iced coffee are often dark roasts that have antioxidants that can help prevent damage to your cells. Antioxidants help protect your cells from serious diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, sweetened condensed milk and other flavorings contain calories, so drinking Oliang in moderation is essential. Additionally, the amount of caffeine in Thai iced coffee depends on the type of bean and amount of coffee used, but an 8-ounce (237ml) serving of regular coffee contains around 96mg.
Cha Yen (Thai Iced Tea)
You may have heard about Thai iced tea before because it’s another popular drink among locals. Although Cha Yen isn’t actually made with tea leaves itself, it is made with strong black tea from Assam or a similar blend. It also includes sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Drinking black tea has been proven to reverse some arterial dysfunction associated with heart disease while improving blood oxidation — an essential indicator of heart health.
Similar to Thai iced coffee, Thai iced tea contains antioxidants too, which help maintain your immune system healthy. However, high sugar content can lead to increased acidity in the stomach, which can cause issues such as heartburn and stomach ulcers over time.
Lastly, just like how the caffeine in Thai iced coffee varies depending on the brewing method, such as via cold brew or hot brew, there’s no exact measurement for Cha Yen regarding caffeine content. Generally speaking, a cup of regular Thai tea typically contains between 20 and 60mg of caffeine.
Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea both have health pros and cons. These drinks are loaded with sugar and calories because of the condensed milk and other flavoring they add. Consuming too much could cause weight gain and overall health problems.
On top of that, they also include caffeine, which has a few side effects like sleeplessness and anxiety. If you’re sensitive to caffeine or have heart issues, it might be a good idea to cut back on these drinks entirely.
Lastly, while the ice used in these drinks is typically produced commercially in hygienic and safe conditions, there can sometimes be issues with how the ice is transported, potentially leading to health problems. However, this is generally not a concern when these drinks are prepared in restaurants or home in other countries.
Making Thai Iced Coffee And Thai Iced Tea At Home – Recipes And Tips
Making Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea at home is a simple process that requires a few key ingredients and steps.
Thai Iced Coffee Recipe
- 3 tablespoons Thai coffee powder
- ¾ cup off-the-boil water
- 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Ice cubes
- Combine coffee and hot water in a mixing jug and steep it for 5 minutes. You can do this inside a cloth filter bag set in your mixing jug, in a French press, or directly into the mixing jug if you will filter it through a dripper later.
- In a mixing glass, combine condensed milk and sugar.
- Pour brewed coffee into the mixing glass.
- Place ice cubes in a glass and pour the coffee mixture over the ice.
For vegan version: use condensed coconut milk made with 14 oz can full-fat coconut milk, 3 tbsp maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cardamom powder, and 1/4 tsp almond extract.
Thai Iced Tea Recipe
- 1 cup of Thai Tea Mix
- 4 cups of water
- 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup of half and half (some folks also use coconut milk, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk)
- Ice cubes
- Get the water boiling. You’ll want four cups.
- Once it’s boiling, put your tea bags in the water along with sugar…and any spices you prefer. Stir until all the sugar dissolves. Once that happens, just let it gently boil for about 3 minutes.
- While your tea mix is boiling, fill tall iced tea glasses with ice…and pour in your tea mixture until the glasses are roughly 3/4 full.
- Next up? Slowly pour evaporated milk, whole milk, or coconut milk into your teacup, but do not stir (the final dairy should remain primarily as its layer at the top of the glass).
- Below is a more straightforward recipe if you want to skip out on using Thai tea leaves.
Steep 3 tea bags of orange pekoe tea or another black tea with 1 cup of hot water off the boil. Remove the tea bags and add ½ teaspoon artificial vanilla extract, and if you wish, you can add a few drops of orange food coloring to mimic the color. Add 1 ½ tablespoons sweetened condensed milk and 2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste) and stir to dissolve. Pour it over a pint glass packed full of ice.
Tips for Making Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea
- Adjust the sweetness to your taste. Both Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea are traditionally sweet drinks, but you can reduce the amount of sugar or sweetened condensed milk if you prefer them a little less sweet.
- Use high-quality tea and coffee. The flavor of your Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea will largely be determined by the quality of the coffee and tea you use.
- Serve immediately. Both Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea are best served right after being prepared when they’re fresh and cold.
- Experiment with flavors. Feel free to add spices like cardamom or vanilla to your Thai Iced Coffee or Tea to give it an extra kick.
Conclusion – Which Is Better?
In conclusion, Thai iced coffee and Thai iced tea are delicious and refreshing beverages popular in Thai cuisine. The choice between the two ultimately comes down to personal preference, as they offer unique flavors and experiences.
Whether you prefer the bold, rich flavor of coffee or the sweet, creamy taste of tea, both options will satisfy your thirst for a flavorful beverage. Try both and see which one you prefer!
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.