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Thai tea is a Thai drink made from tea, milk and sugar, and served hot or cold. It is popular in Southeast Asia and is served in many restaurants that serve Thai food. When served cold it is known as Thai iced tea (Thai: ชาเย็น, RTGS: cha yen, [t͡ɕʰāː jēn] (listen), lit. "cold tea").
The drink is made from strongly brewed Ceylon tea, or a locally grown landrace (traditional or semi-wild) version of Assam known as Bai Miang (ใบเมี่ยง). Other ingredients may include: orange blossom water, star anise, crushed tamarind seed or red and yellow food coloring, and sometimes other spices as well.
The tea is sweetened with sugar and condensed milk and served chilled. Evaporated milk, coconut milk or whole milk is poured over the tea and ice before serving to add taste and creamy appearance. Condensed milk and sugar may also be mixed with the tea before it is poured over ice and then topped with evaporated milk. In Thai restaurants, it is served in a tall glass, but when sold from street and market stalls in Thailand it may be poured over the crushed ice in a plastic bag or tall plastic cups. It may also be made into a frappé at some vendors.
Although Thai tea is not the same as bubble tea, a Southeast and East Asian beverage that contains large tapioca pearls, Thai tea with tapioca pearls is a popular flavor of bubble tea.
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- Dark Thai iced tea (Thai: ชาดำเย็น, cha dam yen): Thai tea served chilled with no milk content, sweetened with sugar only. The concept is based on traditional Indian tea, which is used as a main ingredient.
- Lime Thai tea (Thai: ชามะนาว, cha manau) Similar to dark Thai iced tea, but flavored with lime and sweetened with sugar. Mint may also be added.
In Thailand, Thai hot tea is often drunk in the morning, frequently with Yiu Ja Guoy (Chinese:油炸鬼) or pathongko (Thai: ปาท่องโก๋), as it is known by most Thai people.
- Thai hot tea (Thai: ชาร้อน, cha rorn) Thai tea served hot.
- Dark Thai hot tea (Thai: ชาดำร้อน, cha dam rorn) Thai tea served hot with no milk content, sweetened with sugar only.