Why Is Thai Tea Orange?

Thai cuisine has become more widely available in recent years, and this has led many people to finally experience the glory of the flavors that such cuisine is able to offer.

Why Is Thai Tea Orange?

Easily as popular as Thai food is Thai drink. There are so many awesome and fresh drinks that come from Thailand, but easily one of the most popular, especially in Thai restaurants is Thai tea!

However, one of the first things that many people notice upon trying Thai tea for the first time is that it has an interesting orange color!

But what is it that actually causes that orange color? Is it natural? Does it add to the flavor?

If any number of these questions have entered your mind while enjoying fresh Thai tea, then you need to read on down below, because we are going to find out exactly what it is that gives it that unique orange glow! 

Why Is Thai Tea Orange?

Believe it or not, the orange color of Thai tea is not actually a result of any natural ingredients found within the tea at all, and instead is a direct result of food coloring that is added to the drink in order to give it an appetizing appearance. 

The reason why this food coloring is added is actually tied to the fact that Thai tea is actually not quite as authentic as you may otherwise assume.

Thai tea has a few elements included in its recipe that are authentic, but it is actually a fusion drink that was actually largely created in the West, to appeal to Western tastes. 

When Thai tea is made normally, it actually has a very dark and often black appearance, as the most basic ingredients of the drink are black tea, condensed milk, and ice.

The food coloring was added by chefs in Thai restaurants in America who sought to make the drink more appealing and appetizing.

When the tea is first brewed, it actually has a slightly redder appearance. It is only when the milk is added to the drink that the drink takes on that recognizable orange look.

What Does Thai Tea Include?

The basic tea blend that makes up the loose leaves of Thai tea is made up mostly of Ceylon tea. Other versions of the tea blend are made with a unique and locally grown tea called Bai Miang, which is a variation of Assam. 

Alongside these ingredients are extra ingredients like star anise, tamarind seeds, and sometimes a range of other spices.

These combine together to create that unique and iconic taste that you can likely taste right now just thinking about it! 

In order to bring the whole drink together though, a layer of milk is then poured and mixed with the tea. Any kind of milk can be used, including cow’s milk, evaporated milk, or the perennial favorite of coconut milk.

Why Is Thai Tea Orange?

How Is Thai Tea Served?

When Thai tea is made for a customer, the tea itself is first brewed with some water for a long time in a pot. Once the tea is ready, it is poured out individually into each glass, and then milk is added to the drink.

Most commonly, Thai tea (see also: What Does Thai Tea Taste Like?)is served cold, with ice, but traditionally it is served with crushed ice, rather than cubed ice!

If you were to order Thai tea in a Thai restaurant, you are most likely to receive the drink served in a glass which allows the orange appearance of the drink to shine. 

However, were you to purchase the drink within Thailand, not only would it not appear quite as orange, but it would also more likely be served in a plastic cup or a plastic bag with a straw.

This is because Thai tea is most commonly served by street vendors out of street carts. 

Is Thai Tea Popular In Thailand?

Though Thai tea as we know it, with its orange appearance, is rather more of a Western creation, the drink is still served in Thailand, though in a very different form.

However, it is not necessarily ‘popular’ so much as it is just a standard beverage. To most Thai people within Thailand, Thai tea is simply just another drink and not a staple part of the culture.

The drink is advertised as being iconic in Thai restaurants in the West in order to draw customers in.

However, because of the immense impact that Western culture has on the west of the world, as a result of globalization, many restaurants, and street carts in Thailand have begun serving Thai tea in the way that many Westerners recognize, with that iconic orange look! 

To Wrap Up 

There you have it! Put simply, the reason that Thai tea is orange is simply that there is food coloring added to the drink in order to make it appear more appetizing, especially to Western consumers that may not be quite as used to the spicier flavors that Thai food is known to offer.

Within Thailand, you are more likely to see the drink served without this orange color, and you are more likely to see it served in a plastic bag with a straw.

This is because many that enjoy the drink insist that it does taste much better through a straw! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Thai Tea Artificially Colored?

Yes. Thai tea is not actually naturally orange in color, and this is actually a direct result of adding food coloring to the mix to make the drink appear more appetizing. 

Is Thai Tea Just Black Tea?

In terms of its base elements, yes, Thai tea is made up of black tea. This black tea is simply blended with extra spices like star anise to create a more unique flavor.

Is Thai Tea Full Of Caffeine?

Thai tea has around the average amount of caffeine content that you would expect from any other tea beverage.

Joanne Baltimore
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