The first, most immediate quality of Thai iced tea is the bright orange color. It’s reputed that the practice of dyeing tea with orange food coloring started stateside as a method to appeal to American consumers. However, not all recipes use a dye and will rely solely on tamarind for the burst of hue. This tropical fruit is a distinguishing component of the beverage, lending it a tangy, sweet complexity.
Its refreshing and robust flavor profile is also reflected in the spices. Other spiced teas like masala chai integrate similar ingredients like cardamom and star anise, but these components are infused alongside the milk for a more savory result. In Thai iced tea, they rapidly seep into the brew and condensed milk is only added at the end, which lends a bolder flavor along with the sweetening of sugar. The combination of these ingredients bring in a concentrated aroma that makes it easily stand out from the rest.