Living inside the Quarentine Zone means living with import food shortages and making every crumb count.  While things have gotten a bit better in the last few years, long lines and high prices for sugar, coffee, and tea are still normal, and forget about finding chocolate for sale these days.

Todays tip will help you stretch your tea leaves just a little further with instructions on how to make Thai Tea!

Thai Tea gets it’s unique flavor from it’s origin.  It is traditionally already brewed black tea leaves that are fermented and roasted.  The large amount of yellow and red food colorings add to the flavor the same way red food coloring adds to the flavor of a Red Velvet cake.

To make authentic thai tea: simply place a quart jar beside you morning tea service and knock the spent leaves into the jar.  Once every 3 – 4 days (often enough that it doesn’t mold) spread the wet leaves out on a cookie sheet and place in a slow (225F) oven until completely dry.  You can use a coasting oven for this – as in when you remove something you have baked and turned the oven off – place the cookie sheet of tea into the still hot oven and close the door. 

When you have 2 quarts of dried leaves – place in your blender or food processor and add 1/2 a bottle of yellow food coloring and the same of red.  Pulse quickly to combine the color and chop up the leaves a bit.  You do not want to pulse more than 3-4 times.  The dried leaves should now fit into one quart jar.

(Or buy a bag at your favorite asian grocer.  When purchasing Thai Tea in loose leaf – read the label carefully.  Thai red tea is NOT roobios – it is in fact a form of Ma Huang – also known as the source of ephedra.  A lot of thai teas have ephedra added in because the thai tea is naturally light on caffiene.)

To brew up a concentrate for iced tea: 

Place 2 quarts of water in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and add 1 cup of thai tea leaves.  Stir down, reduce heat to simmer and let bubble away for 15 minutes.  Place a paper cone coffee filter into a strainer or cup top coffee cone  – place filter choice on top of a pitcher and carefully pour the VERY hot tea to strain.  Now slowly pour the strained (hot) tea from one pitcher to a second pitcher 10 times – this oxidizes the brew and mellows the tea.  Remember the red food coloring and becareful of splashing.  Pour the tea into a quart jar with 1 cup of sugar – stir well.  Chill in the fridge and you have your concentrate.  Or store your concentrate sugar-free and add sweeten condensed milk when serving.

To make a glass of Thai Iced Tea: 

Fill a glass with ice, add tea concentrate to the 3/4 level, pour half n half or canned milk over the back of a spoon to fill the glass. 

Enjoy.

(Or not.  Now that you know just how much sugar and cream are involved you probably realize this special occasion treat ranks up there with a milk shake or frappe-ccuino style drink.  Consider that alot of resteraunts and coffee shops will tell you that their concentrate is sugar free and then pour 1/2 a can of sweeten condensed milk over the tea.

If you are frugal, it is a good use of the tea leaves, but it is not a healthy alternative to a latte or chai.)