What Does Thai Milk Tea Taste Like?

Who doesn’t like Thai milk tea? Sure it isn’t a traditional tea, but it does have tea in it.

So, what does Thai milk tea taste like? Thai milk tea offers a balance of earthy, delicate, and faintly flowery flavors. It has subtle undertones of spices like star anise, tamarind, and cardamom. It’s also generously topped with evaporated milk to give it a rich, milky, and creamy body.

what does thai milk tea taste like

Since its inception, milk tea or bubble tea has evolved tremendously. Back then, Thai milk tea was only served in the corners of Thailand and Hong Kong.

But, look at it now. Milk tea establishments are springing up left and right all across the globe. And, today, Thai milk tea remains a perennial favorite among drinkers worldwide.

It is a milk tea menu staple, and for good reason. You’d understand if you’ve ever tried a cup of this beverage. But, if you haven’t tried it yet, you might be wondering, what does Thai milk tea taste like? What’s everyone raving about?

Thai milk tea is one of the most unique flavors out there. It combines sweet and flowery flavors with hints of smokiness and spice.

It’s a little perplexing, isn’t it? Try it out for yourself if you haven’t yet.

Before you do, let’s walk you through everything you need to know about it.

What Is Thai Milk Tea?

At its core, Thai tea is a beverage consisting of brewed Ceylon tea. On the other hand, Thai milk tea has added milk and sugar.

You can choose to drink it hot or over ice. It’s known as Cha Yen when served cold.

Thai tea is a highly regarded beverage in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand. The beverage is usually offered at Thai restaurants. And a lot of people know and distinguish Thai Milk tea for its vibrant orange hue.

Ceylon black tea is the usual tea base of Thai milk tea. This is where it gets its orange color. But, sometimes, it’s made using landrace, a regionally cultivated Assam.

Then, after the brewing process, it is typically sweetened with sugar or condensed milk.

And lastly, Thai milk tea consists of a creamy layer of milk. Evaporated milk is the common type of milk paired with Thai milk tea.

But, some also use coconut, half & half, or whole milk. The milk gives it a richer look and silky creamy taste.

Presently, there are many takes on the beverage. Each and every Boba store has its own rendition of Thai milk tea. Some use a different black tea base, some add boba, and some serve it blended.

Nevertheless, the Thai Milk tea everyone knows and loves today is milk tea with a bright orange color.

pouring thai milk tea over ice

Components Of Thai Milk Tea

What makes up a cup of Thai milk tea? Let’s specifically break down its ingredients. As previously stated, boba stores have their own take on Thai milk tea.

However, some use pre-mixed powders and others add the spices from scratch.

In fact, Thai street vendors and restaurants mostly serve pre-mixed Thai teas, theseays.

But, Thai tea still has its distinct attributes, and these are:

Distinct Attributes of Thai Milk Tea

Ceylon Black Tea

First and foremost, the base tea. Thai milk tea uses Ceylon black tea as its primary base. But, why Ceylon and not other black teas?

This tea imparts a better flowery and fruity flavor than most teas and gives the drink a unique flavor and offers more notes.


These spices get mixed in or brewed with the tea to add smokiness and spice. There are many variations of spices people use in Thai tea nowadays. But, the common ones are star anise, cardamom, and tamarind.


Thai tea usually has hints of sweetness to bring out all of its undertones.

Some prefer their Thai milk tea really sweet. But, some also don’t want any sugar at all.

You can tweak your sugar preferences in the boba shop. If you’re making it at home, add sugar as preferred.


To top it all off, milk. The milk actually enhances the Thai tea’s vibrant orange tint. When it comes to flavor, it makes the drink taste more full-bodied and creamy.

Finally, Thai tea can have any kind of milk. But, evaporated and condensed milk are the most common.

thai milk tea with tapioca

Flavor Profile Of Thai Milk Tea

With all the components mixed together, what does Thai tea taste like? The flavor of Thai milk tea is distinct and balanced.

When served over ice, it is a refreshing drink to sip on. It’s rich, a little peppery, earthy, and floral.

It can also give some very subtle notes of spice and smokiness.

Naturally, tea dominates the flavor profile of Thai iced tea.

The Ceylon tea is what offers its fruity and flower notes paired with the black tea’s deep aroma and taste.

This really works well together with the spices.

However, the milk or dairy tops it off to make it a creamy, taste beverage. Thai milk teas usually have a larger milk ratio.

This is why it can also be heavy and a little intense on the stomach for some people. I personally find it hard to finish one, but that’s just me. I love the flavor profile, but the sweetness can be intense.

From this, Thai tea seems to have various conflicting, overwhelming flavors.

But that’s not the case. All of these flavors beautifully blend together to create a unique beverage.

Preparing Thai Milk Tea

When it comes to this tea, there is just one element that really sets it apart in Thailand. You’ll not only receive a delicious cup of tea, but you’ll also get to see how it’s brewed.

This is known as Thai Tea pulling, which street sellers are known for! Thai tea pulling consists of pouring the tea between vessels several times.

It’s a wonderful thing to see in action.

Pre-Mixed vs Steeping Thai Milk Tea

Today, it is very common to use pre-mixed or commercial pre-blended tea to make Thai milk tea. But, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t less delicious.

Although it misses a few of the intricacies, these recipes can still produce a delicious drink.

Pre-mixes also just take away the long process of adding spices and brewing the tea. They are also more handy and straightforward, too.

These mixes typically have a Ceylon or Asam base. Some mixes even have orange coloring to give them their unique hue.

barista mixing thai milk tea

Why Is Thai Tea Orange?

Ceylon tea holds a natural deep crimson hue. When the tea bonds with the milk’s protein, it produces the beverage’s distinctive color.

There are other pre-mixes on the market now that include orange coloring as well.

Does Thai Milk Tea Have Caffeine?

Thai tea has caffeine since it’s made with a black tea base. But, the amount varies per cup.

Its caffeine content fluctuates depending on how its made. Some cups also come in larger sizes. Therefore, it may contain more caffeine etc

A standard cup of black tea contains around 45-47 milligrams of caffeine. Because of this, there can be approximately 8 ounces in a cup of Thai tea.

This is because Thai tea usually has a larger milk ratio. But, powdered or pre-mixed teas usually have a finer and great caffeine content.

So, this may also affect the caffeine content.

Overall, a standard 6-ounce Thai tea cup may range from 20 to 60 milligrams of caffeine.

Is Thai Milk Tea Healthy?

The antioxidants in black Ceylon tea may aid weight loss by speeding up the metabolism.

Plus, its caffeine content can help you boost your energy during the day. And aside from this, Ceylon tea is also good for the heart and lowers the risk of other diseases.

Spices in Thai milk tea, like star anise, have health benefits too. Star anise can possibly help with indigestion. On the other hand, tamarind also contains anti-inflammatory qualities.

But, you may only get very small amounts of these in each drink. Hence, it may not have any major favorable effects.

And, Thai Milk tea normally contains a generous amount of sugar. The caloric content of a typical Thai milk tea serving ranges from 170 – 300 calories. It’s great to enjoy from time to time, but not healthy to sip on every day.

If you want to lower the caloric content, you can ask for less sugar, or a dairy-free alternative, if the boba shop has these options.

Ceylon tea by itself is nearly calorie-free, that’s if you don’t add sugar and milk to it.

So, you’re better off sipping on Ceylon tea on its own if you really want the health benefits.

cold thai milk tea in a glass

What Does Thai Milk Tea Taste Like? The Bottomline

By now, you might better understand what Thai milk tea tastes like.

To wrap it all up, Thai milk tea offers a balance of sweet, flowery, and earth flavors. It is also silky and creamy due to the addition of milk. Overall, Thai milk tea is unique, refreshing, and delicious.

Although, it might not be for those who aren’t a fan of spices. Even so, it is still worth a try if you’re a boba fan. It’s also great for those who love the taste of Chai tea!

Try it out and see for yourself. Who knows, it might just be your next go-to drink!

Happy Sipping!