There is certainly no shortage of tea options available, but when choosing between Thai tea and chai tea, which should you choose? Both are flavorful and aromatic teas, but each has a unique flavor profile and set of benefits.
So which one should you choose? That depends on what you’re looking for in a beverage. If you want something spicy and creamy, go for chai tea. If you’re looking for a subtly spiced drink with a nice sweetness, try Thai Tea instead!
Both are delicious but have subtle differences worth exploring. So, come with us on a flavor journey as we compare and contrast these two iconic teas!
What is Thai tea?
Thai iced tea has been a hit with American taste buds; a beverage made from strong black tea, milk, and sugar served over ice. The flavors are generally bolder than those found in other teas due to the addition of spices such as cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon.
This spice blend has an orange-red color from the addition of spices, including star anise, cardamon, tamarind seed, and red/yellow food coloring, giving Thai tea its characteristic flavor and aroma.
Thai tea is typically served over ice, with a dollop of sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk and sugar added to taste. The result is a creamy top layer over a deep red tea base. Earthy undertones, nutty undertones, and a hint of sweetness from the milk and sugar all come together to create a refreshing beverage perfect for hot summer days.
Type of tea
Thai tea is made using Ceylon (native to Sri Lanka) or Assam (native to India) tea leaves. These bolder-tasting teas can stand up to adding milk and spices. The leaves are steeped for a longer period than other teas, resulting in a stronger flavor. Ceylon tea is a type of black tea, while Assam tea is a darker, more robust variety.
As far as ingredients are concerned, there is a variety. Thai tea is pretty straightforward. Tea leaves, milk, sugar, and spices are all you need to make this refreshing beverage. The only real variable is the type of tea leaves you use.
However, the most common tea used in restaurants is Thai tea mix, a powder made of black tea, spices, and food coloring. This mix can be found online or in Asian markets. Several instant versions of Thai tea in the canned form are also available, making for a quick and easy cup of tea without fuss, but they lack the freshness and depth of flavor of homemade Thai tea.
What is chai tea?
Chai tea is a sweet, spiced black tea from India and is renowned for its fragrant, warming flavor. It typically contains a blend of aromatic spices like cardamom, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon, which are often combined with black tea leaves, milk, and sugar to create a rich, flavorful beverage.
Depending on where you come from, you might also know chai tea by its other popular name, masala chai. The word “chai” means “tea” in Hindi, and “masala chai” translates to “mixed spice tea.” But we will use “chai tea” throughout this article to refer to the same drink.
Unlike regular tea, chai tea is usually made with a higher ratio of milk to water. This results in a creamy, frothy drink often enjoyed as a dessert or snack.
Another popular way to enjoy this tea is the Chai lattes, a sweetened American version of the beverage made with steamed milk and flavoring syrups.
A chai latte is made with milk, tea, and spices. It is similar to a cappuccino or latte but with the addition of spiced tea. It is usually made with a higher ratio of milk to water than regular tea, resulting in a creamier and frothier beverage.
So, what does chai tea taste like? The flavor of this tea can vary depending on the specific spices used, but it is generally a sweet, rich, and warming beverage with hints of spice.
So, what exactly is in chai tea that makes it so special?
Let’s take a closer look at its ingredients.
The spices in chai tea give it its signature flavor and aroma. The most commonly used spices are cardamom, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. Other spices like black pepper, star anise, fennel seeds, and nutmeg are sometimes used.
These spices lend chai tea its unique flavor and provide numerous health benefits. For instance, ginger is a well-known remedy for nausea and indigestion, while cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to help regulate blood sugar levels.
Chai tea also contains black tea leaves, which are rich in antioxidants and have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and cancer.
Last but not least, chai tea contains milk, which adds creaminess and richness to the drink. Milk is also a good source of protein and calcium.
Thai tea vs chai tea: What are the differences?
There are many similarities between Thai tea and Chai tea, but there are also some key differences. Both beverages feature a strong black tea base and typically a blend of spices like cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. Chai tea is usually made with milk, whereas Thai tea is served with evaporated milk over ice.
So, what’s the difference between Thai tea and chai tea?
1 Different type of spices:
What are those spices that give Chai tea its signature flavor?
The most common spices in Chai are cardamom, fennel seed, cloves, black peppercorns, fresh ginger, and cinnamon stick.
a. Green cardamon – the essential chai tea spice that gives a dominant flavor. It has an intense fragrance with lemony undertones and an earthy, nutty, and spicy floral flavor.
Chai can take on a variety of flavors after adding different spices, but five herbs remain in every chai recipe that tends to be the most popular; they are:
- Fennel Seeds – adds a licorice-like sweetness and an aniseed flavor.
- Cloves – are often used in Chai and green cardamom to give the tea a warm, spicy flavor with a hint of sweetness.
- Black peppercorns – give Chai tea its characteristic heat and a piquant flavor.
- Fresh ginger – gives Chai a warm, spicy flavor with a hint of sweetness.
- Cinnamon stick – adds a warm and sweet flavor to the tea.
What are those spices that give original Thai tea its signature flavor?
The addition of spices distinguishes Thai tea from other types of tea. The most commonly used spices in Thai tea are cardamom, tamarind seeds, cinnamon, and star anise. Other less commonly used spices include nutmeg, pepper, and ginger. These spices give Thai tea its signature flavor and aroma.
- Cardamom – has a strong flavor with hints of lemon, mint, and smoke. It is used to add flavor and aroma to Thai tea.
- Tamarind – gives Thai tea its characteristic sourness that balances the sweetness of the tea.
- Cinnamon – adds a sweet and spicy flavor to Thai tea and is often used in conjunction with star anise.
- Star anise – gives Thai tea a licorice-like flavor that cuts through the sweetness of the other ingredients.
But remember, there are two types of Thai tea: Real Thai tea and regular Thai iced tea (which has an orange color). Real Thai iced tea is made with Ceylon black tea and spices, while regular Thai iced tea is made with lower-quality teas and food coloring.
So, if you want to get the full flavor of Thai tea, make sure to order the real thing!
2 Tea type:
Thai tea is made with Assam black tea or brewed with Ceylon black tea, then infused with milk and sugar. Chai tea is brewed with different spices, milk, and black tea leaves.
The signature flavor of Thai tea comes from the addition of spices like cardamom, tamarind powder, cinnamon, and star anise. Chai tea has a very rich and robust taste. It has a more complex flavor due to the spices used, including cardamom, cloves, ginger, and pepper. These spices give the tea its characteristic flavor profile.
Thai tea has a sweet and fragrant aroma because of the spices used! Chai tea, on the other hand, has a more earthy and spicy aroma.
Chai tea can be in various colors, depending on the spices used. Thai tea is usually a deep orange because of the coloring agents used in its preparation. However, Chai tea is typically a soft, muted brown with hints of red. This is due to the spices used to make the tea, including ginger, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon.
The color of the tea can also be affected by the type of milk used in the recipe. For instance, if you use whole milk, the tea will be a richer color than if you use skim milk.
What does Thai tea taste like?
Thai tea has a sweet taste with a slight hint of spice. The sugar and milk added to Thai tea give it a creamy taste, while the spices used to flavor the tea (such as star anise and cinnamon) give it a slightly spicy taste. But when you make it at home, you can control the level of sweetness to your liking.
What does Chai tea taste like?
Chai tea, on the other hand, has a more complex flavor due to its rich, earthy flavor with hints of sweetness and spice. The spices vary depending on the recipe but typically include cardamom, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and black pepper, giving chai tea a more robust, sweet, and spicy flavor.
So, what is the difference between the two teas in terms of taste? Thai tea is sweet with a slight hint of spice, while chai tea is bold and spicy.
7 Caffeine content:
The caffeine content of Chai Tea:
A typical cup (8 oz) of brewed black tea has about 47 mg of caffeine, while a cup of green tea has only about 28 mg (source). Black coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine per cup. When it comes to chai tea, the caffeine content will depend on whether it is made with black tea or green tea. In the case of black tea, then it will have a higher caffeine content than green tea is used.
Since Chai tea uses black tea as its base, it contains more caffeine than green tea. There is no set amount of caffeine in chai tea; it depends on how much tea is used in the recipe and its brewing time. For example, if you use 1 teaspoon of black tea leaves and brew them for 3 minutes, your cup of chai tea will have about 35 mg of caffeine.
Caffeine level of Thai tea:
The caffeine level of Thai tea differs depending on the brewing method used. For example, if you use the drip method, Thai tea has about 47 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup. If you use the hot brewing method, Thai tea has about 60 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup.
The difference in caffeine levels is because the drip method uses a lower temperature to brew the tea, resulting in less caffeine extraction. The hot brewing method uses a higher temperature to brew the tea, allowing the tea leaves to extract more caffeine. You can read more information here.
Remember that the longer you steep your tea, the more caffeine it releases. So, if you want to reduce the caffeine content in your cup of chai tea, brew it for a shorter amount of time instead of the typical 3-5 minutes. (source)
Chai tea is traditionally sweetened with honey or sugar, whereas Thai tea typically contains condensed milk for sweetness.
A cup of chai tea has approximately 120 calories because of the added milk and sugar. As per USDA, an 8 oz (240 ml) of Thai tea has about 154 calories due to the condensed milk and considerable sugar.
How to prepare Chai Tea:
When you purchase chai tea, it will usually come in a tea bag or as loose-leaf tea. If you have loose-leaf tea, you must use a tea infuser.
Chai tea can be steeped in water alone, a mixture of water and milk, or milk alone. The ratio of water to milk can be anywhere from 1:1 to 1:4, with 1 part milk to 4 parts water being the most common ratio.
To make chai tea, simply place the desired amount of tea in a teapot or mug and add boiling water. Steep for 3-5 minutes, and then add milk (and sweetener if desired).
How to prepare Thai Tea:
Thai tea is usually made with black tea, condensed or evaporated milk, and sugar over ice. To make Thai tea at home:
- Start by boiling water and steeping black tea for 3-5 minutes.
- Add condensed milk or evaporated milk and sugar to taste.
- Pour the tea over ice and enjoy!
I posted a Thai Iced Tea recipe a while back that has become quite popular. It’s a delicious, sweet, creamy iced tea made with a Thai tea mix, evaporated milk, and sugar. You can check it out here.
Proper storage of your tea will ensure optimum flavor. Thai Tea and Chai Tea should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Once opened, tea can be kept fresh for up to six months.
- Store in an airtight container
- Keep in a cool, dry place.
- Away from direct sunlight
- Don’t let tea share the same container with strong-smelling foods like coffee and spices. This will absorb the aroma of the tea.
- Do not store in the fridge or freezer, as this will dry out the leaves.
- Once opened, tea can be kept fresh for up to six months.
12 Brewing Temperature
The ideal Chai blend with black tea temperature is 90-95 degrees Celsius. If you use too hot water, it will scald the spices and make the tea taste bitter. If the water is not hot enough, tea will have a bland flavor since it will not release the spices.
A Thai blend should be brewed at 80-85 degrees Celsius using a Thai tea mix. If the water is too hot, it will make the tea taste bitter. If the water is not hot enough, the tea will taste weak.
13 Steeping Time
The ideal steeping time for both Chai and Thai tea is 3-5 minutes. The tea will be weak if you don’t steep it long enough. If you steep it for too long, the tea will become bitter.
14 Serving Size
Eight ounces is the perfect serving size for Chai and Thai tea. There is just the right amount to enjoy the flavor of the tea without being overwhelmed by it.
Chai is traditionally brewed with milk and sweetened with sugar. Thai tea is usually served in Thailand with sweetened condensed milk and sugar.
Thai tea and chai tea are both delicious beverages that have many similarities. Both teas are made with brewed black tea and spices and are often accompanied by milk and sugar. However, there are some key differences between these two teas.
Thai tea is a sweetened black tea that is often served iced. It is made with a blend of Ceylon and Assam teas, milk, sugar, and spices such as vanilla, cardamom, and cloves. Thai tea has a strong, sweet flavor and is usually very milky.
Chai tea, on the other hand, is a spiced milk tea popular in India. This tea is known for its rich, spicy flavor and is commonly served hot. It is made with black tea, milk, spices such as ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves, and sometimes sweetened with honey or sugar.
So, what’s the difference between Thai tea and chai tea?
The main difference is in the flavor. Thai tea is sweet and milky, while chai tea is spicy and rich. Thai tea is presented as an iced drink, while Chai tea is served hot.
You can’t go wrong with Thai tea if you’re looking for a delicious and refreshing beverage. If you’re looking for something more warming and flavorful, chai tea is the way to go. Whichever tea you choose, you’re sure to enjoy its delicious flavor.
Is Thai tea like chai tea?
If you’ve ever had chai tea, you might wonder how it compares to Thai tea. Is Thai tea like Chai tea? Both are made with black tea and spices, but some key differences exist.
Thai tea is made with Ceylon black tea, which has a slightly earthy flavor. The tea in Chai is Assam black tea, which has a malty flavor. The spices in chai tea are also generally more potent, giving it a more pronounced spice flavor.
Thai tea is typically served with sweetened condensed milk, while chai tea is usually unsweetened or lightly sweetened. In other words, Thai tea has a sweeter, more mellow flavor, while chai tea has a bit of a spicy flavor.
What is in Thai tea that makes it orange?
The orange color in Thai tea is due to the addition of food coloring. Sometimes, it is possible to use natural colorings like butterfly pea flower or annatto.
What is in chai tea that makes it spiced?
The spices in chai tea vary depending on the recipe but may include cardamom, cloves, ginger, and black pepper. These spices can be ground, brewed with the tea, or added as a masala spice blend.
What are the differences between Thai tea and chai tea?
The main difference between Thai tea and chai tea is the ingredients used to flavor the tea. Thai tea is typically made with orange blossom water and star anise, while chai tea is made with a blend of spices. Thai tea is also usually served with milk and sugar, while you may make chai tea with milk or water.
What type of tea is Thai tea?
Thai tea is a popular drink made from strongly-brewed black tea, milk, and sugar in Thailand. It’s often served with ice and comes in hot and iced varieties. The iced version is sometimes called “cha yen” (ชาเย็น) in Thailand, meaning “cold tea.” In America, Thai tea is often confused with chai tea.
What type of tea is Chai tea?
Chai tea is a spiced black tea that originated in India. The word “chai” actually means “tea” in Hindi, so chai tea simply means “tea tea.” The tea is brewed with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and ginger. It’s typically made with milk and sugar, but either or both can be omitted.