Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Texas Summer Readiness: Thai Iced Tea and Cold Brew Coffee

Getting ready for Texas Summer generally means that prepping access to cold drinks and plan things you can do inside since 100 degree weather isn't exactly the best play weather.

I've found that I thoroughly enjoy iced toddy coffee. The beauty of the brewing process is that it is impossible to burn the coffee and burnt coffee is really a flavor that no one should get used to. It also keeps in the refrigerator well. I can wake up in the morning, warm my coffee, add half & half and be out the door with a cup better than anything I've paid for. I got the recipe off of Thug Kitchen: Cold Brew Coffee

Another thing I've been working on is my Thai iced tea. I like it. My boyfriend likes it. I happen to have some of the tea in my closet, so I may as well make it so I have some nice variety in my cold caffeinated drinks. One thing I've been having issues with is the separation. It's what my boyfriend looks for. It's the mark of a good Thai ice tea - at least in restaurants. It's pretty hard to achieve. It is also the point where it causes me a great deal of confusion.

  • Solid parts of the recipe:

- boil tea to water in a 1/8 ratio
- it's only worth it to make this in large quantities (like 2 quarts at a time) because single servings are not worth the effort. Have a jug ready for storage. I currently have a gallon of Thai tea waiting.

  • Contention:

- everything else

The sweetness can come from:
- sweetened condensed milk
- sugar

The creaminess can come from:
- sweetened condensed milk
- coconut milk
- half & half
- evaporated milk

After calories of experimentation, here are my findings:

Sweetened condensed milk is not as sweet as sugar so it will take a fair amount of condensed milk to sweeten the tea - this makes the tea more opaque and thick and even at this point, it's not really that sweet, but really syrup-y. Granted, I don't like anything too sweet,  there's a certain flavor associated with Thai iced tea and sweetness is a part of that profile.

When not using sweetened condensed milk, sugar is added to the tea while it's boiling. A cup of sugar per 8 cups of water amounts to about a tablespoon of sugar per cup. When made without the condensed milk, the separation between dark tea and creamer is easier to achieve.

Silk makes a very nice coconut milk in the dairy section that is not quite as thick and fatty as the canned stuff.

Half & Half is actually really good for tempering sweetness if the tea seems too sweet for some preferences.

Evaporated milk is what is used in the resource video I found on youtube: How to Make Thai Iced Tea

I've found that both the coconut milk and evaporated milk sink to the bottom to the glass, which is minor if you care about appearances.

Overall, for a good separation, don't use the sweetened condensed milk. I prefer the Half & Half for it's multipurpose Italian soda, Thai iced tea, coffee purposes.

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