Does Thai Iced Tea Have Caffeine? What Else Does It Have?

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Thai Iced Tea is one of the most delicious drinks I’ve ever tasted, and since its in abundance in Thailand, you might find yourself encountering this refreshing beverage without even trying to.

But one question that fans of this delicious drink always ask is; does Thai Iced Tea have caffeine? The answer is yes, there is caffeine, but that’s not the only ingredient in Thai Milk Tea that you need to watch out for.

Thai Iced Tea has been a staple drink in Thailand for centuries, and while it’s delicious, for those who want to know what goes into this unique, vibrant orange drink will find this guide useful.

History of Thai Iced Tea

The history of Thai milk tea can be traced back to the introduction of tea to Thailand during the reigns of King Rama IV and King Rama V in the 19th century.

It is believed that Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, a Thai military dictator during World War II, promoted the consumption of milk as a way to promote good health and build stronger bodies.

The drink is typically made with black tea, condensed milk, and sugar, although variations may include additional spices such as star anise or cardamom.

The first company to brew the iconic vibrant orange tea that we know today is Cha Tra Mue, which has been brewing Thai Milk Tea since 1920.

It started as a family business, operated by Sa Pae, a Chinese immigrant to Thailand who had established Chinese Tea Shop named Lim Meng Keeat Chalermburi.

In the 1940s, Sa Pae realized that Thai people typically didn’t like to drink hot tea because of the hot climate, and so started preparing iced tea. In 1945, the name Cha Tra Mue was born.

Today, Thai milk tea is a popular drink not only in Thailand but around the world, though historically, it’s ingredients and brewing process hasn’t changed much over the last 75+ years.

Does Thai Iced Tea Contain Caffeine?

thai iced tea

Yes, Thai milk tea does have caffeine in it. Black tea, which is the base of Thai Iced Tea, naturally contains caffeine.

According to Healthline, the average 237 ml cup of black tea contains an average of 47 milligrams of caffeine.

To put it into perspective, the FDA recommends you should drink no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, and no more than 200 milligrams in one go.

While you might be thinking, “great, that means I can drink around 8 cups of Thai Milk Tea per day and still be under the limit,” you should hold your horses for a second.

Although the caffeine content in Thai Milk Tea is quite low in comparison to coffee or energy drinks, there are other ingredients in Thai Milk Tea that you will want to watch out for.

Related Reading: Does Thai Food Have MSG? The Answer May Surprise YOU!

Other Ingredients in Thai Iced Tea

thai iced tea with milk

Thai milk tea is generally made with black tea, evaporated milk or condensed milk, sugar, and of course, ice. Some variations may also include additional spices such as star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom, but this is not traditional.

Historically the black tea used was imported from China. Black tea is a good source of antioxidants and has been shown to have potential health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. It’s also the key ingredient that contains caffeine.

The second biggest ingredient in Thai Milk Tea is evaporated milk or condensed milk, which are both high in calcium and vitamin D. However, these dairy products are also high in saturated fat.

According to Medline, while some saturated fat is ok to give you energy, too much can give you high cholesterol which can contribute to heart disease, so it’s important to consume them in moderation.

thai iced milk tea

Sugar syrup is also commonly used to sweeten Thai milk tea. Excessive consumption of added sugars can lead to health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, which is another reason to moderate how much Thai Milk Tea you drink.

Some optional ingredients include spices such as star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom. It is said that star anise has antifungal and antibacterial properties, while cinnamon has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.

Cardamom may help improve digestion and reduce inflammation.

Overall, while Thai milk tea does contain some beneficial ingredients, but it’s important to consume it in moderation and be mindful of added sugars and saturated fat.

Can You Get Caffeine-Free Thai Iced Tea?

If you’re looking to enjoy the flavor of Thai Iced Tea without the caffeine content while backpacking Thailand, then I’m afraid you will struggle to find this in Thailand.

This is because it’s common among street vendors, cafes and restaurants to use Thai milk tea packets when preparing their drinks, rather than brewing and mixing the ingredients themselves.

Even the ones who do brew their own teas, will likely use a traditional black tea and not a caffeine-free alternative.

It’s not popular to ask for caffeine-free Thai Milk Tea in Thailand, so a lot of places won’t invest in an option for this.

However, you can make a caffeine-free Thai Milk Tea at home by following this helpful recipe.

FAQs About Whether Thai Milk Tea Has Caffeine

Here are some other questions people usually ask us about whether Thai Milk Tea has caffeine…

Are there any health benefits to Thai Milk Tea?

Yes, there are health benefits to Thai Milk Tea. It is said to contain a healthy does of antioxidants, which help to prevent cell damage which can lead to diseases like Alzheimers, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.

Does Thai iced tea have more caffeine than coffee?

Thai Iced Tea has less caffeine than coffee. It is estimated that 1 cup of coffee has 94.8 mg of caffeine, whereas Thai Milk Tea only has 47 mg.

Will Thai Iced Tea keep you awake?

Depending on your tolerance to caffeine, Thai Iced Tea may keep you awake if you drink enough of it. Not only does it contain caffeine, but it also contains sugar which also contributes to the energy boost.

Final Thoughts

Thai Iced Tea is a delicious and refreshing beverage and one of our favorite drinks in Thailand.

However, while it’s important to be aware of its caffeine content, especially for those with a low caffeine tolerance or health issues, you should also be aware of its other ingredients which can be more harmful than caffeine in the long run.

If you are affected by caffeine, consider looking for caffeine-free versions of Thai Iced Tea, so you can still enjoy its unique and delicious taste without the caffeine.

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