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Thai Iced Tea Ranks as World’s 7th Best Non-Alcoholic Drink

Thai iced tea is the 7th best non-alcoholic beverage in the world, according to the gourmet cuisine website The refreshing drink, which has a light brown hue, is one of the most popular beverages in Thailand.

People who have sampled it when visiting the “Land of Smiles” are increasingly seeking it out when they return to their own countries, and its fame is now rapidly rising around the world.

In the survey published on the famous website, Thai iced tea triumphed over the renowned Darjeeling tea of India and the super-strong espresso of Italy, much to the delight of its many fans.

The Top 10 non-alcoholic drinks ranked by TasteAtlas are:

1. Hong Kong Style Milk Tea, Hong Kong

2. Aguas Frescas, Mexico

3. Chai Masala (Spiced Milk Tea), India

4. Mint Tea, North Africa

5. Horchata, Mexico

6. Salep, Turkey

7. Thai Tea, Thailand

8. El Submarino (Hot Chocolate), Argentina

9. Ristretto (High-Intensity Espresso), Italy

10. Darjeeling Tea, India

Four hundred years ago, during the reign of King Narai of Ayutthaya, Thai tea consumption was first documented.

In letters written during 1687 in Ayutthaya, French ambassador Simon de La Loubère recounts the custom of drinking the tea: “Thai tea can only be drunk in the capital. Thais are proficient tea drinkers and enjoy making tea for visitors,” he wrote.

“Siamese people do not put sugar in their tea and drink it hot, like the Chinese do. It is considered rude to refuse tea; one must take a seat and consume when invited,” Simon went on to say.

“Unlike the Chinese, Siamese people do not add sugar to their tea and prefer to sip it hot. Refusing tea is considered impolite; one must sit down and drink when requested,” the manuscripts revealed.

The Indian custom of adding milk to tea started to spread to Thailand over the centuries. It was still consumed as a hot beverage, but the addition of milk and sugar were seen to improve the taste.

Mam Tun Hua, or sweetened condensed milk, was being sold by enterprising Thais by 1893, which helped popularize the practice of drinking tea with milk.

The first ice factory opened its doors in 1903, providing refreshing, fresh flavours to a range of beverages. Iced tea started to appear on drink menus in stores, restaurants, and the houses of wealthy individuals.

During the 1920s when King Rama VI’s reign drew to an end, coffee shops started selling a variety of teas, including the iced type. Also, drinking milk with tea had become more widespread.

Moreover, ChaTraMue brand’s introduction in 1945 marked the beginning of the Thai iced tea as we know it today.

An immigrant from China to Thailand owned the company, as well as managing another that imported tea from his own country.

Red tea was first imported and offered for sale as a milky brew by ChaTraMue in 1945. Customers loved the new flavor, and Thai tea quickly established itself as a staple beverage on menus in stores and eateries all around the nation.

Over the years, Thai tea recipes have evolved. Currently, a blend of both Assam red leaves and Ceylon tea is used in certain establishments making the tasty concoction.

The brewing recipe today is the same as it ever was: all you need to do is add milk, sugar, and ice for a refreshing treat, perfect for cooling down in the summer heat.

It is widely known across the world as “Thai tea” but in Thailand it is simply referred to as just tea. Foreigners gave the tea its international name once they had realized the beverage was unique to Thailand.