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I’m sitting here drinking possibly the most delicious Thai iced tea I’ve ever had. And it was kind of an accident. You know that flavor that you can’t quite place that is definitely not present in regular black iced tea with milk, the one that reminds you of walking around the hot, bustling streets of Asia with a frosty plastic cup of milky tea? Well, you can replicate it by adding a splash of vanilla and a reasonable helping of coconut sugar to super-strong black tea.

Here’s the recipe:

Medium-sized saucepan of water about 3/4 full

8 or 9 bags of mostly-black tea (what I used: 2 English Breakfast, 2 decaf English Breakfast, 2 Vanilla Almond, 2 Chocolate Rooibos, 1 Chai. I strongly recommend using at least half decaf bags. Subtly mixing in vanilla, rooibos and chai flavors seems to work well)

A splash or two of vanilla extract

Heat these ingredients until they begin to boil slightly, and then turn the heat off. Add in about a cup of coconut sugar, and stir until dissolved. The coconut sugar has a relatively low glycemic index and a smoky, syrupy flavor.

Let the tea cool and steep in the saucepan, about an hour. Transfer the tea to glass jars to keep in the fridge, wringing out the teabags and then discarding them. The tea should be more or less opaque.

You can serve the tea over ice, or if you don’t want to dilute it, in frosty mugs from the freezer. Pour 2/3 of a glass and top off with whole milk, cream or even coconut milk (I use fresh raw whole milk, and it’s amazing).

Now, I’m guessing you could substitute the sugar/milk with sweetened condensed milk, which is what all the Thais I saw making iced tea used. But this way, you get the additional fun of being on a trendy American diet that’s no doubt better for you than the real thing.

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