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Thai Tea Leaves in the East Bay?

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Feta_Compli Jul 22, 2012 12:20 PM

Hey, I live in the east Bay Area, and I really want to make my own Thai iced tea at home. Problem is, I have looked everywhere and I still can't find it. I have checked both Berkeley Bowls, Tokyo Fish Market, and in my desperation, even Whole Foods. I have had no luck at any of these places (although i did pick up some ume gum that smells like fruit roll ups at Tokyo Fish Market).

Does anyone know where I can find this elusive tea? I have given up trying to make it at home, because I don't have time to experiment to find out what spices are being used, be it star anise or vanilla or cinnamon or a combination of these. I know a lot of Thai tea leaves are basically green tea with food coloring added. As long as it is authentic, I will consider buying it.

Thanks.

  1. Robert Lauriston Jul 22, 2012 12:36 PM

    Thailand Grocery, 1704 University in Berkeley. It's not really much of a grocery but I'm pretty sure they have tea.

    Maybe Lao Market or Sontepheap in Oakland. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/785717

    1. MissVeg Jul 22, 2012 12:58 PM

      I bought Thai tea bags at Ranch 99. Not sure about loose leaf, though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MissVeg
        MissVeg Jul 22, 2012 01:24 PM

        It's a reddish orange colored box with a yellow diagonal stripe that says Thai Tea on it--the brand is Taste Nirvana. It does have food coloring but it tastes exactly like Thai tea from restaurants. I just brewed some up and drank it iced with sugar (which I added when it was hot) and it was so tasty that I didn't even add the condensed milk.

      2. Robert Lauriston Jul 22, 2012 03:32 PM

        Maybe they use hibiscus? The Thai shop in Pacific East Mall has bags of it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          chefj Jul 22, 2012 07:38 PM

          Hibiscus is purple red, think Agua Fresca de Jamaica .
          Thai tea has Yellow and Red food coloring usually as well as flavorings.

          1. re: chefj
            Robert Lauriston Jul 23, 2012 08:53 AM

            I was thinking maybe they mixed it with black tea to get that color but reading online it seems like food coloring is traditional.

            Seems odd that they'd add food coloring except as a substitute for some natural ingredient, but maybe they were just trying to emphasize the tamarind or orange flower visually.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              chefj Jul 23, 2012 02:50 PM

              I figured that is what you were saying I just don't think you would get orange out of that combo.
              I do not know if there was some natural colorant or ingredient that they are trying to imitate(saffron?) or if they just think gaudy orange is pretty, but there seems to have no aversion to highly colored stuff, their desserts come to mind.

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