Thai Iced Tea Without Food Coloring

I love, love Thai iced tea! But what I don’t love is that it has artificial food coloring that makes it that characteristic orange color.

I have been on the hunt to find how to make Thai iced tea without dye or artificial food coloring so that I could enjoy it without guilt. And now that I’ve finally found it, wow, I’ve been making and drinking this Thai iced tea, every… single… day!

For years, Thai iced tea was a drink I only ordered at a Thai restaurant and I only drank, like once or twice a year. Honestly, I loved and hated it.

I loved the taste but I HATED how strong the caffeine was in the tea and how overly sweet it was! Am I right???

So for awhile, I did avoid Thai iced tea because I have an aversion to strongly caffeinated drinks. When I was at a Thai restaurant, I would just sip my husband’s Thai iced tea so I could taste it but not drink the whole thing!

It was like battle that raged inside me, I wanted it but I didn’t want all that caffeine, sugar, or food coloring.

natural thai iced tea

After all these years, I have discovered that if you make your own Thai iced tea, you can control the amount of caffeine, sugar, and avoid the artificial food coloring! I can now drink Thai iced tea without any guilt.

What does Thai iced tea taste like?

It has a strong vanilla flavor with a hint of spices. The spices are very mild but without them, the tea would just taste like a vanilla flavored tea.

Is Thai iced tea just black tea with vanilla?

Oh heck no!!! Thai iced tea is more than just black tea with vanilla. I tried making Thai iced tea by steeping a Thai tea bag that had star anise. I added vanilla extract and it tasted like it was missing more spices.

Traditional Thai iced tea contains cardamom, crushed tamarind, and star anise. Since I’m all about making things simple and easy, I turned to Thai tea mixes. The Thai tea mixes don’t list the spices but when you taste it, it’s more than just vanilla black tea.

thai iced tea without dye

Does Thai Iced Tea have food coloring or dye?

Yes. Thai iced tea has food coloring to make it that orange color. It was done to make the tea stand out from other iced teas.

Thai Tea Mix With No Dye

You can choose to use a Thai tea mix with natural food coloring or one without food coloring at all! I use the Thai tea mix with natural food coloring and the orange color is lighter than regular Thai iced tea.

Keep in mind that without the color, it will look like milk tea rather than Thai iced tea.

Thai iced Tea no dye ingredients
Yim Tea ingredients

Thai Tea Mix With Artificial Food Coloring vs. Thai Tea Mix With Natural Food Coloring

I bought Pantai Thai tea mix (with artificial food coloring) and Yim Tea Thai Tea Mix (with natural food coloring).

Pantai tea mix costs significantly less at $7.35 for a 16oz. bag and Yim Tea was $17 for 7.05 oz. bag. But keep in mind, that it’s hard to find an all natural Thai tea mix that tastes good!

Pantai vs. Yim Tea Thai Tea Mix
Left: Pantai Tea Mix, Right: Yim Tea Mix

The Pantai tea tastes exactly like the Thai iced tea from restaurants! While Yim Tea Thai tea with natural food coloring tastes close enough. There’s a subtle difference but it’s not enough to bother me.

With the Yim Tea, even though the package is smaller, you will use less tea than with the Pantai tea mix.

What if I can’t find Yim Tea?

Yim Tea may be out of stock on Amazon at times. In this recipe, I have included the instructions for using either Pantai Tea Mix or Yim Tea Mix.

How do I make Thai iced tea with less caffeine?

Steep the tea less. I only steep my tea for 3 minutes and it’s long enough to give the tea flavor for iced tea without being overly caffeinated.

I saw a recipe that steeped their Thai iced tea for 30 minutes! So maybe Thai restaurants steep their tea for that long???

Thai Iced Tea Ingredients

  • Thai Tea Mix
  • Brown Sugar
  • Ice Cubes
  • Creamer – Half and Half, Heavy Whipping Cream, or Condensed Milk

Is Thai iced tea bad for me?

I wouldn’t say that tea is bad for you but artificial food coloring is. I try to avoid it when I can.

thai iced tea no food coloring

How do I make Thai iced tea from scratch?

It’s not as hard as you think. Get the right tea mix, steep the tea, add sweetener, pour into a glass of ice, and add cream.

Thai Iced Tea – Heavy Cream or Condensed Milk?

It’s a matter of preference. The Thai Iced Tea that I have tasted are from Thai restaurants in the United States.

And to replicate that taste, heavy cream tastes closer to their Thai iced tea than condensed milk. I prefer it with heavy cream or half and half because I can control the sweetness better.

But in Thailand, they used condensed milk. Try both and see which one you like!

thai iced tea french press

Do I need a French press?

A French or coffee press makes it SO much easier to make. But you can use a cup and a tea strainer.

Thai Iced Tea Without Artificial Food Coloring Recipe Video

thai iced tea without dye

Thai Iced Tea Without Artificial Food Coloring

Fanny Camota
Love Thai Iced Tea but not the food coloring? Try this delicious Thai Iced Tea without artificial food coloring.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins



  • Place tea into coffee press or bowl. Pour hot water over tea and steep for 3 minutes.
  • Strain out tea leaves and pour into a measuring cup or something with a spout (for easy pouring). Add sugar and mix until dissolved.
  • Place ice cubes into a tall 16 oz. glass or cup, about 3/4 full. Pour hot tea into the glass, making sure the liquid hits the ice cubes first. Top off with cream. Mix well and serve.


Sweetness Suggestions:
2 tablespoons brown sugar = just sweet enough to hide the bitterness of the tea
3 tablespoons brown sugar = sweet
Pantai Tea Mix
Just in case, you can only find Pantai Tea Mix, I left the measurements for it above.

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