When it starts to heat up, chill out with this healthy, delicately spiced cooler. Together with bringing you a taste of the orient with a tropical twist, this fabulous Thai iced tea comes with the proven health benefits of hibiscus and will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to do your thing with renewed energy and vigor.
Standard Western versions of Thai iced tea often pack in way too much sugar as well as dairy, caffeine and suspect orange food coloring. We’re ditching all of that to create something altogether healthier and much better tasting too.
History of Thai Iced Tea
Tea drinking wasn’t a thing in Thailand until the early 19th century when royalty started indulging in the delights of taking afternoon tea. Only the dregs were left over for the house servants, but these were not to be wasted. Soon innovative techniques of adding star anise, sugar and other flavorings to boost the taste of the used tea leaves emerged; and so Thai tea came into the world as the perfect afternoon refreshment. Served hot or cold, with or without milk it’s now a firm favorite not just in Thailand.
In Thailand many versions of Thai iced tea can be bought from street vendors, coffee shops and in restaurants. For reasons that we can’t explain (it’s probably something to do with getting the complicated brewing process) it is seldom made at home.
In the U.S. Thai iced tea has become a popular cooler and this recipe is easy to make for yourself without any fuss, all made easier by use of Pique hibiscus mint tea crystals.
How to make Thai Iced Tea
This version of Thai iced tea brings you all the delicious flavors of fresh vanilla bean, cloves and star anise, without any caffeine or dairy. We’re using hibiscus instead of the usual black tea and we think you’ll agree it works as a caffeine-free treat! Before having a go at the recipe below, just take a look at these awesome hibiscus tea benefits. Who knew?
Top 3 Hibiscus Tea Benefits
The trumpet-shaped hibiscus flower is a thing of beauty. With its leaves ranging from white to yellow, peach, red and purple, it conjures up images of Hawaii and Tahiti in the warm tropical sunshine. Teas made from hibiscus are also a big hit in South America and the Caribbean.
On its own the flower has a surprisingly tart flavour and you’ll often found it blended with other herb teas to add a bit of a kick. But did you know that hibiscus is up there with the powerhouse teas in the health-giving department? Here are our top 3 hibiscus tea benefits – we think you’ll agree it’s a pretty impressive combination.
1. Hibiscus gives your immunity a boost
Your grandmother probably knew a thing or two about getting through the long winter months without becoming sick. In folk medicine hibiscus has been used for generations to help fight off colds and build resilience against infection. Today the scientific backing is there to explain why it works.
First there’s the vitamin C content. Hibiscus is a rich source  of this powerful antioxidant, as well as β-carotene and iron. Your body needs vitamin C to boost immunity, fight pathogens and protect against oxidative stress.
Hibiscus has also been shown  to have antimicrobial properties, with the ability to inhibit the activity of E-coli.
2. Hibiscus may help you maintain healthy blood pressure
If you’ve got high blood pressure you can be at increased risk of heart disease, strokes, kidney disease and vascular dementia . It’s reckoned  that 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. suffer from this condition and a worryingly high proportion of these don’t even know they have it. So it makes sense to get tested for hypertension at regular intervals and if you’re found to be risk it’s time to take action.
Here’s why hibiscus tea might help. In one trial , hibiscus tea consumed over a six-week period was found to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults. Another study  found that patients with type-2 diabetes who also had mildly high blood pressure benefited from taking hibiscus.
3. Hibiscus might be a natural mood booster
We all feel a bit low every now and again, but when you just can’t seem to shake off the blues, hibiscus just might help put the smile back on your face. A study  on mice found that it worked as an anti-depressant without the sedative side effects that are often seen with this type of medication, raising the hope that the bioflavonoids in hibiscus might one day be used to help humans fight anxiety and depression .
More work needs to be done before hibiscus gets the scientific seal of approval on this one. But the possibility of a safe, natural mood-enhancer without the sledge-hammer side-effects of some conventional drugs is an intriguing possibility.
Ok, so you might now agree that it’s time to try out some hibiscus tea benefits for yourself, but first let’s take a look at some of the other ingredients in this awesome recipe.
Coconut is more than just a taste of the tropics
We love the taste and creamy texture of coconut milk in this Thai iced tea, but that’s not the only reason we’ve ditched the dairy and added coconut milk here.
Dairy has been linked  to ovarian and prostate cancers, autoimmune disease and other nasties. Unless you buy organic milk from grass-fed cows there’s also the risk that the cows have been given growth hormones. Yuck! On top of that, pasteurised milk is also known to be lower in vitamins and minerals.
Coconut milk is a different thing altogether. It’s packed full of nutritional goodies, including the right kind of fats and is deliciously thirst-quenching.
The other extras
Vanilla fresh from the pod adds natural sweetness making it the perfect foil for the tartness of the hibiscus. Vanilla contains antioxidants, magnesium, potassium and manganese. No wonder we love it! And how about this for a fun fact- did you know that vanilla comes from a plant in the orchid family?
Star anise and cloves have been used to spice drinks for centuries. Aromatic star anise has antibacterial properties  and cloves are a great source of phenolic compounds as well as being known to have antioxidant and antimicrobial powers.
Wow! This yummy, refreshing cooler isn’t just a great tasting beverage- it’s just exactly what the doctor ordered.
- 4 cups boiling water
- 3 sachets Pique Hibiscus Mint Tea Crystals
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 vanilla bean scraped (pod reserved)
- 1 star anise
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 cup full fat or light coconut milk
- Ice cubes
- Sprig of mint for garnish
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Stir in coconut sugar and remove from heat once dissolved.
Add 3 sachets of Hibiscus Mint Tea Crystals, vanilla (the seeds and pod), star anise, and cloves. Allow the tea to sit and cool for about 15 minutes.
Once cool, transfer to the fridge for 1 hour.
After about an hour, strain mixture.
Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Pour mixture over ice, about 3/4 way up the glass.
Top off with coconut milk.
Add a sprig of mint in the glass for garnish. Enjoy immediately.