Thai Iced Tea with Lime (Cha Ma-Nao ชามะนาว)

Thai Iced Tea with Lime (Cha Ma-Nao ชามะนาว) is a staple at anything from the lowliest of khao-kaeng (rice-curry[1]) stalls to school cafeterias, to little posh cafés, to sit-down family restaurants. People like it, apparently.

While pairing wine or beer with Thai food can be tricky sometimes, and soda doesn’t always work (try drinking coca-cola with anything spicy that contains lemongrass and/or galangal — yuck), Cha Ma-Nao — ordinary as it may seem — hardly, if ever, fails. The combination of Thai tea and lime juice seems to go with just about any Thai dish.

Thai Iced Tea with Lime (Cha Ma-Nao ชามะนาว)
Makes a little over 1/2 gallon
Printable Version

4 cups room temperature water
4 cups very cold water
1/2 cup Thai tea[2]
1 1/2 cups sugar (more or less depending on your taste)
3/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice

  • Put 4 cups of room temperature water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the tea and let it steep for 15-20 minutes.
  • After 15-20 minutes have passed, add the sugar to the tea and stir until it’s completely dissolved.
  • Add the cold water to the mixture to bring the hot tea to room temperature.
  • Strain the sweetened tea into a large pitcher.
  • Stir in the lime juice.
  • Serve over ice.
  • [1]Speaking pars pro toto, of course, since any given rice-curry stall always offers more than just rice and curries.

    [2] If you’re afraid of using a product that contains artificial food coloring, replace Thai tea with the same amount of black tea and 2-3 pieces of star anise. It won’t taste the same, of course, but — I promise you — it will still be delicious.

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