Cooking in the slow cooker is the perfect choice on these hot, sweaty, summer days because it doesn’t heat up your house like the stove top does. I love how inexpensive this recipe is compared to just one glass of tea at a Thai restaurant and this one is vegan, of course!
This is my second try at this recipe. I didn’t like the first batch because the spices were too subtle and got lost in the non-dairy milk. The first time I also used a whole vanilla bean and all the flavor cooked out. But I really feel like I got it this time. I added a beet to get that reddish hue that you think of when someone mentions Thai tea. But don’t worry it doesn’t make the tea taste like beets.
I love the way it’s sticky-sweet almost like a popsicle and how the orange flower water adds a floral punch to the creamy non-dairy milk. I think I have a little crush on it and it’s going to be replacing my normal iced chai for a while.
Slow Cooker Iced Thai Tea Concentrate
- 6 cups (1500ml) water
- 1 red beet , quartered (optional for color)
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks, about 3 inches long
- 4 whole star anise
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
- 10 teabags black, green, or roobios (or about 8 to 10 teaspoons of loose tea in a very large tea ball or muslin tea bag)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons orange flower water
- 1/2 to 1 cup (100 to 200 g) sugar (or other sweetener like maple syrup, stevia or agave nectar, or leave unsweetened if you prefer)
This is much easier to clean up if you put the spices in a re-usable muslin tea bag. It takes more work to get all the cardamom seeds out without it. You can throw the whole bag into the slow cooker and it’s easy to take out. Then just rinse the tea bag out and let it dry before you put it away. It will be waiting for the next batch of tea concentrate you make.
Put water, beet and spices (or all of the spices in a spice bag) in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours.
Remove spice bag and beets. Add in tea bags to the slow cooker and turn to high. Let seep 5 to 10 minutes depending on how concentrated you want the flavor to be. Remove teabags and add vanilla, orange flower water, and sweetener.
(If you didn’t use a spice bag, before adding extracts and sweetener – pour into a pitcher while straining out the spices through a piece of cheesecloth places in a funnel to remove the rest of the whole spice.)
Store in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks. Use about 1/2 glass concentrate to 1/2 glass non-dairy milk. I like to use So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut milk which comes as no surprise, but unsweetened vanilla almond milk works well too. It’s also good with slow cooker evaporated coconut milk too.
Yields: About 6 cup (1500ml)
Total Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 4 hours