Posted in Kafevend Blog

Tea is grown in the mountains of Northern Thailand, a relatively new venture for farmers who were more accustomed to cultivating opium, until a government crack down in the 1980s and early '90s made them turn to tea as a legitimate crop. The sharp rise and fall in temperature between night and day in the mountains causes the tea plants to grow more slowly; it is claimed that they are more aromatic as a result. In addition the mist and low cloud provide plenty of moisture for the tea leaves to absorb. The farmers, able to capitalise on the climactic advantages, are now producing a variety of fine quality teas.

Tea is popular as a drink in Thailand too. It's not even unusual to be served a hot cup of tea alongside the coffee you've ordered in a restaurant, in order to counteract the acidity of the coffee. One very popular style of tea is cha yen, meaning cold tea. It's an iced tea drink, although not one to consume too often if you're watching your weight! Strong black tea which gives the drink an orangey colour and sweetened condensed milk are mixed together, poured over crushed ice and then given a further sweet, milky boost by evaporated milk served on top. Milk is certainly known to be a good antidote to hot spicy food, so this ice cold milky drink no doubt makes a good accompaniment to Thai food.

Fruit, herb and flower juices are common here as well, including chrysanthemum tea which reputedly has many health benefits. It is a natural coolant, which is said to be able to do everything from detoxifying the liver and lowering cholesterol to aiding digestion and easing the pain of a sore throat; certainly worth turning to on holiday if you're feeling under the weather.

by Kafevend

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