If you order green tea in Thailand you get a long drink in a plastic cup that resembles a sweet, frozen shake. (Then you can put the cup in a plastic bag, hang it on the steering rod of your motorbike, drive around and sip it with a thick straw on hot days.)

The Thai green tea is very different from Japanese and Chinese (usually hot) green tea. The Thai drink is light green and completely opaque.

I read that Thais use "green tea powder", condensed milk, "oriental spices", crushed ice and more to produce this shake.

When I drink this I remember having been served "similar" in Japan. Opaque, green tea in small clay cups. Much more filled with "small particles" than is "normal" tea. It was hot and not sweet, at least as I remember.

When I Google I just find entries like Oolong tea which is not what I am looking for. Oolong tea is clear and more resembles traditional tea.

My question mostly relates to what I have had in Japan. What is this brew that is green but differs very much from "normal" green tea by being opaque?

  • Matcha. To make the matcha green tea frappuccino, mix matcha, milk, ice, sugar, and guar gum in a blender. You can also buy one at Starbucks. Source: I fucking love matcha.
    – Chloe
    Aug 10, 2016 at 18:02

3 Answers 3


If it's "green tea powder" it's probably matcha.

Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea. It's special in two aspects of farming and processing: The green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest, and the stems and veins are removed in processing.

The traditional Japanese tea ceremony centers on the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha. In modern times, matcha has also come to be used to flavour and dye foods such as mochi and soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of wagashi (Japanese confectionery).

Matcha Tea

The drink you had in Thailand is probably an iced matcha shake of some sort, made with condensed milk. In Japan, the drink is served by itself as part of tea ceremonies and is opaque even without milk added to it.

There's a guide to how tea ceremonies work and the process of making tea here, if you're interested.

  • Thanks for the replies that have come. Of course it is matcha from the Japanese tea ceremony. It was a while since I had it in Japan and now the Thai iced shake woke up memories. Almost like Proust's famous Madeline cake, maybe ... :)
    – cvr
    Sep 3, 2015 at 3:27
  • The Thai green tea like the orange-colored Thai tea uses dyes to achieve the color.
    – user50726
    Jan 21, 2018 at 16:46

Green tea powder = matcha tea (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matcha)

Pics for matcha: https://www.google.com.au/search?q=matcha&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CNABEIkeahUKEwiG4OqP6NnHAhWHsJQKHc-6CMA&biw=1298&bih=911

It's originally from China, but it's most often thought of as a Japanese tea.

They dry the tea leaves and then pulverise them to form a powder.

Because it's a powder it doesn't get strained after brewing, which is why it's .. grittier than tea leaves that then get strained out. The higher the quality of the matcha, the less gritty it will be, it'll be smoother, almost creamy.


Tea is originally from China but matcha is from japan. It is the heart of the Japanese tea culture. Uji Kyoto matcha is known as the highest quality matcha. Though Thai green tea is not matcha ... the Thai’s have their own styles of tea. They prefer their tea sweet and often add a lot of spices and sweetened condensed milk. The green milk tea there is either a powder made from grinding their own tea leaves and the spices and powders milk put all together to easily make a Thai green tea or if you go to a higher end restaurant they will make the tea themselves with the leaves and add the rest fresh for you on spot. Sometimes they even make a batch and have it in a container or in the fridge all day on call for when you order it. Just needed to set this straight though. Thai green milk tea is not matcha.

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