Thai Iced Coffee

Back in my bad-girl motorcycle days at UCLA, my friends and I would ride our bikes along the famous and curvy Sunset Boulevard that bordered the northern end of school. Our destination was a Thai restaurant that I don’t recall the name of. On a motorcycle at night, the ride exhilarating on Sunset Boulevard, zipping between fancy cars with famous people (who drive too fast) and gawking tourists (who drive too slow).

Flaming hot curry, “barbecue” chicken and Thai iced coffee were our must-orders. The meal was cheap. The restaurant opened until 2am and the coffee kept me awake and alert doing all-nighters, which happened quite often.

What makes this iced coffee so different from anything you’ve had before is the infusion of cardamom into the half and half. Cardamom gives the coffee a warm-spice flavor. You can use either green or black cardamom (the black cardamom is cheaper), or in a pinch, ground cardamom.




Thai Iced Coffee Recipe

Servings: serves 4 Prep Time: 5 Cook Time: 15

When making Thai Iced Coffee, I brew very strong coffee by doubling the amount of coffee grounds than I normally use. This makes sure that the iced coffee is perfectly balanced and not diluted. If you can't find whole cardamom pods, substitute with 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom. Big thanks to Adam and Joanne for helping me with this recipe!


4 cups double-strength brewed coffee
2 cups half-and-half or cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar (add more to taste)
3 cardamom pods (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract


1. The first step is to smash the cardamom pods to release its flavor and aroma. You can do this with your mortar & pestle - just gently tap the pods until the outer shell is cracked. If you don't have a mortar & pestle, place the pods on a cutting board and with a heavy chef's knife, use the bottom of the handle to smash the pod.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring half-and-half or cream, sugar and cardamom pods to a simmer, turn off the heat and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
Remove the cardamom pods then add the almond extract.

3. Fill 4 tall glasses to the brim with ice. Divide the flavored half-and-half or cream between each of the 4 glasses. Then slowly pour the coffee into each glass.

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Comments 59

  1. Allyn

    I think that you and Pioneer Woman are conspiring to get me hooked on iced coffee again.
    How can I resist?!
    I adore cardamom!

  2. Tawnia

    Love this, and I just read PW post also, haha. I am wondering, can you store the half and half after it is infused? I would love to just have this on hand to add to my coffee!

    1. adamjoanne

      Hi Tawnia,
      You can store the infused half-and-half or cream in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. We suggest the following: when you make a batch, cool the half-and-half or cream quickly, do not let it sit out on the counter. If you make a larger batch, you may want to consider using an ice bath to cool it down quickly (to do this, submerge a bowl with the infused half-and-half or cream into a larger bowl filled with ice and water). Once it is cool, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Also, keep in mind that the shelves of your refrigerator are usually cooler than the doors, so it is best to store it on the shelves.

      Hope that helps! Joanne

  3. Carolyn Jung

    I can totally picture you on the back of a revving motorcycle in college! After all, that’s part of what makes you such a cool Mom now. And I know your boys appreciate that. 😉

  4. SAWII

    My dad always told us his crazy college days stories, but they always ended with ‘and then we went home and studied’. I didn’t think otherwise until about half way through highschool, but I may have been a little naive.
    I can’t wait to add cardamon to my cold brewed coffee. Why didn’t I think of it sooner?

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  6. Dan

    I have never had cardamon, I noticed your crepes with cardamon also. I will have to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Liz

    I love these and always wondered what was in them. Iced coffee sounds especially good in this summer heat so thanks so much for sharing!

    I recently graduated college so I understand your reminiscing!

    And post recipes for Thai Iced Teas if you have them too, they are delicious!

    Looking forward to making this! Thanks

  8. Stephanie O

    I’m delighted to have a recipe for this wonderful drink – Hubby and I order it all the time at our favorite Thai restaurant and I couldn’t figure out the “secret ingredient” – CARDAMOM!!! Hubby also makes “industrial strength” coffee, so it should be a BREEZE to put this together … Thank you!

  9. Yvonne Hall

    This recipe looks heavenly! Something great to make if I have a few friends coming over for brunch. But sadly it seems to time consuming for an every day drink for me (most things are too time consuming with a 5 & a 2 1/2 yr old in the house!) But I will keep this on hand for special occasions;) Thanks for sharing!
    Yvonne Hall

  10. Char

    Oh my! Thai Iced Coffee!?! I’ve only ever had Thai Iced Tea. NEED to try this ASAP—especially since I still have a little bit of cardamom left. Thank you for the recipe!

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  12. Natasha S Saved by the Egg Timer

    We make this all the time, but have never added the almond extract or cardamom. They sound like excellent additions. We think the Trung Nguyen Gourmet blend in the box (not can) makes the very best Thai/ Veietnamese Iced coffe in the world. I will be trying yor variation soon 🙂

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  14. Vijay

    Hey Jaden! Any tips on making thai iced tea? Tried a bunch of times but can’t seem to get it right (or how it tastes in restaurants). thanks!

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  17. Megan

    I was introduced to thai coffee a couple years ago and my life hasn’t been the same since. I suppose I should try this with fat-free half and half, though that seems like cheating… 🙂 YUM-OH!

  18. Joanne Richards

    Oh my goodness, I just made a super-quick easy version of this (with milk, as that’s all I had!) I scalded about half a cup milk with 3 pods cardamon and 1-2 tablespoons sugar, threw it in the freezer while I waited for the coffee to make (half a cup), smashed up the ice in the remaining time and then scoffed it as soon as it was made. Delicious 🙂 I will try it with cream / evaporated milk / half-half next time!

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  20. Cyndie

    This is so good! I actually had trouble saving it for my coffee ’cause I wanted to just sip the infused warm milk… Yum!

  21. Nana

    Wouldn’t you know it I find this the week we are finally due for cool weather and lots of rain…It’s all good cause I think this would be great hot too.

  22. yasmine

    Hello really interested by your recipe, may i know what half-and-half in your recipe means? And can it substitute by other ingredient? Thank you

  23. kookkai

    this is not the right recipes of thai iced coffee. you can only use thai coffee ground to make it.

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  29. HealthCoach.suz

    Oh my this is a great recipe. I actually tried it with my OG instant black coffee. This coffee has a smooth base because of the Ganoderma mushroom extract in the coffee. Plus it made it so simple to make. Thanks for sharing. I cannot wait to share with my coffee friends. [email protected] from

  30. thai iced tea recipe

    Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!

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