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

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.