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Khun Thai Tea on the road to Asian expansion

Post early success in the Philippines, Khun Thai Tea, with a long history of over 60 years, is now targeting three more Asian markets.

According to Khun Thai Tea co-founder Jeremy Lee, the company is about to open its third store in Metro Manila, at MegaMall, with plans for a new kiosk every month moving forward. It is looking for partners in other Southeast Asian markets.

He further added “We are going to take Khun Thai Tea to Jakarta in Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and Taipei in Taiwan and plans to start outlets in these cities are already underway.”

Local Filipino partner Nancy Padilla says the chain’s drinks are based on an original recipe for a refreshing black iced-tea (‘cha-yen’ in Thai) that dates back to 1955. First created by a Thai native fondly known as Auntie Marlee, the strongly brewed Ceylon tea has since been modernised with a switch from Ceylon to a Thai-grown assam tea known as ‘Bai Miang’. Infusion with spices maintains the headiness of the original recipe and brings out its complex flavours.

The traditional sugar, condensed milk and evaporated milk-heavy Cha-Yen recipe has also been updated to better suit the tastes of modern health-conscious consumers.

In addition to the original recipe, Khun Thai Tea outlets also offer variations of the concoction inspired by drink recipes from around Asia, such as a mix of coffee and tea (‘Yuan Yang’), which was first brewed in Hong Kong.

Drawing inspiration from Taiwanese bubble milk tea recipes, Khun Thai Tea also comes with small chewy tapioca balls (‘boba’, or bubbles) added, to infuse new textures and experiences to the drink.

The newest menu item, Ice Bandung, is inspired by the original popular Malaysian beverage recipe which combines the alluring taste of rose syrup with the velvety smoothness of milk.