Ubiquitous in Southeast Asia, teh tarik is a simple yet extremely popular beverage. Malay for “pulled tea”, it is the drink of choice at many a food stand or kopi tiam coffee shop. The ingredients are straightforward- loose black tea (preferably Ceylon) and condensed milk. The tea is nearly always served in thick glass mugs with little handles, and the quality of the recipe is based on the level of frothiness achieved by the famous “pulling” method- that is, pouring the tea between two tins from a great height in order to blend the flavors and cool to the perfect temperature for sipping. The result is a tea drink that is silky on the palate and slightly sweet.
While the recipe is a study in simplicity, the culture surrounding teh tarik is much more elaborate. When preparing the beverage that is recognized by the Malaysian government ministry as a distinctive heritage food, some showmanship is expected. The higher one can pull the tea without spilling a drop is just the beginning- check out these teh tarik competitors showing their stuff (4:30-5:20 is pretty great!)
Have you ever made teh tarik? If so, did you find it easy or difficult?