Teh Tarik: Malaysian Pulled Tea

Teh Tarik, literally meaning “pulled tea,” is a Malaysian drink that is as much a spectacle to watch being made as it is a delight to sip. This frothy beverage is a staple at local “mamak” stalls, open-air eateries that come to life with the chatter and clinking of cups. The art of “pulling” the tea involves pouring the liquid back and forth between two containers, skillfully increasing the height with each pour to cool the tea and create a thick froth. This technique not only entertains but also thoroughly mixes the tea with condensed milk to achieve a smooth, creamy texture. Teh Tarik embodies the essence of Malaysian hospitality and is considered the country’s unofficial national drink.

Teh Tarik: Malaysian Pulled Tea


  • 2 tablespoons of black tea leaves (preferably a strong blend like Ceylon or Assam)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2-3 tablespoons condensed milk (to taste)
  • 1-2 tablespoons evaporated milk or fresh milk (optional, for a creamier texture)
  • Sugar to taste (optional, as condensed milk is already sweet)

Cooking Steps

  • Start by steeping the black tea leaves in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.
  • Strain the tea leaves and pour the brewed tea into a large mug or jug.
  • Add condensed milk to the hot tea, and include evaporated milk or fresh milk if desired. Stir well until fully incorporated. Taste and add sugar if needed.
  • Hold one container with the tea mixture at chest height, and the other container at waist level.
  • Pour the tea from the higher container to the lower one, gradually increasing the pouring height with each transfer to aerate the tea. Repeat this “pulling” process several times until the tea is frothy and has cooled down slightly.
  • Pour the frothy tea into a serving glass and serve immediately.

The art of making Teh Tarik is not only in the “pulling” but also in the choice of ingredients. The key is to use a strong black tea that can stand up to the sweetness of the condensed milk, providing a robust flavor that is characteristic of this beloved beverage. When selecting tea leaves, look for freshness and quality—loose leaves are often more aromatic and flavorful than tea bags. For the condensed milk, choose a brand that you trust for its creaminess and taste. Enjoying Teh Tarik is not just about quenching thirst; it’s about taking a moment to appreciate a tradition that has been savored in Malaysia for generations. Whether you’re starting your day or winding down in the evening, a cup of Teh Tarik is a comforting ritual that feels like home.

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