Ditto Modern Tea is aiming for something not yet seen in Bangkok’s caffeinated drink market — unusual combinations of teas and fruits that focus on flavor over sweetness.
The three founders are well-known in Bangkok food and lifestyle circles. Oliver Kramny worked at Mandarin Oriental and was GM for the restaurant group Water Library for the last six years. It was his idea to found Ditto when, determined to cut back on his coffee intake, he began searching for high quality tea drinks in Bangkok and found none.
Jonas Naim Cohen is founder of lifestyle brand Yugen, known for their reed diffusers and body lotions, and owner of photo print gallery YellowKorner. Vina Charaysombat is co-founder of beloved electronic music event series Kolour and event agency Eklekti.
Ditto is their newest venture together, and the latest beverage offering at CentralWorld. We stopped by to try several of their recipes.
As we arrived — and before we could scream out wahn noi (Thai for “less sweet”) — we were handed drinks from the 24-hour cold brew tea menu. We had an oolong lychee (THB135) and a ceylon pineapple (THB135). As we took tiny sips and prepared for a cloying wave of sweetness, we were pleasantly surprised to taste…tea. It tasted like nothing but glorious iced tea with fruits and hints of herbs.
The oolong lychee was a blend of four seasons oolong tea, lychee, basil, and oregano. The second was made of Ceylon black tea, pineapple, mint and Madagascan vanilla.
Where were the fake flavors? The inches of simple syrup? We looked around the room. Yes, yes, we were still in Thailand. Interesting. Time to investigate — we sat down with Kramny to get the inside scoop on these health-conscious drinks.
The cold brew teas are the shop’s signature offering, and they’re only sweetened with natural fruit. The recipe involves creating an overnight cold infusion by mixing water, loose tea leaves, and fresh fruit. We asked Kramny where the idea for cold brew teas came from. He said that people have been doing it in Europe for years, but he believes it’s something relatively new to the domestic gastronomy market here.
Those who love their drinks sweeter can, of course, ask for the cold brews — and any Ditto drinks — with the addition of sugar syrup.
The new shop also makes a line of traditionally crafted iced teas. They include: Thai tea lemonade (THB115), oolong mango & apple (THB125), green tea watermelon & lychee (THB135), and “The Dark” (THB115), a mixture of dark brewed Ceylon and caramel with coffee overtones.
Rounding out the menu are tea lattes, frappes, and hot teas. Kramny tells us that their Hokkaido Thai tea latte (THB125) uses a familiar tasting Thai tea blend, but they use an especially high-fat Japanese milk to add a new dimension. The durian Ceylon tea latte (THB145) has also been an early winner among customers that love the stinky fruit.
Kramny explained that the founders worked with a master tea blender who travels across Asia sourcing leaves, so all the teas they use as the basis for their drinks can’t be purchased elsewhere. Even their cheese teas are comprised of bespoke blends designed to stand up to the sweet, savory, and salty cheese toppings.
“Tea should be a fun drink, as long as you don’t cover the flavor of the leaves. I don’t want to use this expensive tea and then cover the taste with sugar and cheese,” he said.
On that note, Ditto’s cream cheese teas are less sweet than those served elsewhere around the city and come in three varieties: regular (THB125) made with Ceylon black tea, cream cheese, and vanilla; Belgian chocolate (THB135) made with black tea, cream cheese, chocolate, and sea salt; and matcha (THB145). We tried this last one, made with premium matcha and cream cheese, and found that the decreased sweetness really lets the matcha shine through.
The trio plans to have Ditto popups at Emquartier and Paragon in the near future, and also hope to open a “Ditto Lab” further down the line, expanding the concept into a full tea store and bar housed in a shophouse where people can see the tea being made, mixed, and brewed.
Ditto Modern Tea
Central World, 2nd Floor
Open daily, 10am-10pm