TikToker Natalie Pham (@natmpham) just wanted some Thai tea, a delightfully sweet, caffeinated, beverage that is the perfect accompaniment to a hot day. So, when she saw that an establishment was selling “fresh Thai tea,” she was stoked to try it out.
She says she handed over her $6 for the beverage and waited patiently for the employee to prepare it, which is when the trouble began. Clearly, Pham’s definition of “fresh” was much different than the establishment where she purchased the tea from. The creator claims the worker making her tea simply cracked open a can of Thai tea and poured it into a cup.
Pham posted about her experience in a viral TikTok that’s garnered over 346,000 views as of Saturday. Several viewers mentioned that they, too, have felt hoodwinked by “fresh” beverages.
@natmpham fresh out of the can ig lol but fool me once shame on u #br #finessed #shoplocaltheysaid #batonrouge #fauxbatea ♬ Cartoon Eye Blinking Sound – Anna
In the clip, the TikToker looks into the camera, blinking beneath a text overlay that reads, “Me when I ordered a $6 ‘fresh Thai tea’ off the menu and watched the worker literally pour the ‘fresh Thai tea’ from a $2 can from the Asian market in front of me.”
One commenter said that this is common for Thai iced teas and that folks can expect, whenever they order it, that it’ll be of the canned variety.
“Thai tea is one of the things u can safely assume that is most likely not made ‘fresh,'” a user wrote. “Same with lemonade, and a lot of other drinks.”
Someone else shared, “I spent 11$ for a small cup of fresh lemonade at a concert. i watched them pour it from a gallon jug of lemonade.”
One TikToker, however, shared how folks could just make their own Thai tea at home, writing, “I used to work at a boba place, buy [pantai] tea leaves, and condensed milk then it tastes exactly how they make it.”
Other people also complained about the underwhelming drinks they were served.
“Me when i ordered a mojito lemonade from a cafe and it was just strawberry preserves and minute maid,” a user said.
Several viewers complained about receiving dissolved packets of food or drink, like one person who wrote, “One time I ordered chicken soup and it was one of those dissolvable packets.”
Another said, “I once got a milkshake that was made from a flavor packet NO ICE CREAM JUST POWDER AND MILK.”
There are tons of folks who’ve hopped online to complain about the vagueness surrounding the term “fresh” when it comes to the food that they purchase at restaurants, only to discover that what they’re eating/drinking came from a can or sealed container.
One Quora poster wanted to know if they could sue a business for claiming that it was serving “fresh” wares, but instead were dishing out frozen items to its customers. One response broke down why suing would probably not be a good idea because the term “fresh” doesn’t necessarily indicate that they were chowing down on a recently slaughtered animal, or veggies that were just plucked from the garden.
“‘Fresh’ can carry several meanings legally. It’s ‘fresh’ out of a bag or box from the freezer isn’t it?. ‘Fresh’ could just mean it’s not heavily processed and from a can,” the user wrote. “If it was made from really fresh food and flash frozen for preservation and shipping purposes it often still qualifies legally as ‘fresh’.”
None of this information, however, really helps Pham and others who’ve purchased “fresh” beverages and were given processed drinks straight from a jug or a can. And if you’re worried about drinking something that’s processed, maybe hang back and watch an employee prepare an order for someone else, or ask them how it’s made.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Pham via email.