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Oct 17, 2006 01:56 AM

Tibetan Butter Tea

Anyone tried it? Any good recipes?

My husband and I went to a local Tibetan Cultural Center on Sunday and I was intrigued by the bowl and pots used to serve Tibetan Butter Tea. All I could parse out was that it is sipped all day long like a broth in Tibet and is a long process to make.

I found this online and I'm intrigued:

Plain black tea (in bags or loose)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk or 1 teaspoon milk powder

Here's the link with history and instructions:

Anyone tried it? I'm going to give it a go some time this week. I'm very curious to see how a savory tea tastes for drinking. I might try a slightly sweet version too to see how I like that.

Thoughts? Advice on past experiences? Know where to find Yak milk? (Kidding on that last one - I know some of you probably DO know where to find it.)

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  1. Okay, it's not yak milk, but I read about this Tibetan culture and education foundation in NY and their project to help Tibetans make and export their cheese. This is a press release from the Slow Food website when they had a tasting in May:

    Doesn't it sound fascinating? I really wanted to go, but couldn't in the end. Doesn't look like they're distributing yet, but something to watch for.

    I had butter tea once--weird and unsettling for me, but kind of soothing too.

    1. Historical accounts of expeditions in Tibet and surrounding mountains talk about adding things like rancid yak butter and ground barley (roasted) to the tea.


      1. If you'll indulge my pedantry, you're really looking for nak milk. Yaks are, by definition, male animals. The female of the species is known as a "nak" or "dri." Ask any Sherpa.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Luwak

          Good to know! At the Tibetan Cultural Center they simply referred to it as 'milk from the female yak'....i suppose that would've made your toes curl, huh? Always good to learn.

          I'm fairly sure I'll be using milk from the now ;)

          1. re: krissywats

            I love the wit and sarcasm that was added to this reply. It made me want to give you a hug! I'll let you know as soon as I obtain the milk from a female nak.

        2. Yak butter tea in the Tibetan areas of Bhutan is foul--rancid tasting, surly an aquired taste.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            I've heard that rancidity is the key to Tibetan butter tea, a friend of a friend had been to tibet and had nothing good to say about butter tea.

            I'm working in Paro, Bhutan right now, occasionally our employees will make suja, but with fresh cow butter, and that way it is not bad at all. Can't say I'm too eager to try the rancid yak version, but given the chance I'm sure I would.

            1. re: babette feasts

              How do you like the emmadashi (hot chilies with melted cheese on top) and sun dried pig fat?

          2. I had this tea at a local Tibetan restaurant & it was one of the most disgusting thinks I've ever tried. Thick, slightly chunky, way greasy. Must be an acquired taste.

            On a related note, anyone try those Tibetan sweets that are simply sweetened dried nak/dri cheese (thanks for the proper terminology, Luwak!)? A tibetan acquintance (who actually cooks at a Nigerian restaurant--go figure) gave me some, and I kind of liked it. Slight cheesy taste, but sweet and kinda creamy.