Tibetan tea with Yak butter - Tea Legend

2019-05-13 14:35:42 - Tea Legend

Tibetan tea with Yak butter - Tea Legend

Legend has it that in 641 AD the Chinese princess Wencheng left her homeland China and travelled to Tibet to marry Songtsen Gampo, the 33rd king of the Yarlung dynasty of Tibet.

This mixed marriage, which also had political implications, brought an end to the conflict between two regimes and most importantly, triggered an increase in cultural exchanges between Han people (the Chinese proper) and the Tibetans. As a result, some Han customs have begun to take root in the daily life of Tibetans, including the tea ritual.

Given the harsh climate of Tibet, tea was very successful as an alternative to melted snow, yak or goat milk, barley milk or chang (barley beer).

For tea intended for Tibet, the largest leaves were collected, as well as twigs and stems.

The Tibetans prepare the tea with yak butter, which gives it a salty, slightly oily taste with a pungent taste. It is therefore a valid meal for shepherds who warm up in front of the fires.

As in China, tea has always been an essential ritual of hospitality in Tibet. Guests are welcomed near the hearth, the centre of domestic life. The cup of tea is filled to the brim to prevent bad luck.

Tibetan Yak Butter Tea - Recipe

Tibetan tea is divided into four categories:

  • Puerh tea
  • Plain Tea
  • Butter tea
  • Sweet tea

The most widely drunk is the bò cha Tibetan tea with yak butter. It is said that Tibetans drink 40 to 60 small cups of tea a day for hydration and nutrition.

For Tibetans and Tibetan Buddhists, tea is a beverage that is just like coffee for Westerners, a kind of daily habit, from morning to night, after meals, or simply talking and chatting with friends, family, in negotiations until even during prayers.

The preparation of Tibetan tea with yak butter is long and complex, a sort of ritual.

How to make Yak butter tea

Boil the water, add the black tea in the pot and then let the temperature drop slowly for 3-5 minutes, in tradition this phase can last for hours. The very strong and intense coloured tea is then placed in a wooden cylinder a sort of churn in which yak milk, yak butter and salt (Himalayan rose) and bicarbonate are added. All products are emulsified and mixed together until a liquid of the right consistency is obtained.

The tea is served hot, in different containers, from elaborate cups of Tibetan silver personalized to simple plastic glasses when offered in a Buddhist monastery.

Another custom is to mix Tibetan bò cha cha with yak butter and tsampa (toasted barley flour) with more yak butter and make it into a dish, the staple food of the Tibetans.

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