INSTANT TIBETAN ORIGINAL FLAVOUR YAK BUTTER TEA

Tea type
Black Tea
Ingredients
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Flavors
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Caffeine
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Certification
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Edit tea info Last updated by mrmopar
Average preparation
Boiling

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3 Tasting Notes View all

  • “~Queued post, written May 25th 2014~ Here's another ancient thing that *Fleurdelily* shared with me. I've kept it for so long, partly because I was scared of it but mostly because I didn't have...” Read full tasting note
    1
    Angrboda 1257 tasting notes
  • “My bravery has grown enough for me to try this unusual tea so after dinner here I am with a mug of pale beige liquid that smells like butter milk (sweet yet sour and creamy). It's....unusual...I...” Read full tasting note
    KittyLovesTea 1067 tasting notes
  • “I received this is this month's _Hapa-tite_ tea swap from my paired swap-buddy *KittyLovesTea* thanks Kayleigh! I actually received the package probably a week ago, and have tried several of the...” Read full tasting note
    76
    NatalieOgden 47 tasting notes

From Dragon Tea House

Butter tea, also known as po cha, Tibetan tea, su you cha, is a drink of the Tibetans and Chinese minorities in southwestern China. It is also consumed in Bhutan. It is made from tea leaves, yak butter, and salt.

Drinking butter tea is a regular part of Tibetan life. Before work, a Tibetan will typically down several bowlfuls of this tangy beverage, and it is always served to guests. Nomads are said to often drink up to 40 cups of it a day. Since butter is the main ingredient, butter tea is a very warming drink, providing lots of caloric energy and is particularly suited to high altitudes. The butter also helps prevent chapped lips.

According to the Tibetan custom, butter tea is drunk in separate sips, and after each sip the host refills the bowl to the brim. Thus, the guest never drains his bowl; rather, it is constantly topped up. If the visitor does not wish to drink, the best thing to do is leave the tea untouched until the time comes to leave and then drain the bowl. In this way etiquette is observed and the host will not be offended.

Butter tea is also used for eating tsampa by pouring onto it, or dipping the tsampa into it, and mixing well.

The concentrate, produced by repeatedly boiling tea leaves, will keep for several days, and is commonly used in towns. The tea is then combined with salt and butter in a special tea churn, and churned vigorously before serving hot.

Brewing Guide: Serve each bag with 170ml hot water.

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3 Tasting Notes

1
1257 tasting notes

Queued post, written May 25th 2014

Here’s another ancient thing that Fleurdelily shared with me. I’ve kept it for so long, partly because I was scared of it but mostly because I didn’t have the faintest clue what to do with it. It just had ‘yak butter’ written on it. I didn’t even know if it was actually freeze dried butter that I was supposed to use as an additive or if it was some kind of instant tea deal.

Luckily KittyLovesTea posted about this one recently, and looking at the picture I can see the pouches are identical to mine, so that’s what I’ve decided it must be. I asked her what I was supposed to do with it, and her reply has been sitting in my email for a while while I’ve been gathering courage and waiting for a good time to try it. I’m home alone this weekend, so here goes.

I’m still scared of it though, but it has to be tried. Otherwise I can’t empty the box. And if I can’t empty the box, I can’t get new stuff. Ever. This is the rule. New orders/swaps/whathaveyou require an empty box.

So I’ve made it up with Kitty’s instructions and am now staring sceptically at the cup.

It smells like puerh with butter in it. Which, I suppose, is what it is. The butter smells a bit… different from cow butter. A bit sort of wild. I can’t tell if that’s because of the puerh and its farm animal smell or if it’s something to do with yaks. Perhaps a combination? I find it quite off-putting to be honest. Cloying.

Okay, I’m doing it. I’m taking a sip (fully expecting something vile).

Oh! It’s salty! And buttery. LOTS of butter. FAR TOO MUCH butter! Oh ack! All I can taste is salt and butter. Flipping heck, but this is foul. I had to spit it out. At least I’m rid of it now.

Thomas Edward(Toad)

The sweet version isn’t too bad, pretty good even, like an instant sweet milk tea :)

Jillian

Ew that sounds totally nasty!

MzPriss

I don’t want any of this.

Thomas Edward(Toad)

I really want to try this one, sounds interesting to me

MzPriss

I want zero yak butter tea.

Sarsonator

Now I know what to get you for your birthday :p

MzPriss

Yes, you do: almost anything that isn’t yak butter tea

Angrboda

I’m effectively cured off yak butter tea for the rest of my life. spitty

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1067 tasting notes

My bravery has grown enough for me to try this unusual tea so after dinner here I am with a mug of pale beige liquid that smells like butter milk (sweet yet sour and creamy). It’s….unusual…I was never a butter milk fan, or a milk fan since I was allergic to it as a child. Mostly this tea is to say that I have tried it, after all I will just about try any tea (I say just about as anything gross like animal dropping tea is a definite no).

Ok so butter milk, which is funnily enough what this tea is. My first sip was not great, it’s very sweet, extremely creamy and full on buttery….all that and it’s rather watery and thin. My stomach turned a little. It’s not terrible by any means, just that I am not meant for this tea and it is not meant for me.

Sorry tea.

Terri HarpLady

I’m so proud of you for giving it a try! If it weren’t for my milk allergy, I’d sample it :)

Stephanie

WOW NEAT! I’ve always been intrigued by Tibetan butter tea! :)

whatshesaid

Mmmmm butter

Sil

i wanted to try this every time i go look at yunnan sourcing lol

Memily

With that kind of name my stomach is turning just thinking about it :|

mrmopar

Kitty thanks for posting about this. I have some and have always been reluctant to try it. I think I may have a better understanding of it now.

Angrboda

I have a sample of this and I’m dead scared of it. I only have one of the red pouches and no instructions or anything. I wasn’t even certain if it was actually tea or if I was supposed to try and put it in tea. I take it I’m just supposed to pour hot water on it and stir then, like when making a cup of hot cocoa?

KittyLovesTea

The instructions on the side of the box say to mix one pouch with boiling water and roughly 180ml water which I believe to be mug sized. This particular brand (but guessing it’s similar if not same as others) say it contains powdered down high quality brick tea. It’s like an instant mix, just add water and you’re good to go. You will see once you make it that it’s already milky and super sweet.

Angrboda

I compared mine to the picture and they appear to be identical. Still afraid of it though. Hmm. Well, at least it’s definitely interesting.

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76
47 tasting notes

I received this is this month’s Hapa-tite tea swap from my paired swap-buddy KittyLovesTea thanks Kayleigh! I actually received the package probably a week ago, and have tried several of the teas included but have been too busy to review any. I also have to send mine off (sorry, Kayleigh) which should be done today. I mentioned in my last post that life is kinda hectic at the moment, and annoyingly it still is. I have to write 2000 words by Monday, and then another 2000 by the next day, as I totally forgot I’m going away for a week and won’t be back until the essay deadline! So yeah, panic mode. I’m making a little time to write this up, though, because A) I wanted to thank Kayleigh for my package (which was totally amazing – so many wishlist teas I can now tick off!! Thank you!!) and B) as it was a sipdown which I actually had yesterday, and I don’t want to leave it so long I forget what it was like.

When opening the package, this really intrigued me, as I’ve never seen anything like it before. For some reason I had it in my head that it would be sort of sour, or salty almost, so I decided to have it as my wake-up tea. This turned out to be a complete misjudgement, as the tea is in fact thick, with a little touch of sweetness, and very very buttery. A little too rich for my not-quite-awake-yet stomach, but my tastebuds sure did appreciate it. The dry mix smells sweet, which should have been my first clue, and the liquor, which I expected to come out a dark brown (I seriously have no idea where I got any of this from) actually came out at a creamy light browny yellow – pretty much like a standard British cuppa with a lot of milk added. I drank this plain, and it was sweet enough as is to not need sugar, and so thick that I think adding milk to it would be as bizarre a thing to do as adding it to a green tea.

Other than what I’ve already said, I can’t seem to find the words to explain the taste. It is so very unlike anything I’ve had before that the only thing which I can find to say is that it’s buttery, which goes without saying! The other flavours and notes are new to me, and I am very glad to have had the chance to try such an unusual yet tasty tea. Who knows – perhaps at some point in time I may find myself purchasing some of this. If I came across it in a shop, I would definitely be more likely to pick some up now I know what it’s like.

A very enjoyable, if surprising, cup. Thanks again, KittyLovesTea!

Preparation
Boiling
Marzipan

Yak butter?

Nattie

Yeah! It sounds so strange, but it was really good! (: I wouldn’t have even considered buying it just because of that, so I’m even more glad I got it in my swap

gmathis

You are a brave and intrepid tea taster. I first read about this when writing a curriculum project for kids, and while we are supposed to test the activities we write, I couldn’t bring myself to butter a cup of tea :)

Nattie

Hehe, I try! Writing the first tasting note for a tea is a very daunting task. I’m not sure I did it justice.

I was very dubious at first, but as soon as I had my first sip I relaxed! If you come across it again, I would recommend trying it (: very tasty

Marzipan

I had to go read up on this. I thought “yak butter” might not be literal, but I guess it is! Curious what it looked like? Did it appear to already have the butter in it? Wikipedia suggests people add their own local butter now.

Copy/paste (I love learning new things!)
The highest quality tea is made by boiling the tea leaves in water for half a day, achieving a dark brown color. It is then skimmed, and poured into a cylinder with fresh yak butter and salt which is then shaken. The result is a purplish liquid that is about the thickness of a stew2 or thick oil. It is then poured into clay tea-pots, or jars, that resemble Japanese teapots.5

Another method is to boil water, and add handfuls of the tea into the water, which is allowed to steep until it turns almost black. Salt is then added, along with a little soda if wanted. The tea is then strained through a horse-hair or reed colander into a wooden butter churn, and a large lump of butter is added. This is then churned until the tea reaches the proper consistency and transferred to copper pots that sit on a brazier to keep them warm. When a churn is not available, a wooden bowl and rapid stirring will suffice.6

Nowadays, when tea leaves, yak butter and wooden butter churn is not available, people often make butter tea using tea bags, different types of butter available in the market and a blender to churn.7

Nattie

Oh that’s so interesting! I didn’t even think to look it up :‘)
It was instant tea, so like a powder in a sachet. Very lightly coloured, about the colour of butter so I think it had already been mixed in and then ground up. It definitely wasn’t purple!

KittyLovesTea

This didn’t show up in my feed :( I came by to say that I received your tea swap parcel from the Hapa-tite exchange today. Thanks for the teas :) Particularly intrigued by the Honey & Melon – English Tea Shop as I adore melon.

I’m also glad I added this tea in for you to try, it arrived the same morning I sent your package out. I’m also guilty of not yet daring to try it but aim to in the next day or two. Hope things calm down for you soon, my life is on a down slope at the moment too. I look forward to seeing more reviews when you return :)

Nattie

I’m glad they reached you alright! I wanted to add more, but then I would have been doubling up on teas I’ve planned on adding to the tea box :/ not sure if I mentioned it on my note, but the honey & melon is very melon-y! Not much tea, but lots of melon – I would recommend two bags per cup unless you have a delicate palate. I’m sure I’ve already said all that on the package, but just in case I forgot!

I hope this review encourages you to try it, it’s really not quite as difficult a leap to make as it sounds once you’ve plucked up the courage to open the little packet (:

Cwyn

This is the tea of Tibetan monks, I intend to make some and try it sometime, it is a brave cuppa!

Nattie

It’s definitely worth trying, I don’t think I’d be brave enough to attempt to make it from scratch, though! (:

Cwyn

My plan is to use something like a Xiaguan Tibetan tuo cha or a brick and use our local butter or cream and see how it turns out. The recipe also includes sugar and a pinch of salt.

Nattie

Review it on Steepster if you do, I’d love to read how it goes (:
I bet that would be really good, authentic Tibetan tea (:

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