Butter Tea 酥油茶 – Chinese Food


Chinese Name: 酥油茶

English Name: Butter tea

Category: Drink饮品

Main Ingredients: Tea

Butter tea
Butter tea

Butter tea酥油茶 is a kind of medicinal diet made of butter, brick tea, and salt. Butter tea is a daily essential drink for Tibetan藏族 people and a necessity for life on the Tibetan西藏 plateau. Drinking buttered tea can cure altitude sickness, prevent chapped lips due to dry weather, and protect against cold.

People said that if they had not drunk buttered tea, they would have never been to the Tibetan Plateau. The first sip of buttered tea is intolerable, the second is pure and fragrant, and the third is unforgettable forever. For thousands of years, Tibetan people have created butter tea culture in their struggle against harsh natural conditions. Around the tea culture, there are tea parties, which run through the parties of making friends, festivals, parting, and love.

Butter teapot with special shape
Butter teapot with a special shape

Tibetan people like buttered tea. There is a folk love story about the origin of buttered tea. It is said that there were two tribes in the Tibetan area who had feuded with each other due to armed fighting.

Meimeicuo美梅措, the daughter of the chieftain土司 in charge of the Xia tribe辖部落, fell in love with Wendumba文顿巴, the son of the chieftain in the Nu tribe怒部落, during their labor. However, due to the historical feud between the two tribes, the chieftain in charge of the tribe sent people to kill Wendumba. When the cremation ceremony was held for Wendumba, Meimeicuo jumped into the fire and died of love.

After the death of both sides, Meimeicuo went to the mainland to become the tea on the tea tree, and Wendumba went to Qiangtang to become the salt in the salt lake. Whenever the Tibetans played buttered tea, tea and salt met again. This story triggered by tea customs has a strong artistic appeal.

Butter tea of different colors
Butter tea of different colors

More than a thousand years ago, the Tibetan medical expert Uto Yundan Gongbu宇妥·云丹贡布 discussed the nutritional effect of butter on the human body in his Four Medical Scriptures四部医典. “Fresh butter is cool and can strengthen tendons, generate luster and eliminate Chiba fever新鲜酥油凉而能强筋,能生泽力又除赤巴热.” That is to say, fresh butter moistens qi and blood, is energetic, prevents skin from cracking, and can also treat mucus and febrile diseases.

It is believed that butter can “increase intelligence and heat益智增热力”, “it is the best product for prolonging life千般效用延年称上品”, “it can promote people’s physical strength and prolong life可促进人的体力及延长寿命”, “people’s daily diet depends on oil, and their internal organs can be cleaned by heating their bodies. Constitution means that they can replenish qi, improve their appearance, and their facial features can be strong and live for hundreds of years人们日常饮食靠油类,体内供热内脏可洁净。体质即补气力容颜添,五官坚固长寿到百年”. Tibetan medicine believes that drinking more buttered tea in a cold and anoxic environment can strengthen the body.

Attractive Butter Tea
Attractive Butter Tea

As for the way to drink butter tea, Deqin Tibetans德钦藏族 likes to add milk dregs, while Zhongdian中甸 and Weixi Tibetans维西藏族 pursue purity. Tibetan people often use butter tea to entertain guests. They drink butter tea and have a set of rules. When the guest sat at the Tibetan square table, the host took a cup and put it in front of the guest. Then the host picked up the butter teapot, shook it a few times, and poured a bowl of butter tea to the guests. The butter tea that has just fallen down.

If the guests don’t drink it right away, they should chat with the host first. When the host once again mentioned the butter teapot and stood in front of the guest, the guest could take up the bowl, blow gently in the butter bowl, blow the oil floating on the tea, take a sip, and praise: “This butter tea is very good, oil and tea are inseparable.”

Then the guest put the bowl back on the table and the host refilled it. In this way, you can drink while you are drinking. The warm host always fills the guest’s tea bowl. If you don’t want to drink anymore, don’t touch it; If you don’t want to drink anymore after half drinking, and the host fills the bowl, you will keep it there; When guests are ready to leave, they can drink more, but they can’t drink it dry. Leave some tea base in the bowl. In this way, it conforms to Tibetan customs and manners.

Delicious Butter Tea
Delicious Butter Tea

Eating buttered tea can drive away cold when it is cold; When you eat meat, you can get rid of boredom; When you are hungry, you can satisfy your hunger; When you are sleepy, you can relieve your fatigue; When you are sleepy, you can also clear your head. Tea contains vitamins, which can alleviate the damage caused by the lack of vegetables on the plateau. Butter tea is similar to thick cocoa tea in color. After drinking a sip of tea, the tea fragrance is very strong, and the milk smell is strong. It has a special aftertaste.

How to make Butter tea?


  • 3-5 g brick tea
  • 0.5g salt
  • 2g butter
The fragrant butter tea
The fragrant butter tea


  • Step 1, Add 300 ml of water to the pot and boil, then add 3 to 5 g of broken brick tea. Boil until the tea turns black and the fire is out.
  • Step 2, After the tea changes color, add 0.5g of salt. On cold days, you can add more salt. Add 2g butter (about two-thirds of the tablespoon).
  • Step 3, Pour the water into the teapot through the tea filter screen for standby.
Many cups of buttered tea
Many cups of buttered tea

Video Guide

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