Do you drink tea? Is this drink a part of your daily routine?
In fact, tea is an essential part of many cultures. A lot of people have the habit of grabbing a cup of tea for a great start of their day. The Tibetan people aren’t the exception. They prefer butter tea to the rest and that is precisely why the Sherpa tea is one of the most popular there.
As a truly unique beverage, this drink unites a lot of crucial ingredients that make the lives of the Tibetans easier. Moreover, their harsh mountain conditions contribute to the need for such warm and healthy drinks in their diet. Drinking butter is apart of their healthy diet.
But before we get to that, let’s get acquainted with the details of how to prepare this tea, what you need as well as what it’s used for. Enjoy!
Table of Contents
What Exactly Is Sherpa Tea?
The Sherpa Butter Tea or otherwise called ‘su cha’ among the Sherpa people and ‘Po-cha’ in Tibet is a very common drink in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, India, and China. These people consume it during the whole day mainly for keeping hydrated and warm. This comes as a necessity because of the cold weather on the Himalayas, which gives great troubles to the people living and working in the mountains.
As it contains a lot of butter it gives their hard working bodies all the calories required for the amount of energy they burn. Usually, yak butter is used in the preparation of this drink, but cow’s milk butter is also an option due to its low price and easier finding. Also, it unites some of the finest tea leaves, salt and optionally milk for enriching the flavour. When it’s drunk in the morning, the Sherpas like to combine it with tsampa, which is a traditional roasted flour prepared in different ways.
Sherpa Tea Recipe
Actually, it’s very easy and quick to prepare. We’ll look into the traditional way to brew it.
Firstly, you need to get the three crucial ingredients – tea, butter, and salt. Most frequently, the tea bricks are from Yunnan or Pemagul as they’re considered to be the tastiest and most nourishing.
The recipe mainly depends on the number of people the beverage is made for. But generally, a few glasses of water should be boiled. Then, you put a tea brick into the boiling water together with salt and milk, preferably from a yak, before letting it all boil for a couple of hours.
After that time, a brew known as chaku is produced. It should be freed of the tea leaves and added to newly boiled water. The next step involves pouring the chaku into a chandong, which is a cylindrical churn made of wood, and mixing it with yak butter. Churn for a few minutes and the Sherpa tea is ready for drinking.
It’s served best in a distinctive cup and cup holder. Recipe source: ilovebuttercoffee.com.
Who Are the People Behind the Sherpa Tea?
Nestled in the Nepalese area, the Sherpa people represent an ethnic group consisting of no more than 150,000 members. They are usually surrounded by harsh weather conditions and rough terrain, which is the main reason for their super human strength and ability to endure in the mountain heights. Also, being descendants of the Tibetan people, they’re considered as very energetic, friendly, and with a good sense of humour.
Their specialty is climbing in very high places, which is connected to their occupation. Moreover, these people work as porters, guides, carriers of goods as well as do other activities connected to the mountain expeditions. Guiding clients to the top of the Himalayan Mountains, supplying them and keeping them on the safe routes are a part of their everyday lives.
In truth, the Sherpas are a very hospitable community. All guests that come to their homes in the remote mountain areas are treated with kindness and kept fed all the time. They wake up very early in the morning and begin their day with the porridge tsampa, a wheat paste and, of course, the butter tea.
Uses of the Sherpa Tea
Trekkers on Mt Everest and the other Himalayan tops are left in awe at the sight of the Sherpas carrying huge amounts of load up and down the mountains. Their endurance and strength are unimaginable to visitors there. So, what’s their secret?
Despite their genes, the strength is greatly attributed to their tradition of the Sherpa tea. And yes, they put it in almost everything. The tea as a beverage, especially the butter in it, is known to nourish the body and provide the strength these people need during their tiring voyages. That’s why they often make occasional stops halfway up the mountain to drink a cup of this cream-colored beverage before proceeding.
What’s more, another use revolves around the warmth it gives. The beverage keeps the temperature up and even takes care that the body stays hydrated.
Aside from this, the drink is used for medicinal purposes, too. Among them is the healthy digestion, which takes effect when the liquid is drunk in the morning.
It’s interesting to mention that the Sherpa tea is often considered as a kind of soup to the strangers of the Tibetan land. But whether you like to think of it as a beverage or a soup, it is truly an original part of the culture that awakens interest in many. From the taste to everything it is used for, you should definitely give it a try.
Have you prepared it before? What do you think?