Warm Up Winter with Traditional Tibetan Butter Tea

As the chill of winter envelops the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Tibet, and beyond, there’s a comforting elixir that has stood the test of time: butter tea. Known for its unique taste, this beverage is more than just tea; it’s a cultural tradition that dates back to the 7th century in Tibet.

Legend has it that tea found its way into Tibet through trade routes established between China and Tibet in the 13th century. A Chinese princess marrying a Tibetan king initiated this cultural exchange. With time, butter, a staple in Tibetan cuisine, was added to the tea, creating the renowned butter tea enjoyed today.

In Tibetan tradition, butter tea is sipped slowly, with the host promptly refilling the bowl after each sip. Guests never drain their bowls; they are continually topped up, showcasing a symbol of hospitality and respect. To decline the tea, it’s customary to leave it untouched until departure, ensuring no offense to the host.

Perfect for Chilly Winters:

As winter blankets the Himalayan landscapes, butter tea emerges as a perfect companion. Its hearty blend of tea leaves, yak butter, water, and a touch of salt warms both the body and the soul. The unconventional taste, resembling a light soup, makes it an acquired delight, especially for those unaccustomed to its unique flavor.

Traditional Tibetan Butter Tea Recipe:


  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of tea
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ cup of milk or half


  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then reduce the heat.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of tea, boil for a couple of minutes, then strain.
  3. In a blender, combine the tea, salt, butter, and milk. Blend for 2–3 minutes for optimal flavor.
  4. Serve the tea piping hot to savor its rich taste.

Embrace the warmth and cultural heritage of the Himalayas with a steaming cup of traditional Tibetan butter tea. Ideal for the chilly winters of Nepal, this recipe is not just a beverage; it’s a journey into the heart of a timeless tradition.

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