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How to Make Yak Butter Tea

Local delicacy is an essential part of travel, and yak butter tea is the one for Tibet travel.

Yak butter tea is an indispensable drink in the daily life of Tibetan people. It is made from butter, tea and salt.

Ingredients for Making Yak Butter Tea
Ingredients for Making Yak Butter Tea

The herdsmen have their traditional method of refining the butter. First to heat up the yak or sheep milk, then pour the hot milk into a large wooden cask that especially used to separate the butter from the milk.

The wooden cask is one of the most common essential equipment in every Tibetan family. Usually it would be covered and besieged with copper skin, which also has an agitator installed inside.

How to Make Yak Butter Tea
How to Make Yak Butter Tea

Nowadays more and more families choose electric agitators to make yak butter tea, especially families living in the city area. The use of electric agitators is more convenient and quick, clean and sanitary. 

After the milk be whipped for hundreds of times, the water and oil in the milk would be separated. A layer of yellow colored fat would float up in the cask, then scoop the fat and put into a leather sack, it became yak butter when it’s cool.

With the advancement of technology, more and more families use the centrifugal cream-separator to extract yak butter from the yak or sheep milk. Generally 2 to 2.5 kg yak butter can be extracted from 50kg milk.

Yak Butter Tea
Yak Butter Tea

Almost all the Tibetan people know the way to make yak butter tea. Of course there is more than one method to make yak butter tea.

Firstly to boil the water, then put the brick tea in it, slowly boil till the tea become dark brown. Then put some salt into the boiled strong tea, some people like to have it this way, called salty tea. If you add a piece of yak butter into the tea bowl and dissolve it in the tea, that is the simplest way to make yak butter tea.
 
For the most traditional way to make yak butter tea, usually follows the steps as below:

​​​​​1. Use a knife to cut the solid brick tea

2. Boil 300ml hot water then add 3 to 5 grams of the brick tea, boil the tea till its dark brown then put the tea in the wooden cask.

3. Then put yak butter and salt in the wooden cask, use the agitator inside the cask to mix the tea and yak butter, after several minutes, the yak butter tea would be ready. If it’s cold weather, people would add more salt in.

4. The yak butter tea would be stored in a thermal bottle when its ready in order to preserve heat. Then they only need to pour the yak butter tea in small tea cups to drink.

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