Butter Tea is a popular drink in Bhutan made from mixing black tea with cream and butter. Perfect for keeping warm on a cold day, Butter Tea is a unique and delicious treat!
Listen guys, it can get pretty cold in Bhutan. In January, the average temperature ranges from 40 degrees Fahrenheit all the way down to 20. (Okay, admittedly, for a Michigander that has survived negative 30 degree windchill, this seems like child’s play. But maybe some of you Californians or Floridians or Ethiopians will be amazed by the fact that people can survive months of life at 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Though to be fair, the average low in Michigan in the winter is also 20 degrees, so the Bhutanese probably have to survive much worse, just like we do here.)
When it’s cold, the object of life is to stay warm. To feel comforted. To feel cozy. ENTER: Butter Tea.
What is Butter Tea?
Butter tea is a warm tea drink flavored with Himalayan salt, a bit of cream, and butter. When it’s cold outside, the Bhutanese will mix up this drink. It provides a lot of natural fats that allows them to stay warmer in those cold Himalayan mountains. This is the kind of drink that you can feel flow through your veins when you take a sip. You can feel every inch of your body as it warms you, starting from your mouth and flowing to every last one of your fingertips and toes.
The Bhutanese normally enjoy Butter Tea as an after-dinner drink. Some tend to think of it as a broth or a soup instead of a tea, probably because the drink gets some of its flavor from Himalayan salt.
Making Authentic Bhutanese Butter Tea
If I was a true world traveler, I would make sure to head to Bhutan to get a real cup of Butter Tea, because, despite my best efforts, there’s almost no way that I can make it here. If I was in Bhutan, the cream in this recipe would be replaced by, you guessed it, yak milk. I would go outside and grab my domesticated yak and take some of its fresh cream. I’d churn that cream into butter and give it some time to ferment. Then I’d take out my bags made of sheep stomach and stitch the butter inside and then wrap that bag in yak skin.
I’d give it some time to reach maturity and then I’d remove the fermented yak cheese and use this in my Butter Tea instead. Or… maybe I’d have someone else do all of that for me. But, again, no yaks here in Michigan, so some Kroger-bought cream will have to do.
Perfect for the Coldest Day of the Year
This probably isn’t the type of drink I’d drink every single day like they do in Bhutan. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like it. This recipe is one that I would save for those moments when I am chilled to the bone. When I come in from a night of skiing and my body can’t warm up… when I’ve spent all morning shoveling 2 feet of fresh snow… the days that a plain ‘ole hot chocolate just won’t do the trick… those are the days that I’d come into my kitchen and whip up a quick batch of Butter Tea, close my eyes, and feel the warmness all around.
Did you like this Butter Tea recipe from Bhutan? If you did, make sure to check out my other favorite drink recipes on the blog: Cinnamon Tea from Armenia and Bahama Mamas from The Bahamas. If you made this recipe, share a photo of it on Facebook or Instagram with the #TheForeignFork or tag @TheForeignFork. And leave a comment to let me know what you thought!
Butter Tea (Bhutan)
- 4 cups Water
- 2 black tea bags
- 1 tsp Pink Himalayan salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- ⅔ cup half and half
- Bring the four cups of water to a boil. Add the tea bags and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes, depending on how strong you’d like your tea.
- Remove the tea bags from the water and pour the water into a blender.
Add the rest of the ingredients into the blender as well. Allow the butter to melt from the heat of the water before blending.
Blend the drink together for about 2-3 minutes. Pour into glasses and enjoy!
Leave a comment on this post telling me what you thought of your Butter Tea!
Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only.