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!
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I love trying Drinks from Around the World! And this recipe from Bhutan is surely an experience. 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.
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.
Why Make this Recipe
- Keeps You Warm: 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.
- Travel to Bhutan: One day, I would love to head to Bhutan to get a real cup of Butter Tea. Unfortunately, at the present moment, despite my best efforts, there’s almost no way that I can make it there. For now, homemade, Americanized Butter Tea from my kitchen will have to do.
Ingredients in this Recipe
- Half and Half: Half and half is made of ½ whole milk and ½ heavy cream! This gives the tea a thicker and richer texture.
- Black Tea: I used Earl Grey
- Butter: Unsalted butter
- Salt: I use pink Himalayan Salt in my recipe. You can also use a coarse sea salt if you do not have Himalayan Salt on hand
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How to Make this Recipe (Americanized Butter Tea)
Step 1: Make the Tea
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.
Step 2: Blend the Ingredients
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!
How to Make Authentic Bhutanese Butter Tea
If I was in Bhutan, the cream in this recipe would be replaced with 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.
- If you can find fermented yak milk anywhere (that would be so cool!) try using that in your Butter Tea. Then leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
- You are free to use any kind of tea that you’d like. Black tea is what I used in this recipe, but you can use whatever you’d like
- Feel free to also use all cream or all milk if you’d prefer
- Adding cinnamon to the recipe would also be a delicious addition
What Other Countries Put Butter in Coffee/Tea?
Tibet drinks a variation of this butter tea very frequently (which makes sense, as it’s pretty close in location to Bhutan).
If you’re in America, those that follow the Keto diet often put butter in their coffee to start off their day. This recipe is called Bulletproof Coffee.
What Does Butter Tea Taste Like?
Butter Tea is a pretty savory drink. In fact, it’s so savory that the Bhutanese consider it more aligned with a soup or broth than they do with a morning drink. The way the recipe is written, it is a smooth, slightly salty drink.
If you’d like to sweeten up your Butter Tea, you can add sugar or cinnamon in place of the salt (though this is not traditional, it could be a delicious substitution).
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 warmth all around.
Did you like this Butter Tea recipe from Bhutan? If you did, make sure to check out these other recipes I picked out just for you:
- Cinnamon Tea from Armenia
- Bahama Mamas from The Bahamas
- Deep Fried Hard Boiled Eggs from East Timor
- Pineapple Coconut Agua Fresca
- Iced Coffee from Southeast Asia
- Colombian Hot Chocolate with Cheese
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
- ½ 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!