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New Year's Resolution: Bulletproof Yak Butter Tea

May 05, 2016

Something new to serve the guests, cure the hangover, feed a wondering hitchhiker, or sustain a road trip through the alps, hike up the mountain, quick camping trip. This is the hot beverage you want to be drinking.

Serving Yak Butter Tea, or po cha as it is referred to in Himalayan regions, is a gesture of nomadic hospitality. Accepting tea is an act of gratitude. Because of its high fat and calorie content, it is also an important part of the Tibetan diet, providing a source of great nutritional sustenance, to survive both altitude and low temperatures, where nomads are often drinking up to 60 small cups are drunk a day.

A drink that was probably inspired around the time tea was introduced into China ca. 618 – 907 AD, as traditionally, it is made using Pu’er tea, a Chinese fermented dark tea, yak butter, whole yak milk, and salt. Lots, of salt. The tea leaves are boiled for up to half a day until almost a paste like consistency, and then manually churned in a cha dong – think tall and narrow pestle and mortar - with the butter, milk and salt, before being served.

Inspired also by the endeavours of silicon valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey and founder of Bullet Proof Coffee, our bulletproof tea was born. While you are most welcome to attempt Tastemade’s (click for video tutorial) more traditional interpretation of the drink – I did, and then promptly proceeded to try again, with much less butter and salt… I have to admit, if you’re of the adventurous sort and looking for an alternative winter beverage to serve this holiday season, I would genuinely recommend you try our interpretation, because the end result? Really rather yummy. Possibly served with a shot of whiskey. Possibly.

Khunu bulletproof tea

5 tbsp (heaped) Pu’er
5 cups Water
250ml Whole Milk/Cream
2 tbsp (28g) (cow) Butter (grass fed)
Pinch Salt (1/8 tsp, ¼ if you’re feeling bold.)

Into a saucepan, pour your 5 cups of cold water, and 5 heaped tablespoons of pu’er loose leaved tea. Bring to a boil, and reduce to an aggressive simmer for 15-20 minutes (the longer the better).
Then, turn off the heat and add whole milk/cream, pinch of salt, giving a quick whisk to combine.
In a (deep) bowl, place the small knobs of butter. Pour tea over the butter, and immersion blend until fully incorporated, or hand whisk until frothy and all ingredients have been well combined.
Pour back into the saucepan, and reheat until liquid is steaming, whisking occasionally to prevent butter separating/milk skin forming.
Give a quick whisk to froth (or shake in a flask/immersion blend) and serve hot.

Try also with the addition of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, nutmeg and star anise for a festive spin.  Or serve with a shot of hot whiskey - for a hot Yak Toddy.

A big thank you to Chloë at nibsetc for the bulletproof recipe.