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Leading a Tea Life in Tibet

August,22 2016 BY Chloe Xin 0 COMMENTS

To the Tibetans, tea is a beverage that is just like coffee to the westerners -- a wake-up and a shake-up drink that keeps almost everyone sound and safe. In Tibet no morning can pass without drinking some tea, usually the sweet tea; and also in Tibet no meal can be complete without some tea, almost all the time the Tibetan buttered tea.The sweet tea, prepared by mixing milk and sugar with the juice from fully boiled fermented tea leaves, serves as the refreshener.

Town folks prefer to go to a tea house before going to work for the rest of their day. Tea houses sometimes stand as alternative places to find the ones who are otherwise expected in their workplace in the morning and in the early afternoon.The Tibetan buttered tea is prepared by mixing butter and salt with the juice from fully boiled fermented tea leaves. Before serving, the mixture has to be further blended in a special blender.

More often than not, a slim wooden cylinder is used for the blending. After the mixture is put in the cylinder, a piston is used to push and pull inside the cylinder. With the passing of the mixture through the slit between the piston and the cylinder, the mixture of butter, salt and tea is forcefully and thoroughly blended. In Tibet, tea, either sweet tea or Tibetan buttered tea, is served in small or large thermo flasks, in that both are of their best smack when served hot.The local habit of drinking tea has to do with the local food composition. The Tibetans eat lots of meat of yak and goat. The strong buttered tea not only helps to keep the body warm but also helps to promote the digestion of the meat that is taken almost three meals a day and 365 days a year.

Local sayings have it that the others cannot do without salt whereas the Tibetans cannot do without either salt or tea. 
 

- Tea to Tibetans Just As Coffee to Western

To the Tibetans, tea is a beverage that is just like coffee to the westerners -- a wake-up and a shake-up drink that keeps almost everyone sound and safe.In Tibet no morning can pass without drinking some tea, usually the sweet tea; and also in Tibet no meal can be complete without some tea, almost all the time the Tibetan buttered tea.The sweet tea, prepared by mixing milk and sugar with the juice from fully boiled fermented tea leaves, serves as the refreshener.Town folks prefer to go to a tea house before going to work for the rest of their day. Tea houses sometimes stand as alternative places to find the ones who are otherwise expected in their workplace in the morning and in the early afternoon.

The Tibetan buttered tea is prepared by mixing butter and salt with the juice from fully boiled fermented tea leaves. Before serving, the mixture has to be further blended in a special blender. More often than not, a slim wooden cylinder is used for the blending. After the mixture is put in the cylinder, a piston is used to push and pull inside the cylinder. With the passing of the mixture through the slit between the piston and the cylinder, the mixture of butter, salt and tea is forcefully and thoroughly blended.

In Tibet, tea, either sweet tea or Tibetan buttered tea, is served in small or large thermo flasks, in that both are of their best smack when served hot.The local habit of drinking tea has to do with the local food composition. The Tibetans eat lots of meat of yak and goat. The strong buttered tea not only helps to keep the body warm but also helps to promote the digestion of the meat that is taken almost three meals a day and 365 days a year.Local sayings have it that the others cannot do without salt whereas the Tibetans cannot do without either salt or tea.
 

- Tea to Lamas

Tea is considered essential by all Tibetans, lamas included. Every morning, lamas attend a morning mass held under the aegis of the sutra teacher. This is followed the consumption of buttered tea and a roasted highland barley dish known as zanba. At noon, they gather in the sutra hall of the Buddhist school of the monastery to pray and recite Buddhist scriptures while drinking tea. This ceremony is much the same as the morning mass, but is held on a smaller scale. In the evening, lamas gather in Khang-tshan organized according to where they are located to pray and drink tea in a fairly informal setting. In Tibetan this is called Kamqa.

It is very common for benefactors to visit monasteries, where they offer tea porridge to lamas while presenting them with the names of the Buddhist scriptures they wish the lamas to recite for them. There are also senior lamas studying for Geshi, a Buddhist academic degree equivalent to a Ph.D, who also offer tea porridge to the lamas of the whole monastery.
 

- Sweet Tea Houses In Tibet

Outside a sweet tea house in Lhasa are parked numerous bicycles and motorcycles. Inside are seated crowds of people.

In Lhasa and other parts of Tibet, there are many tea houses like this. Drinking sweet tea has become a Tibetan tradition. Many say Tibetans learned to drink sweet tea from the British invaders. But many others argue that the Tibetans learned it from the Indians and Nepalese. While most Tibetans make sweet tea in a way unique to themselves, people in Yadong and Gyangze, close to India, follow a method similar to that in India.

The Tibetans make sweet tea also with black tea, but with a taste different from that made by the British, Indians or Nepalese.People in their 80s still remember the few sweet tea houses in Lhasa and Xigaze. Beggars went there to seek money, and prostitutes looked for customers. Facing this situation, people of decent status and women tried to shun these tea houses as much as possible.

Nonetheless, the Tibetans loved sipping sweet tea at home. Ordinary people made sweet tea with home milk, while the rich did so with canned milk imported from India. Be they poor or rich, they drank two or three cups of sweet tea generally in the afternoon. sweet tea was also served at wedding feasts.Famous sweet houses in the past included the Bottom Leaking Tea House, which sold bottomless dumplings stuffed with minced meat; the Owl Tea House, open at night only; and the Donkey Drivers? Tea House, where people from rural areas gathered. 

Chloe Xin

About the Author - Chloe Xin

My Name is Chloe, Senior Trip Advisor for Tibet trip with 5 years working experince in Tibet tourism. Loving Tibet, loving all beautiful thing around.A great funs of nature, with piercing eyes to find beauty in both Nature and People. Patient, Warm Hearted , Considerate, Easy- going , Knowledgeable and always ready to offer help to some one in need.

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