As I mentioned, tea alone is a thin fuel, so when I stumbled across the cream-bolstered, buttered tea from Tibet known as pocha, I decided to give it a go. Nate Tate writes about his experience with the stuff in Feeding the Dragon:
"He [drink],"Tenzin said, handing me a chipped ceramic bowl filled with warm butter tea, called pocha. I was tired and sore from days of trekking in the high mountains, and the buttery tea soothed my parched throat and the bowl warmed my cold hands. Tibetans drink dozens of cups of this restorative butter tea a day. Not only does it quench thirst but it is also a satisfying drink packed with energy to sustain people throughout the day.It’s not my everyday tea, and I’ll ditch it once we’re clear of the worst of our winter storms, but with the sun just starting to peek through the shutters and no one — not even the cat — yet stirring, it’s just the thing to stave off the frigid morning air. In Tibet, you're likely to find this tea made with yak's milk. You'll forgive me, I hope, if I stick with cream. There's only so much authenticity I care to tackle at six in the morning.
Tibetan Butter Tea
4 cups water
1 heaping Tbl loose black tea
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbl unsalted butter
2/3 cup half-and-half
Combine the water and tea in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and then turn off the heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Use a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to strain the liquid over a large bowl; discard the tea leaves. Transfer the liquid back to the saucepan and bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to a simmer. Add the salt, sugar, butter, and half-and-half and whisk until the butter has completely dissolved and a little foam forms on the surface. Serve the tea in small bowls.
Mary Kate Tate and Nate Tate (2011)
Feeding the Dragon: A Culinary Travelogue Through China with Recipes
304 pages (paperback)
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Goes well with:
- Iced tea. It's my quotidian quaff, my everyday guzzler. Here's how I make the stuff by the gallon.
- Buttered tea is not so far from the spiced masala chai (well, you know, ditch the butter, add the spices) I tend to make by the quart and keep in a Thermos to warm me on mornings like this.
- Nasty. An iced tea encounter prompt me to ponder the approaches of two businessmen and what the most vile things I've eaten may be.