Sura butter tea

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

Traditionally, butter tea is made by boiling tea leaves in water until the tea is dark brown in colour. The tea is then strained and poured into a special butter churn, along with a large lump of yak butter and some salt, then churned until the butter and salt are well mixed. The tea is then transferred to a kettle, or to a thermos to stay warm as people take it with them on their walks around the mountains. Butter tea is served in a special cup and silver cup holder.

Authentic butter tea is quite an acquired taste. Without yak butter or yak milk it will not be exactly the same, but here is an easy way to get close to the real thing.

Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking 10 minutes


  • 4 good-quality teabags, or 2 heaped tablespoons loose-leaf tea (such as Dilmah English Breakfast)
  • heaped ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) ‘half and half’ (see tip) or milk
  • 40 g ( oz) unsalted butter


Bring 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) water to the boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the teabags or loose-leaf tea. Cover and steep for 3 minutes.

Add the salt. Remove the teabags, or strain if loose-leaf tea was used. Add the milk, return to the heat and bring to the boil for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the butter and pour into a blender. Put the lid on.

Now, you need to be very careful when blending hot ingredients — so start by putting the lid on, placing a cloth over the lid and pulsing the liquid, then blend on low for about 30 seconds.

Serve the tea straight away, as butter tea is best enjoyed when it is very hot.