Butter Tea (Po Cha) from Tibet: Review

Many people probably have never heard or tasted Suyou Cha, also known as Butter Tea or Po Cha from Tibet. Suyou Cha is a kind of tea with rich nutrition.

Is Suyou Cha Tasty?

From my personal experience, it tastes sweet and salty in the beginning. It also has a strong flavor of cream. But later, I’m quite sick of the smell probably because the smell of Suyou Cha is permeating into every street and temple (in Tibet).

Suyou is quite similar with butter. The former one originates from yak and the latter from common cattle. If you are curious of its flavor, you can just buy a bar of butter for the bread spread. Melt it in the microwave with hot tea (preferably black tea or brick tea). Stir it and add salt or sugar in the cup. In this case, it’s almost 80 percent similar with Suyou Cha from Tibet.

Suyou Cha is very effective to replenish the energy and alleviate altitude sickness. As long as you are accustomed to eating beef and mutton, there is no big problem (to drink the tea). If you are not used to drinking salty tea, you can just drink sweet tea instead. They almost have the same effect.

Those who have never tried Suyou Cha may have a stereotype that it has special but unacceptably strange aroma. When I first arrived in Kangding, Suyou was always in the top of their breakfast menu. I wasn’t able to sip a bit of it as soon as the strange smell came out. But someone told me, “You should give it a chance and you will get used to drinking it.” To my surprise it wasn’t as bad as I imagined.

On the top of Suyou Cha, it is covered with a thin layer of oil. Make sure to drink it hot. When it cools down, it has a little strange taste.

Features of Suyou Cha 

It’s a special tea originating from Tibet. Tibetans are famous for their strong figures; literally this contributes to drinking Suyou Cha. Tibet is high in altitude, but most places are located in thin-oxygen zones. To rely solely on natural heat is impossible to resist the long-term severe challenge of the weather, and Suyou Cha can be regarded as a perfect partner for herdsman. Nomads live in a harsh weather condition, which has gradually changed Tibetans’ eating habit. Suyou Cha in a way has evolved for helping survive in nature.

It is said that nomads originally mixed the tea with cattle and sheep milk and whip them together in a big bucket over and over. They boiled it for a while and then it came up with Suyou Cha.

Many people know the milk tea is helpful to people’s immunity and metabolic system as well as to enhance physical strength. Suyou Cha contains more concentrated milk and tea, which means the effect of the tea has doubled.

People who have never had Suyou Cha might feel a surge of strong flavor when they first try it. The taste can be a little too exciting. This is not an unusual feeling. After a few spoonful of Suyou Cha, people can gradually taste the richness of both milk and tea.

Benefits of Suyou Cha

  1. Alleviate altitude sickness

Suyou Cha is very effective to alleviate altitude sickness and to replenish physical strength. If you like eating beef and mutton, there is no big problem. If you don’t like the flavor, drinking sweet tea has the same effect.

  1. Replenish strength

It contains high calories and it has rich, thick flavor. As long as you have a sip of it, you will immediately have a refreshing mind. Although it is thick and creamy, indeed it is a good thing to fuel your energy.

  1. Resist against extreme cold

In the alpine environment, drinking Suyou Cha can boost your physical health, nourish your stomach, belly and spleen, give a color of your complexion and keep you energetic. It can produce high calories. It is very suitable to drink Suyou Cha to resist the extreme cold in the alpine region.

  1. Anti-aging and digestion improvement

Suyou Cha has many functions such as relieving thirst, keeping people refreshed, preventing arteriosclerosis and anti-aging in addition to resisting cancer. It can also dissolve fat, help digestion, especially for those who live in the pastoral areas of Tibet and are short of fresh vegetables and fruits. Tibetans take beef and lam as their staples, and due to the lack of oxygen, people in the plateau region pee twice as much as people in the plain do. Therefore, they can only rely on Suyou Cha to maintain water balance and keep healthy metabolism. Beef and mutton are acidic foods that can produce a certain amount of hydrogen ions in the body after digesting. It will result in hyperacidity, constipation, fatigue and other symptoms. After drinking a large amount of tea, the human body will produce a certain amount of hydroxyl ions allowing the body to maintain a halthy acid-base balance.