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Thursday, 28 November 2013

Princess Wencheng and the Tibetan Buttered Tea

Compiled from Origins of Chinese Tea and Wine
        Tibetans like to add butter and salt to their tea. It is said that the practice was introduced by Princess Wencheng. Princess Wencheng was the daughter of Emperor Tang Taizhong. In order to maintain the good relationship between the Hans and the Tibetans, the emperor married off his daughter to the king of Tibet, Songsten Gampo. The princess brought some tea with her to Tibet.
        Songsten Gampo threw a big celebration to welcome Princess Wencheng. By the end of the night, the king was extremely drunk. The princess immediately instructed the officials to make a pot of tea with the leaves she had brought with her. She gave some of the tea to the king, and he woke up soon after. He was surprised how much effect the tea had on him as he would usually sleep throughout the night in the past. He also liked the fact that taste and smell of the tea and even declared that it tasted better than wine.

        The princess suggested adding some tea to milk to remove the goat smell. The combination would make it a tastier drink. From that day onwards, everyone took their tea with milk, and it became a popular daily drink in Tibet.  

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