Saturday, January 20, 2001

Sherpa Tea

At book klub we talked about Jon Krakaur's book "Into Thin Air". This was a really interesting book, but one of my favorite parts of it was the oh so important role "Sherpa Tea" played in the story. Sherpas are the native people there that are employed to carry loads up the mountain and set up camp for the mountain climbers. These guides often made this elixer of life beverage, Sherpa Tea. Throughout the book, I began to wonder what was in this stuff. It seemed to be the main element that kept the mountain climbers going. You could be stranded at the summit with no remaining oxygen and your fingers frozen together, but if Lopsang Sherpa could carry a themos of Sherpa Tea up to you, you could survive five more days.

"Sherpa tea is a blend of oolong and Darjeeling teas, suitable to be brewed at high altitudes, which means a lower water temperature. In other words, at high altitudes, water boils at a lower temperature, so if the tea was not specifically blended to be made at less than boiling, it would brew up unsatisfactorily."

"To increase their fat intake, which is vital in cold-weather conditions, many alpine and winter campers drink Sherpa Tea, a mixture of heavily sweetened tea and milk with butter. The original Sherpa Tea was served with rancid yak butter."

If you are planning to hike up to the summit of Mt. Everest or are just curious, here is the recipe...

Mix together
2 cups instant dry milk,
1/3 cup sugar, and
2 tablespoons instant tea powder.
At camp, stir 2 to 3 tablespoons of mix into a cup of hot water. Add a dab of margarine.


6 cups of water
3 Lipton tea bags
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup non-dairy creamer.
Bring water to boil. Steep tea bags in water for 3-4 minutes. Add sugar and creamer, and serve! Some cooks add the sugar before the milk, some steep the tea in the milk mix. The powdered creamer used by the Nepalese came from India, and was fairly fatty. Most creamers here are non-fat. However, you might get some Milkman from the grocery store; it's a powdered milk that has some fat content. It would be hard to really duplicate true Sherpa Tea, which is made with nak butter (nak is to cow what yak is to bull) and salt.

Mmmmm, mmmmm good!

1 comment:

  1. The recipe given will only give normal milk tea. First, I'm not sure about the sugar but sherpa tea gets salt added to the mix. Second, use butter, not milk. It will taste different.