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  Tibetan Tea Culture  

 Way to make tea

The Tibetans are addicted to tea drinking. Such a habit has given birth to their unique way of making tea. Tibetans in the Amdo area love broad-leafed tea and tea bricks. A tea brick, which is rectangular in shape, usually weighs two kilograms. Such a tea brick can withstand long journeys.

Tibetans mix tea with cold water in a teapot, before heating over a small fire. When the water turns brown, the good tea is ready. Most Tibetans love to have salt in their tea.

In some areas, the Tibetans love to put fruit, ginger, and peppers in tea. Such tea is believed to cure headaches and colds. Some Tibetans love to have milk and sugar in tea. When brown sugar is added to tea, such tea is believed to be good for women in their prenatal and postnatal periods.

 Way to sip tea

People of Gannan drink tea three times a day. In the morning, they drink morning tea containing fried flour, milk dregs, and butter. After lunch, they often drink several bowls of tea in order to beef up their stomach's digestive ability as well as to perk themselves up. After supper, the whole family usually sits around the table, talking while drinking tea to their hearts' content.

Tibetans pay close attention to sipping tea. For instance, bowls used to contain the tea should be flawless and the tea bowl should be held with both hands.

When refilling the bowl, the palm of the left hand should face the sky, and no tea should spill out of the bowl. If lamas are invited to recite sutras in the home, others should not touch the utensils that the lamas use.

Tea has a thousand uses for Tibetans. When one has guests, he or she will entertain them with tea. Parents and elders are often toasted with tea. When older people themselves sit together, they sip tea, gossip, and often recite the Six-Syllable Prayer. When going to visit friends, one's gifts should include tea.

When a couple becomes engaged, tea is indispensable because it represents everlasting ties to Tibetans. When the bride reaches her husband's home for the first time, she should go directly to the kitchen, where she will make tea for her parents-in-law.

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