Tongba – Antique Tibetan Beer Mug
A Tibetan mug or vessel for a traditional, indigenous, hot, alcoholic beer-like drink called Jaand.
These ‘beer tea’ mugs are made of sections of mature bamboo. The inner nodes are carved out and often ringed with metal bands on the exterior. The cover or lid keeps the Jaand hot and has a small hole to stabilize the fine bamboo straw used to filter the grainy drink.
Our collection of Tongbas are beautifully worn and patinated pieces of Nepalese ethnic art.
If you’re wild enough to try making Jaand.. the process is relatively simple and we have the mugs!
The millet grain is cooked, cooled and mixed with ‘murcha’, a fermenting yeast (like brewer’s yeast) and left to sit for two days. It’s then transferred to a sealed container to mature for two weeks. The concentrated, fermented mash can then be stored for up to six months.
To prepare the drink, the mash is generously scooped into a tongba and boiling water is poured over it like loose tea leaves. After steeping for five minutes it’s ready to drink.
Because the fermenting happens in the grain and the water is added later, it’s easily transportable which is ultimately practical for carrying at the high altitudes of Tibet.
All pieces in our collection were hand collected by David while trekking in Mustang. They are between 50-100 years old and range in price from $150-200.