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Stuff that makes Kashmiri tea a special drink in India, Pakistan

October 2nd, 2023

Tea, be it green or black, has long been familiar globally. But there is a type of tea in South Asia, which is also made from green tea leaves, but has another interesting color. Pink tea is also commonly known in India as 'noon chai', 'gulabi chai' or 'Kashmiri tea', with the latest revealing the origin of the drink. We are looking closer at how the beverage acquires this pink color and if it brings benefits to our health.

The origin of Kashmiri tea

A Pakistanis family is having their breakfast with Kashmiri tea and naan bread.

The pink tea takes its name from the Kashmir valley in India's northern region. It is not clear who invented the drink. Some said that the Kashmiri made their unique version of tea during the British colonization when they learnt about British tea. Another version stated that the tea originated from Yarkand in Kazakhstan's city of Turkestan and it was brought to Kashmir. Regardless of its origin, the beverage has now become traditional for breakfast and supper in India and Pakistan.

The benefits of Kashmiri tea

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Kashmiri tea helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Kashmiri tea contains baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, used to relieve heartburn and acid indigestion. An amino acid called L-theanine in the tea leaves also helps reduce stress and anxiety. The tea leaves contain antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to improve our immune system and bring us a stronger and better skin. Milk added to the tea is the key factor to strengthen our bones. However, sea salt is present in this tea, so users should take good control of daily consumption.

How to make traditional Kashmiri tea?


It's best to serve Kashmiri tea with sliced almonds and pistachios.

There are many different recipes of Kashmiri tea. Here we show only the original and traditional one with salt. This pink tea requires patience to gain its best look and flavor.

First of all, boil green tea leaves from normal temperature. Gunpowder tea is preferred to make the smoky flavor of the final drink. When the tea drink is boiled, baking soda is added and the mixture turns to a dark red color. Add ice cubes to the mixture to cool it down before boiling it again. This will intensify the red color. During these steps, green cardamom and star anise could be added to enhance aroma and taste. Next step, use a strainer to remove all the tea leaves, cardamom and star anise.

Now add milk and salt to the tea. At this stage the color has already turned to pink. The original flavor of this beverage is salty but those finding it strange might add sugar instead, which is also accepted because it won’t change the pink color. Now the drink is ready to serve with sliced almonds and pistachios on top of it.

Indians usually enjoy Kashmiri tea with naan bread for breakfast. Visitors to the Kashmir valley can easily find people selling Kashmiri tea from a samovar on the sidewalk.

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