Kahwa And Noon Chai, The World Of Kashmiri Teas

Kashmir, often referred to as "Paradise on Earth," is not only known for its breathtaking natural beauty but also for its rich cultural heritage. One of the highlights of Kashmiri culture is its traditional beverages, particularly Kahwa and Noon Chai. These two teas hold a significant place in the hearts and palates of Kashmiris and have gained popularity worldwide. In this article, we will delve into the distinct flavours of Kahwa and Noon Chai, their unique preparation methods, and their cultural significance.

Kahwa: A Taste of Elegance

The Origins of Kahwa

Kahwa, derived from the Arabic word "qahwah," meaning coffee, is a traditional Kashmiri tea that has a history spanning centuries. It is believed to have been introduced to Kashmir by the spice traders who travelled along the ancient Silk Route. Over time, Kahwa became an integral part of Kashmiri culture and is often served as a welcome drink to guests.

Ingredients and Preparation

Kahwa is a fragrant green tea infused with a blend of aromatic spices, making it a truly enchanting experience for the senses. The key ingredients used in Kahwa include green tea leaves, saffron strands, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, almonds, and a hint of rose petals. The tea is brewed in a traditional copper kettle known as a samovar.

To prepare Kahwa, the green tea leaves are simmered in water along with the spices and saffron, allowing the flavours to infuse. This mixture is brewed in a traditional copper kettle known as a samovar, allowing the flavours to infuse. Once brewed, it is served piping hot in delicate cups, often accompanied by a small bowl of crushed almonds. The almond garnish adds a nutty richness to the tea, enhancing its overall flavour profile.

The Flavor Profile

Kahwa offers a unique and sophisticated flavour profile that sets it apart from other teas. It has a subtle sweetness derived from the saffron and a refreshing warmth from the spices. The aromatic blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and rose petals adds depth and complexity to the tea, creating a truly delightful experience.

Noon Chai: Pink Elegance in a Cup

The Origins of Noon Chai

Noon Chai, also known as "Sheer Chai" or "Pink Tea," is another traditional Kashmiri beverage that holds a special place in the hearts of Kashmiris. It is believed to have been introduced during the reign of the Mughals in the region. Noon Chai gained popularity due to its unique pink hue, which is achieved through the addition of a special ingredient

Ingredients and Preparation

Noon Chai is primarily made using green tea leaves, milk, salt, baking soda, and a unique ingredient known as "sodium carbonate" or "khambal," which gives the tea its distinctive pink colour. The tea is brewed in a samovar, similar to Kahwa.

To prepare Noon Chai, the green tea leaves are first boiled in water until they release their flavour. Then, the tea is strained and mixed with milk and a pinch of baking soda. The mixture is simmered in the samovar until it reaches a rich pink hue. The addition of salt enhances the flavour and balances the sweetness of the tea

The Flavor Profile

Noon Chai offers a fascinating flavour profile that combines the earthiness of green tea with the creamy richness of milk. The salt and baking soda lends a unique savoury undertone, while the pink hue adds an element of visual appeal. The tea is often enjoyed with traditional Kashmiri breads like Lavasa or sheermaal, creating a perfect harmony of flavours.

Cultural Significance and Rituals

Both Kahwa and Noon Chai hold immense cultural significance in Kashmiri society. They are not merely beverages but an integral part of social gatherings, celebrations, and daily life. The rituals associated with these teas are passed down through generations, creating a strong sense of tradition and community.

Kahwa is often served to guests as a gesture of hospitality and warmth. It is also consumed during winter to ward off the chill and boost energy. The delicate cups of Kahwa are shared among friends and family, fostering conversations and creating lasting memories.

Noon Chai, on the other hand, is deeply rooted in Kashmiri weddings and religious ceremonies. It is considered a symbol of love and hospitality. The process of preparing Noon Chai is often a family affair, with the aroma of the tea filling the house and signalling togetherness and joy.

In conclusion, Kahwa and Noon Chai are not just teas; they are reflections of Kashmiri culture, tradition, and hospitality. Each cup tells a tale of centuries-old recipes, carefully selected ingredients, and intricate preparation methods. The distinct flavours of Kahwa and Noon Chai, combined with their cultural significance, make them truly unique and memorable experiences.

So, the next time you find yourself in the enchanting land of Kashmir, do not miss the opportunity to savour these exquisite teas. Let the flavours transport you to a world of elegance, warmth, and timeless traditions.

Kashmiri Kahwa Recipe:


2 cups water

1 teaspoon green tea leaves

4-5 saffron strands

4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed

2 cinnamon sticks

2-3 almonds, crushed

A pinch of rose petals (optional)

Honey or sugar (optional, for sweetness)


  1. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil.
  2. Add green tea leaves, saffron strands, crushed cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks to the boiling water.
  3. Reduce heat to low and let the tea simmer for 2-3 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
  4. Remove the saucepan from heat and strain the tea into cups or a teapot.
  5. Add a teaspoon of crushed almonds and a pinch of rose petals to each serving cup or teapot.
  6. Optionally, add honey or sugar to taste for sweetness.
  7. Stir well and serve the hot Kahwa tea.

Kashmiri Noon Chai Recipe:


2 cups water

1 teaspoon green tea leaves

2 cups milk

A pinch of baking soda

A pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon sodium carbonate (khambal)

Sugar (optional, for sweetness)


  1. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil.
  2. Add green tea leaves to the boiling water and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Strain the tea and discard the tea leaves.
  4. Return the strained tea to the saucepan and add milk.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add a pinch of baking soda and a pinch of salt to the boiling tea-milk mixture.
  7. Dissolve sodium carbonate (khambal) in a little water and add it to the saucepan.
  8. Continue to simmer the tea over low heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it achieves a rich pink colour.
  9. Optionally, add sugar to taste for sweetness and stir well.
  10. Remove from heat and pour the Noon Chai into cups or a teapot.
  11. Serve the hot Noon Chai with traditional Kashmiri breads or biscuits.

Enjoy the authentic flavours of Kashmir with these delightful Kahwa and Noon Chai recipes!