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The Journey of Kashmiri Kahwa

By sai bharath April 01, 2022

Kashmir has always been more than a mere place. It has the quality of an experience, a state of mind, or perhaps an ideal” - Jan Morris.

Amidst the serenity that surrounds Kashmir, there remains a drink that lives up to the tranquillity the place has to offer. The Kashmiri Kahwa Tea is a blend of green tea with delicate flavours of crushed almonds, cardamom pods, walnuts, clove, star anise and cinnamon bark. This caffeine-free drink is believed to have come through the spice route originated in the Yarkand valley during the Kushan empire during the first and second centuries AD. The tea is usually served with honey or sugar, and it is supposed to be sweet like a chashni. This light green drink turns golden with the addition of saffron. The tea is not brewed for more than 30 seconds because it might get bitter otherwise. 

Kahwa Tea is generally of three types; Classic Kahwa, Doodh Kahwa, and Shangri Kahwa. Traditionally Kashmiris have always referred to Kahwa as Mogul chai, meaning this tea was introduced in the valley by the Mughal emperor. Kahwa tea is often served in tiny, shallow cups, and the tea leaves are brought from the neighbouring Kangra region. Kahwa is not just prevalent in Kashmir but also in Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran and the Middle East. Each area has its unique recipe and concoction. Some add pistachios, apricots, pine nuts and dried cherries, while others add walnuts, dates, cashew nuts etc. The tea is ideal for the winters in Kashmir as it warms the belly, eases the chest, and leads to almost sensory satisfaction. 

This rich, mildly spice flavoured tea comes with multiple health benefits. It detoxifies the system and reduces stress. It can be used as a remedy for the common cold. Not just that, it improves heart health and gives a youthful glow. 

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