The Spicy, Aromatic Kashmiri Kahwa Can Soothe Your Winter Blues

This winter, try this traditional delicately flavoured tea from Kashmir.

Updated
Food
3 min read
Dried saffron and almonds seen in cups filled with <i>kahwa</i>, a traditional Kashmiri sweet tea, in Srinagar. (Photo: Reuters)

Winters are harsh; they render you frozen and lazy. But it’s also the season when you enjoy your warm cuppa the most.

For Kashmiris, that drink is kahwa — a type of green tea infused with the scent of cardamom pods, cinnamon barks and saffron, that is later crowned with crushed almonds.

Kahwa tea leaves are said to have come to Kashmir through the Spice Route. Many believe that it originated in the Yarkand valley during the Khushan empire in the first and second century AD.

Kahwa has a colour that is unusually soft and clear. Traditionally, the drink is served in brass vessels called samovars.

A Kashmiri Muslim woman pours saffron Kahwa into cups before serving it to guests in Srinagar. (Photo: Reuters)
A Kashmiri Muslim woman pours saffron Kahwa into cups before serving it to guests in Srinagar. (Photo: Reuters)

The act of making kahwa is almost a ritual. You know it’s ready, once it starts bubbling over, with a delicious aroma of cinnamon and cardamom.The tea leaves aren’t brewed for more than thirty seconds; overbrewing will only make it bitter.

#coffee #kahwa anyone?

A photo posted by Roger Moukarzel (@rogermoukarzel) on

It also has medicinal properties. Kahwa can soothe a respiratory problem, cough, cold, or a digestive issue.

kahwa .... a kind of kashmiri chai☕☕ #kashmirichai #kahwa #kashmiri

A photo posted by Shubhra Shukla (Visual Cherry) (@shubhra.shukla) on

In the harsh winter, kahwa is an elixir — the tea warms the belly, eases the chest, and leads to an almost sensory satisfaction. It is also caffeine free, and helps in alleviating stress.

Kahwa has been embraced by patrons from other cultures and areas too. The leaves may seem pricey at first, but they are certainly value for money. About 100 grams will cost you Rs 600, but that’s enough to last you at least two to three winters.

#kahwa .....Wah wah #srinagar #dalLake

A photo posted by Sajid Akhtar (@mail2akhtar) on

The tea is also popular in Afghanistan, some regions of Central Asia and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan regions in Pakistan.

It’s interesting to note that many culturally rich nations have an elaborate tea culture. The British have it, and so do the Chinese. So does Morocco, Egypt, Tibet, Turkey, and many other nations. The kahwa, though not as big, is a humble tea culture from the valley of Kashmir.

Just a #BabaJee making some #Kahwa! #KPK #CultureFestival #Tradition #WhatIsThat? :O #vscocam #HumansofPakistan

A photo posted by Farhan Ahmed (@farhan1ahmed) on

So this winter, we advise you to attempt the Kashmiri way to beat the cold. Some piping hot kahwa will surely cure all your winter blues.

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