What is it: Kahwa is made by brewing green tea leaves with spices: saffron strands, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods; and on extra special days, Kashmiri roses is added to up the aroma quotient. Generally, it is laced with sugar or honey; and topped with slivers of floating crushed nuts, usually almonds or walnuts. In certain households, it is made as an herbal infusion only, without the green tea leaves. Traditionally, Kahwa tea is prepared in a brass multi-purpose kettle called Samavar—it has two cavities: one to blend the ingredients in and a fire cavity to keep the tea continually hot till it is served.
Place of origin: Conventionally, the origins of this healthy brew can be traced back to the Kashmir valley, where it is still widely consumed. It is also popular in Northern Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Drink it with: In Kashmir, Kahwa is a popular breakfast beverage and is widely accompanied with special Kashmiri baked items, such as Bakirkhani and Girda. This fragrant-infused tea is a crowd-pleaser at Indian winter weddings as it helps fight the winter chills. Here, the tea maker walks around with the Samavar and serves tea to the guests in shallow, tiny cups called Khosas. Kahwa is also served after elaborate and celebratory lunches and dinners.
Benefits: “The Kashmiri Qhawah Delight that we serve is popular among customers who prefer non-milky teas, but also fancy a tea that is light and mildly spiced. Since this is green tea-based, it is rich in antioxidants, thereby boosting immunity and it also protects us against cough and flu. This is why it is particularly popular in cold areas,” says Naresh Bangera, General Manager, Taj Mahal Tea House, Mumbai.
Buy it at: Most food stores and selected provision stores. It is also served at several cafés across the country. You can order it online through Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Teabox, Teameteas, Kashmirbox, among others.
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