Kashmiri chai, but why?

Today I made kahwa, i.e. kashmiri chai. It’s a decoction made by simmering fresh green tea leaves along with a pinch of baking soda, some spices such as star anise, cardamoms, and cinnamon along with chopped almonds and pistachios if you are feeling too precious 😉

Now, the fun thing about it is that a chemical reaction between chlorophyll and baking soda gives it a distinct pink color which is observed when the decoction is mixed with milk as seen in the picture on the left below. Picture courtesy: Flour & Spice food blog (where I found the recipe).

But, what I obtained wasn’t really pink. It was beige instead, image on the right above. Now, this was really frustrating given how long I had to wait to devour it — have to say it was delicious. Rich and warm with mellow notes of spices; would make an excellent winter drink.

Why didn’t I get a pink tea? Because I used a Japanese roasted green tea which was quite old and the chlorophyll content wasn’t enough for the nice pink to develop. Here’s where I found this explanation.

Anyway, I have this batch of Kahwa to finish until next time. I hope to enjoy a pink Kashmiri chai some day.

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