Kashmiri Kahwa Recipe | Kahwa Tea

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Kashmiri Kahwa is a fragrant, warming, mild green tea made with whole spices, saffron, and nuts like almonds or walnuts. Using whole aromatic spices and saffron makes Kahwa Tea warming, for the body – perfect for the cold climate of Kashmir.

kashmiri kahwa served in two silver cups in a round brass plate

About Kahwa

Kahwa is one of my favorite ways to have Green Tea. I have no shame admitting I am addicted to it! Every evening and even sometimes after lunch, I make myself a cup of kahwa chai.

It refreshes, rejuvenates, relaxes, soothes, calms and makes you feel good. These are the effects of saffron and green tea doing their work.

I have also made kahwa chai with the premade kahwa tea available in the market. Honestly speaking, I prefer to make kahwa with green tea leaves and add the spices myself according to the season.

This Kashmiri kahwa recipe also shows you how to make a perfect cup of kahwa with the spices you have. I can nearly guarantee it’ll drive your blues away.

Please note, this is how I make kahwa. It may not be authentic, but it is delicious. You will love kahwa made this way.

Kashmiri kahwa tea served in 2 small silver cups. a brass strainer filled with green tea leaves, spices, rose petals, saffron kept as the side.

Kashmiri Kahwa Ingredients

  1. Green tea leaves – Use any good brand of green tea leaves — preferably organic green tea. Some variations of kahwa are also made without green tea, relying on only spices. If you are in need of a caffeine-free sipper, feel free to omit the green tea.
  2. Spices – Essentially, kahwa is made up of just two main spices: cardamom and cinnamon. Apart from these two fragrant spices, some variations also use cloves and saffron.
  3. Rose petals – For some mild, sweet, fragrant notes, I also add dried rose petals. I dry the rosebuds from my terrace garden and use them in kahwa. Rose petals are an optional ingredient and you can skip them.
  4. Nuts – Slivered or sliced almonds are commonly added in kahwa. In place of almonds, walnuts can also be used.
  5. Sweetener – For the sweetener, I use unrefined cane sugar or raw sugar. Honey is often suggested in other recipes, but I do not recommend adding honey to a hot brewed tea as honey gets poisonous when it gets heated. For a sugar-free kahwa, just skip adding sugar.

Ingredient Swaps

  • Sweeteners: You can add your preferred sweetener or skip them.
  • Spices: You could skip cloves if you do not have these but green cardamoms and cinnamon are essential.
  • Rose petals: Being an exotic ingredient, omit rose petals, if you do not have them.
  • Saffron: I know saffron is an expensive spice and if you do not have it, then simply skip it.

How To Brew A Perfect Cup Of Kahwa

Kahwa is made in copper pots known as samovar in Kashmir. These are large pots where the tea is brewed. In a home kitchen, kahwa is made in a pan.

Some people prefer to boil the green tea leaves for a couple of minutes. I do not suggest you do this unless you prefer a bitter flavor.

Instead, steep the green tea leaves for a few minutes in hot – not boiling – water. I have had tea made with green tea leaves boiled in water and it spoils the delicate taste & flavor. If you have a thermometer on hand, aim for around 80 to 82° C (175 to 180° F).

In this kahwa recipe, the spices are lightly crushed to release their flavors and then simmered for 2 to 3 minutes.

The heat is then turned off, the green tea leaves are added, and then everything is steeped for 2 to 3 minutes in the hot water. After this, the kahwa tea is ready to be strained and served.

Adding Saffron

I personally do not add saffron when brewing the tea, because why waste expensive saffron? The tea leaves and spices are strained, and the saffron goes waste. It makes more sense to me to add the saffron in the cup itself and have the tea and saffron both.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Kahwa Tea Recipe

Preparation

1. Get all the spices ready before you start making kahwa. You will need the following spices:

  • 2 inches of cinnamon
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 5 to 6 dried rose petals – optional
  • 10 to 12 strands of saffron

Be sure to use true cinnamon and not cassia cinnamon.

spices, saffron, and rose petals for kahwa.


2. Take the cinnamon, cloves and green cardamoms in a mortar-pestle. Crush them lightly.

kahwa spices being crushed in a mortar-pestle.

3. Slice 4 to 5  almonds thinly. Almonds can also be crushed in the mortar and pestle if you prefer.

You can even also 2 to 3 walnuts in place of almonds; just chop or crush them and set aside. Optionally, you can rinse the almonds before slicing them.

almonds sliced on a cutting board.

Make Kahwa Tea

4. In a saucepan, take 2 cups water. Place saucepan on the stove-top on a medium heat.

water in a sauce pan.

5. Add the lightly crushed spices in the water.

crushed spices added in the water.

6. Add 5 to 6 dried rose petals. You can skip rose petals if you wish.

dried rose petals added to water.

7. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar (or add to taste).

sugar being added in the pan.

8. Let the water come to a gentle boil on a medium heat.

water and spices being simmered to a gentle boil in the pan.

9. Turn off the heat. Place the pan on the kitchen counter-top.

Add 1 teaspoon of green tea. You can add less or more green tea leaves depending on your preferences.

green tea leaves added to hot water after removing the pan from the heat.

10. Cover the pan with its lid and steep the tea leaves in the hot water for 2 to 3 minutes.

kahwa tea steeping in a pan covered with lid.

11. After 2 to 3 minutes, pour kahwa tea in small cups using a tea strainer.

kahwa being strained.

12. Add 3 to 4 saffron strands and sliced almonds in each cup and stir.

saffron strands and sliced almonds added to kahwa tea to serve.

13. Serve kahwa and enjoy this fragrant mild green tea. Kashmiri kahwa can be served as an after lunch or dinner tea. You can even have kahwa tea as an evening drink before bed.

overhead shot of kahwa chai in antique silver mugs on a copper platter with a small bowl of dried cinnamon bark, cardamom pods and rose petals on the side.

Expert Tips

  • Brewing time: I usually brew green tea for 2 to 3 minutes. Depending on the grade and quality of the leaves, the brewing time can vary from 2 to 5 minutes. Do not steep or brew the leaves for a longer time as this will make the tea bitter.
  • Including honey: I do not suggest adding honey as a sweetener. As per Ayurveda honey becomes toxic when heated or when dissolved in hot liquids.
  • Where to buy: Green tea leaves can be brought from any health store, super store or online. Kahwa pre-made mixes can be purchased online.

FAQs

How long will green tea leaves last?

I suggest keeping them in an airtight container for no more than 6 months for the best flavor.

Are kahwa and green tea the same thing?

Kahwa is a special drink that means “sweetened tea” in Kashmiri. It always includes cinnamon, cardamom, and sweetener. It often also includes crushed nuts like almonds or walnuts, dried rose petals and saffron. It can be brewed with black tea leaves but green tea is traditional. However, kahwa can also be made as a simple herbal infusion (tisane) as well without the tea leaves.

More Tea and Coffee!

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kahwa

Kashmiri Kahwa Recipe | Kahwa Tea

Kahwa is a Kashmiri tea made with cinnamon, cardamom, saffron and green tea leaves. Kashmiri Kahwa is fragrant, delicately spiced, light green tea.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Steeping Time 3 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Cuisine Indian, Kashmiri
Course Beverages
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan
Difficulty Level Easy
Servings 3 small cups
Units

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 inches cinnamon – use true cinnamon and not cassia cinnamon
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 5 to 6 dried rose petals – optional
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or add as per taste
  • 1 teaspoon green tea leaves or add as required
  • 4 to 5 almonds (sliced or crushed or chopped) – optional, can also add walnuts instead
  • 10 to 12 saffron strands – optional

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Get all the spices ready before you start making kahwa.
  • Take the cinnamon, cloves and green cardamoms in a mortar-pestle. Crush them lightly.
  • Slice almonds thinly. Almonds can be crushed also in the mortar-pestle. You can even use 2 to 3 walnuts in place of almonds – chop them and add to your kahwa.

Making kahwa

  • In a saucepan, take the water. Place saucepan on the stove-top on a medium heat.
  • Add the lightly crushed spices and dried rose petals in the water.
  • Add sugar or add as per taste.
  • Let the water come to a gentle boil on a medium heat.
  • Turn off the heat. Place the pan on the kitchen counter-top. Add green tea. You can add less or more green tea leaves as you prefer.
  • Cover the pan with its lid and steep green leaves in the hot water for 3 minutes.
  • After 3 minutes, pour kahwa tea in small cups using a tea strainer.
  • Add 3 to 4 saffron strands and sliced almonds in each cup.
  • Serve kahwa tea. Enjoy this fragrant mild green tea!

Notes

Ingredient swaps

  • Sweeteners: You can add your preferred sweetener or skip them.
  • Spices: You could skip cloves if you do not have these but green cardamoms and cinnamon are essential.
  • Rose petals:  Omit rose petals, if you do not have them.
  • Saffron: If you do not have saffron, then simply skip them.

Helpful notes

  • Brewing time: I usually brew green tea for 2 to 3 minutes. Depending on the grade and quality of the leaves, the brewing time will vary from 2 to 5 minutes. Do not steep or brew the leaves for a longer time as this will make the tea bitter.
  • Including honey: I do not suggest adding honey as a sweetener. As per Ayurveda honey becomes toxic when heated or when dissolved in hot liquids.
  • Where to buy: Green tea leaves can be brought from any health store, super store or online. Kahwa pre-made mixes can be purchased online.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Kashmiri Kahwa Recipe | Kahwa Tea
Amount Per Serving
Calories 55 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 14mg1%
Potassium 72mg2%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 18IU0%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Calcium 24mg2%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 3µg1%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 17mg4%
Phosphorus 15mg2%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This Kashmiri Kahwa Tea recipe from the archives first published in July 2019 has been updated and republished on February 2023.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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10 Comments

  1. Thanks, instead of green tea I put a pinch of dried mint leaves. It is tasty.5 stars

  2. I tried and it was delicious like all your other recipes. Quick question: where did you get these cups from?5 stars

    1. thanks for the feedback and rating. i have got these from a store on facebook & instagram which specializes in selling antique ware. these are expensive since they are antique.

  3. Lovely recipe ! My friend gave me kashmiri green tea leaves …… how long are they good for . Thank you for all you . Just made banana bread today n it was delicious ???? God bless !5 stars

    1. thank you roshni for your kind wishes. green tea leaves will be good for about 6 months in an air-tight container at room temperature. hope this helps.

  4. hi dassana! simply loved it.it’s a perfect mix of spices & thank u once again for sharing your recipe5 stars

    1. thank you meveera. i am glad you liked the recipe. thanks again and welcome.