What Is Kashmiri Tea? Explained

No artificial dyes are needed for the gorgeous pink coloring of the Kashmiri tea. Find out what is Kashmiri tea and how you can make it yourself. 

2 cups of kashmiri tea - what is kashmiri tea
Kashmiri is a pastel pink tea

Although there are thousands of unique, delectable teas you can quickly get your hands on, most of them have – more or less – the same color palette. They’re usually some shade of brown or green. Not Kashmiri tea. This gorgeous pastel pink tea from the Kashmir region in the Indian subcontinent is entirely different. 

Now, I’m not going to lie – it takes a bit of trial and error to get the coloring of the Kashmiritea just right. But once you get it, it will be the most delicious, visually-appealing cup of chai you’ve ever tried. 

Don’t make it simply for the aesthetic, however. Brew yourself some Kashmiri tea for its distinctive flavor and incorporate it into your morning routine to enjoy its vast range of health benefits. 

Kashmiri Tea – Straight from the Heart of the Kashmir Valley 

Kashmiri tea goes under many names – known as Gulabi chai, Sheer chai, noon chai, or simply pink tea. Regardless of what you call it, it’s an authentic blend of green tea leaves, milk, baking soda, and salt. Yes, salt. 

Despite its sweet, pink appearance, Kashmiri tea is traditionally a savory beverage in Kashmiri homes, and an essential part of every breakfast and supper often served with bread. 

Rustic breakfast, fresh eggs baked in griddles, bacon, vegetables, fresh orange and rustic bread
Kashmiri tea is an essential part of every Kashmiri breakfast

However, Kashmiri tea has added sweeteners in Pakistan and India to make it more “modern.” You’ll commonly see it served at weddings and during special occasions with some nuts and a blend of herbs and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise. 

The Luxurious Flavor Profile of the Kashmiri Tea 

You could use any green tea you have available to make Kashmiri tea, but if you want to stay authentic, you’ll need to find gunpowder green tea grown in the Kashmir region. 

Gunpowder tea is made by rolling each tea leaf into a tiny ball, preventing the leaves from breaking and losing some of their flavor and aroma. It also makes the leaves more resilient to heat, allowing you to brew them at a high temperature necessary for the right coloring of Kashmiri tea. 

Kashmiri tea will be a creamy, slightly salty beverage with floral and citrusy notes if you go the traditional route. Not nearly as bitter as unsweetened black tea, but with a similarly rich flavor profile. 

If you prefer more modern, sweet teas, you can add sweeteners to your Kashmiri tea to make it more suitable for your tastes. It will retain its rich flavor and aroma but subtle hints of nuts and cinnamon. 

Where Does Kashmiri Tea’s Pink Color Come From? 

Considering it’s made from green tea, it’s somewhat surprising that you can get Kashmiri tea to turn pink without adding food colorings, but you can. All you need is a pinch of baking soda. 

The secret ingredient for the pink color of Kashmiri tea is just a pinch of baking soda

The baking soda reacts with green tea leaves at high temperatures to turn the color dark red. Once you add a bit of milk, you’ll dilute the coloring to get a gorgeous pastel pink tea that’s simply breathtaking. 

A word of caution, however. Don’t mistake baking soda for baking powder. Baking soda will transform your Kashmiri tea and give it its distinctive appearance. Baking powder will only share your tea a slightly weirder taste without giving you the aesthetic that you want. 

What You’ll Get from Adding Kashmiri Tea to Your Morning Routine 

Considering it’s made from green tea, Kashmiri tea is known for delivering an abundance of health benefits you’ll enjoy. Kashmiri tea could help you: 

  • Improve concentration; 
  • Boost your metabolic rate; 
  • Improve heart health; 
  • Lower your risks of developing type 2 diabetes; 
  • Improve digestion and more. 

Incorporating Kashmiri tea into your morning routine can help you maintain your overall well-being, so there’s no reason not to give it a try. Besides, you’ll get plenty of great, aesthetically-pleasing pink tea content for your Instagram page while enjoying the benefits. 

How to Make Kashmiri Tea 

Making Kashmiri tea can be a bit of a hassle. Getting the coloring right takes some trial and error, but you’ll eventually get the hang of it by tweaking the amount of baking soda. 

What you’ll need is: 

  • Three teaspoons of loose green tea (preferably from the Kashmir region); 
  • Eight cups of water; 
  • Two cups of milk; 
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda; 
  • ½ teaspoon salt. 

You can also add sweeteners, garnishes, herbs, and spices to taste.

Spices in a wooden spoon.
Add spices and herbs to enhance the taste

To make Kashmiri tea, you’ll need to: 

  • Add loose tea (and optional spices) to three cups of cold water, then bring it to a boil; 
  • Once it starts boiling, add salt and baking powder; 
  • Keep cooking and stirring the mixture until it reduces to about a cup; 
  • Add two and a half cups of cold water once the mixture is reduced; 
  • Keep going until it reduces to about a cup once again; 
  • Add the remaining cold water, and keep cooking until you’re left with about a cup of water; 
  • Strain the tea. 

To make your Kashmiri tea pink, you’ll then need to introduce some milk: 

  • Boil two cups of milk (with sweetener to taste); 
  • Once it starts boiling, add your tea; 
  • Keep boiling for a minute or two. 

Remove the pot from the stove, serve the tea into your favorite teacup, and add garnishes to taste. 


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.