Kashmiri Chai – Pink Tea

A warm cup of chai in any southeast asian household is a must. Unfortunately, I am not a big chai drinker. That doesn’t mean I don’t know how to make a good cup of chai, but it does mean that a lot of friends and family find it odd that I don’t enjoy chai. 
For those who don’t know, “chai” is just the word for “tea”. Funny thing is, in coffee shops, we kind of giggle when we see “chai tea” because it sounds like “tea tea” to us. Chai is traditionally boiled black tea flavored with milk, sugar, and sometimes cardamom. 
There are tons of variations to chai- some like it black, others only in milk. Some add spices to it, and others stick to the very basics. 
One of these variations is called “kashmiri chai”, which originates in Kashmir (Southeast Asia). It’s also called “Noon Chai”, which refers to the saltiness in the chai. So although the version that everyone is used to has sugar in it, the original version was a salted chai. 
Kashmiri chai is basically a slow-cooked beverage of tea leaves, milk, sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, pistachios and almonds. It’s well known by its beautiful pink color, which it gets after milk is added to it. The tea, which should actually be dark in color, turns maroon/pink because of the chemical reaction when baking soda is added to it. 

Many drink this at special occasions like weddings or festivities, and it’s especially popular during the cold winter months. 
Not being a real chai drinker, I was kind of hesitant to try this. But I gave it a go since it’s such a beautiful looking tea drink. And yes, it was worth the experimentation because this is an absolutely delicious drink- it’s not like black tea, and it’s not like regular chai. It’s milky, sweet, aromatic, and so so good. 
You just have to give this a try! And don’t be surprised, you probably have the ingredients already in your pantry. 
Step by Step Pics of Tea Changing Color

Tea comes to boil- it’s like a very strong green tea at this point.

Cooking on medium heat, it should begin to change color.

It will get darker after about 25 minutes of cooking. When you swirl the pot around, the water should look dark maroon.


Keep boiling until it’s reduced to only 1/2 cup.

Shock the tea by adding 1 cup ice water. If it looks black, don’t be afraid! Adding the milk will bring out the pretty pink color you want.

Now you’re ready to add milk and sugar!

Kashmiri Chai

Yield: 4 cups

Kashmiri Chai


  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 2 green tea bags
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 3 green cardamom, whole
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 2 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 1 can evaporated milk 
  • Crushed pistachios and almonds for garnish 


  1. In a pot, place 3 cups water, 2 green tea bags, baking soda, cardamom, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium.
  2. Let the tea cook over medium-low heat for about 20-25 minutes, until the tea is super dark and has a maroon color. The water should reduce down to almost 1 cup. 
  3. Once the tea has achieved a dark maroon color, add the 1 cup of ice water and the sugar. Stir everything together. 
  4. Add enough milk to see the color turn a dull pink. About half a can should work with this amount of tea. Bring to another boil, about 2-3 minutes longer. If the tea looks darker, you can add more milk. 
  5. Strain through a tea strainer and serve hot with the nuts sprinkled on top of each tea cup. 


  1. Vickie Fisher says:

    Hi, Rubina. I made some of the Kashmiri chai today. The color of it was a deep orange red color, very much like an orange pekoe. I think the baking soda definitely must be oxidizing the tea, as I started with a Japanese sencha (green) tea. I didn’t achieve the pink color like some bloggers do, though, although it was a delicious chai anyway, with cinnamon and cardamom. Next time, I will try adding some saffron and see if I get a pinker color.

    • allflouredup says:

      Hi Vickie, it could have been the tea you used combined with the baking soda. I use an organic green tea from China that when cooked, turns quite dark amber with the baking soda. Saffron will make it more yellow, I don’t think it will help achieve the pink color you are looking for. Definitely try a different green tea, and remember to froth the liquid when it’s bubbling away (use a ladle and pour the tea from a distance to create froth).

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