During my saffron project in India, often at the ministers houses or at my client’s, Kahva tea was brought out with a subtle ceremony to it. The best porcelein tea-service carried out on a silver tray. It is not very clear how the Kashmiris’ started to use green tea, when the rest of India has been having its chai made from black tea. A probable answer, is that it was part of the Silk route. The green tea from China must have been introduced there sometime nearly a century ago. Kahva is a fragrant, saffron-laced, light infusion with slivers of almonds resting at the base of the cup. The almonds release their elegant creamy unctuousness in the cup. A level of sophistication in the brewing of the tea makes it my favourite tea, especially in the winter months. It is a ritual to look into the golden cup which warms me up slowly to ease into a cold day. It is also a good way to end an elegant meal in the evenings. Just like we choose the right wine glasses suitable to bring out the best in the wine, I would say Kahva deserves a thin bone-china or porcelain cup for the ultimate tea experience the Kashmiri way! Cup or no cup, do try this delicious tea anyway.

You need not buy the most expensive green tea, a reasonable quality green tea is good for it. Just never, use a tea bag that not only would dilute the real taste, but would be a sacrilege.

Recipe for 4 cups. 1 tsp=5ml

Ingredients

650 ml water ( if there is calcium in tap water, use filtered water)
1 cinnamon about 4 cm long- broken in smaller pieces
4 green or white cardamoms- lightly pressed open
4 level tsp green tea
3-4 strands of saffron per cup
4-5 thin slivers of almonds per cup
honey or sugar per cup to taste/ or none

Instructions

1.Pour the water in a pan.
2.Add the cinnamon and the cardamom to the pan.
3.Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 mins. Strain into a tea-pot or another pan.
4.When the water has cooled a bit after 3 minutes, add the green tea leaves to the hot water. Cover and let steep for 3 minutes. ( set a timer)
5.While the tea is steeping, prepare 4 cups. Add a few slivers of almonds and 3-4 strands of saffron per cup.
6.Strain the green tea infusion into each cup. Cover with the saucer to seal in the aroma.
7.Serve after a minute or two, so that the almonds have realeased their essence & the saffron has infused the tea with a light tint and itsfragrance.
8.Pass the sugar / honey to be added to taste. I have mine unsweetened.