Originated from the valleys of Kashmir, the beverage is worldwide popular for its pinkish color and salty taste. What is perhaps interesting about this beverage is its various names attributed to it in different languages, Originally knows an “Nun chai” or “Sheer chai” in Kashmiri language where the word ‘nun’ means salt. The tea enjoys several other names such as Pink Tea, Gulabi Tea in Urdu and Kashmiri tea. In Afghanistan the tea is known as shor chai. It is not the natives of Kashmir that relishes the tea, but the people living all over the sub-continent regions of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh enjoys the beverage.
Pink Tea, is more frequently consumed in the cold and chilled weathers, since Kashmir is at very high altitude with severely low temperatures for most part of the year, tea is consumed more than twice a day to keep the body warm and protected in the jaw-dropping winters.
Whereas in other parts, the Kashmiri tea is served as a special beverage and is apart of main course meals often in occasions like weddings in winters. The tea gets its pinkish color from the extract of green tea leaves, salt, milk and water and a pinch of baking soda used to gives it’s a brighter pink shade. The right amount of bicarbonate or baking soda is crucial in the making of the tea, since more than required amount will give the tea a dark color whereas the less than required amount will not give the tea its pinkish color. The tea can be cooked from 45 minutes to two hours, to get its pink color.
The traditional tea is cooked in samovar, a traditional brass or copper made metal kettle, which is used to boil water. The exterior of samovar are engraved or embossed with calligraphic motifs. There is a belief in the folklore that Noon Chai is refreshing in the heat and resists the cold in winters. It is believed to have digestive properties, possibly because of soda bicarbonate content.
Much innovation has been given to the Tea nowadays at tea stalls to attract the consumer. Somewhere it is served with sugar and often dry fruits such as pistachio and almonds are added to enhance the taste of this saltish beverage with a layer of cream over it.