Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Kashmiri Kahwa: Heaven in every sip

Known as Paradise on Earth, Kashmir is popular for its scenic landscapes, verdant valleys, lush gardens, and stunning lakes. It is also home to heavenly culinary offerings like the delectable Wazwan cuisine, a resplendent feast with up to 36 courses. The finale of this royal experience is just as impressive as everything that precedes it. Yes, we’re talking about Kahwa.    

What is Kahwa?

Originally consumed as a way to keep warm in the harsh mountain winters, Kahwa is a concoction made by boiling a host of organic ingredients. While green tea leaves form the base of the drink, cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon bark lend body, with strands of saffron, giving it a signature flavour. It is topped with dry fruits like pistachios, almonds, cashews, cherries, and sometimes even rose petals for added flavour. Kahwa is typically served with some sugar or honey in a glass or clay mug.

While Kahwa can be consumed at any time of the day, in Kashmir, it’s usually served at noon after lunch or after dinner. ‘But who drinks hot tea in the summer?’, you might ask. Well, we have good news. Equally refreshing when iced, a chilled Kahwa tea can be a great way to beat the heat. If you do choose the iced option, make sure you steep the tea leaves in hot water for at least three minutes before cooling the brew.

The tea is thought to have originated from the days when Kashmir was a part of the Xinjiang province of China during the reign of the Kushan Empire between the 1st and 2nd century A.D. A combination of its distinctive taste and benefits meant that the drink outlived the empire of its origin and grew in popularity. To this day, Kahwa tea remains a staple drink in Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia and Northern India, especially the Kashmir valley.

Health benefits

  • Improves digestion – A cup of Kahwa after a meal can aid digestion. It also cleanses the digestive tract and provides relief from constipation or a bloated stomach.
  • Lowers cholesterol – The cinnamon bark present in the tea is known to prevent cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • Reduces fat deposits – Polyphenols found in Kahwa tea leaves can aid in fat oxidation and improve metabolism.
  • Purifies the liver – Kahwa is rich in antioxidants which work to eliminate impurities generated by the liver while detoxifying the body.
  • Reduces stress – Kahwa stimulates the production of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins which relieves any anxiety and stress. A cup before bed also helps with insomnia, making it the perfect way to unwind after a long day.
  • Boosts immunity – The saffron strands used in Kahwa are an excellent source of vitamin B12, essential to strengthening the immune system.
  • Helps fight ageing Kahwa is rich in antioxidants that reduce the production of free radicals and fight cell damage. The result – firm, supple and youthful skin.

A rich and complex drink, this historic and iconic beverage is quite easily everyone’s cup of tea and now it can be yours too.  

QNet’s Celesteal Herbal Infusion Kahwa is an exotic tea that pays tribute to the iconic Kashmiri Kahwa. It’s a perfect blend of green tea leaves picked from tea gardens in Darjeeling and handpicked aromatic spices like green cardamom, cinnamon bark, rose petals and bay leaves sourced from South India. Given its numerous health benefits, every sip of this aromatic beverage nourishes the body and the soul.

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