India is the land of chai(tea), a word so emotionally ingrained in Indian culture that it is known worldwide. Among the many popular and refreshing chai recipes that you will find in India, including Masala Chai, Adrak Chai, or Ginger Cardamom Chai, the Kesar Chai sits like The Kohinoor in the Crown of teas. With the right ingredients, you too can make this Tea easily within the comfort of your home.
What is Saffron Tea?
Saffron tea, or Kesar Chai as it is known here in India, is a delicate tea made by boiling saffron along with the tea leaves. The saffron imparts a brilliant orange color to the tea. The delicate Aroma of saffron goes very well with the Aroma of tea, giving it a soothing and refreshing taste. It’s mostly preferred as a breakfast tea, but it is also consumed during evening tea time along with snacks such as samosas, pakoras, or vegetable bhaji.
Saffron is a traditional ingredient in Middle Eastern, Persian, and Indian food. The similarities between these cultures make for a variety of saffron tea in each of them. In addition, saffron is often touted to have many health benefits. However, owing to the laborious process of harvesting saffron and the relatively small area of land where most of the saffron in the world is grown, it is one of the most expensive spices in the world. This explains the exclusivity that Saffron tea has enjoyed until recently in Indian society.
Notable Ingredients at a Glance
Saffron – The quality of the saffron is what sets the tea apart from the most common Kesar chai available on Indian streets. Persian saffron is often considered to be the best in the market. You will need 18-20 strands of it. Beware of fake or adulterated saffron. Since Saffron commands such a high price in the market, adulteration is pretty common.
Cardamom Powder – Elaichi, as it is known in India, is a complementary spice to saffron. 1/8th tsp or a pinch will do. It tastes bitter, but when steeped with the tea, it imparts a heavenly fragrance to it when steeped with the tea.
Cinnamon Powder (Optional) – It accentuates the flavor of Cardamom in the tea. You will need a pinch of cinnamon powder. I usually skip this step. But you do you.
Honey or any sweetener of choice – 2 tbsp or to taste.
How to prepare Saffron Tea?
This recipe makes two cups of saffron tea.
In a kettle, add 2 ½ cups of water and bring to a boil.
In a mortar and pestle, grind the saffron threads along with a pinch of sugar into a coarse powder. This should bring out the maximum flavor from the saffron strands.
Add the saffron threads to the kettle along with cardamom powder and cinnamon powder. Turn off the heat and let the tea steep for 3 more minutes.
Strain into a cup and add one tablespoon of honey to sweeten. You can also use any other sweetener of your choice.
Garnish with rose petals or a few strands of saffron.
Some expert tips for preparing Saffron Tea.
- While buying saffron, buy only a small quantity from a reputed Spice dealer. Saffron is perishable, and when stored for long periods of time, it tends to lose its flavor.
- A variation of this recipe can also be made with milk or milk mixed with water. It’s commonly found in Indian streets.
- Do not steep the tea leaves or the ground Saffron for too long in hot water. It may turn the tea bitter.
- Prep Time: 3 mins
- Cook Time: 7 mins
- Total Time: 10 mins
- Yield: 2 1x
Saffron Tea is very easy and simple to make and does not take much time. It is very flavorful and a must try!
- 18–20 strands Saffron
- 1/8 tsp or a pinch Cardamom Powder
- 2 tbsp Honey or any sweetener of choice
- In a kettle add 2 ½ cups of water and boil.
- Now add saffron threads. cardamom powder and turn off the heat.Let it steep for 3 mins.
- Strain in a cup and add 1 tbsp honey to sweeten or any sweetener of choice..
- Garnish with a few saffron strands.
- Enjoy it hot.
Keywords: saffron tea