Afghanistan imports at least ten pounds of tea per capita in one year. It means that each Afghani person drinks around 1,500 cups of tea per year. The fascinating statistics imply that this country has a strong tea culture and tradition worth exploring.
Tea and Geography
A landlocked country the size of Texas and an excellent strategic geographic position connecting Asia and the Middle East, Afghanistan had a strong influence by traders. The commercial routes transiting Afghanistan centuries ago have led to an overwhelming number of teas and spices being introduced into the country.
Early Chinese traders were bringing silk and tea in exchange for other goods. The local population embraced the tea tradition as a soothing beverage in an arid and hostile environment.
Afghan Tea Culture and Hospitality
Hospitality is one of the core moral norms in Afghanistan, a country embracing people from multiple backgrounds that meet in one common point – tea culture.
Bedded in children’s stories and creating the foundation of Afghan society, hospitality depicts the reputation of these people. It’s a cultural trait to welcome guests and visitors to your home with food and non-alcoholic beverages such as tea.
Rejecting the host is considered an impolite gesture, while the guest needs to accept quite a few repetitions of the chosen tea. As a guest to an Afghani home, you’d be asked multiple times to serve yourself more and indulge your senses with the mouthwatering tea beverages.
Offering people a cup of tea when entering a business is another heartwarming part of the Afghani culture. The tea tradition extends into every pore of day-to-day living, no matter if you’re friends with the host or just a random visitor.
Afghanistan’s Traditional Tea
The traditional tea most commonly served in Afghanistan is Kahwah tea. A superb blend of green tea, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods, and saffron strands, Kahwah tea plays a major role in this country’s social life.
The recipe for this tea varies from family to family, so some combinations include even almonds, ginger, and peppercorns. It resembles the traditional Masala Chai tea that changes flavors depending on the brewer’s taste.
If you’d like to enjoy a proper Afghani Kahwah tea with your loved ones or serve a cup of traditional tea to an Afghan refugee, here’s how to make it.
Kahvah Tea Recipe
- 4 cups of water
- 4 cracked cardamom pods
- ½ inch piece of cinnamon
- 4 strands of saffron
- 3 teaspoons of green tea
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
- 4 chopped almonds
Add the cardamom pods, the cinnamon, and the sugar to boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add green tea and saffron. Let it steep for three minutes. Add the almond pieces to each cup and pour the tea over it.
Enjoy the aromatic tea masterpiece with your favorite sweet treat!