With the youngest of her three children in school, Kanwal Tauseef was set to return to work as a graphic designer. But a decision to sell a popular Kashmiri-style beverage to the public in July changed everything.
“I am always anxious to participate in different community events. So we thought, me and my husband, we should take part in the Eid festival; we’ll have a stall and offer people pink tea,” CBC News quoted Tauseef as saying. “I am from Pakistan, and people like it a lot there.”
Pink tea, also known as Kashmiri chai, noon chai, sheer chai, and Gulabi chai, is a warm, milky beverage with a pinkish hue. Similar in preparation to the more mainstream masala chai, pink tea is made from a mixture of spices and tea leaves that is added to hot milk.
“Whenever I drink pink tea, I think about [vacations in] Pakistan administered Kashmir,” the report quoted Tauseef, who grew up in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city.
According to report by CBC News, after receiving an overwhelmingly positive response to her pink tea during Eid, Tauseef started selling the beverage — along with samosas and Pakistani-style spring rolls at various events in Windsor-Essex, such as the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market, under the name Tea House Windsor.
“The process of making the pink chai takes a few hours. A pinch of baking soda added with the spices reacts with the rest of the liquid to give the beverage its signature hue,” CBC News reported.
“We don’t add any colour,” Tauseef said, noting that the beverage tastes slightly different depending on where you consume it, with Kashmiris adding more salt, and people in Lahore adding more sugar. “Normally, we customize with a little bit of salt, and a little bit of sugar,” Tauseef told CBC News.
The report quoted Tauseef saying then adds ice to bring the tea mixture (called Kehwa) back to its original volume, and the liquid is added to warm milk.
Currently, Tea House Windsor operates as a catering company, in addition to popping up at events, such as the upcoming Windsor Women in Business Christmas Shop on November 27 at the Windsor Yacht Club.
But Tauseef has big plans for the business, reported CBC News.
“We are moving toward [opening] a cafe or takeaway,” the report quoted she as saying, adding she’s considering the area near the University of Windsor due to the number of international students. “You know, it’s not possible for everybody to give an order for catering, but they want to drink a cup of tea or two,” Tauseef told CBC News.