Can you use any green tea to make pink tea? 5 green teas tested

Best green teas for making pink tea

Some teas are pretty, some are prettier. or Kashmiri is one of the prettiest milk teas that is steadily gaining popularity around the world. Although making a proper flavourful traditional Kashmiri chai will take some trial and error, making a simple pink tea vis really easy. And we are going to help you find the best for making it at home.

In this test, we will cover:

  • What is pink tea?
  • Which of the most popular types of green tea are the best for making pink tea?
  • What colour can you expect when making pink at home?
  • Tips for choosing the best green tea for making pink chai
Best green tea for making pink tea Pinterest
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What is pink tea?

Pink tea is a tea made with green tea leaves, water, milk and bicarbonate of soda. The colour change occurs when you change the pH of green tea by adding bicarbonate of soda. That change happens because of polyphenols. (Source: SpringerLink) Tea will first change into an intense deep red, and by adding milk it will become pink. Pink chai will never be vibrant neon pink or intense bright pink, but it should have a beautiful dusty rose or golden rose colour. Some pink teas only have a light pink hue and are closer to regular chai.

Green tea with bicarbonate of soda
© All That Tea

Why did we test different green teas?

The reason is quite simple. Making a perfect Kashmiri chai recipe is all about ingredients. Choosing the right green tea is the first step in making sure you will get the right colour and flavour. There are many green teas you can use for making pink tea, but not all of them will have the right flavour. Indian green teas and Chinese gunpowder are usually teas of a choice for making homemade pink chai. And there's a good reason for that. The best green tea will give not only the right colour, but a deep, slightly smoky flavour that goes well with typical pink chai ingredients such as saffron, rose petals, almonds and star anise.

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We tried 5 of the most popular green teas:

green tea guide

How did we make pink tea?

To test these green teas, we didn't follow the typical traditional recipe for making a Kashmiri chai. Instead, we used a simplified method for making any pink coloured tea, added 1 teaspoon of tea leaves in 150 ml of water brought to a boil, added a pinch of bicarbonate of soda and simmered it for 10 minutes. In the end we added 100 ml of icy cold water, strained it into a cup and added milk. When making a pink tea, always add only a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. Adding 1/3 or even ½ of a teaspoon will significantly influence the flavour and the tea will be undrinkable. Use you can, use chashaku or a tiny spoon.

Learn how to make Iced pink tea at home

Japanese Sencha

Japanese Sencha is one of the most popular types of green tea. Sencha is a steamed tea with long needle-shaped leaves and a unique vegetal and fresh scent and flavour. It's amazing to make tea and daily drinking but is not typically used with milk. Did sencha give pink colour and what was the flavour like?

Sencha with milk

Flavour: There was no bitterness, but the tea was too light to be used for making pink chai. It laced body and depth, which makes sense. Sencha is too light and too vegetal to be served with milk.

Colour: Sencha gave a lighter pink colour, with a yellow-orange hue.

Is it suitable for making pink tea? No.

Japanese Gyokuro Konacha

Gyokuro is a type of shaded Japanese tea that's often brewed at very low temperatures. Gyokuro konacha is a by-product of gyokuro tea production. It contains tea dust and small leaf particles that will brew into a strong tea.

Gyokuro konacha

Flavour: Gyokuro is a unique tea. It either has a strong umami flavour or a strong bitterness, depending on the type and water temperature. Flavour is stronger than sencha and the umami note is very intense too.

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Colour: It gives a deep brown-red colour.

Is it suitable for making pink tea? No.

Chinese Dragon Well

Unlike sencha and gyokuro, Dragon Well or Long Jing tea is a pan-fired tea. It's one of the most popular Chinese teas. It's usually a light, delicate, but flavourful tea, with light nutty notes. Dragon Well is never served with milk. It's the lightest and most delicate of these 5 tea types.

Dragon well

Flavour: The flavour is very light, but good, nevertheless.

Colour: gave a dark pink colour with a greyish hue.

Is it suitable for making pink tea? This tea could be used for making pink tea, but probably with less milk.

Chinese Mao Feng

Chinese Mao Feng is one of the most famous Chinese teas. When prepared properly, this tea is light, but you can use it for making stronger infusion too. Although the flavour is fresh and green, it's not vegetal like sencha. It has nutty and floral notes and it's typically not served with milk.

Mao Feng milk tea

Flavour: There are many types of Mao Feng teas out there, so the type will influence both the colour and flavour. The one we tried gave a colour similar to the colour you would get when using Indian twisted leaf green tea. Flavour was nice too – light, deep and would definitely go well with additional spices.

Colour: Mao Feng gave the prettiest colour of all tried teas – bright dusty pink.

Is it suitable for making pink tea? Yes.


Gunpowder is perhaps one of the most popular Chinese green teas in western countries. While it's far from a typical Chinese tea, it became popular because of its strength. Gunpowder is great for making iced teas and tea blends that are served with lots of sugar and other stronger ingredients. It has a slightly smoky, deep flavour. This tea is often used for making this chai at home, exactly because of its strength and flavour.

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Gunpowder tea

Flavour: This tea will give a strong and bold colour and flavour and a creamy tea with a very deep colour. It makes a good base for adding spices and milk.

Colour: Deeper red-purple colour.

Is it suitable for making pink tea? Yes. This tea is perhaps the easiest to use and you can actually adjust the intensity of colour quite easily.

Pink Tea Test Recap

What this test showed is that any pure green tea can become a pink tea, but with a different shade of pink and different flavour. Using a pre-made Kashmiri chai blend will make the task much easier, but even if you don't have one, don't give up. You can try making it with any strong green tea with nutty and smoky notes.

From all these tested teas, the one we would choose again is . It gave the prettiest colour, light flavour, with no bitterness and enough body to be served with milk. The second choice would be a gunpowder tea, followed by Dragon Well.

Pink Tea Tips:

  • Avoid green teas with grassy notes – these are mostly steamed Japanese teas
  • Choose strong teas – slightly astringent green tea with a full body will be a great choice
  • Avoid green teas with umami notes – these are mostly Japanese shaded teas
  • Avoid teas with a light body – they may give a great colour, but the body will lack – this means teas that you usually wouldn't drink with milk
  • Indian and Nepali green teas will probably give great results
  • Choose teas with nutty and smoky notes that brew into a strong, deep yellow infusion
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