Pink tea challenge
and in the journal (volume 410/issue 01)
where readers will find the solution and a short explanation.
The next Analytical Challenge will be published in
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We would like to invite you to participate in the Analytical Challenge, a series of puzzles to entertain and challenge our readers. This special feature of “Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry” has established itself as a truly unique quiz series, with a new scientific puzzle published every three months. Readers can access the complete collection of published problems with their solutions on the ABC homepage at http://www.springer.com/abc. Test your knowledge and tease your wits in diverse areas of analytical and bioanalytical chemistry by viewing this collection. In the present challenge, pink tea is the topic. And please note that there is a prize to be won (a Springer book of your choice up to a value of C100). Please read on...
Meet the challenge
Pink tea, also known as Noon chai, is a traditional Kashmiri
beverage served with local pastries and dried fruit. Although
typical from Kashmir, this tea is also found in Pakistan,
where it is served on special occasions such as weddings or
feasts, and during the winter time. Not to be confused with
the sweet and spicy milk tea Masala chai, Noon chai does not
require sugar, and has in fact a distinctive salty taste (indeed,
the word noon means salty in Kashmiri language) .
It is quite hard to find a standard recipe for the Pink tea
as it varies from family to family and from town to town.
Traditionally, however, the Pink tea requires special tea
leaves (e.g., Kashmiri chai), water, salt, baking soda, and
milk. The tea leaves are soaked in a pot with water, which is
then brought to boil. The tea is allowed boiling for a while,
even an hour; salt and baking soda are then added under
constant stirring. Afterwards, the flame is turned down and
milk is added. At this point, the beverage assumes a vintage
pink color (see Fig. 1).
Besides Kashmiri chai (a blend of Darjeeling tea, green
cinnamon, ground almonds, star anise, and cardamom), green
tea leaves can also be used for the preparation of Noon chai.
However, the use of white tea will not result in the pink
What are the chemical reasons for the pink color and why
can we observe this phenomenon only with certain types of
Suppose that pink is no longer of interest and you want to
obtain a green colored tea extract using the same procedure
(boil tea leaves in water, add salt, baking soda, and milk).
What type of tea—such as black, green, or white tea,
herbal or fruit tea—you would select to obtain “green” tea?
1. Balfour E. Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, commercial, industrial and scientific: products of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, useful arts and manufactures . In: Scottish and Adelphi P , 2 ed; 1873 . vol. V.