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Black Chai Blend
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Edit tea info Last updated by CHAroma
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200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec 14 oz / 414 ml

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21 Tasting Notes View all

From Mariage Frères

This medley pays tribute to the renowned French trading post in India, “the Half Moon City”, sited along a tributary of the Ganges in western Bengal – where the fond memories of yesterday blend into the hustle and bustle of the marketplace, the cotton mills and silk factories, and the heady aromas of tea carried by the wind.

Here black tea welcomes a plethora of imperial spices: cloves, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and pepper make for a warming, piquant brew.

Amount of tea leaves: 2.5g
Best water temperature: 95 °C
Infusion time: 3-5 min

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21 Tasting Notes

1424 tasting notes


Om nom nom.

So good. With a little maple syrup it’s like candy. Ginger-spice candy.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

My mouth is watering. :-)


I did a second steep, too. Oh man, this and So Long and Thanks for all the Licorice = top flavoured teas. I really need to re-jig my ratings.


Sounds yummy :D

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4840 tasting notes

sipdown! (and that makes 160! everything else tonight is just bonus time!) I can see why omgsrsly loves this chai. It’s different than my preferred chais but in a good way with a spicy kick that makes my mouth a little hot. It’s not overly hot, but the blend works well together. There’s not dominating clove or cinnamon presence which makes me happy even though i love both. I have a feeling this will be an order just so that i can play with it more with milk and honey etc… thanks a bunch missb!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Yep, this is my favourite! Thanks for the reminder. ;) I think I’ll go make myself a mug.


You’re very welcome! I found this tin at Holt Renfrew, and they still had lots last time I was there. $24/100g though…


I know, isn’t it expensive? I got another tin right before Christmas, but there was only one left.


Oooh, I saw this at HR too but was hesitant since I thought it may taste like a generic chai.


I can pop some in an envelope for you if you’d like, Fjellrev. I have loads. :)


Balzac’s here in toronto sells it…as does Williams Sonoma, for 1$ cheaper than Holt Renfrew had it. I’ll likely pick up more..if i ever have money to spend…pretty sure i blew through jan and feb budget already haha


You don’t really have to, OMG, but actually, I think you should pick out some things of mine that you’d like to try so I can send some stuff over to you. :)


LOL. Can I promise to just send you one tea? I swear one tea would mean one tea, and not a well-stuffed envelope or a box!

Good to know about Williams Sonoma, Sil!


Haha do whatever you wish, but I also need to send some stuff to you too. :D


This is my favorite chai as well – though also the inspiration for me to make my own chai blend which somehow I lucked out into liking as much as this and much better than other chai blends.

Fjellrev, maybe it is a generic chai, but it´s kind of a perfect chai to my palate! Nothing earth shattering different (not the tomato and lemon darjeeling, or tea flavoured with zucchini and blossoms which is something my favorite tea blender comes up with and somehow makes it work), just black tea with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper and ginger. But it is sort of just right balance. I think Mariage Freres is often very very good at make excellent takes of classic ideas. Not new, maybe a generica idea, but sort of the best take on that generic idea you ever had.

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1114 tasting notes

Brewed at a really low temperature because I had a green going as well. Surprisingly, this is the first time I’ve had this, even though it’s one of the more expensive teas in my cupboard, and I’ve shared a fair amount of it with Steepsterites already. I saw OMGsrsly’s note the other day on this though, and thought to myself, “I should really try this!”

I also think her review was perfect. With a touch of sweetener, this is just like candy. Delicious, creamy, sweet, chai candy.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Oh, now I want a cup! But not at 1am. :)

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251 tasting notes

Ooooh… an absolutely fabulous way to ring in the new year! This is an excellent chai with a wonderful balance of spicy and sweet. Jake and I both love it, and it’s totally going on the shopping list.

Thanks so much OMGsrsly for giving me the opportunity to try it!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

You’re welcome, and I’m sorry. :) A shop that sells it loose and ships reasonably to the Americas has not been found, but it’s available by the tin at Holt Renfrew over the holidays.


Actually, I live outside Dallas, TX and there’s a store here that sells MF loose. I haven’t made it in yet, but I think now I’ll make it a priority! :)


OMG! Do they sell online?!


If it’s the cultured cup. They do have a nice selection, but the shipping price the owner quoted to me was $30- 42 for 100-200g of tea. At that point you might as well by it from France.


That is RIDICULOUS. :/


Yeah – I wasn’t looking at the shipping because it’s local. Sorry! I’ll let you know when I have a chance to check it out, then maybe we could do another swap.


I think us shipping was fine and they let you purchase smaller amounts of some teas. The price I was quoted was to Canada.


Hehehe, the splash page slideshow is cracking me up. First the name, ‘The Cultured Cup’, and then the two lovely dapper gentlemen enjoying a (cultured, I’m sure) cup… and then… REALLY CHEESY REINDEER!!!

But hey, 40% sale on Yuzu Temple – it’s a pretty nice tea.


I will have to use MissB’s US box when I’m ready to order some teas. :)


Oh, I just wanted to add that I stumbled over this one – they carry refill bags of some MF teas:


Oh… I did not know that Cultured Cup was carrying loose MF. I shall have to make a point to stop by next time I am visiting. And wheezybee, you and I will totally have to meet up and go to Maudee’s or something next time I there! :)


Sounds wonderful!


My favorite chai. That price is outrageous though!

BTW this is the tea which inspired me to try to make my own chai blends, and somehow that worked pretty well. I used precisely the same spices there are in Chandernagor (why mess with perfection?), and used this blog

as a guideline. I am pretty happy with the results though the trick is alwats the chai blend needs to age a bit, at least a month before being tried.


Thanks so much, cteresa!

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328 tasting notes

I did this tea not in the recommended manner but in a halfway chai manner – boiled some (unfortunately) skim milk with a tea spoon of brown sugar, when boiling added a couple teaspoons of this tea and left it to simmer for some 5-10 minutes.

And my first thought at first sip was oh, so this is FRENCH chai. I can not articulate too well why I would consider it french, but oh so smooth and refined and flavorful. But it packs some heat indeed, no matter how sweet and smooth it is at first sip.

On taste notes, it smells wonderfully at spices. In the dry tea the predominant flavours are cinnamon and cardamom and emphatically of cloves. When simmering at a boil, it´s the cloves which rule. The wet leaves, before being discarded, smelt most strongly of ginger and cardamom. The liquor (milk? tea? drink?) itself tastes equally of the cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves and it´s fantastic. And the pepper finally gets its revenge in the aftertaste, with just-to-the-point heat. (If you are sensitive to chillies or pepper, better avoid this or avoid brewing this chai style). And oh so so smooth all the way, so flavorful and rich but smooth.

Another note, many people hate cloves, if you do maybe better avoid this – it´s balanced but the cloves are there. If you like cloves, absolutely get this.

If you are like me rather neutral about cloves, then do check it. I think the cloves are wonderfully used here, they bring a really exotic different flavour and seem to make the cinnamon and cardamom just so much better.

I want to try to brew this normal style, but I did love this so very much chai style brewing this normal style is not going to be a priority anytime soon.

Boiling 8 min or more

I sniffed this blend in the MF shop and found it too heavy with cloves. So decided to buy Mandalay.


I will let you know when I brew this normal style – I found the cloves perfectly in balance on the drink, but then again I did not brew it normally. Oh and be careful, the pepper is here and bites :) ( but it feels oh so lovely this time of the year).

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237 tasting notes

My last serve of this until I get a chance to restock sometime in the next few months. It’s warm and spicy, heavy on the clove and ginger and with a strong black tea base that avoids bitterness. It’s got quite a caffeine kick to it as well, which is just right for an otherwise slow Monday morning. Even though I didn’t prepare in the traditional chai manner, with cream and sugar this makes a nice substitute.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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27 tasting notes

I went to a Mariage Freres shop a few months ago and asked them if they had anything that might encompass all the flavours of Christmas. The shop assistant was lovely and offered two blends – Esprit de Noel and, after hesitating a bit, Chandernagor. I smelled both and went for Esprit de Noel, which has orange and is smoother than Chandernagor. I didn’t end up buying Chandernagor but I found the smell impossible to forget even long after. Fast forward to now. I wanted a tea that wasn’t an indulgence for once, a tea that would wake me up in the morning and make me instantly alert and ready to face the day. That’s when I remembered Chandernagor.

It’s a very peppery blend, by which I mean that it will tickle your taste buds and focus your mind. You can’t ignore this tea. You can’t take sips while working or thinking about your next meal. It draws you in. Chandernagor tastes as good as it smells, which is strong and interesting. I taste cloves (so divine, wow), black pepper, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom, in that order. It’s a rich tea that I prefer to drink really hot, the very nature of it just calls for a high temperature – I suspect it’ll burn you in iced form anyway.

4 minutes with milk and stevia works best for me.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Didn’t know this tea. Sure next time I’ll visit a Mariage shop, I’ll sniff it and probably buy 100 grams. I like very much Esprit de Noël I’m sure I’ll love it too.


Ysaurella, I just had some and loved it indeed! So lucky I could find it locally. But I think so far it is the chai most precisely to my taste, most balanced I have yet had!

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496 tasting notes


I say that with an exclamation point rather than a period because I am surprised.

I had decided that if I didn’t like a Mariage Freres version of chai tea then I was officially not a fan of chai at all.

However, I found it really pleasant and non-offensive!

At first I drank half the cup black, then decided that the only time I’ve really enjoyed chai was in latte form, so I decided at least to add milk and coconut sugar!

Then I really liked it. It became creamier, more desserty, and the spices were toned down which I prefer. Because this one is peppery and strong!

I will keep my mind open to chai tea in the future knowing how good it is with milk!

Thanks for the sample, OMGsrsly!

(PS – even a much weaker second steep was good with milk and sugar!)

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449 tasting notes

Backlog from yesterday evening:

I got this from the Balzac’s Cafe at the Reference Library and just stared off into space for a bit while drinking it. It was a nice mental holiday.

This is a very smooth blend, with no one spice taking predominance over the others. I could taste the cloves, pepper, and ginger, and the cinnamon seemed like a little platform underneath it. The cloves were strongest in the scent and at the beginning of the sip, with the pepper being strongest in the aftertaste. Overall, a nice, relaxing cup.

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450 tasting notes

Oh gosh. Sleeping schedule has gone completely to hell. woke up at 4:30 again and of course couldn’t get back to sleep. There are a few loose ends going on in my life right now, and I expect I’ll probably be feeling a lot better once they’ve been addressed. Still though—possibly uncomfortable work situation today, and I think I’ll just be glad for the weekend.

I needed the type of comfort only a warming tea could bring this morning. And this tea manages to be both assertive and warming, which suits the outlook I need to have quite perfectly, actually. I sullied it a bit by adding too much milk, but hey-if that’s the worst thing that happens today I’ll be lucky. you know how all tea is warming, but some are more warming than others? this is among the warmest, I think.


It sounds like you picked the perfect cup for this morning. I hope your day goes better than you’re anticipating.


I know what it’s like to have your nerves wracked by unresolved things and anticipating uncomfortable situations. (cyberhug) This too shall pass!


Thanks, guys. You understand this so well. I’m so scared, but hopefully it’ll be ok.


I hope your work day goes better than you expect!


I desperately hope you guys are right. Thanks for thinking of me.


Update when it’s over so we all know you survived. Then treat yourself to a favorite tea!


I sure did survive. Who knows what’ll happen longterm, but when do we ever know that anyway? I want to go to bed for a few weeks. Thanks so much for caring—you are all far kinder to me than I could ever deserve.


Glad you made it through :) I hope you got that comforting cup of tea tonight and a good night’s rest for once.

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