Alexandra David-Néel

Tea type
Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Ysaurella
Average preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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  • “Out of the four teas from Mariage Frères gifted to me this was one of two chosen because the giver “thought the name was cool.” I am absolutely speechless before her rationale. What makes...” Read full tasting note

From Mariage Frères

This blend is inspired by the famous Orientalist and Asian explorer Alexandra David-Neel, who was also a great tea-lover.
The black tea harkens back to China and the tea route; the broad range of spices (including pepper, clove, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom) recalls Neel’s personal quest for the distant Orient; and the fresh, floral note evokes the benefits and plenitude of meditation.

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2 Tasting Notes

888 tasting notes

Out of the four teas from Mariage Frères gifted to me this was one of two chosen because the giver “thought the name was cool.” I am absolutely speechless before her rationale. What makes “Alexandra David-Néel” sound more appealing than teas with names like “Eros,” “Mandalay,” or “Pleine Lune”? I will never know. I’m happy to try a new tea and learn about an interesting historical figure, either way!

In summer the aroma reminded me of winter spices and mandarins but now that it is damp and wet the impression changes to dry desert and floral fruits. This tea does transport me places I’d rather be.

When I first opened my tin and caught a whiff of the aroma I thought “new chai! I need to add milk.” So, without even take a sip, I went straight for the milk and was dismayed at my spicy and fruity milk creation. This tea is actually tasty without the milk; the fruity, mellow, floral notes do not need it or do well with it anyways.

The flavours are complex. The first spices to hit me are the cloves and ginger. After I had my wisdom teeth removed I received a “clove” cleaner so it’s usually the first spice I detect. I will never forget you, cloves.

The ginger is a nice balance of sweetness and zing and leads me to noticing the next jumpy spice, cinnamon, which blends so well with the others I can barely single it out. The cardamom is spicy sweet and I think it may contribute to the last surprising bit of floral sweetness- reminiscent of something potentially citrusy and creamy. While this last note adds another dimension to the tea it tones the spice affect down a notch, and that’s ok.

Aftertaste is peppery and sweet. There’s a pleasant tang from the spices and a black leaf astringent streak but no bitterness that I can pick up! Floral endnote and cinnamon are more pronounced in second steep.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

I am glad you wrote these tasting notes, I got this on my shopping list for one day.

And Mariage Fréres´s chai is Chandernagor – also with cloves and something which convinced me that cloves can be sublime.


I’ve come to adore cloves. I’ve lately been craving a powerful, well rounded chai and your note on Chandernagor makes it sound like the perfect choice.

I need to look into picking up some more teas from Mariage Fréres. My four gifts have gotten me hooked!


I am on a chai kick and Chandernagor so far is the one for me – and if you love cloves you really have to try it.

Mariage Freres knows their tea. Sadly, sort of, because they also know how to price their stuff just on the limit of how much I would ever consider paying. But almost always it is worth it indeed!


I wanted to buy this tea but it is only available in tin or bags (agreement with the foundation Alexandra David-Néel —-sounds weird for the memory of an adventurer not allowing loose leaf to honor her name —not sure she would have appreciated…)
Next time I’ll visit MF tea room, I’ll taste a cup of this tea.

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