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Jul 05

Melange de Chamonix from Upton Tea

Melange de Chamonix

Melange de Chamonix

This tea is very much like a milder version of a traditional chai tea.  Upon opening the package, I recognized some traditional chai spices such as green cardamom pods and pieces of cinnamon, and I could smell the very strong scent of cinnamon.

The cardamom pods are plentiful throughout the blend, and provide a strong aromatic presence to the tea, and a warm, spicy-sweet flavor to the blend.  The cinnamon flavor is a bit less pronounced than the aroma hinted, but I felt it was fairly balanced with the cardamom.

Upton Tea Imports describes this tea as:

Fine India tea is blended with cocoa, cardamom, and a hint of cinnamon to produce a balanced and warming cup. A delicate treat for any chocolate or tea lover.

The cocoa, while it offers a very delicate presence to this tea,  is smooth and sweet, and counteracts nicely with the strength of the black tea, cinnamon, and cardamom.  However, I would not consider this to be a chocolate tea by any stretch of the imagination; the cocoa plays more of a supporting role to the sharper, key notes of the spices, and the bold, full-bodied tea.

Careful brewing of this tea is important, as I found out with my first attempt at brewing it.  After allowing it to steep just 3 1/2 minutes I found the tea to be a bit bitter.  I was much happier with the second attempt, steeping it for just 2 1/2 minutes:  the flavor was strong and robust, but without the bitterness.

The second infusion of the tea leaves offers haunting notes of a cinnamon-y hot cocoa.   The tea flavors mellow significantly, the cardamom is still strong, and the chocolate flavors are a bit stronger than the first infusion — perhaps a result of the softened tea flavor.

I quite enjoy this tea; it would be a great tea for the chai tea aficionado who wants something a bit more subdued than a typical chai, as well as for the tea devotee that is looking for a tea with a smooth yet spicy kick.

This tea benefits greatly from a touch of sweetener; it does not create a “sweet” beverage but does help bring out some of the more subdued chocolate flavor.   Milk or cream is also a very nice addition.

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1 Comment Join the Discussion

  1. Comment by July 6, 2009 @ 2:32 am
    BunRab said:

    This is one of my favorites! I like the subtlety of the chocolate, the way it sort of sneaks up on me.


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