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83
drank Thé au Tibet by Mariage Frères
59 tasting notes

I received a sample of this tea from Cteresa – thanks again ;-) – and liked it so much that I recently bought Histoire Tibetaine from THE O DOR as it resembles this tea ingredient wise.

These teas are similar in some respects but certainly not the same.

Starting with the basis: both teas contain vanilla, bergamot and jasmine. The HT adds marigold and uses a base of black and green tea. The TT adds mandarin orange and rose and uses a base of black tea.

Although the vanilla and jasmine are very recognizable in both teas, they vere into entirely different directions taste wise.

In the HT the vanilla is really in the forefront, both scent and tastewise. De jasmine prevents the brew becoming too sweet. The bergamot and marigold aren’t really recognizable, at least not to me (actually I don’t even know what marigold smells and tastes like). The tea is warm, sweet and comforting in character. The floral notes remain in the background.

In the TT on the other hand the floral notes – and especially the rose – are at the forefront. Together with the black tea base this makes for an edgier tea with a slight smokey feeling. The vanilla is cetainly present but seems to be in a supporting role rather than a leading one. As the tea cools the vanilla becomes more noticeable btw.

It’s really great to see how two teas with for a great part the same ingredients can be so different in character. They actually aren’t comparable at all :-)

I like both teas. For the TT that’s something, as I actually don’t like rose in my tea and usually try to avoid rose scented teas. The HT is more of a ‘happy feeling’ tea as the TT is more elegant and sophisticated. Being a sweet tooth I’d probably choose the HT over the TT most times, but I can imagine that being different for others.

Prep details: HT 80 C/ 4:30 min & TT 95 C/ 4:30 min

Rating is for TT only. This review has been posted under HT too and give it’s rating there

cteresa

loved to read your opinion, thank you! It sounds like two great teas, each their own thing.

a quibble, I think Thé au Tibet is also a mix of green and black or it has some green on it, maybe not too much, but I think it is there (the same way mariage freres casablanca which everybody classes as green tea has some black tea in the mix as well!). It is indeed very refined, like their description but a totally charming nice refined!

And funnily enough Palais des Thés famous Thé des Moines also uses the tibetan “secret” recipe thing, and is also a bergamot with fruity-flowers thing.

And calendula, I am not sure they give any flavour at all – nor cornflowers or mallow flowers, I think they are just there to be pretty.

Barbara

Yes, I saw that some of the reviews mentioned that, but the website of Marriage Freres only states black chinese tea… so I stuck to that. Do you have the tin or an original package with an ingredientlist? You could check that then… Either way, it’s a very good tea :-)

Do you mean marigold is the same as calendula? That I do know, albeit only from soap :-) And you’re right it doesn’t really smell that much.

I love cornflowers in tea, they look so pretty.

cteresa

a whole lot of plants get called marigold, real old-style marigolgs are calendula officinalis and that is what should be included – it is one of those plants which are eaten safely. But tagetes, which are a newer to Europe family of plants (new as in a few centuries, not a few decades) and I think they are not used to much in salads. So theoretically marigolds in tea should be calendula officinalis.

Cornflowers are pretty but I get the feeling cornflowers or sunflowers or marigolds are annoyingly just fillers, you are paying tea prices for you know fillers – if a lot it weakens tea if you do not had more tea to balance the space used by the fillers.

about the green tea, oh I think I have the box but the boxes are totally unhelpful, they say in Portuguese or french, tea and flavourings _(really!) and expiration date. Exact flavourings is always a guess, though the french mariage site is more helpful than the english one. But I think just from looking at the tin you can tell that Thé au Tibet includes some green tea and Casablanca includes some black tea, it´s just there. it´s not too obvious from a sample but looks more obvious in the tin, or even this photo is interesting

http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique/FR/ft+the-au-tibet-boite-classique-100g+TC925.html

it might not be really green tea, they might use something in between, but just from looking at it, no it´s not like any “pure” black tea I ever seen! (and admittedly they do admit casablanca has black tea http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique/FR/ft+casablanca-boite-classique-100g+TC908.html)

Barbara

I see your point. However the green in the Cassablanca could be teh mint or not? (I’m not very good at recognizing plants and such :-)). And there are black teas that have golden tips, or even greenish bits:
http://www.tea-adventure.com/en/black-tea/yunnan-black
http://www.tea-adventure.com/en/black-tea/golden-eyebrow
so I’m not sure… But I agree the picture on Marriage Freres makes one suspect…

cteresa

Nah, I think in Casablanca you can see the black tea (which is the bergamot carrier I think) and the black tea, unmistable, the mint is sadly much less visible and crumblier – Casablanca is one messy tea! As the blend ages, the mint gets crumblier and crumblier, only my beloved magic tea filter can handle that.

and yes indeed some black teas can look very light, darjeelings often! Oxidation is not a discrete variable, sort of a continuum, what i meant is the tea used in Thé au Tibet, even if “black” and not a blend is not at the edges of the black-green spectrum!

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cteresa

loved to read your opinion, thank you! It sounds like two great teas, each their own thing.

a quibble, I think Thé au Tibet is also a mix of green and black or it has some green on it, maybe not too much, but I think it is there (the same way mariage freres casablanca which everybody classes as green tea has some black tea in the mix as well!). It is indeed very refined, like their description but a totally charming nice refined!

And funnily enough Palais des Thés famous Thé des Moines also uses the tibetan “secret” recipe thing, and is also a bergamot with fruity-flowers thing.

And calendula, I am not sure they give any flavour at all – nor cornflowers or mallow flowers, I think they are just there to be pretty.

Barbara

Yes, I saw that some of the reviews mentioned that, but the website of Marriage Freres only states black chinese tea… so I stuck to that. Do you have the tin or an original package with an ingredientlist? You could check that then… Either way, it’s a very good tea :-)

Do you mean marigold is the same as calendula? That I do know, albeit only from soap :-) And you’re right it doesn’t really smell that much.

I love cornflowers in tea, they look so pretty.

cteresa

a whole lot of plants get called marigold, real old-style marigolgs are calendula officinalis and that is what should be included – it is one of those plants which are eaten safely. But tagetes, which are a newer to Europe family of plants (new as in a few centuries, not a few decades) and I think they are not used to much in salads. So theoretically marigolds in tea should be calendula officinalis.

Cornflowers are pretty but I get the feeling cornflowers or sunflowers or marigolds are annoyingly just fillers, you are paying tea prices for you know fillers – if a lot it weakens tea if you do not had more tea to balance the space used by the fillers.

about the green tea, oh I think I have the box but the boxes are totally unhelpful, they say in Portuguese or french, tea and flavourings _(really!) and expiration date. Exact flavourings is always a guess, though the french mariage site is more helpful than the english one. But I think just from looking at the tin you can tell that Thé au Tibet includes some green tea and Casablanca includes some black tea, it´s just there. it´s not too obvious from a sample but looks more obvious in the tin, or even this photo is interesting

http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique/FR/ft+the-au-tibet-boite-classique-100g+TC925.html

it might not be really green tea, they might use something in between, but just from looking at it, no it´s not like any “pure” black tea I ever seen! (and admittedly they do admit casablanca has black tea http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique/FR/ft+casablanca-boite-classique-100g+TC908.html)

Barbara

I see your point. However the green in the Cassablanca could be teh mint or not? (I’m not very good at recognizing plants and such :-)). And there are black teas that have golden tips, or even greenish bits:
http://www.tea-adventure.com/en/black-tea/yunnan-black
http://www.tea-adventure.com/en/black-tea/golden-eyebrow
so I’m not sure… But I agree the picture on Marriage Freres makes one suspect…

cteresa

Nah, I think in Casablanca you can see the black tea (which is the bergamot carrier I think) and the black tea, unmistable, the mint is sadly much less visible and crumblier – Casablanca is one messy tea! As the blend ages, the mint gets crumblier and crumblier, only my beloved magic tea filter can handle that.

and yes indeed some black teas can look very light, darjeelings often! Oxidation is not a discrete variable, sort of a continuum, what i meant is the tea used in Thé au Tibet, even if “black” and not a blend is not at the edges of the black-green spectrum!

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Bio

What to say about myself and my tea drinking habits? I’ve been staring at the screen, reading other’s bio’s and still can’t come up with something worthwile. I’ll just stick to the basics.

I generally prefer white, green and oolong teas to black teas. As I read a scientific report that stated that black teas lower the level of stress hormones in the blood, I try to add a few cups of black tea every day.

Overall I prefer black teas to be flavoured. The white, green and oolongs may be flavoured or straight.

I brew my teas per cup, mostly in my – much loved – Kati mug with Cha Cult strainer. I’m rather a stickler for brewing time and temperature, so I use a tea timer and watercooker with temperature indication.

I also love a good cup of coffee and especially cappuchino. As far as I’m concerned, a good cappuchino requires a real milk/foam topping, not something made with skimmed milk, powder or the like. Unfortunately a lot of cafes still haven’t caught on to that one and serve low quality coffee and tea (type vending machine and bagged fannings). I hate it when, on a cold winter day, the choice is restricted to bad coffee, bagged fannings or a cold softdrink… :-(

As for rating teas, I more or less make the following distinction:

100:
Nothing is perfect. Probably won’t be using it ever.

98 – 99:
Nearly too good to be true.

90 – 97:
Exceptional.

80 – 89:
Excellent.

70 – 79:
Good. May rebuy depending on price and availability.

60 – 69:
Ok I’ll finish the cup and maybe even have a second, but probably won’t finish the entire package as I have other – (far) better teas in my cupboard.

< 60:
I feel cheated. I won’t ever be buying this again.

< 50:
This really is no good.

< 30:
I hate this. I want my money back.

1:
Beyond horrible!

PS: Recalibrated my ratings according to this index on 23 feb 2013.

Location

The Netherlands

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