This was my first experience trying tea from Mariage Frères. I’ve been looking for a good flavoured black tea that is both comforting and uplifting at the same time. I was drinking a lot of oolong tea and straight blacks, but other than that I had basically converted to coffee because I thought that no tea could ever match the boldness of a good cup of coffee. Then Marco Polo sailed into my life and I was blown away. This tea really changed everything I thought I knew about tea. It’s fruity, flowery, creamy, and soft all at once with no bitterness and a pleasant aftertaste.
I start with about 80 mL of half & half cream and two flat teaspoons of sugar, then enough brewed tea to fill my 16 oz travel mug. Cream and sugar complements Marco Polo exquisitely. It tastes like a fruity dessert, like a strawberry spongecake, except in liquid form. It’s velvety over the tongue and extremely smooth. There’s a bit of a floral afterbite the lingers for a moment in between sips. The feeling that I get from drinking this tea is out of this world. I thought no tea could be bold enough to match coffee, but I went through 100 g of Marco Polo in just under two weeks and didn’t even touch my stovetop espresso maker once. I recently ordered more from Mariage Frères and was absolutely amazed that it traveled from Paris to my doorstep in a mere three days! Now I am back in strawberry velvet heaven and never want to leave (pardon the pun).
I can see why this blend has made Mariage Frères famous, or more specifically, their current president Kitti Cha Sangmanee. Certainly, if I came up with something this good, I’d want recognition too. This tea is incredibly versatile. I’ve had it first thing in the morning, I’ve had it between meals, I’ve had it after dinner. In fact I just had it after a bowl of lobster bisque and it went perfectly well. My head felt kind of sludgy this morning, but now I feel sharp as a tack after drinking this tea. You could say that this review for Marco Polo tea is sponsored in part by the tea itself.
This tea is art. Sometimes when I drink it, I can peer into myself and feel something strange. It conjures up thoughts of existentialism and self-reflexive meditation, sometimes only for a few seconds at a time. Then I snap out of it and smile, slightly, because for no explainable reason I instantly feel better about the world. Wow.