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I just received this tea in the mail. It’s the 2014 picking. I brewed it after lunch according to the American Tea Room’s instructions, which is twice as long as I would steep the 2012 Canton Tea Co. version of this tea. I’m not enjoying this anywhere near as well as I enjoyed the Canton version. It’s so much more vegetal, which maybe is partially because it is so fresh. But it doesn’t have the same sweet vanilla, floral, and apricot that made me love Canton’s offering. My other favorite tea from the Darjeeling region was also from 2012. I wonder if that is just coincidence or if that year had an unusually good harvest. I’ll try this again with a shorter steep and a cleaner palate and see how I feel about this then.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML
Excelsior

Sone would say 2011 was much better than 2012 for Darjeelings. Yet in my opinion one tea stood out from all the rest. The 2012 FF Narming DJ1. 2013 Darjeelings were affected by the lack of rain and were disappointing in terms of taste and flavor. So I’ve been placing orders for the 2012 Vintage Castleton. Keeping my fingers crossed for the new 2014 FF Darjeelings.

CharlotteZero

I had a feeling that you might have some knowledge about what the overall differences between the different years were. Where do you get your information? Tea friends? Is there a good source online that I might be able to turn to to get information about different “vintages”? I don’t mean to be a bother…Just curious. Maybe there is a discussion on here than would answer my question, but I can almost never find what I am looking for using the search feature…

Excelsior

I’ve been friends with the Store Manager of Mariage Freres Ginza for over 15 years and much of what I know about Darjeelings comes from the countless discussions I had with him

Every Spring, since 2010, I have been purchasing almost the full line up of new Darjeeling releases. FF Castleton and FF Maragaret’s Hope are sure bets, but sometimes there are teas that shine each particular year. 2010 FF Moondakotee and 2010, 2011, 2012 FF Jungpana.

In 2012, the FF Namring was exceptional and is/was one of my favorite teas of all time. The only problem was/is, the tea was extremely temperamental and it took over 5 steepings to get the parameters just right. 2012 FF Ambootia was more similar to a green tea rather than the other Darjeelings. 2012, FF Castleton steeping time was a scant 2 minutes to obtain the best flavor.

2013. I could not find any redeeming Mariaige Freres Darjeelings for FF2013. I went back and forth with Mariage Freres customer service and finally gave up on the 2013 teas and started ordering their 2012 Vintage Darjeelings. They don’t advertise it, you won’t find any posting about it on their website, but each year, they select the best of the best Caslteton FF, label it as a vintage tea and keep it for up to 2 years. I had to order the tea by email as it was not available online. Since it was harveseted almost two years ago, the tea has lost much of it’s green fresh flavor and has matured in taste. Yet it still is a great Darjeeling.

Is there a good source for information on the internet? Not really but the customer service at Mariage Freres is always prompt in answering any inquiries. If an inquiry hits a nerve,then they will get someone important to reply to the inquiry.

Are there any discussions here on Steepster about this subject? Probably not if you are looking for information pertaining to Mariage Freres. There may be others but other than you, Charlotte Zero, I have not found many that have actually purchased and tasted the top tier Mariage Freres Darjeelings.

I am not a fan of flavored teas, but there are times that I would want to buy a tea just to obtain the beautiful tins, cannisters, that the tea comes in.

There are other teas I like besides FF Darjeelings. The2013 winter Da Yu Ling from TTC was excellent. I’ll often drink a cold brewed glass of Green Rooibos if it’s late at night,

I hope I have not bored you with this loooong reply.

Happy Steeping!

CharlotteZero

Thank you so much for the loooong reply. I really hope you’ll write reviews for the 2014 teas, too. :-)

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Excelsior

Sone would say 2011 was much better than 2012 for Darjeelings. Yet in my opinion one tea stood out from all the rest. The 2012 FF Narming DJ1. 2013 Darjeelings were affected by the lack of rain and were disappointing in terms of taste and flavor. So I’ve been placing orders for the 2012 Vintage Castleton. Keeping my fingers crossed for the new 2014 FF Darjeelings.

CharlotteZero

I had a feeling that you might have some knowledge about what the overall differences between the different years were. Where do you get your information? Tea friends? Is there a good source online that I might be able to turn to to get information about different “vintages”? I don’t mean to be a bother…Just curious. Maybe there is a discussion on here than would answer my question, but I can almost never find what I am looking for using the search feature…

Excelsior

I’ve been friends with the Store Manager of Mariage Freres Ginza for over 15 years and much of what I know about Darjeelings comes from the countless discussions I had with him

Every Spring, since 2010, I have been purchasing almost the full line up of new Darjeeling releases. FF Castleton and FF Maragaret’s Hope are sure bets, but sometimes there are teas that shine each particular year. 2010 FF Moondakotee and 2010, 2011, 2012 FF Jungpana.

In 2012, the FF Namring was exceptional and is/was one of my favorite teas of all time. The only problem was/is, the tea was extremely temperamental and it took over 5 steepings to get the parameters just right. 2012 FF Ambootia was more similar to a green tea rather than the other Darjeelings. 2012, FF Castleton steeping time was a scant 2 minutes to obtain the best flavor.

2013. I could not find any redeeming Mariaige Freres Darjeelings for FF2013. I went back and forth with Mariage Freres customer service and finally gave up on the 2013 teas and started ordering their 2012 Vintage Darjeelings. They don’t advertise it, you won’t find any posting about it on their website, but each year, they select the best of the best Caslteton FF, label it as a vintage tea and keep it for up to 2 years. I had to order the tea by email as it was not available online. Since it was harveseted almost two years ago, the tea has lost much of it’s green fresh flavor and has matured in taste. Yet it still is a great Darjeeling.

Is there a good source for information on the internet? Not really but the customer service at Mariage Freres is always prompt in answering any inquiries. If an inquiry hits a nerve,then they will get someone important to reply to the inquiry.

Are there any discussions here on Steepster about this subject? Probably not if you are looking for information pertaining to Mariage Freres. There may be others but other than you, Charlotte Zero, I have not found many that have actually purchased and tasted the top tier Mariage Freres Darjeelings.

I am not a fan of flavored teas, but there are times that I would want to buy a tea just to obtain the beautiful tins, cannisters, that the tea comes in.

There are other teas I like besides FF Darjeelings. The2013 winter Da Yu Ling from TTC was excellent. I’ll often drink a cold brewed glass of Green Rooibos if it’s late at night,

I hope I have not bored you with this loooong reply.

Happy Steeping!

CharlotteZero

Thank you so much for the loooong reply. I really hope you’ll write reviews for the 2014 teas, too. :-)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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Tea means so many things to me, it is so deep and it is revealing new meaning to me all the time.

Tea is a mindfulness practice, and a doorway through which to explore different philosophies, cultures, and historical times. Tea is hospitality and a way of communion. Tea is an art, a ritual, and a tradition. Tea is a complement to the foods I eat (preferably vegan desserts) and is something I enjoy collecting and curating.

I love to swap, or even just send people samples, so if there’s anything in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message!

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