95
drank Wedding Impérial by Mariage Frères
300 tasting notes

I suppose the time has come for me to confess I’m not a big fan of the kind of ‘dessert tea’ that contains large chunks of chocolate and caramel and whatnot. I’d rather just have a hot chocolate, complete with rum and whipped cream and vanilla extract and all the decadent little trimmings. I do love flavoured teas, but it has to be subtle – aside from the occasional petal and delicate piece of fruit, I want the magic to be all in the leaves.

So holy hell am I excited about this tea. It smells SO good dry. So good. I could sniff this all day. And steeped? This is full-on malty caramel chocolate fudge decadence in a cup.

It doesn’t have the masterful complexity of Pleine Lune, but it’s definitely up there with the smoothest, lushest of the Mariage Frères blacks. In addition, this is a tea I look forward to experimenting with. I got no bitterness at 4 minutes, but definitely hints of coffee; that’s how much punch the main flavours pack. A shorter steeping time might very well result in a subtler, lighter brew.

Only on the rarest of occasions do I put milk in my tea, but this is definitely one I’d like to try it with – maybe even as an iced milk tea.

Very worthwhile re-steep.

(ETA: It just gets smoother as it cools. This is seriously tasty tea.)

[Surreptitiously acquired from Mariage Frères in London, August 2013.]

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

this is an incredible tea and from far my favourite caramel chocolate tea but I am unable to steep it 4 min, 2 min is the max for me. It has such a character…I’m out of stock with it and try to calm down for not buying it before I finish other caramel teas I have but like less…

Fjellrev

If I ever stumble upon a Mariage Frères, I’d be in big trouble.

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Ysaurella

this is an incredible tea and from far my favourite caramel chocolate tea but I am unable to steep it 4 min, 2 min is the max for me. It has such a character…I’m out of stock with it and try to calm down for not buying it before I finish other caramel teas I have but like less…

Fjellrev

If I ever stumble upon a Mariage Frères, I’d be in big trouble.

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Bio

I’m going to try all the teas.

Then I will choose a lucky few perfect specimens, and we will live happily together in my tea cupboard.

Forever.

  • * *

2014

This year, all bets are off. I am going to drink both peppermint and chamomile and possibly suffer a little. But it’s okay – it’s for science.

I’m doing Project Jasmine, Project Peach and Project Unflavoured Green.

In terms of flavoured teas, Lupicia and Mariage Frères have become my massive favourites, and I have learned that Dammann Frères/Fauchon/Hédiard and Butiki aren’t really for me.

The O Dor, Adagio and Comptoir des thés et des épices are all on this year’s I’d like to get to know you better list.

2013

Getting back into tea drinking last fall, I was all about rooibos. This past spring has been all green tea, all the time, with some white additions over the summer. Currently attempting a slow, autumnal graduation to black teas. Oolongs are always appropriate.

The constant for me, flavour wise, is the strong presence of fruity and floral notes. Vanilla is lush, as long as it’s not artificial. Peach, berries, mango. Cornflower, rose, lavender.

No peppermint.

No chamomile.

No cinnamon.

Ever.

  • * *

My ratings don’t reflect the ‘What does this tea do for me?’ standard, but rather my own ‘What would I do for this tea?’ scale.

100-90
My absolute favourites. Teas I would travel for – or, in any case, pay exuberant postage for, because they simply have to be in my cupboard. Generally multi-faceted teas with complex scents and flavours. Teas with personality. Tricky teas.

89-80
Teas I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again if and when I came across them. Tea purchases I would surreptitiously weave into a travel itinerary (Oh! A Lupicia store! Here?! My word!).

79-70
Teas I enjoyed, but don’t necessarily need to make any kind of effort to buy again.

69-0
Varying degrees of disinterest and contempt.

Location

Rome, Italy

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