Mariage FrèresEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I think the name of this tea is super cute and, on paper, the idea of lychee, orange blossom, and rose all together sounds really pleasant. However, steeped up I found this to be very busy tasting. The lychee sticks out a little bit, but mostly it’s a weird combined mix of fruits and florals that morphs into something very generic tasting? Not unpleasant, and the body from the black base really helps keep this grounds since there’s so many aromatics at play. I just feel like there could have been a little bit of editing with the mix of flavours here to create something more balanced. Sort of a mid tea overall.
I hate MF’s stupid gimmick of adding butterfly pea flower to oolong blends. The swampy green colour this tea steeps just makes it feel so much more cheap and tacky, and it’s a shame but I love the crisp, sweet notes of rhubarb with the floral undertones of the oolong. Marco Polo in general is such an iconic Mariage blend and this rhubarb flavour really does sing on the black tea base, but it almost like it more on the oolong. They just compliment really well.
That liquor colour though… So gross.
I love this tea! I agree with Sil that it’s everything I had hoped Marco Polo would be. The combination of strawberries and caramel is perfection. I get a little raspberries too which is nice. To me, it’s like drinking a delicious berry dessert right out of a French pastry shop. It’s layered and balanced, and just lovely. It tastes as good as it smells, which I love too. I keep coming back to this one over and over.
Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Raspberry, Strawberry
I think I liked this??
This is a new MF blend that appears to maybe be for Lunar New Year? It’s supposed to be plum blossom flavoured which I thought was very unique and fun. Steeped it certainly has both floral and stonefruit notes but I just don’t know that I either make me think of plums? It’s tasty though, and plums are also a notoriously hard flavour to capture in tea.
What it does taste like is sweet, bright and lively apricots or nectarines. Not so sweet or cooked down to be jams or compotes, but more of a puree/curd type of vibe where there’s still some natural acidity and tangy. The floral is a little orchid-like, and does seem to be more from the oolong itself. I love the combo though – it’s very fresh and cheerful in tone and I think that words with something that’s in theory linked to fresh starts and celebrations.
All of that said… it steeps a dreadful swamp green colour because of Mariage’s stupid gimmick of adding butterfly pea flower to all of their oolongs. I wish they’d stop. It’s not very pretty, and it feels drastically at odds with the actual taste of the tea.
I think I’d need to try this again to really form a proper opinion, but I definitely didn’t think it was bad. I personally love this more classic/mono-flavoured blending tea on black tea bases where it’s so tea forward with just a gentle flavour addition. My main sticking point here (which is why I think I need a retaste) is that while the tea had a fresh and tropical flavour I didn’t immediately clock it as specifically mango – and I think with this blending style you really do have to NAIL the namesake flavour for it to really work. Especially at Mariage’s price point.
Had a mug of this a few days ago and it was fine. Rooibos forward which is to be expected, and the vanilla notes had a slight fruity and almost alcohol lean but not in an offensive way. Better as it cools as that brings those elements more to the forefront of the sip. We’re talking authentic vanilla and not the more Westernized interpretation of the flavour where we really mean cream/custard. Kind of a boring vanilla rooibos, if we’re being honest. Nothing wrong with that, though! It makes it a very reliable/classic sorta tea.
This tea is supposed to be a vanilla / caramel / pastry blend. And it is! Or at least, it smells like it, but it doesn’t taste like it. Maybe my bar for Mariage Freres is too high (there have been blends from them that I didn’t like, after all) but I did expect more from this tea.
It’s totally drinkable and lovely when it’s warm and hot, but it doesn’t seem to hold the flavour very well, unlike many of their other teas. And once it’s cold, it just tends to taste like water, which is pretty disappointing. I still recommend it and if it were the only thing on the menu I wouldn’t complain, but I wouldn’t purchase it again.
Lots of feelings for a tea that is somewhat middle-of-the-road, lol.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Pastries, Vanilla
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 20
Lovely white tea with floral and stonefruit notes (cherry, plum). It also as a dash of maple, which rounds it out nicely. The hibiscus contributes nicely to this tart-sweet profile while creating a pleasing blush to the tea. Not a bad Rhapsody at all! Very spring-like.
Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Floral, Fruit Tree Flowers, Fruity, Hay, Hibiscus, Maple, Plum, Stonefruit, Sweet, Tangy, Tart
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 21
This is a beautiful goji berry flavoured green tea. It’s fruity, buttery, and nutty. I also pick up sunflower notes, which is always a warm, cheerful thing to taste at winter. Overall, it reminds me a little of another of Mariage Frères tropical fruit green blends, Locombia Colombia because of the sunflower-ness); I liked that tea quite a bit.
I see MF has a zodiac series – all of which heavily feature goji berries. Interesting choice! I also like the advent’s reference to the upcoming new year here.
Steep Count: 2
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Fruity, Goji, Grassy, Nutty, Pollen, Red Fruits, Silky, Smooth, Summer, Sunflower Seed
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 18
Just like Habibi Rhapsody was the first in its respective collection to truly appeal to me, this blend also is the first to make me feel love in the “In Love” collection (Marais was also pretty good). Vanilla, Chocolate, Roses, Red Fruits – all on a black tea base… Collectively, it tastes like a rich, creamy, chocolate raspberry filled truffle. I polished off the pot way too quickly!
Flavors: Berries, Creamy, Floral, Milk Chocolate, Raspberry, Red Fruits, Rose, Sweet
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 17
This might be the first of the Rhapsody teas that I actually enjoy. The signature hibiscus is toned down compared to others in the collection – allowing the gorgeous pairing of rose and lychee to shine through (always a winning couple in my book). A garnish of orange blossoms help emphasize the sweet floral notes of the blend and subtle base. Good choices were made here.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Hibiscus, Lychee, Orange Blossom, Red Fruits, Rose, Sweet
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 19
No, way. A Dragonwell?! I almost entirely forgive you for all past advent wrongs, Mariage Frères.
Truly, there’s not much I enjoy more than a Dragonwell tea. It’s what made me fall in love with green teas in the first place (I didn’t know green teas could be that good). I haven’t had one in my stash for way too long now and drinking this feels like a big, long overdue hug.
This offering is more floral (almost pollen) than I’m used to. It’s also characteristically nutty, silky, and pleasantly vegetable-sweet. It’s a stunning tea.
Flavors: Floral, Nutty, Pollen, Silky, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetables
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 16
Today is a good day for the advents. This is a fancy take on a breakfast blend – with notes of caramel, red berry, and floral blush. Still, it delivers on the boldness that one expects in a breakfast tea though. What a comforting tea.
These are the kind of teas I’d like to see Mariage Frères feature in their advents: casual & classic staples. I wish this company did a more traditional advent to contrast this one that typically focuses on pushing new lines (last year’s offerings were pleasant and well varies, especially because it didn’t get bogged down with the “In Love” series).
Flavors: Bright, Brisk, Caramel, Floral, Malt, Raisins, Red Fruits, Round, Tannic, Vanilla, Woody
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 13
At first, I was worried that I wouldn’t get the chance to enjoy this in the Optimal Earl Grey Way. To my horror, I learned that the only milk in the fridge had gone, while not quite off per se, “unsettled.” Unsettled milk has no part in the Optimal Earl Grey Way. It’s an anathema to the whole process, actually. This unfortunate event has served as a cautionary tea tale – to always take stock of the milk’s condition before steeping up the Earl Grey.
Luckily for me, this is not my usual Earl Grey blend. No, this one is “fancy.” With Airs. Mariage Frères even describes it as “airy.” This tea thinks it’s too good for milk. What a world.
That bergamot is the good stuff though.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrusy, Floral, Light, Malt, Smooth
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 12
Against my better judgment, I found myself taken in by the this cinnamon and rose flavoured oolong. Nothing seemed to overpower anything else. The cinnamon is like a soft blush to the melted floral and fruity notes. Its profile – like many of the “In Love” series – trend towards less of a concrete idea, and more of an ambiguous vibe that blurs together. Kind of Impressionist in a way. Or like shoegaze music? I don’t know, but I mostly enjoyed this one.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Mineral, Rose, Smooth, Vegetal
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 11
Now this is the good stuff. More drop-dead gorgeous floral teas like this in the advent please, Mariage Frères. The orchid note is so rich and lush. I’m a fan.
Steep Count: 4
Flavors: Floral, Fruit Tree Flowers, Honeysuckle, Malt, Nectar, Orchid, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 8
It’s not every day you see a green oolong paired with chocolate, almond, fig, and plum flavours. I don’t know quite what to think of it but it’s definitely unique! The combined flavours are somehow both woodsy (like incense and spice) and silky (almond butter, chocolate ganache, and spicy fruit compote). That multifaceted richness is probably fitting given the tea’s namesake.
Subtle fig and plum pops for me in the finish. How often do you see a fig flavored tea? Neat. All the flavours are kind of… a lot. The collective muddiness makes my mind scream “anise” for some reason — even though I don’t believe that ingredient is present. Also, blue pea flower colour is maybe not the right aesthetic choice for this profile lol.
Fascinating though. Going to resteep it a few times to see where it goes.
Steep Count: 3 – actually, this latest steep the next day is pretty tasty and better balanced (the blue colour is a distant memory). I do like this now.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Butter, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Fig, Floral, Fruity, Incense, Nutty, Orange Blossom, Plum, Sandalwood, Smooth, Spicy, Vegetal, Woody
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 6
Finally, a blatantly holiday themed tea from this advent ( Dammann Frères did the same on Day 6, because apparently these advents are doppelgangers this year). That’s fun!
I recall trying the oolong and black tea versions of this tea last year and, unfortunately, I don’t like the festive spice thing as much on this green tea base (in general, not a fan of spicy green tea, regardless of quality). I think old 52teas had a Smaug themed cinnamon pepper green tea – and this is kind of like that? A nostalgic, cinnamon heart tea with fruity and vegetal hues.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Fruity, Pepper, Spicy, Vegetal
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 5
Mariage Frères does a good chai, some of my favourites that I’ve tasted. This blend is no exception and is a welcome surprise in this advent. Of course, it fits the (ambiguous) floral-fruity advent trend too – always an interesting dimension in chai.
The description says this blend would be good hot or cold, with or without milk. I felt unadventurous though, and took it hot with milk. It’s a lovely, velvety chai that I had to quickly finish off on the way out the door (boo). It’s tasty, but I still think I prefer the Chandernagor blend from this company (bought a tin of that with this advent order, actually).
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Spicy
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 3
Day three gave me two white teas… In theory, I should love this because lavender, rose, and “red berries” are all things I enjoy. In practice, it’s too much hibiscus on a white tea base that doesn’t handle it well. I wish I’d picked up that there was hibi, because I would’ve iced this one instead.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Red Fruits, Rose, Tart
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar – Day 2
Backlog: The description says green tea with jasmine and rose. So, not for the anti-floral crowd. The tea base is mild and neither flowers seem to overpower the other. The rose is more distinctive than it was in day 1’s tea and reminds me that I actually like what MF does with rose. Enjoyable.
I wonder if there will be a lot of rose featured in MFs calendar this year (hindsight on Day 7: there was and is a lot rose so far).
Steep Count: 3
Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Rose, Smooth