Mariage Frères

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Recent Tasting Notes

99

Pardon me while I sit here and silently weep into my cup.

These are not tears of sadness, rather these are tears of happiness and relief tinged with bittersweet feelings since I know eventually this cup of tea will eventually come to an end. Aptly named, this tea is a work of art. The aroma is intoxicating.

Immediately I am drawn in by the subtle scent of Jasmine, lavender, and vanilla wafting towards me. The liquid is a beautiful pale gold color. I was almost disappointed by the first sip because it felt weak in comparison to the scents engulfing my nose, but then the flavors bloomed on my tongue and I was overjoyed and hooked. Fields of lavender, creamy waves of vanilla, pearls of jasmine, and a hint of citrus in the aftertaste…

It’s complex and delicate and aromatic and everything I could have wanted in a tea. Alas, parting is such sweet sorrow. Time to make another cup

Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Floral, Jasmine, Lavender, Marshmallow, Vanilla

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93

A fantastic tea.

The fragrance is mysterious and dark. Unmistakably Pu-Erh, but the bergamot envelops it in an enticing perfume, lending the aroma to be a very, very deep incense of mosswood and citrus. For fans of standard black Earl Greys, this is a must-try if one is looking for a deepening of one’s interest in the interplay between tea and bergamot.

The Pu-Erh fragrance is strong with the initial brewing, but the citrus undertones all but disappear in the water, initially making me fear that the bergamot had been lost (as is the case with many Earl Greys, which smell strongly of bergamot but have nearly no taste of it in the brew). The water turns into a deep, blackened red liquor, but remains perfectly clear.

One sip, however, allayed my fears. This is a true Earl Grey with no pretense. The bergamot does nothing but support the tea—never claiming credit for itself, and always using its scent to enhance its partner. And the Pu-Erh makes this Earl Grey the “wine” equivalent to a black-tea Earl Grey “grape juice”—oh, the complexity of flavor! A true partnership of smell and taste. A deep relationship between tea and scent.

Every sip gets better, less assertive, more artful. Every re-steep a different member of the same family.

Flavors: Anise, Bergamot, Dark Wood, Moss

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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88

A powerful fragrance fills the air the moment you open the tin, and it gets even more potent once the hot water comes into contact with the leaves. Makes for a very strong first brew—my second steep tasted significantly better once the fragrance learned to “behave” properly and reassess its relationship with the green tea base, which is quite good.

Do not do any more than three re-steeps (I did four at first, experimentally). The scent turns naughty after being re-steeped that many times and becomes reminiscent of fragrant Crayola markers drawing all over wet clay.

I would recommend that you “rinse” the leaves in brewing-temp water for maybe 5-10 seconds to tame the fragrance before brewing. It will mellow out your first cup and allow the scent to dance artfully on your palate instead of trampling all over it.

Overall a very, very good scented tea. Enjoyable—will definitely wow guests as the blend is truly out of this world in terms of uniqueness. Though without rinsing the leaves it might be, for some guests, like a trip down a department store fragrance section located smack dab in the middle of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

If Mariage Freres found a way to tame the fragrance during processing and blending, and bring out the green tea base as more than just a supporting actor in this production, I will consider breaching the 90 mark.

Supplementary first-impression review here:
https://jonguzman.com/blog/2017/1/10/th-vert-marco-polo-455

Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Green Wood, Pineapple, Raspberry

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 251 ML

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65

Having this to warm me up, though I know that it’s too late in the day for it. Brewed western style it is a very dry, astringent tea for a Chinese tea, and I doubt that it will hold up to gong fu brewing. This is a case where the tea’s smell, looks and packaging oversell it. Not a great buy, especially considering the premium price, so I’ll probably allocate it to “in dire need only” corner of my work tea cupboard.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 0 OZ / 2 ML

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93
drank Sakura 2000 by Mariage Frères
3 tasting notes

One of my favored teas. You really can tast the cherry blossoms.

Flavors: Cherry Blossom

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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95
drank Paris Breakfast by Mariage Frères
276 tasting notes

I bought this tea once I saw in the description of “brioche”.

I had it on Thanksgiving morning, and it was just a lovely start. Warm hints of caramel and cocoa nibs and custard in the background with the smell of a buttery bread bakery. I’n not kidding, I tasted this. I didn’t feel it needs sugar or milk. Not much astringency, used a nice tea base.

A way to have the feel of a French bakery in a cup, without the airfare or calories.

I only bought 2 oz, but I see this being a much needed tea rotated into the mix.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cacao, Caramel, Sweet

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60

I got this tea in a tea swapping with a tea friend I met in a tea trip!
As he said, it is not the kind of tea I usually drink, since I am not a big fan of blended/scented teas, but this blend has a good quality (better than most of the ones I have tried before).

Flavors: Cake, Fruit Punch, Sakura

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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70
drank Happy Tea by Mariage Frères
2 tasting notes

This is an interesting tea. However, it is too musty to begin with but if you add a small amount of honey (e.g. 1/4 tsb) it balances out quite well. If you add milk, you won’t taste much beyond the musty aroma and the milk. An ok tea when balanced out, but by itself not the greatest.

The company says that there is a marshmallow ‘accent’, but this is the musty aroma. When balanced out, it is pleasant with the soft floral notes,

Flavors: Citrusy, Floral, Musty, Rose

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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69
drank Paris Breakfast by Mariage Frères
3123 tasting notes

Well this was unexpected. I anticipated a more brisk tea, meant to wake you up and instead I got silk and sweet. My first thought was “I wonder if this was contaminated by the vanilla teas in the package because there is a whole lot more vanilla than I anticipated?”. Then I thought, “wow, this is creamy and smooth?”. Then I checked to see if this was just black tea or if it was a blend. Then I got the citrus notes which are slightly on the lines of pledge. So things started off good but the citrus is a little off. The fluffy lemon of L’Hiver or Lemon French Macaron is what would have suited this best but the citrus is more harsh and thus compromises an otherwise lovely tea.

Thank you Sil for the share! This made for a fun surprise this morning and definitely an unexpected tea.

Sil

yeah there’s something about this one that i don’t love like the other breakfast teas from MF that i’ve had

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69

Not my favourite from Mariage Freres. The Butterscotch flavour is artificial and is sickly sweet. Unlike other teas from this maker which have thick and rich mouthfeel, this is rather thin and watery even after adding full cream milk. Adding milk improves and flattens out the flavour but the artificial aroma and sickly sweet taste (which is almost metallic) remains. Would not recommend.

Flavors: Butterscotch, Caramel

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 6 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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75
drank Casablanca by Mariage Frères
1717 tasting notes

I’m not feeling great this dull Friday, so I wanted something clean and refreshing to drink to try and alleviate things a little. This one shouted to me from the bag by my desk. I’ve actually had it ages, I think, but I’ve never tried it before today. I like Moroccan mint, but the idea of bergamot had kind of put me off…

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. To taste, it’s milder overall than I expected, although that might be a result of both its age and my conservative brew time. If I’m honest, it could probably take a bit longer (or maybe a touch more leaf).

The mint is fresh and clean-tasting, anyway, and the bergamot (although mostly a background flavour) adds a nicely citrusy edge. The green tea base is smooth and unobtrusive, with no bitterness of astringency in sight. I feel like I could take this one a touch sweeter, but I’m not sure how sugar and bergamot would pair. Maybe something to try next time!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Fjellrev

I hope you’ll be feeling better tomorrow!

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78

Hello again, great tea tasters across the fruity (and malty) plains. It’s been way too long since my last review. I’ll try to make this one brief.

I have had Mariage teas before. Although I respect their complex blended flavors, I am not big on fruity, liquor-laden, flowery, and chemical-like tastes. I’m more of a purist when it comes to my favorite teas, especially black teas, which I depend on to jump-start my brain during the work week.

When I saw Mariage’s French Breakfast Tea in the local Dean & DeLuca store, I hoped that it would have robust flavors but in a more conventional black tea way. My hope was dashed. This tea seems to have a taste that is very similar to their Bourbon Rouge and Marco Polo (can’t get that swimming pool commercial out of my head) blends.

The flavors are robust but have a chemical-like tang to them. I don’t want to call this astringency, but it’s borderline so. Also, this attribute stays on my palate way too long. Like their other teas that I’ve tried, my tongue detects a hodge-podge of liquor, flowers, and fruit.

I don’t hate this tea but it is not one that I would prefer to pry my eyes open in the morning. For that purpose, I will cling to the tried-and-true English and Chinese breakfast and Earl Grey varieties.

Flavors: Alcohol, Biting, Bitter, Floral, Fruity

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML
Super Starling!

I’m not sure ANYONE can get those swimming pool commercials out of their heads. ;) The best part is the llama.

Are you in America or Canada or somewhere else? I’m an American, and I keep hearing great things about this company, but never spot it anywhere.

Stoo

Hi Super Starling! Thanks for your comment! I am in the United States in South Carolina. Where are you?

Super Starling!

I’m in Pennsylvania. Like, that middle part with the cows. I’ll have to see if I can find a Dean & DeLuca next time I’m in a place with a concentration of humans. :)

Stoo

We were just in the Scranton area visiting my wife’s family two weeks ago. My favorite place up there is the Dunmore Candy Kitchen.

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97

chocolatey malty tea. Good with some half & half with a bit of sugar.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 40 OZ / 1182 ML

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88

Sipping down another old sample of unknown origin. This is a very nice, very smooth chai. The spices are nicely balanced, both amongst themselves and with the (Assam?) base. I tend to go for super spicy chais, heavy on the ginger, and this is a little bit milder than that, but nonetheless it’s a blend I wouldn’t mind adding to my collection at some point.

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94

Sipdown.

Very fragrant malt, a tiny hint of cocoa and a wisp of smoke. This is by far the smoothest and most delicious European-style tea I have ever tasted.

I did not allow myself to buy more when I was in Paris because my stash is honestly ridiculous, but I regret that decision when staring down at the empty tin.

The strength of this black tea jolted me out of a depressive episode yesterday (though of course it came back later) and it is again helping to soothe my system on this beautiful Spring day (lol f*cking hate the spring – does anyone else get Spring depression here?)

Most definitely recommend this for any French tea lovers

MrQuackers

Nope, because it’s fall here soon. :)

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90

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90

This is one of my favorites from MF, though it doesn’t seem to get much attention. The ginger is just right (for this ginger lover, anyway), and the rose is lovely. It doesn’t have that excessively perfume-y quality some rose teas have; it reminds me more of fresh rose petals than anything else. The base is nice and smooth, too.

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87

And yet another backlog. I really liked this one—it was light but fruity, with a very smooth base. I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on some more of this someday.

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60

Another backlog. This one I really didn’t care for—it had that tobacco-y flavor rooibos sometimes gets, and that was most of what I tasted. Otherwise, it was very sweet, with maybe a little cinnamon and some nuttiness.

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83

Backlogging this very old sample. Nice baked apple flavor, and the rooibos isn’t too strong. I didn’t like it enough that I’d buy it, especially given the cost, but it was pleasant enough to try.

MrQuackers

If you still have some, youtube this song while drinking: Aikatsu Tarte Tartin :)

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50

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Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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45

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Flavors: Citrusy, Earl Grey

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp

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63

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Flavors: Fruity, Strawberry, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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