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Recent Tasting Notes
Almost logged this as Marco Polo; oops!
I still think this one tastes very, very similar to a traditional Monk’s Blend, though I didn’t find this cup nearly as soft and vanilla flavoured as the last one. In fact, it had a sharper, bitter edge to it that cut into the lush, grenadine and other fruit flavours. Again, no presence of spice in this blend for me – even with me consciously trying to pick it out this time around.
Still good though! But for a blend that just reminds me of Monk’s blend I’d probably be better off, well, just buying Monk’s blend. It’d be easier to get a hold of and probably less costly…
Also; this was my 2400th tasting note! That’s not a hugely significant number, but it is a lot and it does mean I’m gonna have to stop and try to find an appropriate tea to celebrate 2500 with since that’s my next really big landmark number, and it’ll be fast approaching now.
Just finished making the tea infused simple syrup, we’re waiting for it to cool down now before we float it in the club soda. Figured I’d get in one of the longer reviews from my queue that I’ve sort of been putting off doing…
This sample comes from VariaTEA!
I tried this one blindly, by which I mean I didn’t look up any of the ingredients or the tea description prior to trying it. For me, doing this is like a challenge to see how on point my palate is – I like to compile my thoughts and then go back and see how many of the nuances I picked up, and how accurately I was able to identify the ingredients/flavourings in the blend.
Dry; I can tell this is a fruit blend of some sort – but based on dry smell alone I can’t really narrow down what ‘type’ of fruit; berry, tropical, stonefruit, etc. I am pretty confidant it’s not going to be a citrus blend, though. I didn’t get any of the usual citrus tip offs like sour or tart tones.
Taste wise, this was more flavourful than I was anticipating. All my other Mariage Freres experiences have been mildly disappointing, and I’ve found the teas to be very subtly flavoured. As such, I expected this to have the same really subtle flavour. It was distinct, though. There was a really sweet jammy quality, but not something simple like strawberry or raspberry. This reminded me strongly of grenadine which to me has a distinctly rich pomegranate or cranberry like quality; but sugary sweet. This strong jammy/grenadine cross reminds me of a fancy Monk’s blend. For those who don’t know, I love Monk’s Blend a lot.
Yeah, there’s not really much about this blend that’s really complicated or fancy, but it’s really enjoyable and smooth with such a great, sweet flavour! And it’s so smooth; no astringency or bitterness at all! I’m impressed by this one more than probably any other Mariage Freres tea I’ve had and I greatly enjoyed my cup. Gonna go back now and see how accurate my interpretation was…
…Red Fruit. Spices. Vanilla.
Well, I can see how the combination of red fruit and vanilla definitely read as similar to Monk’s blend to me given a traditional Monk’s blend is grenadine and vanilla. I really didn’t taste any indication of spice though; whatever they’re adding into the blend must be very subtle. Next time I have this I’ll keep more of an eye out for the spice in the blend.
EDIT: My family is such a horrible distraction! I’ve already finished my tea soda – they were too impatient to wait for me to finish writing to try it out. And then my sister got in from school, and we had to open Christmas presents. I got two new tisanes; a Saskatoon Berry one that I’ll be sure to include in some swaps and a Prairie Berry one that smells really strongly like Chokecherries to me. Probably gonna make that one into tea soda since we blew through the Key Lime soda.
It took three times as long as usual to finish this note though…
Flavors: Cranberry, Grenadine, Jam
A huge thank you to VariaTEA for giving me a sample of this tea! I’ve been super curious, but haven’t had the chance to really get my hands on any of this previously.
The dry tea smells very chocolatey, and cacao nibs are clearly visible – I don’t always like the inclusion of cacao nibs for whatever reason, and the smell of the blend came off to me as a bit fakey, so I was prepared not to overly care for it. Sadly, I was a bit wrong. It’s way better steeped. Like liquid dark, fruity chocolate. Maybe a touch artificial, but it’s so rich and creamy. And dark. I do quite like it. Not enough to pay the extravagant prices that it costs, though, but it will remain in my head as a great chocolate tea to recommend. The only thing that would maybe make it better would be some cacao shell and perhaps a bit of base tea roastiness. (But then I’m probably turning it into LBCG… which is my all-time chocolate favourite).
(Oh, also I steeped this for 4 minutes by accident. It was fine. So the black base here is clearly pretty forgiving.)
This is the first time I’m trying a tea from Mariage Frères. The muslin sachet is very unique and charming!
This one has a strong rooibos aroma with a touch of vanilla. Initially it brews to a lovely orange color, and after the recommended 6 minutes of steeping, becomes an intimidatingly deep red. The brewed aroma is enchanting—rich and herbal, and softened by the vanilla. The flavor profile of this one is decidedly complex, at turns woodsy and rich, almost spiced-sweet. It has an effervescent, liquor-like undertone that is complemented by the vanilla, and a lingering sweetness like preserved plums. My experience with red rooibos is limited, but this one convinces me that a good rooibos has a complex profile that can be as enjoyable as a black tea, and is more than just a caffeine-free backdrop for other flavors. Thanks to beelicious for this sample as well!
Going to have to agree with variaTEA on this one…it’s a fairly “boring” tea. Sadly this falls into the same range as a lot of other MF “red fruit” teas for me. Which makes me sad because i was contemplating picking this one up myself, but didn’t because i am TRYING to keep my spending down. This was a surprise samples from VariaTEA, once i’m super happy to try. It’s just that, in the usual red fruit fashion, of MF…this is too, subdued? delicate? beyond me? It’s a very smooth tea, and the base is lovely…but i just don’t get excited about “red fruit” anymore. heh. They all seem to be not wanting to make up their mind or something. A lovely cup, but that’s all i really need. thanks so much variatea!!
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Red Fruits
A lovely sample from Dinosara! Thank you.
Sadly I did something bad and the tea has turned out really bitter and quite astringent. My first thought was to add milk, but all I have is eggnog…
Anyways, it’s worked! I didn’t toss the leaves right away so I’ll try a second steep. It is indeed very caramelly, and the rose is present but not in your face. And the rose petals look so lovely floating at the top when you steep the tea. :)
Here’s hoping Take 2 works a bit better.
(3.5-ish tsp in about 24 oz.)
The tin and box refer to this as blue tea. I had never to my remembrance heard of a oolong tea being referred to as “blue.”
This smells heavenly. It reminds me a lot of Teavivre’s Taiwan Ginseng Oolong in the scent. I googled blue tea and lots of the listings were for oolong tea rolled in licorice root and ginseng powder, but these leaves do not appear to have been rolled in anything. It is sometimes referred to as a Formosa style oolong.
There are large and medium sized leaves and a good number of cherry blossom petals. We are steeping over and over. The flavors are sticking around for a few steeps, but mild after the first. The oolong is neither super green or heavily roasted. Perhaps “Blue” refers to the level of oxidation and type of heat this tea has had?
This tin is going to be gone in no time and I am going to miss it when it is gone. I am rather taken with this tea right now.
The tin is tall and thin and has a really nice double lid. It will definitely be saved and recycled for storing another tea.
I’ve had this tea a number of times now but only just realised it now that I’d never posted about it. Lucky this is what we had today, then, because an actual tasting note wasn’t really what I thought I’d be writing here today… I wish I’d paid more attention to the tea, then.
Anyway, as mentioned I’ve had it a number of times, so I think I can muddle through. Basically we’ve got a citrus-flavoured breakfast blend. The base blend itself is strong and.. breakfast-blend-y. I can’t tell what all has gone into it, but I suspect it’s largely of Indian/Sri Lankan origin. The citrus-flavouring is not super tart, it’s more of a bitter-y flavour and a bit perfumed. I think we’re dealing with bergamot here and possibly some grapefruit. It’s not very strongly flavoured, so rather than tasting like a flavoured tea, it’s more like a standard breakfast blend with a twist.
I rather like it. I like that the emphasis is on the base blend, which makes it a familiar sort of thing to drink if one enjoys breakfast blends, but with a bit of freshness on the side.
Anyway, what I actually came to say was, merry Christmas, Steepsterites, as in this country we celebrate on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day.
One of these days I shall get around to summing up the AC Perch’s christmas calendar which continued to disappoint straight through to the 24th… Not buying that one again next year!
So I mailed out my Pay it Forward Tea Box this morning and I felt like I deserved a definite reward after braving the lines at USPS during the christmas rush and my gorgeous blue and gold unopened tin of Christmas Cake was calling my name once I finally got back to my desk. Since that first sip I honestly think I’ve drunk another three cups of this tea!! The dry leaf scent is insanely delicious smelling, like sweet vanilla cake batter but with a slight nutty crust undertone (Marriage Freres refers to this as praline but I’m not that sophisticated)… Sipping I’m hit by Caramel, Vanilla, brown sugar and nuts… I hope this becomes a yearly offering as I don’t think I could handle knowing that I couldn’t drink this every christmas season!!
Oof, another flavored green… :P This one came from the lovely and generous Dexter. Who knows why I requested a flavored green tea, I assume probably because it’s Mariage Frères and I figured it would be worth trying regardless. We shall see! This has a similar sencha base to the other greens I’ve been drinking – very flat and long. The goji berries are all covered in tea dust, so I can’t really see them until I empty the tea into my cup. Dry scent is vaguely fruity.
The steeped tea has a somewhat tart berry-like scent that reminds me of fresh raspberries (I’ve never eaten a goji berry, so I’m not sure what they’re like). The green tea base is slightly grassy, but quite smooth and unobtrusive. I can barely taste the goji berry flavor, but it does remind me of fresh raspberries. I’m not sure how old this sample is, so I’m going to withhold my rating on this one.
Flavors: Grass, Raspberry, Tart
Another tea I have the chance to taste thanks to cteresa , obrigada Teresa .
It is an Oolong and an highly oxidized variety .
I decided to brew at 100 ° c as Teresa wrote no indication and because I am a phenomenal lazy people and don’t want to go to check on MF’s website (which by the way often gives wacky brewing indications on this site)
The liquor is quite dark for an Oolong , meaning we are drinking an highly roasted variety.
The taste is strong too. The flavours that emerge in the first place are earth, malt, wood.
The aftertaste reveals some cocoa notes and a fairly pronounced fruity note . I am unable to identify the fruit, stone fruit but which one?
It is not a great roasted Oolong but it is more than respectable .
Ultimately the site Mariage gives no recommendations for infusion , incredible isn’t it?
Pics of the session are available here :http://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/se-chung-mariage-freres/
Next in line! This sample came from boychik and, originally, CharlotteZero (whom I wish would come back so I could thank her!). I’m unsure how this one got missed, as I’m usually rather eager to try French tea samples. I guess it must have gotten lost at the bottom of the sample box! The leaves are very small and dark. I can’t smell much, perhaps a hint of fruit.
I can immediately smell that this tea is French – it has that powdered sugar aroma. I can also smell red fruits and some sweetness. Hm, this is actually quite good, especially for being rather old. There are definitely red fruits here, mostly heavily strawberry and raspberry. It got a teeny bit bitter, but I did steep it for 4 minutes, and the leaves looked quite broken. I can taste a hint of vanilla, but I wish there was more. Pretty tasty, I would like to try a fresh sample of this one. :) Withholding rating because I suspect flavor loss here.
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Raspberry, Strawberry, Vanilla
Where do I even start?? This tea is amazing!! Opening the red and gold canister I’m immediately greeted by huge curls of toasted almond, juicy looking raisins, large chunks of orange and cherry and an almost overwhelming brown sugar and candied fruit scent.
First sips really are reminiscent of Christmas pudding!! Oranges, vanilla, brown sugar, almond… Ohmigod! So expensive but SOOO worth it!! I really need to make sure this lasts til Christmas morning!! A splash of milk makes the vanilla and sugar notes really stand out.
I swear I have reviewed this one, but I can’t find any notes on here from me. So here we go…
This is one of the teas my daughter picked up for me when she went to Amsterdam and Bruges. She brought it to me while we were still in Ireland, and youngest and I had a ritual of having a pot of tea in the breakfast room of the house and then heading out for scones and more tea and at 9am, which is when the fresh scones came out at the Java Café. We had a pot then and I think I had it once since, and today we have had two big pots of it.
I was a little confused at first because I thought macarons were the same as macaroons, but they are completely different. This is definitely macaron. The dry leaves are beautiful, with the mix of flower petals and bits of nuts and dried apple pieces. The aroma is largely apple, almond, and pure biscuit. I still don’t know how they make tea smell and taste like biscuit, but they do.
I found it to be smooth and flavorful, very nice even without milk or sugar. The different flavors are well balanced and none overpowers the others. My hubby still has trouble drinking black tea without milk and sugar, but he drank several cups of this plain and enjoyed it very much. Big thumbs up here!