Mariage Frères

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85

(note: I’m not sure if this is the correct MF Darjeeling; I’m using the original tin to store things in the office so will double-check and cut/paste the review elsewhere if necessary)
Was finally in the mood for that last leetle bit of Darjeeling sitting in a leetle glass jar in the back of my tea drawer. The black tea has a rich flavor with a faint not-unpleasant bitterness at the end (reminds me vaguely of bergemot but I’m pretty sure that’s not it). I don’t really know what else to say about it because I don’t have a big tea-describing vocabulary. It’s good!

Flavors: Tea

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80

Many thanks to beelicious for the sample!

My first steep wasn’t good. I let it go the full 5 minutes, and it was bitter. My second steep was much smoother. and milder and I enjoyed it. I’ll probably do a third and maybe a fourth steep after supper. It’s a chilly day here in Fargo (which I enjoy!) so it’s great tea drinking weather.

I didn’t get caramel or cocoa from this since I still don’t have a sense of smell. Just got back from my second post-op check up and it turns out some of the membranes in my sinuses have fused together. The doc cut them back open. Even with local anesthesia it wasn’t pleasant, and I’m really feeling it now that the numb is wearing off. However, she estimates I should regain my sense of smell by June 1. So, I’m saving the second bag of this tea for June!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 15 sec

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85

This is a tea which I had never paid attention to when seeing the descriptions of teas. Flowery green tea with candied (?) ginger, it never made its way to my enormous wish lists, not even the long list of teas I wanted to smell. But both Paris airports got Mariage Freres shops, and when killing a lot of time, I managed to sniff my way through all the teas one of the shops had (apart from top most row and a couple expensive things they had on canister but not outside). It was an interesting experience, it struck me again how the special edition tin teas seem to almost all (exception to Mousse au Chocolat maybe, which I would buy if the tin was not so expensive and seeming so flimsy for the price as well) all seem so uninspiring compared to the regular range teas. And of all those teas I sampled, besides my old acquaintances I knew already, it was La Route du Temps which absolutely fascinated me . I decided no, that I had enough tea already and then kept thinking of it and then had to backtrack to get some (it was a LOT of time to kill). Also teas with ginger, a lot of ginger do have a place in my kitchen, I find ginger extremely soothing when I have a cold, though so far I have only had caffeine free tisanes.

And surprisingly this impulsive, indulgent buy really worked for me. The flowery note mentioned is jasmine, in my opinion just jasmine. The ginger is extremely strong, a sweet candied ginger which feels spicy piquant in the tongue and somehow it goes incredibly perfect with the tea underneath and the sweetness of the jasmine. This is an unexpected tea flavouring combination but which somehow works extremely well for my palate. The tea underneath is very smooth, very large leafed though with two such strong flavourings difficult to say much more, except it does stand up to the flavours without being overpowered by them. And the blend is just filled with dried ginger and jasmine flowers, be careful to up dosage a little bit to take that into account, and also to mix it well occasionally to make sure you are not overdosing on the flavouring which “floated” to the top.

I have brewed this a few times. Be careful with water temperature, too hot will make it bitter, and make the jasmine taste “cooked” and the ginger overpowers the jasmine. I am using relatively cool water for it, and prefer it like that, it seems to bring out the jasmine in a livelier way which just balances itself. It does seem quite forgiving of being forgotten for a few (many) extra minutes! And a warning I will repeat, because some will love this but not all – this is spicy, the ginger is sharp, and very much there!

A very unexpected addition to my tea stash, but this is one tea I am going to enjoy a lot. A very original tea, totally different from any other I ever had.

Flavors: Ginger, Jasmine

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
Ysaurella

sounds like a great tea Teresa !

cteresa

Not sure other people would love it like I did, but it was a nice surprise indeed, a very original tea which works! And if you must wait in an aiport, a chance to smell a lot of MF teas is a silver lining.

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85

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90
drank CHA THAÏ BOPF by Mariage Frères
348 tasting notes

What a strangely wonderful tea. A recommendation from Excelsior made me very curious to try it, the blender´s description seemed tempting, and it was the very first tea listed on their chart (ah that chart….), I had smelled it before on their breakfast tea shelves, and was on my list for my next Mariage Freres spree. And it´s the first tea of that spree I try and I am a bit in love.

This is a breakfast, morning tea, no way about it. It´s absolutely tiny, dusty (cleaning my infuser is going to be messy), a BOPF tea which sells for 9 euros a 100 grams (and it´s not because it is Mariage Freres, on that chart they have single origin teas starting at half this price). It´s natural, not flavoured smells incredible when dry, like malt and chocolate, yes, maltesers almost, and maybe like honey as well.

And it tastes like it promises, I added milk and sugar and it made a fantastic, traditional morning tea cup.

It reminds me of their American Breakfast blend, but somehow more natural. And possibly with more caffeine as well, I am writing this note as I finish it so too early to tell but I think this is going to have a real punch. What a great black tea.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Excelsior

I’m glad you had a chance to try it. I also like to drink this tea with milk and sugar which enhances the malt/chocolate taste of this tea.

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100

liquid caramel with an assam bite….

simply devine….

Flavors: Caramel

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78

I believe this was from OMGsrsly? Thanks! (And it was wrapped up in two cute little 2tsp-serving pouches. So cute!)

Anyhow, I rather enjoyed this. It reminded me of Caramel Spice from DavidsTea, although missing the mulberry sweetness. So basically, an orange spice tea, which was pretty good. I was a little distracted when I drank it, but oh well! The enjoyment was still there.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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79
drank Black Opera by Mariage Frères
2970 tasting notes

Sipdown! A tasty tea, but probably not worth the price to me, as it’s mostly a red-fruits sort of black and that’s not my favourite flavour – if the vanilla was stronger, that could perhaps have pushed it over the edge. The base is nice enough, though, and I certainly enjoyed this last cup :)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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79
drank Black Opera by Mariage Frères
2970 tasting notes

Wow, a note that isn’t a backlog! (Pretty much everything I’ll be writing is going to be. I’m unbelievably far behind, like in the hundreds of notes. And that’s only the teas I remembered to write down).

Anyways, thanks to VariaTea for this sample! (I think?) I believe I tried the other MF tea she passed along, and am definitely curious about this one too! I have no idea what it’s supposed to be, so I’m writing this tasting note blind. My guess would have been that it would be a dark, rich, creamy sort of tea? It seems I’m wrong, though, as it smells rather like raspberry, and tastes like that too. I don’t believe it’s contaminated, so perhaps it’s supposed to be a raspberry mousse sort of thing? The base is pretty good – dark and rich, then layered with a nice ripe raspberry flavour. I’m not overly fond of raspberry teas, but I’m certainly enjoying this one, probably because of the richness.

(Now I’m going to read about it and find out that I’m way off base, hahahaha).

Yup… cranberry/grenadine/jam? I can see that. Probably makes more sense that it’s cranberry-ish instead of raspberry.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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87

So I had to pack my bags, get on a plane and travel out of state very unexpectedly for work yesterday which just tires me out entirely these days… I was very happy this morning when rifling through my belongings I realized I’d placed a small bag of this in my suitcase in the chaos that was me leaving yesterday… and so this morning, I’m sitting in a strange hotel, in a foreign city, sipping on soul warming tea!!!

This has the perfect balance of maltiness and smokiness with a (very) slight hint of chocolate… with a touch of milk, that I managed to sneak out of the breakfast room, its simply perfection this morning and makes me feel a touch better about being where I am.

Fjellrev

That’s so crazy how your work calls you away so abruptly!

sren

I want to know what foreign city—- gosh I miss traveling for fun— I imagine work is another story

beelicious

Its a little stressful! Much rather be traveling for fun!

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drank CHA THAÏ BOPF by Mariage Frères
6403 tasting notes

Another from MissB I was pretty sure i wouldn’t love this one based on the appearance and small alone, but hey, must try everything! This is a super fine tea and brewed up, it behaves a little like stacy’s messy red tea whose name escapes me lol. This to me is a tea best had with milk and sugar, something i don’t often do. I suspect that this a good one drunk that way and suggest that anyone getting this after me, try it that way, rather than straight! :) thanks missb!

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83

I find that this tea enchants and grows upon the drinker. Its pronounced smoky notes invigorate at first sip, and personally, becomes more calming as the tea cools.

I would describe it as a smooth tea, goes down easily, with a beautifully balanced body and after-taste, and a certain pleasant tang that blooms up at the end of the sip (or gulp!). The scent is ever so slightly floral – though I confess a limited vocabulary at this stage of my tea appreciation journey.

Perhaps influenced by its description and categorisation, I only drink this tea in the late evening. It only seems fitting.

Flavors: Floral, Smoke

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 13 OZ / 380 ML
cteresa

They list it as an afternoon tea in their tea chart! I love it as well.

Arameya

Heya! Could you find a link to the tea chart for me? I had a quick look but had no luck.

cteresa

Ah, sorry, I do not think it is online. It´s a big sheet of paper, A3 size or larger, covered in plastic at both sides, with the list of tea on both sides (one side is mostly flavoured teas, the other the single origins) with the tea prices, all very close printed, that they have at their Marais shop on the counters. You can´t really see all the tea cannisters they have and they do not have samples out for everything (it will be a good 600 or 700 varieties I think, of which maybe they 200 or 300 samples out) so the list. The flavoured teas, some of it is organized by time of the day, and I noticed Tzar Alexandre was on the afternoon teas!

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87

I agree with many of the reviews that this tea is a bit too “fruit forward.” This said, I’m a college professor who cannot get through 75 minute lectures without a cup of tea in my hand and this one is often just exactly what I need to get me through my 8:00 am classes. Anything less subtle might not be enough – and even though it is a little too fruity, it is, after all from Mariage Freres.

Flavors: Berries, Fruit Tree Flowers

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drank Montagne d'Or by Mariage Frères
1108 tasting notes

I snagged this tea from the Pass the Stash TTB when I went to visit Marzipan the other day.

Mostly this tea is generically fruity, with a hint of that powdery floral that some French flavored teas tend to get. Not my favorite thing ever but I was glad to get to try it :)

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First time at Balzac’s coffee, and I wanted to order tea…:P Out of the menu I thought French Breakfast sounded the most appealing with vanilla notes. It comes in a lovely cheesecloth like tea bag, and steeps up on the darker side. Some chocolate notes and caramel notes on this one. Definitely astringent once you get to Infusion #2 and more, even on Infusion #1 I felt this was a milk that calls for milk and sugar from the get-go. I don’t know why I ordered a medium size when all it does it have more water to 1 teabag, so would recommend just ordering the small next time.

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100

liquid rasberry with vanilla and cream on top. oh, no wait, there is jam, and chocolate and caramel as well…

Stellar!

Flavors: Berries, Caramel, Chocolate, Flowers, Jam, Strawberry, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 200 OZ / 5914 ML

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90

I agree with others here that there is a lot creamsicle going on with this one, but I like this tea a lot. It may be because I first had it in Paris, so I may not be judging it on flavor alone ;)

All I know is that it’s almost gone and I’m going to be quite sad.

Flavors: Cream, Orange, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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82
drank Vanille des Îles by Mariage Frères
1349 tasting notes

In-store this smelled amazing, and I struggled to choose between this and Paris Breakfast (which smelled equally vanilla-y, with perhaps some sort of caramel). There’s a woody, almost paper-like taste to this, as well as a rich softness. The vanilla is divine, hard to describe, not as punchy as I’d like it, but really smooth and elegant. I do like this, a lot.

Grabbed at a chocolate shop in the heart of Brussels, March 16, 2015.

Flavors: Smooth, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Dinosara

You must go to Wittamer in Brussels if you haven’t already done so. Their chocolates are amazing! I miss Belgium…

MissB

I hate saying this, but I was told most folks here don’t buy chocolates unless they’re a gift for a tourist. They’re so expensive! Most just get them at the grocery store. The quality and selection are still staggering. So while I might go see a chocolate shop, I’ll rarely buy anything. I’m pretty sure I found The Chocolate Street and The Italian Fashion Street yesterday. Lol

Dinosara

Well, that’s generally true of most places. I mean, in China people just buy tea at the grocery store because the selection and quality are good, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t go to the tea street when I’m there. It’s more the sheer variety and unusual flavors that you just don’t find at a grocery store (and we did go to the grocery store too!). We got some amazing marzipan/chocolate/caramel confections there that I’ve never seen anything like before.

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If I’m honest, I’ve absolutely mangled steeping parameters on this tea a couple times. (Ever accidentally forget you heated the water to 200F for something else and then pour it on green tea. That moment, man.) But I’ve never actually had a bad cup of it.

I think it tastes best with a 90 second steep at 175F. The green base is vegetal and bright without being astringent, and there’s an underlying semi-sweet floral element in the aftertaste. I don’t know if I read the yuzu as strictly yuzu, but it’s a bright orange/lemon hybrid citrus note, that pairs well with the rest of the cup.

Perfect for sunshine and spring days.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
cteresa

I just brewed it for the first time, and I think i used the water too hot as well. But it works!

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85

Just discovered this in my cupboard. Although the tea is quite old – more than a year old, in fact – the tin was just good enough, and some of the original scent is still there. Gave it a really long, barbaric steep – something like 7 minutes – and ended up with a very nice cup. Don’t do that if you get Opium Hill fresh, though :)

(rating is for fresh tea, from memory – really powerful when re-steeped several times – has a characteristic cold orchid-like scent and flavor in later steepings)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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80

A very floral but lovely tea. It has a strong, sweet scent but brews into a subtler tea. I will be drinking this all May!

Flavors: Floral

Preparation
1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Black Opera by Mariage Frères
1918 tasting notes

From. Actually I don’t know. Kittenna maybe? I don’t have my spreadsheet to check right now, sorry!! (It’s from VariaTEA! Thank you. :) )

Anyways, it’s fruity. A little creamy maybe. Mostly intensely fruity. If Marco polo had been this fruity I would have liked it more.

I do like it, but I don’t think I like it enough to buy it.

Sorry for the crummy note, tea friends. My smell still isn’t 100% and I am so tired.

2.5 tsp in 16 oz. 3 min at 195F. With a touch of milk.

Fjellrev

Hey, you need to look after yourself, so don’t you dare apologize!

OMGsrsly

I am at work all day today too. Well “all day” as in I strolled in at noon. I just wanna go home.

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