Popular Teas from Mariage FrèresSee All 280 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
I opened this package over a month ago. Had it precisely twice being underwhelmed by it, and actually Anna, to whom I sent a sample, reviewed it before me. So I feel like, yeah, I should get to it, and just say something about it.
First thing, I am screwing up brewing this. I have not nailed it it, yet, though I think this tea for some reason does not like my tap water (some teas do not mind even some very grand teas, some do mind. Unpredictable) and I had to up the dosage from my first attempts. And today got distracted while brewing it, brewed it slightly too long and it showed in a bit of bitterness towards the end of my cup.
The dry leaf smells fabulous (which was why i got it), boozy! Rhum, and good rhum, none of that Bacardi or worse stuff, a sugary sweet scent so different from the other more usual sugarcane derivatives. With vanilla and a hint of chocolate. Awesome! Beyond awesome , count me in. 100 grams please.
But I am still trying to crack how to brew this. This third time, it was better, a discernible taste closer to the scent. But I still think I can get more out of this tea, must experiment and not forget it.
I remember reading cteresa’s note for this four months back and laughing so hard at the following, “…have no idea why they call it samourai, I can´t think of anything less samurai like than this tea.”
Now I’m sitting here with the remaining half of her hard-earned sample – there’s no way I can top the sheer hilarity of her review, though, so I’m not even going to try.
Scent wise, this is very lotion-from-l’Occitane, in other words, absolutely not for me. Smelling this for more than five minutes would give me a headache – it’s too medicinal. Brewed, it’s not so bad at all, much less lotiony, with hints of citrus, and with the tea base (which is quite nice) coming through distinctly. There’s a jubilant, grassy, vegetable note in there, too – I’m guessing it’s the MF bergamot – I’ve never tried theirs before.
In the cup, this just blooms. It’s very floral, and I like floral. I wouldn’t go as far as to call this a complex tea, but the tea base adheres to MF’s usual high standard (although it tastes surprisingly green to me) and I’m not having any problems finishing the cup. I also wouldn’t turn down a second cup, but I wouldn’t buy it – it simply isn’t something I crave as a staple. Maybe it’s because I’m just not samurai material.
Thanks, cteresa, for letting me try the least samurai-like tea in the world.
[Spin-off sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]
[Sample polished off in Rome, February 2014.]
The rooibos version of this is one of my favourite reds, so I had to try the black. It has very little to do with the familiar one in my cupboard, though.
Scent wise, the dry tea has a thick, buttery richness to it that I recognized so well but couldn’t quite place. And then it struck me. Rice porridge. In Sweden we make a difference between rice porridge (runnier) and rice pudding (baked in the oven, more of a cake-like texture) and the former is mainly served as a traditional Christmas dish, warm, with milk, and with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top.
It can be a bit of a hassle to make the actual porridge, as it easily burns (the rice is cooked in milk) – my mom has a sneaky trick, though; she takes it off the heat after it comes to a boil, and then wraps the whole thing in blankets to keep it warm until it’s time for Christmas dessert. It usually rests for five or six hours, which allows the rice to slowly cook and swell. Unwrapped, the porridge has the perfect texture and temperature, and it’s seriously the best trick ever.
And this is exactly what it smells like, on Christmas Eve, when that lid is removed.
I’m pretty sure the rice porridge effect is what’s supposed to pass for marrons glacés, but I haven’t had those since I was very small, so the rice layer is simply much further up in my memory stack.
The tea base is very pleasant, classic Mariage Frères, and I know this is one that would have appealed to me immensely if there hadn’t been such an outlandish scent/flavour parallel. As it is, I don’t really know how to feel about the whole thing. Every other sip is, ‘I like it..’, and every other, ‘…but it’s weird.’
Thanks for adding this and messing with my head, cteresa!
[Sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]
Right, so how do I even explain the origin of this sample? Well, we’re doing the second round of the EU swap box, and cteresa forgot to put one of the samples she wanted to send out in the box… so she sent an envelope, too, a few days later. Of course, seeing as cteresa is cteresa (i.e. completely awesome) she added even more tea samples (hey, empty envelope, gotta fill it).
Among these were a couple that I’ve been dying to try, including this one. I have a pretty decent MF reseller here, but they haven’t had Jamaïque in stock since I moved back.
My prediction for this tea was that it would be like Vanille des Iles with a twist – and yes, that’s more or less what I find myself with here. Scent wise, there’s much more caramel in VdI, making for a rounder, sweeter profile. In terms of Jamaïque, though, there is this perfect, boozy note topping off the vanilla base. The same goes for the brewed tea, even though I find myself struggling more with flavour recollection than scent recollection this time around. In short, however – Jamaïque fronts less caramel and more booze.
It’s a very enjoyable, smooth cup, but just as in the case of VdI, I would have enjoyed a more exuberant vanilla presence.
Thank you, cteresa!
[Spin-off sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]
Ysaurella sent this to me in our swap and it was the perfect tea this morning to help me focus on the last of my work that i need to get done before i can run around the house like a crazy person trying to get ready. I’m trying to get in at least 3 sipdowns before i go lol just so i can end this month at 140. A nice round number :) It’s also a good way for me to make sure i’m drinking and relaxing a little.
This is a pretty tasty tea and i can see why it reminds ysaurella a little of the du loup (i miss that tea!) There is caramel and vanilla here, though the caramel mostly comes through as sweetness. I’d be interested in picking this up again if i ever get the chance to go shopping in france grin
i love this tea. And yet..it is getting close to being one of the oldest teas in my cupboard and so i need to stop hoarding it and drink it, love it, enjoy it. But i will be terribly sad when it’s gone. There is something comforting about the smell of this one in both dry and liquid form. It’s just totally yum. But i still have enough for a bunch of Sil sized cups…so i won’t cry…..yet.
This one came as a surprise in my swap with Ysaurella.
For some bizarre reason, teas with fig just smell like baby food to me. So there’s that. The fig here is apparent, yet not overwhelming. I’m finding it most in the aftertaste and the scent. There’s a bit of a floral quality that drowns out the fig in the initial taste. If this one didn’t have a floral quality and was only fig and vanilla, I may have been able to get on board. It’s more up my alley in the fig department than was Figue Fraiche.
Thanks for the opportunity to try more from Mariage Freres Ysuarella!
P.S. I love how “fish broth” is a flavour option, but “fig” isn’t.
Hm. Fig tea, like Figue Fraiche? Sounds yummy. I’m getting little fig out of this however, although there is the mouthfeel of having just bitten into one. Something rich and fruity, with some vanilla. Or perhaps I underleafed, and this required a bit more tea than I’m used to? It’s pleasant, however likely something I’ll finish up and then leave it off my wish list in the future.
Thank you to Ysurella for sharing this with me; I doubt I would have been able to try it otherwise.3/4 tsp in 3/4 cup
Another oolong from Ysaurella it appears that today was the day that i decided to drink a number of the teas she sent me. This one, is an interesting tea. I an enjoying it, though it doesn’t do nearly the same things to me as it does my favourite companion from france :) However, this could almost….almost teach me to enjoy oolongs! thank you for sharing!
Ysaurella sent this my way and after smelling it, i didn’t actually think i would enjoy this one. Well, I was wrong. :) It won’t be my favourite MF tea but there is something intriguing about this particular blend even though there is a note in there that confuses me. This is a pleasant fruity tea with maybe a hint of floral to it, but clearly nothing overly strong or i wouldn’t like it. The fig is hiding in this a little but it’s there if you look for it.
Thank you madam! this was a pleasant surprise :)
i had a cup of this tonight to try and relax and enjoy something new. Sadly i was distracted and didn’t pay enough attention to this one from Ysaurella what i do remember is being pleasantly surprised by it as i didn’t bother reading to find out what sort of tea it was. tasty for sure! thankfully i have a bit more of this from my lovely french swapping partner to try it again!
Thank you Aimee Popovacki for sharing a sample of this tea. It is always exciting to get a chance to try something that is not easily accessible (as is the case with Mariage Frere teas) so I was happy when I saw this in our swap.
Unfortunately, sipping on this tea, I am not so happy. It is soapy and astringent and rather unpleasant. This is just not for me and now I know for sure.
This was sent to me by the wonderful Sil.
Having this tea as I’m getting ready to go out.
Whoa! Did not expect to like it this much. I have no idea what’s in a French Breakfast, and Mariage Frères not giving any detailed info on most of their blends, there’s no way of knowing. It bugs me cause I like to know exactly what I’m having.
The smell once brewed gave me the impression it was going to be smoky. Not in a Lapsang kind of way, but more of a Keemun. Smoky yes, but it doesn’t taste nearly as much as it smells and that makes me happy. Not a fan of heavy smoke. I forgot to examine the dry blend of my sample, but from the look of the picture and the taste, I would think golden tip Assam, and maybe Darjeeling and Ceylon? I’m just guessing here, from the level of fruitiness and astringency. (I steeped a good five minutes, 2 tsp in a 12oz mug.)
Anyways, whatever is in there, it’s a lovely tea, gave me the kick I needed to go and accomplish undesired duties!
Thanks a lot Sil, really digging this one :-)
Thank you Cavocorax for this tea. The dry leaf smelled really great but it did not transfer into the taste for me. I followed Mariage Freres instructions and I am getting a fair bit of astringency. It is malty and astringent and just not for me.
Could it be that this is actually better now that it’s aged a little bit? It could be that or the fact that I have been seriously working on my over-leafing habit. Either way, it was kind of too tannic for me at first. This is quite nice, but I don’t know if I’ll order this again soon. It’s pretty pricey for something that I don’t really love, but maybe it’s worth it for someone who loves First Flush Darjeeling Teas.