65
drank Thé au Tibet by Mariage Frères
2028 tasting notes

I just finished putting all my french teas into brand new tea tins, so I grabbed this one to have this morning while it was out. I really do love the combination of aromas in this tea with the citrus/bergamot, strong vanilla and floral jasmine. However, I have found that the combination of vanilla and jasmine, which sounds awesome, just tastes a bit odd to me. It’s not so odd here as in Golden Moon’s vanilla jasmine tea, possibly because it’s tempered by the bergamot and orange.

Also I can’t seem to make this tea not bitter, which again makes me wonder if it’s Mariage Freres’ black tea base that I just can’t deal with. This is a black/green blend, which are usually tricky anyway, but I brewed it basically like a green this time and it’s still slightly bitter to me. Then sometimes I think it’s just that vanilla jasmine combo that is giving it an off, bitterish flavor. Whatever it is, I’m not sure that these type of blends are really for me, even though I do love the idea of them.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
cteresa

Oh, what a pity you did not like, it is one I got (before reading your opinion). Not tried it yet.

And just FYI, I am not sure MF blacks are bitter – for me Marco Polo has no bitterness. Wedding Imperial, hmm, weird thing, I did not find it bitter, but hoarded my tin for a couple years and I toward the end the leaves were smaller and more broken and got more bitter.

Dinosara

Yeah I wonder if it’s just the vanilla/jasmine blend that doesn’t work for me for some reason… though I know others do like it. I do find the base of Marco Polo and some of their other blacks to be a bit “off” in a way I can’t pin down… a bit tart and astringent, or something. For some reason they’re just not for me!

ashmanra

I get the same thing! I find it in most French teas. I think they like that hint of bitterness, and I suspect they normally add milk. For Marco Polo, I cut the temp and time a little, then add milk and sugar. I find it very good that way, and hubby likes it though he likes. Ery few teas.

cteresa

I sometimes think of a tea “oh so french” (not always good. I do not get Kusmi for example). But hmm, not sure I would call it bitterness, or anything like that, though not sure I am getting the same you are both getting. I thought of maybe it might be an expectation issue, like the way americans and europeans expect milk chocolate to taste differently (very differently, from my side!), but that I think is an historical due to a different industrial method. With tea getting produced and processed the same way on plantation, I guess any difference of expectations regarding taste might just show up very subtly when blender purchases and later blends. (or we might blame retailers or storing, or something. For example Twinings blends and packs things differently for mainland europe than for the UK. Even the weight of tea bags is different, Uk gets those ugly no string bags with 2.25 gr and the mainland gets pretty teabags but with just 2 gr).

cteresa

and ashmanra, sorry, just to add, nooo, I think adding milk to tea is much much rarer in France than in the UK. Really not the norm from my opinion (not that I ever lived there, but visited, for longer or shorter, a few times).

If there is a particular French kink IMO is loving tilleul (linden?) based tisanes. which might not be for everybody.

Dinosara

For me it’s not just French teas, because I have no problem with Dammann Freres’ blends (probably my favorite tea blender!). Just MF for some reason!

ashmanra

Agreed. I have had two by Dammann Freres that didn’t taste that way, but MF and the two teas that Harney calls French style have that astringency.

cteresa

I am really curious about that note – maybe it is something I like and do not spot necessarily. You don´t mean tannin (like in some wines, or pomegranates), or do you? It tannins, IMO is definetely a flaw, and might be by design. Keep in mind that as loose leaf tea gets broken post processing, the way it infuses does as well, and it tends to get more tanninic much faster with the same steeping times. The bottom of tea tins is usually more tanninic (because the smaller bits of tea fall to the bottom and get packed and more broken). Also if tea gets crushed by something before brewing or even after that happens (mind you, I got a tea which i think responds really well to getting stirred very vigorously while brewing. Though yeah I do put sugar and milk on it later!)

Dinosara

I think I generally dislike very strong tannins in things, though I do like wines and pomegranates and such. If a tea tends to be pretty tannic I will often steep it for a shorter time or at a lower temp. Tannins do seem to manifest as a bitter flavor to me, and I am super sensative to bitterness!

cteresa

I do not like tannins as well. If you dislike them as well, also try to keep loose leaf tea has protected from possible sources of mechanical crushing as possible – crushed loose tea will liberate the tannins much faster than whole tea, particularly in regard to the other flavours. (not sure where I got that factoid, though)

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cteresa

Oh, what a pity you did not like, it is one I got (before reading your opinion). Not tried it yet.

And just FYI, I am not sure MF blacks are bitter – for me Marco Polo has no bitterness. Wedding Imperial, hmm, weird thing, I did not find it bitter, but hoarded my tin for a couple years and I toward the end the leaves were smaller and more broken and got more bitter.

Dinosara

Yeah I wonder if it’s just the vanilla/jasmine blend that doesn’t work for me for some reason… though I know others do like it. I do find the base of Marco Polo and some of their other blacks to be a bit “off” in a way I can’t pin down… a bit tart and astringent, or something. For some reason they’re just not for me!

ashmanra

I get the same thing! I find it in most French teas. I think they like that hint of bitterness, and I suspect they normally add milk. For Marco Polo, I cut the temp and time a little, then add milk and sugar. I find it very good that way, and hubby likes it though he likes. Ery few teas.

cteresa

I sometimes think of a tea “oh so french” (not always good. I do not get Kusmi for example). But hmm, not sure I would call it bitterness, or anything like that, though not sure I am getting the same you are both getting. I thought of maybe it might be an expectation issue, like the way americans and europeans expect milk chocolate to taste differently (very differently, from my side!), but that I think is an historical due to a different industrial method. With tea getting produced and processed the same way on plantation, I guess any difference of expectations regarding taste might just show up very subtly when blender purchases and later blends. (or we might blame retailers or storing, or something. For example Twinings blends and packs things differently for mainland europe than for the UK. Even the weight of tea bags is different, Uk gets those ugly no string bags with 2.25 gr and the mainland gets pretty teabags but with just 2 gr).

cteresa

and ashmanra, sorry, just to add, nooo, I think adding milk to tea is much much rarer in France than in the UK. Really not the norm from my opinion (not that I ever lived there, but visited, for longer or shorter, a few times).

If there is a particular French kink IMO is loving tilleul (linden?) based tisanes. which might not be for everybody.

Dinosara

For me it’s not just French teas, because I have no problem with Dammann Freres’ blends (probably my favorite tea blender!). Just MF for some reason!

ashmanra

Agreed. I have had two by Dammann Freres that didn’t taste that way, but MF and the two teas that Harney calls French style have that astringency.

cteresa

I am really curious about that note – maybe it is something I like and do not spot necessarily. You don´t mean tannin (like in some wines, or pomegranates), or do you? It tannins, IMO is definetely a flaw, and might be by design. Keep in mind that as loose leaf tea gets broken post processing, the way it infuses does as well, and it tends to get more tanninic much faster with the same steeping times. The bottom of tea tins is usually more tanninic (because the smaller bits of tea fall to the bottom and get packed and more broken). Also if tea gets crushed by something before brewing or even after that happens (mind you, I got a tea which i think responds really well to getting stirred very vigorously while brewing. Though yeah I do put sugar and milk on it later!)

Dinosara

I think I generally dislike very strong tannins in things, though I do like wines and pomegranates and such. If a tea tends to be pretty tannic I will often steep it for a shorter time or at a lower temp. Tannins do seem to manifest as a bitter flavor to me, and I am super sensative to bitterness!

cteresa

I do not like tannins as well. If you dislike them as well, also try to keep loose leaf tea has protected from possible sources of mechanical crushing as possible – crushed loose tea will liberate the tannins much faster than whole tea, particularly in regard to the other flavours. (not sure where I got that factoid, though)

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I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-86: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
85-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

Location

Ohio, US

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