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80 Tasting Notes

74

The instructions I received with this tea was that you place two pearls in the hot water but you can safely use one.
The fragrance from the bud is divine as it is so floral you would swear the flowers themselves were sealed inside. But be warned, that lovely welcoming scent fades and settles after a month or so of storage so seal them up as best you can.

As for the exact brewing temp I can’t say but I will say that these gems take a very short steep. The liquid is pale but that fragrance! I have tried similar flowers from the Republic of Tea who’s look and opening seduction was the same but the tea itself is a true tribute to the wonders of nature. It as if the that cup was what that flower had so longed to become and it is as jasmine goes very charming. I would leave the flowering bud to rest about a minute to two but much longer and the bitterness of the green begins to say hello.

Although purchasing these dainties from over seas may cost a pretty penny, I can run about my day and get 4 to 5 good steeps out of them. The fragrance diminishes but they still hang on to their exquisite green tea.

Preparation
2 min, 15 sec

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50
drank Narcisse by Mariage Frères
80 tasting notes

Narcisse is my first smoky tea and I am not sure what to make of this one. The site made the leaves look like a black tea but it isn’t. The write up doesn’t mention a thing about rose but clearly they’re in there. I suspect there is another flower lurking there as well but who knows her name?! Perhaps this shipment was shanghaied?
Out of the bag, she’s aggressive and I am not sure what is going on in that medley of tightly knit leaves. It’s green and angry and reminds me somewhat of a burnt split pea soup. Split pea and a wet fur smell or brown bag? Dead flowers? Who knows… It’s like smoke and wet ash, split-pea and dog and quite complicated. And yes, questioning my senses, I put this in the water to steep.
I hiked the temp up to a nice boil and then plopped the mess in for about three minutes. The scent became a bit more vegetal and calmed down. The burn split pea note made it through the steeping process and into the cup. It’s another whole mouth tea in my collection which is just lovely with cream. I can even say I like it as I am on my second cup, not to become a favorite but I can say I tried it.
I will have to try a couple more smoky teas and revisit this one. Perhaps I will in time find this review unkind as it the first leap from the English Breakfast pleasantries thus far.

Steeping No 2:
Man this monster just hangs on. I settled last pots leaves in the water after it had reached a good boil and let them go for a full 5 minutes. The brew was just as tasty and I could almost swear they would survive another go.
I am growing accustom to this tea’s personality and couldn’t say who I’d ever offer it to. Perhaps a non-guest too intent on being nosy about what I sip in my cup. A no good looker-on trying to pilfer a sample of Jamaique on the sly? I would simply sip this instead and leave its parcel out proclaiming this to be the nectar of the gods! One wiff and they would let me and all my teas to follow go because clearly my tastes have gone off! While its edges are a bit softer the ever present burnt split pea soup aroma lasts.

I give this the, “It’s okay and we get along” seal of approval.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Jamaïque by Mariage Frères
80 tasting notes

Wow… can I say WOW?
This tea rolls out of its black glittering bag already speaking a mouthful. Its pleasantly dark, like a rich fragrance you only dream of finding at the Guerlian counter. I dare to say that this might be a By Kilian fragrance without the lock and key.

It’s plummy, boozy, wonderfully vanillic and a polite black tea. To brew this beauty, they say let it go for 5 minutes and I probably did four on the first steep. In the cup the fragrance was just as divine as what wafted from the sack. The plummy note was a bit more pronounced. On the second steep I let it go and got lazy with its rest. The booziness has faded but the plum is there with a distinct sharpness. Perhaps it isn’t meant to be left alone so long or treated like a left-over?

As for taste… well it’s fine without sugars, milk or cream. It isn’t a fruity flavor in the sense that you recover from the first sip thinking, “Wow blackberry jam.” It’s subtle, elegant, vanilla black tea with the moodiness of a distant plum-berry that at some point snuggled with a soft tobacco or was blessed by fine leather. A fabulous afternoon tea that would make any repast a seduction of the senses.

How it relates to my views on the The de Paques by Mariage Freres: While my The de Paques is assured a prominent place in the teas of my desires (and I crave it often), it is the tea of morning and all things bright. I could dress it up with fruit, delicate cakes and even a ham and brie. Jamaique takes thought and provides mouthwatering contemplation yet not in the way of a zen-Buddha green, think old refined library, deep curtains and soft leather chairs… I swear, I could wear this tea.

Preparation
4 min, 30 sec
BrookeM

What a lovely, lovely review. Thank you for that.

BrookeM

Alicia, I would love to know what your favorite teas are. It sounds like you know what you are talking about.

Alicia

Sadly, I just started down the tea road again. Mariage Freres was the brand that caught my eye and I am in love. I have a collection of Kusmi teas I started with but so far none of them has grabbed me as passionately as Jamaique or The de Paques. I those two found me actually.

Kusmi Violet is soothing and has a wonderful violet taste/smell I adore. The Green Tea with Almond smells lovely but is so so. Not a bad tea but my tastes are venturing in a different direction. I want something more aggressive perhaps? I am a coffee drinker so perhaps that makes me biased?

I do have a collection of flowering teas both by Mariage Freres and the Republic of Tea. Mariage Freres makes this flowering jasmine number that is as fine as perfume! A quick steep and the liquid is pure heaven but don’t let that little flower sit! She gets angry and bitter… change her bath water often and enjoy it! LOL They are more fun to watch than anything and I think I am fonder of Black teas because I trouble them with milk.

However, I am guilty of loving some good old Lipton Sun Tea. I can’t recall a single memory I don’t enjoy on the farm growing up that didn’t cameo an old pickle jar filled with sun tea.

BrookeM

Alicia,
You are so cool:) Let me ask you a question the flowering jasmine teas my Mariage Freres that you like are which ones? I love flowering tea and jasmine is my favorite. Silver Needle Jasmine by Rishi is awesome.

Alicia

Bourgeon de Thé au Jasmin by Mariage Freres is the packet that I have open just now. I have Fleur de Voyage but haven’t tried them as of yet.

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44
drank Casablanca by Mariage Frères
80 tasting notes

Hmmm…. Well I made this guy the other day and was at a loss for words. I like the mint and had hoped this would resemble that stuff you find at the Aveda salons. It doesn’t. The Bergamot knocks that idea out of the park. I have the French ice tea version of this which comes with little envelopes for use. I recommend using them. This tea has a lot of particle matter… floaties. Not that I mind floaties but they only added to my dislike of this one.
It’s minty and perfumes the house wonderfully but the bergamot gives the tea an edge while not wholly bad it wasn’t hoped for. I will have to try this iced as the French iced tea marketing would suggest.

Alicia

I’m just sayin’ you can’t just dump this guy in the pot without expecting a tea leaf reading lesson to follow. Not bad, but there’s floaties.

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44
drank Casablanca by Mariage Frères
80 tasting notes

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36
drank The Au Jasmine by foojoy
80 tasting notes

Used to pick up big tins of this when I lived in San Francisco, California while going to college. It’s okay for what it is. I hardly think the tea has ever been stored properly. I used to see the cans parked in shop windows. :) You could even buy “gift sets!” It smelled like jasmine, sort of.

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69
drank Almond Green Tea by Kusmi Tea
80 tasting notes

This tea has an alarming almond aroma (alarming in a good way, almost divine). Every time I open the tin I am inspired to bake almond infused cakes and cookies. I call this tea my gateway tea… only it leads me to fiend for pastries. Parties and more tea. :)

Ricky

Now does a 69 mean it’s a very good tea =P

Alicia

I am not sure this even merits a reply…

Ricky

Sorry for the confusion, basically I was mainly wondering what your ratings meant. Your 69 might not mean the same thing as mine. For me a tea in 60-69 means I liked it, but I wouldn’t purchase again. A tea above 70 would mean I’d consider purchasing it again.

Alicia

LOL I like this tea and if it found its way to my table, I wouldn’t turn it away. However, no I don’t think I would purchase it again. While I drink green teas I tend to favor black teas more… but dislike their nature to stain teeth over time… oh vanity. :)

Ricky

Ha, thanks for clearing up the confusion =] Now I understand a bit more about the rest of your ratings =P

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84

This is the star of my collection just now… aside from Violet. The aroma from the can is enticing and when brewed even better. There is a wonderful orange flavor seduced with vanilla that makes the liquor heavenly. Love love love it with milk and honey but it’s probably perfect sipped en seulement.

Bill Trammel

En Seulement. My tea snob level just got a little assist. Can’t wait to use it. “You use sugar in your cereal? I prefer mine en seulement, personally.”

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66

Just tried this one today… it’s a whole mouth sort of tea. Meaning there is flavor that excites the entire mouth… very filling. It’s a black tea which has that delicate tang of a fine perfume which I can only guess is the bergamot. It is floral with citrus charm and I swear there is hint of pepper hiding in the back somewhere. I should imagine this would pair charmingly with lemon and a blackberry honey. As of right now, I have spoiled my self with the addition of milk, organic acacia honey, a warm shall and Jane Austen’s Emma. Cheers!

Cofftea

“Whole mouth”- another steepster dictionary entry!:)

Alicia

Woowho! I really like this little site. It’s a pleasant find for my holiday break. Glad I can contribute a few of my charms to this community!

Cofftea

Here’s the thread where you can add it. http://steepster.com/discuss/194-steepster-dictionary I also covet your location. I long to live in WA, but no one will hire me because I don’t currently live there and I can’t move w/o a job.

Alicia

Really? Not Everett but perhaps Seattle… The area is amazing. I awake to the sight of the Cascade Mountain range and love to hike when the roads are safe.

Cofftea

Yeah, I’d love to live in Seattle, Mill Creek, Leavenworth, or Ellensburg (inspite of my ex living there). I’m flying out to Seattle to see my best friend graduate w/ her Ph. D. in physical therapy in June and I know I won’t want to leave. My email address is in my profile- I’d greatly appreciate any recommendation as to good places to drink and buy tea in Seattle, especially a place that serves a good bowla matcha. I’ve actually spent very little time in Seattle but did stop at MarketSpice on my last trip.

Alicia

Will work on this for you! I will prowl around the city and see what I find…

BrookeM

That is another lovely review. I just got this tea too. I like it very much. I don’t have the ability to taste tea the way you do, but I would like to. You have inspired me! I love tea very much, it is a newly found love and I am very excited about it. And this site is fabulous indeed. I see you like Mariage Freres. I have been obsessed with it since finding Marco Polo, but others have yet to compare…

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70
drank Violet by Kusmi Tea
80 tasting notes

Amazingly soft and charming floral aroma. This tea is my first experience with floral teas and a darling in my collection.

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I am an art major that shoots down planes. :)

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Everett, Washington, United States

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