94
drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
260 tasting notes

I was already sending tea packages to Auggy and teaplz, and I knew that all of us wanted to try this tea. So when I was standing in line at Williams Sonoma, and it was staring at me I finally said, “Oh, fine. What the hell,” and grabbed a tin so I could split it three ways.

I honestly don’t know how I held off for this long, because the tin explodes in your face with delicious scent. I mean, if it tasted as strong as it smells it would be undrinkable because it would be like kool-aid on steroids, but scent-wise? Mmmmmmmmmmm.

I’m going to sound mildly repetitive here because Auggy and I had very similar drinking experiences with it, but I’ll try to deviate a bit. We all know I can deviate.

As a liquid, this smells rich. Rich like…thick cream rich. I also get strong whiffs of vanilla. And lying on top of all of that decadence is strawberry. Beautiful, beautiful strawberry, glistening above the warm and heavy aromas. Like Auggy, I was slightly hesitant to sip it right away. Part of me felt like nothing could possibly compare, but part of me also felt like if it truly tasted like this I wouldn’t be able to finish it because it would be so cloying.

Once it had cooled down enough for me to take a confident sip of it, I was pleasantly surprised. The vanilla wasn’t there. The creaminess was kind of present, but not overwhelming. Mainly what I got was berry. Specifically, strawberries – like when they’re not quite ripe. The strawberry taste was definitely strong, to the point that the tea almost felt like it was bleeding strawberries. And yet, it never reached the point of “too much.” It was sweet sometimes, but not obviously sweet, and more so when I sucked air in over everything. There was a distinct tartness that hit the back of my tongue as well, that sang of strawberries.

Most impressive to me was the mouth feel. It was thick, heavy, viscous, silky, and it made me feel like I was eating strawberries and cream. If there had been more creaminess in the taste, I certainly could have fooled myself into it.

And then, all of a sudden, the bomb went off. This tea blew up in a very good way. I’m not sure if it was because it had cooled to a magic point, or because Auggy mentioned that she was doing that silly looking slurping thing that people often do with wine and so I started doing it in earnest, but wow. It was like berry-palooza. It was like I had won the lottery, and they paid me in berries. It was like I was the queen and all of the townspeople were berries and I was drinking them. The only two I could pick out were blackberries [sweet, ripe ones] and strawberries, but there were more. It was more complex than that. The tea grew in sweetness, and the texture was making it all slide around very pleasantly, and I officially fell in love with Marco Polo.

I really, really wish I could give this a 100, but I know that the reason why I loved this so much today was because 1) I drank it out of my Sorapot [more on that in a forthcoming review – I’m logging this first] 2) I was really in the mood for a fruity tea and 3) I think drinking tea with someone else is always more enjoyable, even if you are both basically just typing “OH MY GOD WOW!” back and forth.

If this ends up being something that I find myself craving often, or could see myself drinking on any given day, it may reach that point, though. It’s pretty damn good. Never would have tried it if not for Steepster, too, so thanks Steepsterites!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Auggy

Actually, I mentioned I was doing the dorky slurping method. Hehe.

teaplz

I have totally done that slurping before. And it turns heads. But it adds something special to the taste: air? I have no idea.

AHHHH. Now I want to try this one desperately, but it’s far too late! BOOOO. Perhaps tomorrow, loves.

takgoti

@Auggy An important adjective, indeed.

@teaplz Hah, me too, though usually it’s with wine. I do like to suck in air over my tea, but for whatever reason I never do it to quite the extent that I do with wine. Don’t know why. Clearly, I should do it more often!

Carolyn

There is a magic point in tea temperature or settling or something that causes that flavor explosion with this tea. I’ve had the same experience you did. (This is one of my morning go-to teas now.) I’ve also noted another odd experience with Marco Polo. There is a particular point at which the tea tastes suddenly like an alcoholic beverage with a slight bitter bite. But then that taste goes away. It’s an interesting tea.

takgoti

I’ll have to watch for the alcoholic beverage note. It’s very possible that I hit it, but was so taken by the flavor fireworks that I missed it. Happy to know you discovered that as well. I re-read your review and was pleased to see we had similar experiences, too. It’s always nice when perspectives match up every now and then. Makes me feel not so crazy.

Micah

The image that this review gives me is you gulping this tea like your ship is going down. I think the sentence that did it was “It was like I was the queen and all of the townspeople were berries and I was drinking them.”

Awesome…

Steepster should have chat rooms where we can all get together to drink the same tea and wax poetic about it.

SoccerMom

I love the part about how you won the lottery and they paid you in berries!!! LOL . I am going to Williams Sonoma tomorrow and pick this one up!!

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Comments

Auggy

Actually, I mentioned I was doing the dorky slurping method. Hehe.

teaplz

I have totally done that slurping before. And it turns heads. But it adds something special to the taste: air? I have no idea.

AHHHH. Now I want to try this one desperately, but it’s far too late! BOOOO. Perhaps tomorrow, loves.

takgoti

@Auggy An important adjective, indeed.

@teaplz Hah, me too, though usually it’s with wine. I do like to suck in air over my tea, but for whatever reason I never do it to quite the extent that I do with wine. Don’t know why. Clearly, I should do it more often!

Carolyn

There is a magic point in tea temperature or settling or something that causes that flavor explosion with this tea. I’ve had the same experience you did. (This is one of my morning go-to teas now.) I’ve also noted another odd experience with Marco Polo. There is a particular point at which the tea tastes suddenly like an alcoholic beverage with a slight bitter bite. But then that taste goes away. It’s an interesting tea.

takgoti

I’ll have to watch for the alcoholic beverage note. It’s very possible that I hit it, but was so taken by the flavor fireworks that I missed it. Happy to know you discovered that as well. I re-read your review and was pleased to see we had similar experiences, too. It’s always nice when perspectives match up every now and then. Makes me feel not so crazy.

Micah

The image that this review gives me is you gulping this tea like your ship is going down. I think the sentence that did it was “It was like I was the queen and all of the townspeople were berries and I was drinking them.”

Awesome…

Steepster should have chat rooms where we can all get together to drink the same tea and wax poetic about it.

SoccerMom

I love the part about how you won the lottery and they paid you in berries!!! LOL . I am going to Williams Sonoma tomorrow and pick this one up!!

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Former coffeeist, turned teaite. Lover of writing, reading, photography, and music. Traveler of life. Known to be ridiculous on occasion.

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