I am a huge ‘skeptic’ on flavoured teas, not a purist, but I just tend to stir away from them, especially after some flavored teas didn’t play nice with my taste buds. Some like Black Currant (Enjoying Tea.com), White Peach (Adagio Teas), Mango Black (Zhi Tea; makes a good iced tea though), California Fields (Mighty Leaf Tea,) and some things like that dreaded Earl Grey Bravo (Adagio Teas), and even some overly flowery Jasmines.
So I hear about the “legend of the flavoured teas”: Mariage Brother’s famous Marco Polo Blend. So popular to a fact that when I went to Williams & Sonoma to pick up a tin, they told me they were sold out the very day they restocked. It’s reputation proceeds itself. I consider myself lucky to pick a tin up at Gumps the same day. However, I think I may be overstating this tea.
Now lets dedicate a short some of this on the moment I open this tin; as I was expecting most flavoured teas to have their odour reek from the tin the moment it’s cracked open. Some flavoured teas are so dank, that their scent permeates outside the tin! (White Peach). The the scent of Marco Polo, was tame. It came to my nose with it’s exciting strawberry-maplelike scent, candylike almost, but very sophisticated. I spent a good three minutes just enjoying the aroma this tea tea. The leaves weren’t surprisingly different than other flavoured blacks, a little more fuller of a OP, with contrast of browns, and some lighter blacks. But I still say this is more than decent quality for a flavoured tea.
I brewed this like most blacks: five minutes at boiling, in my 24 ounce white teapot. The cup yielded a medium amber cup, with a mellowed aroma of the tin. The take was surprising to me. Medium-full body, it was mildly fruity and sweet, the flavouring almost bypassed my tongue in a way… to travel to my nose. Either the flavouring of this tea wasn’t as strong as I thought it was, or the heat of the boil just killed all the flavour. Either way, it finished up medium, and somewhat sharp.
This tea strangely finds a place between enjoyable and tolerable for me as I am not a fan of flavoured teas. I tried my second cup with light agave nectar, which leveled the sharp finish; and the third cup with 2% fat milk, which ‘almost’ makes me say this would make a “damn fine cup of tea”. I will make this again but with WHOLE milk or maybe even half and half.
Good luck trying to find a tin of it. It’s a bit more expensive on the web, and some high end pricey stores like Gumps in SF and Williams & Sonoma have limited stock. I consider my score to be high for a flavoured tea. This tea made me accept flavoured teas a little more, which is what I was looking for. It changed my opinion of flavoured tea, and it reminded me of Strawberry Black (Adagio Teas). If you know people who love flavoured teas serve them this, or buy it to entertain your nose. I couldn’t have this everyday. If you are a sceptic on flavoured teas, try this, and it may change your mind.