85
drank Nil Noir by Mariage Frères
2918 tasting notes

365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 28

Almost done with the first month of my challenge!

I haven’t tried that many teas from Mariage Frères (if I remember correctly, they only sell in 100g bags and their shipping is even worse than Dammann Frères). I actually bought this one at the Paris airport based on the good ol’ sniff test. And I guess my nose is trustworthy, because I love this one!

This is definitely a French tea – it has that French flavoring sense about it. I’m not really sure how to describe that… Musty? But not in a bad way? That just sounds weird.

Anyway, this one is lovely and smooth with some nice, rich honey and dried fruit notes. In particular, it reminds me of fig and dates. There’s also a nice mellow lemon flavor that really helps lift the blend and balances out the richer flavors.

There is a bit of a light floral note, but I mostly attribute that to it being a French flavored tea. ;)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtMrFZGHUGG/

Flavors: Dates, Dried Fruit, Fig, Floral, Honey, Nectar, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Kittenna

I also find French teas to have that distinct… something about them. A good something. Could never figure it out either (although I haven’t had a ton of them).

lizwykys

My theory about French flavored teas is that they tend to be in many ways like French perfumes, all about the layering and supporting characters, with intentional top, middle, and base notes (broadly), and many ingredients that are not always apparent in the tasting (or smelling). They are rarely “bright,” “clear” flavors, although they are lovely as their own thing, and this approach tends to make the Thé Français recognizable in its own way.

Evol Ving Ness

^ Agreed. Great explanation of the French tea je ne sais quoi.

LuckyMe

I’ve only tried Dammann Frères and it felt like drinking perfume. Way too much going on for my liking.

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Comments

Kittenna

I also find French teas to have that distinct… something about them. A good something. Could never figure it out either (although I haven’t had a ton of them).

lizwykys

My theory about French flavored teas is that they tend to be in many ways like French perfumes, all about the layering and supporting characters, with intentional top, middle, and base notes (broadly), and many ingredients that are not always apparent in the tasting (or smelling). They are rarely “bright,” “clear” flavors, although they are lovely as their own thing, and this approach tends to make the Thé Français recognizable in its own way.

Evol Ving Ness

^ Agreed. Great explanation of the French tea je ne sais quoi.

LuckyMe

I’ve only tried Dammann Frères and it felt like drinking perfume. Way too much going on for my liking.

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Profile

Bio

Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m a 30-something software engineer currently living in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two pugs, Gobo and Ume. I tend to cycle between my different hobbies, and they include knitting, video games, board games, miniature painting, bento, baking, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is collecting hobby-related things… ;)

~ 2022 SIPDOWN CHALLENGE! ~
- October Sipdowns: 2
- Total 2022 Sipdowns: 276

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I steep Western style, and fluctuate between using mugs or teapots with small cups depending on the season. Occasionally I’ll brew Gongfu style when I’m in the mood. I’ll also often use a kyusu for Japanese teas.

I am always up for a swap! Just let me know if you’d like to try something in my cupboard.

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms. These days, I drink mostly flavored teas, and I tend to gravitate most toward black, green, oolong, and herbal varieties. I do have a special fondness for straight Japanese green teas, however. I also enjoy maté, rooibos, and honeybush. I love matcha and drink it often! Fruit tisanes are not a favorite, but I’m always willing to try them.

I do not sweeten my teas, and pre-sweetened teas are usually too sweet for me. I also do not enjoy stevia.

Fruit: All of them! My ‘go-to’s tend to be in the red fruits, stonefruit, or citrus spectra. I also really love apple, banana, berry, fig, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially passionfruit, mango, and pineapple. I am not generally a fan of coconut in tea, though there are some exceptions.

Dessert: I love creamy vanilla and marshmallow flavors, along with anything in the caramel family such as butterscotch, toffee, or maple. Chocolate is also a favorite, though I’m often disappointed by it in tea. And don’t forget anything buttery, cakey, or cookie-y!

Floral: I’m a little bit more particular in this category. I very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura, chamomile, and elderflower. Osmanthus is also a favorite of mine. But I’m not crazy about rose or lavender flavors, and I prefer hibiscus in moderation only.

Spices: I don’t generally find myself drawn to masala chai, but I do enjoy spices combined with other flavors. My favorite spices are the warm ones, especially cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and cardamom. A bit of heat from black pepper or chili is okay too, as long as it’s not overwhelming! Ginger can be a lovely accent, but I find it difficult to drink as a starring flavor.

Aromatics: I’m obsessed with Earl Grey! I also love cooling flavors such as mint (especially spearmint), pine, juniper, and eucalyptus. I am not a fan of strong rosemary or sage in tea.

Favorite Companies:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Harney & Sons
Kusmi
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Lupicia
Simpson & Vail
Taiwan Tea Crafts
TeaVivre

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age or scent contamination.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZEuKf1-ppR-VXajO4vV39zU1N3zjFJteEPAynqD2yl0/edit?usp=sharing

Location

Austin, Texas

Website

https://www.instagram.com/tea...

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