Mariage FrèresEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
fantastic aromatic tea. drinking at as i write this review. i get some berry aroma but for me the first aroma that hits your nostrils is the smell of chocolate as you open the tin. the berry flavours and aroma develops in the cup. drink with warm water only. no milk or sugar please.
Flavors: Chocolate, Raspberry, Strawberry
Another from the EU TTB. I was super excited about this one when I first picked it out, because I’d heard so many good things about it. I remember being really disappointed when I tried it and couldn’t taste any vanilla or rum, so I held onto the last cup of my sample as it never really grabbed me, expecting it to be as lacklustre as the first time. This made it a good candidate to drink while my tastebuds were on strike, though, so I brewed it up and was surprised when I took my first sip and BOOM flavour. I drank the whole cup plain, no additives, and got it all – rum, vanilla, and some dark rich frutiness which was hard to place. I owe you an apology, Mariage Freres; I never should have underestimated you.
When I wrote about the green version of this a while back, I was surprised to find I hadn’t written a note on the black version. I know I’ve had this before, but somehow never wrote about it.
I intend to try this at different temperatures and steeping times given the variety others have used. Starting with boiling for 3:30.
In the tin, I smell cocoa and berries. In the steeped tea, I smell berries and vanilla bean.
The berries I smell are red, rather than black or blue, but as between strawberry and raspberry, I get a bit of a mash up. There’s a sweetness that is very strawberry like, but it’s almost like it’s at a distance, which is very raspberry like.
The tea is a clear, medium-dark amber. I wouldn’t describe it as smooth in the sip, but it doesn’t have a bite, either. The aftertaste is quite smooth, though, with a somewhat silky mouthfeel. It’s got a magical French thing going on with the flavors, which are very like the aroma with the added bonus that they integrate and balance seamlessly with the tea base, which has a depth that gives the tea a lot of character.
It’s got to be one of the best I’ve had from Mariage Freres, so it’s no surprise it’s their signature tea. It’s not the best tea I’ve ever had, but it’s awesome and something I’ll want to keep around.
Flavors: Cocoa, Raspberry, Strawberry, Vanilla
I got this tea through the Cultured Cup, where I placed an order for a number of Mariage Freres teas. I didn’t know who Stephen Pyles was until I found this tea and read about him, but for those who don’t know, he’s an award-winning chef based in Dallas who is known for the “southwest” style.
My guess is that the Cultured Cup commissions custom blends from Mariage Freres, as well as selling some of their standards, because I’ve seen several teas available at the Cultured Cup that bear the Mariage Freres name, but that I haven’t seen on the Mariage Freres site or elsewhere.
In any case, this one smells heavily of bergamot in the packet. After steeping, there’s a dusky vanilla mixed in with the bergamot, along with a baked bread quality in the aroma. The tea is a clear, dark chestnut.
As with most Mariage Freres and indeed most French blends, there’s no clear demarcation between where the flavor ends and the tea begins. The flavors don’t just sit on top of the tea, they meld with it in a very pleasant way.
The bergamot isn’t overpowering in the sip, but it does linger in the aftertaste, moreso than the vanilla.
The only thing that’s missing, and that would make this truly wonderful is more depth to the tea base. With a malty Yunnan base, this would be spectacular.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Vanilla
Surprised that I seem to be the only one who has written about this? I searched under the French spelling too, and nothing came up.
In the packet there’s a juicy apricot smell that’s got a dark, sultry quality to it. The steeped version is less juicy but still apricotty, and also smells like baked bread with a touch of chocolate. The tea is a rather unique russet and clear.
The flavor is much better than the aroma — deeper and with more of the sultry quality of the dry mix. And yes I know that taste is mostly smell, which is why this is surprising to me.
The apricot is a bit sneaky. Though it is obvious from the beginning of the sip, it really blossoms in the mouth from mid-sip to aftertaste, becoming sweeter and juicier as it goes.
With the demise of ATR, I’ve been looking for a good black apricot tea, and this will certainly do.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Chocolate
I love this tea, like I do with most of the tea from Mariage Freres. It steeps really well and has a beautiful, simple, bold taste with plenty of undertones of caramel, chocolate and vanilla.
I’m not normally a fan of chocolate in tea but in this case, the tea is so smooth that it doesn’t get bitterness that sometimes comes with chocolate in tea.
I think the Highland Toffee Tea from David’s Tea would act as a really good dupe for this tea, and since Highland Toffee Tea is one of my favourites, it’s easy to see why I love this one.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Vanilla
This tea is powerful and spicy, like a chai or a glögg tea.
It has flavours of mulled wine, cinnamon, cardamom, almond and other Christmassy things. I love drinking it in the winter time and although it wasn’t my favourite tea from this company to begin with, it’s totally become a fast favourite.
Whenever I open my tea cupboard, I can smell it right away. It’s spicy and sweet and definitely packs a punch. <3
Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Orange Zest
This tea has lots of lovely layers, as most Mariage Freres tea does. It starts off really fruity with hints of raspberry and strawberry, with a touch of sourness, and then it has this really nice caramel finish.
I would be careful how you brew this tea — I don’t like particularly strong tea and find it easy to over brew, but it’s easy enough to rescue with more water and honey.
I really enjoy this tea and would totally recommend it.
Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Raspberry, Strawberry
I thought this might be another in the same vein as Brioche and Almond Biscotti, but after smelling the dry leaves I think it’s a different type of almond. It’s less pastry and more Amaretto.
I find it interesting that The Cultured Cup sells this under the Mariage Freres brand, but it’s not available at the Mariage Freres web site.
But I digress. The steeped tea also smells and tastes like Amaretto, but without the alcohol. The underlying tea blends pretty seamlessly into the almond, to the point where it’s not really discernible as a separate flavor. Admittedly, I have a cold so my taster may be a little off, but I don’t think I’m missing anything here.
It’s an interesting change from the usually pastry flavored almond teas. It’s the sort of thing I might consider having around even if I also had Brioche because they’re so different.
I am puzzled by the fact that it doesn’t appear on the Mariage Freres web site, though.
Anyone have any thoughts on that? Does Mariage Freres have different flavors that they sell to other outlets?
Steeped according to package directions.
I wanted something fruity this morning and it was between this one and another that was more of a red fruit blend. I went with the citrus/tropical ingredients instead.
I bought this before the moratorium on green/black blends, which I believe I’ve since broken in any case. But it seemed to steep just fine with the time and temp listed — no bitterness to the green and enough flavor to the black.
Despite the lack of vanilla in the ingredients, there’s a creamy, vanilla-like smell to both the dry leaves and the steeped tea. The next strongest smell is the fruit, and it’s less a citrus than a stone fruit smell. The peach and apricot seem to predominate, but there’s definitely citrus in there somewhere. More of an orange than anything else I can identify, and in addition to making the rest of the mix smell more interesting, it gives a freshness and tang to the finish and aftertaste.
I’m not sure I can pick out the mango, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there somewhere. No one single flavor jumps out of this mix, which is pretty much characteristic of most French tea blends I’ve enjoyed. It’s truly a blend, where all the ingredients work together to create something that isn’t just a sum of its parts.
This may be why they’re so great with perfumes, too.
Flavors: Apricot, Citrus, Peach
I can’t remember anymore who sent me this, but I’ve put it in my focus box because I have about 5 cups worth and otherwise I will take forever to drink it.
My initial tasting was after I had left it a bit too long (~5 minutes in warm but not hot water). I then diluted it a bit and found the fruity notes shining through. I get a lot of strawberry, jam, dried fruits, fig, and something that is either peach or pomegranate (or both). Lots of interesting fruits, and the black base is quite tasty even now that my cup has cooled. I reccomend this as a latte too. I’ll be trying this coldbrewed soon.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Fig, Fruity, Grenadine, Peach, Strawberry, Tannin
A lot of flower character that is well balanced with the base rooibos notes, plus a bit of caramel and strong fruity characteristics.
The taste is very rich, slightly sweetish, complex. Good alternative to my everyday theine teas.
Flavors: Caramel, Flowers, Jam, Rose
I’ve had this tea for years and never really been that into it. It’s a nice tea, it just doesn’t call to me… except for this morning for some unknown reason. It tasted a little dull plain, but adding creamer makes it much tastier. I get a mix of fruit flavor with a little vanilla on a mild green base. I’d say I’m not that into it, but I seemed to have finished my cup quickly.
It’s the weekend, so I’m trying another green tea I’ve never tried before.
In the tin, this smells spicy, flowery and grassy. It’s supposed to be fruity and there’s that too, but it’s coming across more as spicy.
The liquor is a medium golden yellow, and there’s some particulate matter in it.
The aroma is also fruity and spicy. There’s a bit of perfume, and a little bit of green grass.
The flavor puzzles me some. It seem like vanilla, and maybe strawberry, but it’s also a little spicy. The green tea flavor isn’t really evident. Fortunately, the flavor is less perfumy than the aroma. The aftertaste is pleasant — sweet and refreshing, with just the right amount of subtle flavor still lingering.
All that said, I’m not sure what I really think about this yet. I thought I’d tried the black version a while back, but I can’t find a note about it. It’s possible I couldn’t figure out how I felt about the black version either and so hadn’t recorded a note yet. Which makes me want to try it again.
I want to like this more than I do on a first tasting. We’ll see if it grows on me. It’s not bad, I’m just not in love. Yet.
Flavors: Berry, Floral, Grass, Spices, Vanilla
I got this as a free sample in my Mariage Freres tea purchase. It’s Darjeeling with a kiss of yuzu flavoring. This is my first Darjeeling I have have had that’s flavored. I drank this iced, since I prefer Darjeeling iced. It seems to bring out the muscatel more.
It’s medium level astringent. It brewed to be a deep white wine color. Yuzu is at a very delicate level. I have been brewing most the Mariage Freres teas at 2 minutes, rather than 4 minutes. I like keep the astringency at bay. They recommended 4 minutes for this tea, but I don’t think it would of done well.
I had stopped cracking open new green teas during the holiday break because I had a lot of black teas I wanted to taste — and since I didn’t have to sleep well during the break (though I did, fortunately) I spent a lot of time on them.
But now it’s back to work, and back to green tea sipdowns.
This is a reminder to myself (not that anyone else would be interested) that my current note process is: initial tasting note and sipdown note. In between, I typically don’t write notes unless I’m really moved by something different that happens in the taste of the tea or in a connection I make between the tea and something else in my life or the world at large.
In the initial note, I give detailed impressions of experiencing the tea for the first time. Usually for oolongs I’ll take them through multiple steeps (and if I ever get around to my pu erhs the same will apply). In the sipdown note, I sum up my impressions over the course of experiencing the tea, including whether I intend to buy more.
As a practical matter, I try to time initial tastings for when I have time to write the aforementioned detailed notes, which means weekends or holidays. During the week, I just drink what I’ve already written an initial note on.
Since I drink a lot of green tea during the week, I’d gotten into the habit of cracking open new ones during the weekend so I could write initial notes at my leisure. Resuming that trend now.
In the tin, this has dark scent. Darkly vanilla, with some floral around the edges. It’s a beautiful tea to look at.
The aroma is a perfumey vanilla, like Shalimar perfume. It’s a beany vanilla, which I prefer. There’s a floral note, but for me, anyway, it’s minor. The tea is golden yellow and clear.
The flavor is unexpectedly refreshing for a non-citrus flavored green tea. There’s a freshness in the mouth that must come from the tea itself. My sense is the underlying tea has a grassiness that cuts what might otherwise be cloying aspects of the flavor.
It also has that French thing going for it.
I’m rating it on the high side mostly because I was so pleasantly surprised by what this tea wasn’t.
Flavors: Floral, Vanilla
I really like this tea, although it’s not my favourite from this company.
It is very, very sweet and has a really nice overall taste and palette. It tastes fruity and really reminds me of powdered sugar. It’s not my favourite, as I said, but I still love it because all their teas are really well-made and so this tea doesn’t easily over-brew or over-steep and doesn’t have a super strong taste.
Flavors: Apple, Caramel, Strawberry, Sugar