Mariage Frères

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drank Black Orchid by Mariage Frères
1707 tasting notes

I’ve fallen behind on my swap teas, so if you’ve sent something and I haven’t mentioned it here yet I promise I’m working through them! This one was a gift from Dustin and one I’ve been wanting to try for a while. It has a strong vanilla flavor and a sort of nuttiness to it. James said it tasted like vanilla but then pickles (??), so I’m pretty glad I’m not picking up on that particular flavor. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite vanilla black, but it’s certainly enjoyable. Thank you, Dustin!

Flavors: Nutty, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Anis by Mariage Frères
1 tasting notes

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drank Amateur by Mariage Frères
1546 tasting notes

I murdered my first cup of this. Forgot I was steeping it for a while and it went super bitter. Dumped it and started fresh and got a very interesting cup. It’s predominantly smoky with light jasmine notes underneath peeking out mostly in the finish. There is something malty in there, which is nice and a little bit of tannins. It’s alright and I hope to get better cups out of it in the future.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
gmathis

I’m glad I’m not the only tea serial killer out there! ;)

Dustin

I need to put my tea timer in my pocket instead of walking away from it thinking my internal timer will do!

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drank Smoky Earl Grey by Mariage Frères
1546 tasting notes

Mariage Freres says to steep this for 5 minutes! Seemed a little excessive, but I did it anyways and I think I’d like to dial back the time on the next cup. This is very smoky. I like smoky, but I was expecting something more subtle that allowed the bergamot flavor to come through. It was all smoke until a third or half the way through the cup, then the berg started showing a little. There is a nice malty base that I could taste through the smoke. This cup wasn’t terrible, but I feel like I could get a much better cup by adjusting the steeping parameters.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Jasmin Mandarin by Mariage Frères
1219 tasting notes

From a bakery in Tiburon called Sweet Things. Brewed with entirely way too hot water, ouch!

The tea, once cooled enough to sip, was perfect for the day. The jasmine was natural and allowed the flavor of the tea to come through – fruity, buttery and soft. There was a little bitterness due to the near-boiling water used. The tea was not at all diluted with one sachet to a 12oz paper cup.

I realized I’m missing a jasmine tea from my cupboard. This won’t be the one that finds it way in, but it is a good tea to have when out and about.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you for that Mill Valley snippet. It totally took me into another quite different space as I lie here under a faux fur throw warming my icicle toes.

I forget about jasmine teas and then I have one and am reminded how good a good one can be. Yes, I love them, both green and black.

gmathis

What a beautiful snapshot! Thank you!

ashmanra

Thank you for the mini vacation!

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Last of the MF advent blends. Kind of a creamsicle thing happening. A bit grassy. Meh.

Cameron B.

Mmm grassy creamsicle, lol.

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A mild EG. Not super thrilled by it.

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drank Locombia Colombia by Mariage Frères
1546 tasting notes

Advent Day 5

Last day/tea to catch up on. I keep reading the description and try to taste the intended pomegranate and pineapple, but I mostly get plum. It’s surprisingly nice and flavorful after all the other plain teas in the advent. It’s gotten a little tangy in the finish in that oversteeped green sort of way now that it has cooled, something I didn’t notice while it was hot. It’s very smooth on the sip with the fruit flavor though. I can smell pineapple now that it cooled and I almost think I can taste it before my brain flips back to plum. It’s a nice tea, not something I’d seek out again though.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Advent Day 18

Another meh for me. Smells kind of weird.

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Advent Day 16

This tastes like a straight green tea. Is this even flavored? Meh- don’t like.

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Advent Day 25

Kind of fruity, kind of biscuity.

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drank Tokyo in Love by Mariage Frères
1546 tasting notes

Advent Day 12
I missed two days in this advent and am catching up now. Of course one of the missed days was a blue tea! I finally took MF’s advice and steeped this for a full 5 minutes. This tastes like perfumy cherry blossoms. Very delicate, light and airy. There is a slight sweet feeling to it that is almost taste with a light fruitiness behind it. At the end of the finish there is a flash of savory. Or maybe that’s my breakfast sausage lingering? Who knows! I like this one better than most of the other blue teas, but I’m really over the entire blue tea with ethereal flavors thing.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec
CrowKettle

I don’t think there’s much tea leaf in the tea bag, and it’s weirdly light (ethereal!) even for an oolong, so I started doing this near the end too!

Dustin

I think the peaflowers take up a bit of space in the bags. The Milky Blue Absolu leaves unfurled significantly when released from the bag, but it didn’t have a bunch of other ingredients like the peaflowers in it.

CrowKettle

Yeah, the Milky Blue was alright! Also, another reason to be resentful of the peaflowers..

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drank Noël Rhapsody by Mariage Frères
1546 tasting notes

Advent Day 25

I always panic when a tea steeps up bright pink. Lucky for me it’s more beetroot and not hibiscus. I don’t understand these steeping parameters that MF gives. 5 minutes for a white tea? I don’t doubt that they are tea masters, but it’s hard for me to take that leap of faith and steep a white for so long. I did a 3m steep instead. At first this tea was a muddle of mineraly flavors. I walked away from the cup to witness the festivities of the tiny roommates opening Xmas gifts and came back to a cold cup. I think I like it better this way! The mineraly flavors have diluted into a fruity flavor. The finish is almost fruity candy like, but I couldn’t say what fruit. I’d have preferred a good hearty black to get me through the holiday, but I’m grateful that this tea isn’t blue! LOL!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
CrowKettle

I liked my cold cup more too!

Enjoy the festivities! May black tea be more abundant for all of us in 2022 :)

Dustin

Cheers to that! More black tea!!!

Evol Ving Ness

Hear, hear for the black teas!

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Mariage Frères Advent 2021 – Day 25

Merry Christmas! I may have slightly oversteeped this one, because it’s somewhat dry and bitter to start (bitterness dissipated as it cooled). It does taste like sweet crumbly bread (brioche), with a dash of that MF fruit perfume, and I think it’s pretty tasty, if an odd choice for Noël. Who looks at white tea and says “I’m going to make you taste like sweet buns”? Mariage Frères does. This is also the second time this year an advent tea’s made me crave Maxim’s Bakery; want is turning into a dire need.

Steep Count: 2 – Now it tastes convincingly like a sweet hot cross bun to my palate (I swear there’s even a touch of cinnamon and the suggestion of butter, thanks brain), with distinctive fruity bits. The nose is raspberry/red berry jam, which is a favourite. Finally, a Rhapsody I like! (My mom only gets “fruity white tea” so the hot cross bun is probably me being special again.. but I’m happy so not questioning it lol).

Final Advent Tea Tally!
5 White (4 “Rhapsody”); 6 Green; 8 Oolong (5 “In Love”); 6 Black.

Last thoughts: Yes, I wish the teas were more diverse (ie – less “bleu gimmick”), and with loose leaf – but, despite all my complaints and teasing, I had a lot of fun overall. It showcased many teas I’d never pick out myself (and will continue to never pick out). I’m going to miss that distinctive Mariage Frères aroma too. My favourite category turned out to be the green teas, which is not what I’d have predicted. There’s about three teas I’d consider “spending more time with” too.

Flavors: Berries, Bread, Candy, Fruity, Raspberry, Red Fruits, Smooth, Spices, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Cameron B.

Merry Christmas! Now I’m thinking I really should’ve put my thoughts on each advent in my day 24 notes as well… Oops!

Evol Ving Ness

Wow. This green tea reveal is rather shocking.

CrowKettle

@Cameron B. I only felt compelled to do it for MF lol. Although I still have one straggler for DF I need to get caught up on.. XD

Martin Bednář

Merry Christmas!

CrowKettle

Yeah, it surprised me too! I’m pretty sure the oolong base was the same for the most part, and I didn’t love it even when I enjoyed the flavouring. The White tea was a mixed bag (I know I like MF’s rose now though). So there went my usual favourite categories. The black tea included a coffee tea, which automatically disqualifies it from my consideration (it was an interesting spread though) :P

Although a lot of the green tea was paired with fruit, the fruits were usually different enough (Yuzu, Pineapple, MF Berry), and so were the base styles (Kukicha, Colombian green, “gabacha”). I already know I like “Marco Polo”, and “vert” was same. Ditto with “Buddha Bleu” (which isn’t blue at all, thankfully). The only one that was super disappointing was “fantome”..

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, the green assortment sounds tempting. I hope they do something with rest to make it more appealing.

I am unlikely to splurge on the over the top delivery fees unless the calendar is more of a sure thing, like at least 75% delightful and interesting.

How would you rate the Df calendar?

CrowKettle

It’s also that niggling knowledge that MF has some neat black teas that aren’t fully on display here. The teas they went for seem to be for a “softer” palate (like the tea equivalent to baby mush). I don’t know if I’d do their calendar next year, but I’d be tempted to take a plunge on some random 100g once I run out of Thé de Lune.

CrowKettle

DF – while I don’t typically prefer “Christmas blends,” I thought a lot of them were well done, or at least interesting. DF had stronger flavouring than MF’s by a long shot, and I think they were also more generous with their tea bag leafing. I wish THEY had included more of their oolong blends though; otherwise the selection was relatively varied. :P

I felt DF made up for the lack of festive “punchy” teas in MF, and MF made sure I always had a caffeinated option.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks for your perspective on this. All in all, it seems that MF could do better. And DF could pick up the case with the caffeine.

derk

Merry Christmas :)

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drank Noël In Love by Mariage Frères
1546 tasting notes

Advent Day 24

No. NO! No, Noel! I do not consent to more blue tea! I feel blue up to my eyeballs like I’m in Dune or something. This doesn’t even have the spice to be interesting. I can taste a hint of mint with a muddled tea base with a bitter bit in the finish. It’s supposed to be hazelnut, citrus and candied fruit, but I get none of that. These blue teas all taste the same to me, a confusion of muddled indistinct flavors. I don’t even know how many days in this advent have been blue teas, but I’m tempted to open the last day right now so I don’t have to dread the very last day being blue or not.

Grumbles in blue *
Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec
CrowKettle

(Cackles insanely in blue)

I didn’t get hazelnut or anything until my second cup from the pot and then it was like oh, that’s what the flavouring’s supposed to be. It was weird. my brain wants to lump all the blue together at this point.

I’m also willing to gamble that tomorrow is “Noel Rhapsody.” the other guest that outstayed their welcome. I hope I’m wrong but…

tea-sipper

aw man, what a weird advent. I’m sorry it was so disappointing for you.

Dustin

It WAS really weird! It was still fun, but I definitely didn’t expect it to be so blue heavy! I hope they do one next year with all their classics.

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drank Noël In Love by Mariage Frères
1230 tasting notes

Mariage Frères Advent 2021 – Day 24

I knew it was coming, but does that lessen the impact?

Citrus hazelnut is an odd thing to put on a oolong that steeps blue-green, but here it is. It’s not bad but still quite gentle; it’s not as fruity as other advent days and I count that as a silver lining (I like fruity but I also like variation). I can also taste the smooth, almost creamy, vegetal base here and wish the oolong they use had a bit more “oompf” to it. I’d score it higher than most of the other “IN LOVE” series though. Not a bad Christmas Eve tea!

Have a good evening, everyone! :)

Flavors: Citrus, Cream, Hazelnut, Smooth, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 45 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Blue. Why do they torment people? Seriously, they need to offer refunds for this abomination.

CrowKettle

I don’t know why :|

I wish they’d chosen to showcase less of this series. I’d of been ok with two of them? The “Earl in Love” was kind of neat.

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Mariage Frères Advent 2021 – Day 23

It’s flippin’ blue! Again! (arrrrrrrrrrrrgg….)

We’ve reached at least this level of blue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KK6sMo8NBY

The only flavour in this blend is the ghosts of citruses past. Ok, maybe I get the afterimage of grapefruit ginger over time. It’s faint. Very faint. Doesn’t the fantome de l’opera have a killer voice? The tea isn’t offensive but it’s not as dynamic or bright as I’d like either. DF has lush citrus flavouring and I’m sadly comparing.

Flavors: Citrus, Ginger, Grapefruit, Smooth

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Martin Bednář

I have been expecting this level of blue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68ugkg9RePc

CrowKettle

I almost included that song too. It’s also mood perfect :P

Mastress Alita

Hahaha, Martin, that is exactly what first came to my mind, too!

Mastress Alita

Can you just imagine if the worst parts of the advents got together to make one extremely groan-worthy tea? I’m imagining one of these French green base butterfly pea flower blue teas covered in the gold luster dust… shudders

CrowKettle

Nooooooo!!!! That’s the worst. Falls under the category “it’s so bad it’s good again.”

Roswell Strange

I feel like you guys got more blue teas than I did doing this advent last year. I remember soooo many of the blue ones were oolong teas and feeling like someone in their R&D department must have though they were so clever for making ‘blue tea’ (another name for oolong tea) that actually steeped blue. Bad tea puns.

CrowKettle

Right?! Someone thought they were punny and got carried away. It is a neat effect. In moderation.

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Advent Day 23

What a dirty rotten trick! Took this tea out and noticed the name didn’t contain any “In Love” in it, it’s labeled as a green and smelled slightly savory. Not a black, but at least it isn’t ANOTHER peaflower tea. Joke is on me! It steeped up blue! It’s peaflower in disguise! Is that what the name was about? Masking and hiding it’s true nature?
This tea is really light on the flavors. It tastes like a green tea with old ginger and orange peel. Like preserved orange peel, not a bright bold vibrant orange. Same with the ginger… or maybe it’s ginseng? I can’t tell. The blue teas reflect my mood about this advent all together, it leaves me feeling blue. It’s almost comical how blue tea heavy this advent is!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Martin Bednář

Fantome de L’Opera is actually a novel:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_of_the_Opera

My friend have seen a theatre play and says it is awesome, but that’s all I know about it.

Evol Ving Ness

They could’ve thrown in some glitter for a change.

CrowKettle

lol, glittery Fantome.. It would be a twist on the tried and true ending at this point..

Your reaction to the blue mirrors my reaction when I saw my steeped cup. Whhhhhyyy.

Dustin

I’ve never read the novel, but I did see the play and didn’t enjoy or get it at all… much like this tea!
Blue glitter perhaps? It could be like a fancy bathbomb turning the water blue and glittery.

Evol Ving Ness

And who wants to drink that? Gah.

CrowKettle

Maybe if the tea is called Rainbow Dash & Twilight Sparkle’s Fun Bash Tea… I’d drink (once)! :P

I only ever heard the musical soundtrack. The book’s on my longlist.

Dustin

My mind steers towards the name “Magic Pony Vomit” for a tea like that which makes me think of the time a tiny roommate of mine got car sick after eating a red and blue shaved ice! All we needed was glitter to make the disaster complete!

CrowKettle

Oh, man… lol. “Magic Pony Vomit” is such a great name though. There was a tisane from David’sTea we nicknamed “Unicorn Vomit” (ie – Unicorn Dreams); I think it steeped purple-pink but don’t remember if it sparkled.. The concept exists!

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drank Black Léopard by Mariage Frères
1546 tasting notes

Advent Day 22

I’m thrilled to be trying another black tea! This one smells smoky. I was drinking it while eating breakfast and my food totally drowned out the flavor of the tea. When I was able to taste it again it didn’t seem as smoky, but had a smooth flavor. I had to dash off for the day and am now retuning to the last few sips left all day in my cup. There is a light fruitiness to it with just a hint of smoke. It’s still smooth and doesn’t have a hint of bitterness. It’s very nice and I’d like to drink it again someday.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
CrowKettle

How does this one compare to Smoky Nara? MF name drops tonka bean notes for both of these and I still haven’t tried tonka :)

Dustin

The Smoky Nara is MUCH heavier on the smoke with a leathery taste and slight umami, almost seaweed like in miso soup. I was sad to realize the tonka was notes and not actual flavoring in the tea, but I can pick out the notes. I like Nara way better than this tea. It’s so much more flavorful and complex.

CrowKettle

Interesting! I don’t always like leather or heavy smoke notes, but definitely want to see something “punchier” from MF after this advent.

Dustin

This advent was not the impression I expected to have from MF. They have teas with more solid flavors, but only a couple seemed to make it into this selection which showed more of their newer blends, not the tried and true classics. Casablanca is a really nice Moroccan mint that is excellent cold steeped on a hot day. They have a very good jasmine mandarin tea. French Breakfast was good, their French EG is pretty solid which I unexpectedly went through rapidly. It took a while for me to warm up to Black Orchid, but once I did no other vanilla tea compared.

CrowKettle

I felt similarly about the bold and well-balanced flavouring of Thé de Lune, the one tea I purchased alongside the advent. I wish I’d taken a chance and bought others, since the advent didn’t deliver, but I wrongly assumed quintessential teas like Thé de Lune or Chandernagor would be included anyways. :|

Dustin

It’s so hard to take a chance with MF when their minimum is 100g. You could have ended up with several 100g bags of tea like the peaflower line and that would have been a huge disappointment!

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Advent Day 22

A perfectly nice smoky black tea. Another welcome break from the fruity blue blends.

CrowKettle

May the fruity blue-dyed oolong teas not return for the remaining few days D:

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Mariage Frères Advent 2021 – Day 22

Mmm… this is a fine smoked tea. Besides the delicious smoky malt flavours, it also contains some caramelized fruit and vanilla-esque notes. Dates is an accurate descriptor. I wonder if I added milk if this would taste like a smoked date milkshake (out of every kind of milk atm, so it’s not happening). So tasty. I’d be tempted to get more of this.

My tea bag tag says this is “gently smoked over guava leaves.” Interesting.

My mom can’t drink this one; smoked teas are her “nope”. More for me!

Flavors: Dates, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Roasted, Smoke, Smooth, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Dustin

What a peculiar thing for them to decide to smoke this tea with!

CrowKettle

Yeah, it’s neat! I’m glad they included this one :)

Evol Ving Ness

Ah yes, my Thyolo Malawi tea from Tea Rebellion is also smoked over guava leaves. Quite delicious. This sounds good too.

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Mariage Frères Advent 2021 – Day 21

Happy Solstice!!

I thought I smelled a Milk Oolong in here (yes, I sniffed my advent to try to “sneak peak” what it included)! So, this is the only oolong I want to see from MF at this point of the calendar. Its established, classic taste is one I never fail to enjoy – regardless of quality. I opened up the sachet and it contains some broken leaf but that’s par for the course with tea baggies. No big whoop. Still tasty.

Silky, buttery, vegetal, mineral, and vaguely sweet in a way that could be partially accounted for by MF fruit flavouring cross contamination – this cup satisfies in a way the other oolong teas in this advent did not. Happy to see such a tea!

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Butter, Milk, Mineral, Smooth, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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72

Advent Day 21

Was also slightly annoyed when I saw blue in the name, but was pleasantly surprised to see no blue upon steeping. This is just a flavored milk oolong, with the milk flavoring very present and intense. I enjoy milk oolongs, so this was a welcome break from the fruity blue blends.

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