Mariage Frères

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89
drank Ruschka by Mariage Frères
1522 tasting notes

In the tin, this smells very bergamot-y, like an Earl Grey. But once steeped it becomes pretty interesting.

Mostly, there’s a really unique coffee note in among the citrus, which mellows out quite a bit with the steep. The tea is brown, maple colored.

It tastes pretty much like it smells, except that the citrus is lighter and less intense. Mostly it creates a freshness in the mouth. The interesting coffee note remains. The tea has just a slight touch of sweetness. This is going to be fun to try again as there is something about it that makes me think it will be a bit of a chameleon depending on food pairings.

Flavors: Citrus, Coffee, Floral

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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71

I don’t get “ripe fruit on a tray” here, but there is something fruity about this. I’m just not sure what kind of fruit.

The smell in the tin is more floral than fruity, but not a floral I can identify, and somewhat spicy. It’s not jasmine, rose , or lily of the valley. Do cornflowers smell, I asked myself? And the first answer that came up on google was “green, earthy, with a subtle peppery note.” Yes, that’s the floral, then, because I was going to say pepper and then went, “nah, that doesn’t make sense for a green tea.” Who knew?

Now for the fruit. After steeping there’s something melony about this. I don’t really get the citrus others did, but I do understand the reference to baby powder. It’s not unpleasant, just weird. I can see lychee, as others have said, but I’m wondering if the fruit I’m smelling is dragonfruit as there’s something kiwi-esque about it. I’m going out on a limb here because I have never smelled, nor tasted, nor even seen the fruit known as Hand of the Buddha, but I’m wondering if that is the citrus others have smelled. It would go with the name.

The tea is golden and fairly clear with particles afloat in it — and it tastes like a melony green tea.

Not my favorite, but interesting.

Flavors: Floral, Melon

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
CrowKettle

It’s been years since I had this one last but I can still vividly remember it’s odd fruity-floral smell. Have you ever had a persimmon?

__Morgana__

I know that I have in the past, but most recently I’ve only had dried persimmons. Do you think this tastes like persimmon? The dried ones aren’t very flavorful.

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91

Happy 4th of July to my U.S. peeps! Today I intend to spend planning our vacation to Italy!!!! I haven’t been to Italy in years. I can’t now remember whether it was the late 80s or early 90s, but now I’m looking forward to going back. No. 2 is quite a sports car aficionado so we’ll be visiting the Ferrari and Lamborghini museums, but otherwise I expect the trip to be similar to the one I took years ago. Though this time I’d like to try to get to Lake Como.

Anyway, it being a holiday, I cracked open a couple of teas. The first, the Art of Tea green pear, was in a tall, tubular tin, so I thought I’d go with that same theme. This is in exactly the same tin design, with the little interior “plug” with a knob on it. Cute.

I had to read up on what this tea is supposed to be because Mariage Freres is nothing if not coy in their descriptions. Spices can mean anything — here it means caramel/creme brulee apparently.

Which is amusing because when I opened the tin I smelled chocolate and rose. After a while, I realized it wasn’t chocolate so much as caramel.

Now, I’m not a custard fan. I don’t do creme brulee, though the BF is a huge proponent of it. It’s a texture thing for me. Still, this is a tea worth having.

The aroma is pastry-like, cream-caramel with rose at the end, and that’s how it tastes, too. The tea is very dark amber and clear.

This is a blend that shows off Mariage Frere’s blending prowess. It’s very well done; the blend is one with all of its elements and with the tea base, which is smooth. It’s sweet without being cloying, and there’s a bit of a coolness in the mouth after the sip, which is pleasant.

I like it better than the last tea I had with something close to this flavor profile, the Leland Bogart. This is not as “dark” a flavor. Rather like the difference between dark roast and medium roast coffee, and I prefer the more medium for this flavor.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cream, Pastries, Rose

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 500 OZ / 14786 ML
mrmopar

Nothing like a Barchetta or a Countach at full song. A delight for the motorhead senses.

Teatotaler

Where did you purchase this tea, Morgana? Caramel, pastries and rose make Fall in Love a must have for me!

__Morgana__

@mrmopar Vroom vroom

@Teatotaler It has been a while so I don’t remember exactly, but I think I ordered it from The Cultured Cup. I just checked their site and they don’t have it now, but it’s available at the Mariage Frères site.

Teatotaler

Thank you, Morgana! :)

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68
drank Birthday Tea by Mariage Frères
1522 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 79 of 2018 (no. 435 total).

It wasn’t my favorite Mariage Freres, so it went pretty quickly into the sipdown pile. I think I’m not huge on flavored darjeelings. I stand by the initial assessment that I’d have liked this better if it had a China black base.

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68
drank Birthday Tea by Mariage Frères
1522 tasting notes

I got this through the Cultured Cup. The packet says it’s India black tea with vanilla and bergamot, which is interesting given the “rare citrus fruits and spices” description here.

In the packet, the smell is strongly bergamot, but in a citrusy way, not a perfumy way. I can also smell vanilla, though it is less.

After steeping, the beramot aroma is very dispersed, and the vanilla more pronounced. The tea is an interesting color: a medium-light amber/copper, which is proof (if any was necessary) that the base is darjeeling.

The sharp, piquant muscatel note that I associate with darjeelings is present, but the vanilla tamps it down nicely. Though if that’s your favorite part of a darjeeling, that’s probably not a good thing.

For me it is, as I like darjeeling flavor but don’t love the sharpness.

I don’t know whether it’s my mood, or the fact that I’ve been using zinc to stave off a cold (maybe it’s true that it does a number on your ability to smell), but my experience of this tea is good but not spectacular. It does have the expert blending of the French thing going on, which would ordinarily send me into a happy place. And it does, just not the happiest of happy places. I might have liked this better with a China black tea base.

Flavors: Bergamot, Muscatel, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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90

I’d heard such good things about Mariage Freres as a brand and about this blend in particular and while I was literally just in Paris less than a week ago, I failed to pick any up before I left. I had to order it when back in the UK and pay the exorbitant shipping prices… but it was all worth it! My order arrived this morning and a cup of French Breakfast was at the top of my agenda.

This is a gorgeous black blend, nice and strong but with some lovely chocolate subtleties without the bitterness that can sometimes come with black tea blends (particularly when oversteeped, which I tend to be guilty of on occasion). This is a great way to get the day started and will definitely be part of my regular tea repertoire.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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74

Sipdown no. 71 (no. 427 total).

Delicious and different as a cold tea. I don’t think I’ve had a cold tea before that was in part rose flavored. I was rather expecting it to taste like a mouth full of perfume but was pleasantly surprised. While the other flavors aren’t individuated enough that I can pick them out in the cold version, but they tamp down the rose and keep it from being soapy.

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74

In the packet, this smells very rosy with a hint of citrus and pepper.

After steeping there’s a more orangey smell. Less rose, but still some pepper. The tea is a clear, medium brown orange.

The flavor is a nice mix of all the scents, heaviest on the rose. It’s not one of my favorites from Mariage Freres, but it’s pleasant. Though I might not put it on a shopping list, I’d drink it again if offered.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Pepper, Rose

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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93

So Steepster already has an entry for this tea but it is broken — it doesn’t display properly in my browser and it also won’t let me post a note. I sent in a support issue note, but it hasn’t been changed in a week, so I gave up and decided to create a new entry — even though coming across multiple entries for the same tea in Steepster makes me all cringy. I know there’s very limited support for Steepster, and that makes me wish there was a way for us contributors to merge double entries and remove broken pages. I’d be happy to take care of this myself.

Interestingly, when I went to create a new entry, I discovered there is a new feature (which is long overdue) that lets you know that there is already an entry for the tea you are trying to add. Fortunately, that was easy to do here as I could simply use the English translation.

This is a wonderful tea. The dry leaves, aroma of the steeped tea, and flavor all have a really wonderful fruit blend flavor that’s primarily cherry and strawberry. It has less depth than some other Mariage Freres blends, or it would get an even higher rating from me. But the fruits are lovely and I could drink this all day.

Flavors: Cherry, Strawberry

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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90
drank Boléro by Mariage Frères
1522 tasting notes

I got this from the Cultured Cup (branded Mariage Freres but using the Cultured Cup label) and the first thing I noticed is the ingredients as listed on the packet don’t line up with what is listed for the entry here.

My packet lists the ingredients as apricot, mango, cornflower, marigold and black tea. Whereas this one doesn’t list apricot or mango, or marigold for that matter.

But oddly, whatever it contains, the aroma and flavor is of apricot, peach and mango. In the packet, the peach and apricot are the stronger of the two scents. That’s true for the aroma of the steeped tea as well, but I also detect some mango around the edges (and not because I’m about to eat some mango yogurt! I haven’t opened it yet). The tea is dark amber in color and clear.

Though it hasn’t bowled Steepster over, I like this one a lot. I’m always on the lookout for a good peach black tea, or a good apricot black tea, and this has both — plus that magical French blended thing going on that makes it easy to drink without thinking too much about any single aspect of the flavor. There are no thudding, wrong notes here.

Flavors: Apricot, Mango, Peach

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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85

Breaking open a new entry into project lapsang sipdown. This will give me a nice variety of three to choose from in the coming months. I expect this project to last through the end of the year, given that I don’t drink black tea except on weekends and holidays and I mostly have a single large cup threshold per day when it comes to lapsang.

I’ve been looking forward to seeing how Mariage Freres does lapsang. And indeed, it’s an interesting contrast to some of the others I’ve tasted recently.

The tea in the tin smells more spicy than smoky. Peppery, really. Which is fascinating.

After steeping, the smell is still not smoky. It’s got a sweetness to it, like a sugary spice bread. I want to say gingerbread, but it isn’t really that. Maybe a spicy banana bread? Weird, I know. The tea is a coppery amber color, a little darker than medium for a black tea. There’s a bit of a haze to the liquor, but it’s translucent.

The flavor is where the smoke is the most noticeable, but as I would have expected from a French tea, it’s not overpowering. It’s a sort of a light smokiness that integrates into the tea in a way that isn’t pasted on. This one doesn’t have the sweetness of some others, not even in the finish or aftertaste. Nor does it scream woodiness, though there is a bit of wood flavor.

My recent lapsangs have all been pleasing to me for their lack of ash, meat, or resin flavors, and this fits that description as well.

I keep harking back to the Kusmi lapsang which has a sweetness I liked in the flavor, and I decided to bump that one up a bit in ratings.

This one is different from the Kusmi in its flavor, but I can taste the quality if you know what I mean. So I’m rating it the same.

Flavors: Baked Bread, banana, Pepper, Smoke, Spicy, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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95

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

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 5 g 180 OZ / 5323 ML

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70

quite a strong flavoured and dark tea. it got a little bit dirt/dust smelling as it was kept for nearly 2 years on my office desk. still great for waking me up whenever i need a strong jolt.

Flavors: Dust, Tannic

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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74
drank Jamaïque by Mariage Frères
347 tasting notes

Sipdown 106/395

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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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72

My daughter just brought this loose leaf tea from Paris. Delicate flavor but smokiness a bit much for me.

Flavors: Ash, Malt, Oak wood, Smoke

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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95

There will never be a lychee flavoured tea as good as this one! This one is truly Haute Couture like Mariage Frères. One of their best teas.

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92
drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
1522 tasting notes

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

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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78

Sipdown no. 62 of 2018 (no. 418 total).

This was the lowest rated black tea in my cupboard with enough to cold brew, so I left it in the fridge for just short of 24 hours.

It makes a tasty if not entirely remarkable black tea. It has a weird saltiness to it that makes it interesting — a little like the saltiness of salted caramel but with a different flavor profile.

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78

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

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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89
drank Apricot by Mariage Frères
1522 tasting notes

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

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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64

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Almond, Rooibos

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100

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