Mariage Frères

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80

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Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 7 min, 0 sec 7 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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77
drank Tanka Cha by Mariage Frères
13 tasting notes

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Flavors: Fishy, Floral, Iodine, Mineral, Vegetables

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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80

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80

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80

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Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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80
drank Opéra Blue by Mariage Frères
1 tasting notes

A beautiful experience. Heady berry aroma from the dry leaves, which was strong on the first brew and faded with subsequent ones. The tea actually yielded an interesting light blue liquor, which I was not expecting despite the name! A perfect compliment to a sweet shortbread and a quiet evening in.

Flavors: Apple, Floral, Raspberry, Strawberry, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 15 OZ / 450 ML

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60

Just a note right off the bat – this is an unfair review, since I finally got around to opening this baby up almost 2 years after buying it, and I disobeyed my own advice about not burning scented candles while eating/drinking anything. So, this tea is probably too old, and my tasting could be influenced by the scent of the candle that was burning in the room while I drank it. Rather than wait until I could do a completely fair review, I’m forging ahead anyway, since the tea will just get older, and not better, I’m afraid.

I love macarons. Love them. I’ve actually made them myself on a few occasions, and they are VERY difficult to make – that’s how much I love them. But, macarons come in all different kinds of flavors – vanilla, caramel, pistachio, raspberry, chocolate, champagne, you name it. So how can a tea be named “macaron”? What does that even mean? I’ll hazard a guess and say that it just means kind of dessert-y.

Dry leaf and brew smelled faintly like Crunch Berries cereal – I think I may have observed the very same thing about another tea that I reviewed, although I can’t remember which one. But yes, Crunch Berries for sure. No apple to speak of. A bit floral on the finish – but was that from the tea or from the candle? Other than a general faint, sweet fruitiness, with a tinge of floral, that was it. Final impression was, meh. I did have it with milk, maybe that was a mistake. I may have underleafed a little bit, but I don’t think so. Since I have a whole tin of the stuff, I’ll have ample opportunity to try this again, no candles, no milk, more leaves, etc. and if I change my mind about it I can always write another review saying so. Until then, “meh” is the bottom line on this one for me.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70

The review comes a little late. I had tasted this tea at the end of last year during a sensory evaluation exercise at work. It did not really work for me too well. While the tea is not without its own character, it is one that I would recommend.

Flavors: Nutty

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

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60
drank Kimberley by Mariage Frères
287 tasting notes

The description of this tea sounded delicious. Red tea flavored with flowers and fruits from distant land…oh my! It is really good red tea, I’ll give them that. But that all it tastes like. I can’t even really pick up any of the dried flowers that should flavor this tisane.

It is really good red tea, that’s why I am giving it a 60 rating…it’s mellow, not woodsy. But that is all it is. It’s not what it is labeled. It’s a shame…it is a beautiful tea visually when dried, speckled with all types of flowers!!!!

Flavors: Rooibos

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73

GCTTB

I made this as a latte and this is probably a terrible description but at first sip all I could think was “this tastes like the air smells during Christmas time”. Fresh and spicy that reminds you of home cooking with a touch of orange and nut to keep things sweet and rich. It is quite nice actually and yet I feel as I have had this tea many times before. This is very much representative of a standard Noel tea and as lovely as it is to sip on now, it is just not a flavor I reach for often and it just seems I can get this much more easily from another company for a cheaper price. So, even though I wouldn’t turn away another cup, this is not something I will be pining for when its gone. Nonetheless, thank you Shezza for the share!

Evol Ving Ness

Perfect description. Orange and clove. And possibly nut. Not that I’ve tried this tea, but I suspect I know exactly what you are referring to.

VariaTEA

Well, there is still some in the box so hopefully your impressions match mine when (if) you give it a try.

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90
drank Vivaldi by Mariage Frères
2 tasting notes

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Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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100

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Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Honey, Lavender, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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50
drank Poire by Mariage Frères
393 tasting notes

From my sample basket, most likely from Sil.

This most definitely has both a pear scent and taste, but I am not loving it. There’s some sort of bitter unlovable after taste and leaves my tongue with a sort of sickly feeling. Imitation flavours? I don’t know. The tea in general is bringing on both a headache and a tummy upset that I didn’t initially have. Perhaps I used too much dry leaf in making this.

Thank you, Sil, for letting me try this one. For me, it’s a big nope.

Flavors: Pear

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Fjellrev

Oh no, that’s too bad to hear. Hope you were able to quickly recover from the experience!

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks, Fjellrev. Perhaps it is any multitude of things coinciding. I have enough to try the tea another time to see.

Sil

dope. Well at least you get to cross it off the list.

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100

This morning I was fortunate enough to have an hour or two at home to drink tea. I drank this one. Delicious. I tried to stay present with this tea and savour every mouthful, but truthfully, the deliciousness disappeared quite quickly.

CrowKettle

My favourite teas seem to be short-lived too- probably because I chug them :(

teepland

Those kind of moments are few and far-between. Glad you got a chance to enjoy one today!

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100

Last night, I was awakened at 2:30 am by neighbours’ cellphone notifications at the adjoining wall in my bedroom. I was then awakened at 5 am by more ringtones. Girlfriend lost it. Something within me snapped and at 5:20 am, I got dressed and stomped next door and rang their doorbell four times in the middle of the silence of the night. And then I stomped back home.

Even though I felt better for having stomped, I still woke up feeling like hell having had something like three or four hours sleep.

I had a morning medical appointment, so I needed to pull it together. This morning called for a reason for living in a cup. I pulled this out of the Sil bag.

Thanks, Sil, for the share. Just exactly what was needed today to bribe myself into the world.

Sil

My fav vanilla black… all gone now heh

Fjellrev

I hope those idiots will just get it through their heads already, but that’s asking for too much.

I’m glad you treated yourself to something fantastic, though.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks, Sil, for sharing this one with me. I really have been enjoying it. If you are thinking of ordering more, I am in.

Fjellrev, we are making progress. The thing is that they are self-absorbed, mindless about their impact on others, and completely ignorant about the space they inhabit, namely how sound functions and travels in that space. I resent having to find words to educate them and repeatedly, but I am comforted by the fact that they do not appear to be inherently evil.

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100

Divine vanilla malt. Divine. Possibly the slightest bit of toffee too.

I made this to accompany me on a particularly difficult day out in the world. Success! I survived!

Clearly, I need this in my life on a regular basis. I can see why this is your absolute favourite vanilla black.

Thank you for the sample, Sil. If there is a group order list, please count me in.

Flavors: Malt, Toffee, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Inkling

This one’s been on my wish list for ages and now I want it even more! Wish Mariage Freres weren’t so darn expensive, because their teas are absolutely divine!

Evol Ving Ness

I have just been on their site checking just what kind of debt I’d be incurring if I were to place an order. Won’t be happening this month. And probably not next either. In the meantime, I will continue with my favourite Vanilla Black, which I think is pretty darn good: Vanilla Black by Capital Tea Ltd. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do.

Fjellrev

I was JUST browsing MF’s site dreaming about an order the other day haha. This definitely looks amazing and worth the price tag.

Indigobloom

I’ve had one of those days myself. It seems to be going around :/

Sil

Glad you enjoyed it. :) MF teas aren’t that expensive when you do a price comparison against other teas….or at least they weren’t when I was there. It’s really just the shipping that kills it. Or at least that was what always stopped me.

Evol Ving Ness

Yeah, shipping. But seriously, if I were to do the crazy thing and place an order despite the shipping and possibly duty add-ons, this would likely be the tea that took me over the edge.

And girlfriend, what are you doing up at 6 am and browsing steepster? :)

Sil

@evol – i’m up at 5:30am most days haha i always scan here somewhere between waking up and getting to work

Evol Ving Ness

I’m up around 5, thanks to neighbours’ infant. I am hoping though that this will one day end. And you, that’s some dedication to tea. I must admit that tea is a fine motivator for getting out of bed in the first place.

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92
drank Paris Ginza by Mariage Frères
287 tasting notes

Every Mariage Freres tea I drink is always above 90 rating for me. I have no idea what makes their teas so magical, but I can’t stop drinking them.

I got this tea as a sample from my Cultured Cup order. I am very happy they sent it, since it’s a tea I do like. It’s berry and caramelized sugar flavored, and those seem to be the dominant flavors. I has a mixed berry flavor, with strawberry and raspberry being in the mix. It has its own natural sweetness, I found it to be great without any additional sugar. I have only drunk this iced, but I see it being excellent hot, too.

I would consider buying again, but only in 2 oz portion.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Raspberry, Strawberry, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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49

I am grading this harshly because of the legacy of the brand and price range. It smells amazing dry—but the steeped flavor is pretty weak. Maybe it’s my preference for strong tea, but I have to double this (2 tsp for 8oz) and superheat the water. I don’t think I should be cooking the leaves to get some flavor out. Call me crazy but something about the flavor seemed artificial. For $50 a canister, I wouldn’t recommend. There are far better teas out there in this price range. This is Chinese grocery store tea quality. I’ve got nothing against grocery store tea, but this is supposed to be a premium tea.

Flavors: Almond, Artificial

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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99

Pardon me while I sit here and silently weep into my cup.

These are not tears of sadness, rather these are tears of happiness and relief tinged with bittersweet feelings since I know eventually this cup of tea will eventually come to an end. Aptly named, this tea is a work of art. The aroma is intoxicating.

Immediately I am drawn in by the subtle scent of Jasmine, lavender, and vanilla wafting towards me. The liquid is a beautiful pale gold color. I was almost disappointed by the first sip because it felt weak in comparison to the scents engulfing my nose, but then the flavors bloomed on my tongue and I was overjoyed and hooked. Fields of lavender, creamy waves of vanilla, pearls of jasmine, and a hint of citrus in the aftertaste…

It’s complex and delicate and aromatic and everything I could have wanted in a tea. Alas, parting is such sweet sorrow. Time to make another cup

Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Floral, Jasmine, Lavender, Marshmallow, Vanilla

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93

A fantastic tea.

The fragrance is mysterious and dark. Unmistakably Pu-Erh, but the bergamot envelops it in an enticing perfume, lending the aroma to be a very, very deep incense of mosswood and citrus. For fans of standard black Earl Greys, this is a must-try if one is looking for a deepening of one’s interest in the interplay between tea and bergamot.

The Pu-Erh fragrance is strong with the initial brewing, but the citrus undertones all but disappear in the water, initially making me fear that the bergamot had been lost (as is the case with many Earl Greys, which smell strongly of bergamot but have nearly no taste of it in the brew). The water turns into a deep, blackened red liquor, but remains perfectly clear.

One sip, however, allayed my fears. This is a true Earl Grey with no pretense. The bergamot does nothing but support the tea—never claiming credit for itself, and always using its scent to enhance its partner. And the Pu-Erh makes this Earl Grey the “wine” equivalent to a black-tea Earl Grey “grape juice”—oh, the complexity of flavor! A true partnership of smell and taste. A deep relationship between tea and scent.

Every sip gets better, less assertive, more artful. Every re-steep a different member of the same family.

Flavors: Anise, Bergamot, Dark Wood, Moss

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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88

A powerful fragrance fills the air the moment you open the tin, and it gets even more potent once the hot water comes into contact with the leaves. Makes for a very strong first brew—my second steep tasted significantly better once the fragrance learned to “behave” properly and reassess its relationship with the green tea base, which is quite good.

Do not do any more than three re-steeps (I did four at first, experimentally). The scent turns naughty after being re-steeped that many times and becomes reminiscent of fragrant Crayola markers drawing all over wet clay.

I would recommend that you “rinse” the leaves in brewing-temp water for maybe 5-10 seconds to tame the fragrance before brewing. It will mellow out your first cup and allow the scent to dance artfully on your palate instead of trampling all over it.

Overall a very, very good scented tea. Enjoyable—will definitely wow guests as the blend is truly out of this world in terms of uniqueness. Though without rinsing the leaves it might be, for some guests, like a trip down a department store fragrance section located smack dab in the middle of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

If Mariage Freres found a way to tame the fragrance during processing and blending, and bring out the green tea base as more than just a supporting actor in this production, I will consider breaching the 90 mark.

Supplementary first-impression review here:
https://jonguzman.com/blog/2017/1/10/th-vert-marco-polo-455

Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Green Wood, Pineapple, Raspberry

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 251 ML

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65

Having this to warm me up, though I know that it’s too late in the day for it. Brewed western style it is a very dry, astringent tea for a Chinese tea, and I doubt that it will hold up to gong fu brewing. This is a case where the tea’s smell, looks and packaging oversell it. Not a great buy, especially considering the premium price, so I’ll probably allocate it to “in dire need only” corner of my work tea cupboard.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 0 OZ / 2 ML

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93
drank Sakura 2000 by Mariage Frères
3 tasting notes

One of my favored teas. You really can tast the cherry blossoms.

Flavors: Cherry Blossom

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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