Why don't you Americans drink European tea?

I’m from South Korea. And we Koreans love to drink luxury European tea like Mariage Frere, Fortnum&Mason, Ronnefeldt. And we also like to drink luxury Singapore TWG tea.

I’m quite surprised for many steepsters don’t drink those tea. It’s hard to see Davids Tea in Korea. It seems Americans have different taste from Koreans/Japanese.

8 Replies
LuckyMe said

We have companies that sell similar teas in North America so maybe its simply because those particular brands aren’t available here? Kind of the same reason why Europeans don’t drink Davids Tea, Todd & Holland, and Rishi, etc.

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A mix of availability and general differences in tastes.

Marriage Freres, for example, is not available physically to be purchased in most places in North America, and is quite expensive to have shipped from Europe to North America.

The North American palate also differs, to some degree, from the European one. For example, NA chocolate is very sweet, dense and creamy – but chocolate in Europe tends to be a bit fruitier. Blueberry is also a good example; North American blueberry is sweeter and juicier than European blueberry flavours, which are a bit more tart. Another really European flavour is the generic “Red Fruit” flavour that you see in a lot of blends from companies such as Marriage Freres/Dammann Freres – that’s a lot less common here in North America.

That’s part of why North American tea companies, such as DT/Rishi/Teavana tend to have quite sweet tea blends that mask the taste of the base tea but European blends are lighter in their flavours and often highlight the base tea.

There’s always exceptions, of course – and there are certainly North Americans that like European tea companies and Europeans that like North American tea companies; but commercially speaking that change in palate definitely plays a part in it.

(Personally I love Marriage Freres/Dammann Freres, but I’ve yet to have something from Fortnum & Mason that I was impressed with).

In terms of tastes, I heard many Americans came from Europe. So theoretically Americans and Europeans have simillar tastes. Isn’t it?

“Came from Europe” sure, but our immigration patterns are not the same from family to family. Some people have recent immigrant family—their parents or grandparents— while others have family that came over the Atlantic Ocean in the 1600s, 1700s or 1800s. The longer you’ve been here, the more you’re just “American.” I’ve never heard anybody describe themselves as “English-American.”

Americans drink lots of British-style black tea. Lipton, Twinings, and Bigelow are common brands to find at the grocery store. It is very rare to see Chinese black tea on the shelf. Chinese green tea is labeled “green tea” and has no further information about location. Japanese green tea is mostly matcha blended with sencha.

Europeans use blackcurrant (cassis) and hazelnut flavors. Americans use concord grape (stronger than muscat) and peanut flavors. There’s chili powder in our food rather than white pepper.

I agree with Gingerbread on all accounts – it certainly doesn’t take that long for taste preferences to change, even one generation back can have VASTLY different preferences…

Adding to the hazelnut/peanut difference – I’d also throw in that almond is arguably a bit more European (think Marzipan/Amaretto) though it’s becoming much more common. I also didn’t realize until fairly recently how distinctly North American the obsession with all thinks “Chocolate Peanut” or “Chocolate Peanut Butter” is…

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I know I personally have always wanted to try the French tea brands like Mariage Frere and Dammann Freres but the fact they only sell in 100g packages (way too big for me) and the shipping prices from Europe to America are outrageous have definitely turned me off from trying them out. If they even offered samplers/smaller packages I’d be more inclined to buckle down on the crazy shipping prices.

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LuckyMe said

I participated in the Dammann Freres group buy on Steepster a couple of years ago and didn’t care for most of their blends. I don’t know if its a European thing, but they tasted way too perfumey for me. Like drinking French perfume. And that’s coming from someone who loves floral tea.

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