Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea
Chocolate, Sweet, Vanilla, Raspberry, Cream, Strawberry, Fruity, Red Fruits, Smooth, Caramel, Creamy, Berries, Flowers, Jam, Tart, Malt
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Bulk, Loose Leaf, Sachet
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Edit tea info Last updated by Sivasubramanian
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec 35 oz / 1027 ml

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258 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Yesterday’s sprinkles gave way to real rain. You can just feel the tired old earth around me go “ahhhhhh.” I woke up craving this. I must have needed an “ahhhh” too. This is lovely and fruity (love...” Read full tasting note
  • “SIPDOWN! I loved this when I first got it, but I did find it to be finicky – finicky, but worth it. As long as I keep the temp around 203F and the time around three minutes this is great. Hubby...” Read full tasting note
  • “It’s been forever since I’ve had this tea. But not because I don’t love it. It’s actually the opposite – I adore this tea so much that I haven’t been able to force myself to open the new tin of...” Read full tasting note
  • “Sipdown! Had a small cup of this before tucking the rest ofth is away For cavocorax :) while I enjoy this one, it’s not my favourite of the MF teas that I’ve had the pleasure of trying.” Read full tasting note

From Mariage Frères

Mariage Frères’ most famous secret is this mysterious blend that takes you to distant lands and strange countries. The aroma of Chinese and Tibetan flowers and fruit lend it a uniquely velvety taste. Its extraordinary bouquet makes Marco Polo the most legendary of flavoured teas.

Succès incontesté de la Maison Mariage Frères, ce mélange secret vous fera voyager dans les plus lointaines et mystérieuses contrées. Les senteurs de fleurs et de fruits de Chine et du Tibet lui confèrent un arôme velouté unique. Un bouquet extraordinaire pour le plus mythique des thés parfumés.

About Mariage Frères View company

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258 Tasting Notes

187 tasting notes

Happy New Year, Steepsters!

So, I said that my first tea of the new year would be Marco Polo by Mariage Freres, and I lived up to my word. takgoti sent me some in her amazing box of wonders, and I’ve been dying to try it since I first smelled it. I don’t know how she held out for so long.

Let me tell you, this has to be the most delicious smelling tea I’ve ever stuck my nose in. Seriously, amazingly delicious-smelling. Sweet strawberries bursting with a juicy and full aroma, layered with creamy vanilla and subtle hints of black tea. It is an experience for the nose, let me tell you. Once you smell this, you may never come up for air again. Unless it smells like Marco Polo, that is.

So I dumped this in the pot, nearly jumping up and down with excitement. The leaves are fairly small, although there are some wiry pieces mixed in, and each single leaf has the intoxicating aroma I’ve been describing. How do I know this? I picked one up and took a big sniff. Yep. Marco Polo.

The tea juice that arrived in my cup on the pour was rich and decadent smelling. The wet leaves smelled very similar to the infusion, so I’ll just skip that. A lighter version of the dry scent, with the vanilla battling the strawberry-ish tones in a symphony of amazing. First sip… and I’m happy surprised! No, this tea does not taste as it smells. But would you want it to? That’d probably be ridiculously cloying and overwhelming.

The taste is a rich, slightly bitter and astringent black tea, layered with a hint of creaminess (without the taste of vanilla). There’s a bit of a floral soapiness. And I mean this in the best way possible, although that sounds a bit bizarre now that I’ve typed it out. Unless there was soap in my cup/IngenuiTEA, which would then be pretty interesting. Then the tea opens up in pure berry goodness. It’s not a strong, domineering flavor, so if you’re expecting to be assaulted by berry, then you’re thinking of the wrong tea. It’s almost entirely in the aftertaste, a sweet-tart combination of strawberry-ish bliss. Very full and red and rich. It’s a sweetness and specifically strawberry taste that lingers on the tongue long after you’ve swallowed.

I definitely did hit the temperature point that takgoti mentioned. There’s this magical point when the berry comes to the forefront of the cup. It doesn’t last for very long, but it does indicate that there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface than what you first might think.

This tea tastes distinctly French. I have no idea why. It just does. And it’s completely a tea for the senses. You should be smelling and sniffing this as much as you’re tasting it and allowing it to roll around on your tongue. I highly recommend that you aerate the tea on your tongue. Slurp some sips, that way the full body can be tasted. Sort of like what you do with wine.

I finished this about 5 minutes ago and the sweet berry and cream components are still lingering in my mouth, in a wonderful fashion.

Yes, Mariage Freres is expensive, but it’s so worth it. One of the better flavored teas I’ve experienced!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

What am I missing here? Is it just because black teas aren’t my preference?


Great review. I just love your writing! My experience was just like your experience with it. I have ordered the Mariage Freres tea called Eros and will review it when it arrives.


Thanks, Doulton! This one is absolutely delicious. I love that you can actually taste the black tea! All too often flavored teas have weak bases. This one tasted like tea, and that’s what I loved about it!


Yay! I always get a little worried when I get so hyped up for something. Part of me was scared that you would hate it. I don’t know why. So glad you enjoyed it!

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358 tasting notes

I think that I’ve been waiting to try this tea since forever, so thank you to Mercuryhime for this sample! The teabag version of this tea is in a cute little muslin sachet. It smells simply of sweet fruit, probably mostly of strawberry. The flavor is malty and fruity, with a fresh berry aftertaste. I completely agree that this tea tastes just like strawberries and cream, and it even has a creamy mouthfeel. It is really well blended, nice and strong black tea but with the perfect amount of flavor. I will definitely be picking some of this one up the next time I go to Chapel Hill!

-Muslin tea sachet with string.
-Teabag smells like sweet fruit. Tea liquor aroma is of strawberries and cream.
-Tea liquor is a cloudy dark brown color.
-Malty and fruity flavor and finish. Fresh berry aftertaste. Creamy mouthfeel.
-Best with milk and sweetener.
-Very good tea. Fresh strawberries and cream flavor.

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Have you tried Anna’s Blend from Tin Roof Teas? I was drinking Marco Polo but sometimes had trouble getting it just right. I think you would like it if you like Marco Polo.

Josie Jade

Yes, but I didn’t like Anna’s! It seemed to have too much of a sourcream/yogurty note to it, while this is all sweet cream. Or at least it is to me, anyways. :)


It is a cute tea bag isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Josie Jade

Yes, it is SO cute! :)


You are right about the flavor. There is definitely the tang of yogurt there, but I like it! I like this one, too, when I get it right! :)


Oh, Williams Sonoma also used to sell it, so you may want to check there if you are close to be before you go to Chapel Hill. Marco Polo, that is!

Josie Jade

Oh yay, we have a WS here. I’ll have to see if they carry it. Thanks for the tip!

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1777 tasting notes

I gave this one a much shorter brew time yesterday, and was rewarded with a much more distinctive strawberries and cream flavour. I’d got used to the slightly bitter, slightly fake tasting strawberry, I think, so this cup actually came as a pleasant surprise! Who’d have thought that rushing held the key? This one can be finicky, but I’m happy that I’ve now found a way around that!

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

Thanks! I’m going to give these parameters a try!

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303 tasting notes

I already wrote a tasting note for the green Marco Polo, which can be found here: http://steepster.com/clareborn/posts/189598.

Just like I emphasized there, I tend to pick out teas going on scent alone. That, in its turn, means I rarely, if ever, read others’ reviews or tasting notes before logging my own impressions. This is yet another exception to that rule, which creates some confusion, simply because… I really expected over-the-top, ripe, strawberry. And for me, there is absolutely not a single hint of strawberry to be found here.

The black tea has some of the same booziness as the green, but it lacks the autumnal ripeness that is so present in that one; it’s less tipsy and more elegant, and with a far stronger note of smooth vanilla in the aftertaste.

I enjoy it, but Pleine Lune and Wedding Impérial still rule my cupboard in terms of Mariage Frères blacks. I’m going to go with Sil’s suggestion and try this as a cold brew next time.

[Surreptitiously acquired from Mariage Frères in London, August 2013.]

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I only like this one at boiling and for a mere three minutes. Otherwise it is too bitter for me. I hope you have enough to experiment with!


Sorry, this one I steep just below the boil.


I’ll have to have some soon and think on it…somehow I’ve missed booziness ;) (Don’t you just love Steepster adjectives?)


Anna, have you tried Anna’s Blend? I am pretty sure it is from TeaGeschwendner. I buy it at a tea shop near my daughter and it is similar, but with a yogurt tang to it. It is really lovely, and more forgiving of uncertain times and temps.

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658 tasting notes

So, yesterday was a trip to Stratford that involved great theatre but also a lot of money in gas, a pair of shoes I don’t really need, and taking advantage of the rare opportunity to buy this tea even though I really, really don’t need to be paying $18.50 for 100g of tea. But, I have to think it was worth it. The pretty black tin helped me wake up this morning, looking forward to making it to take to work. Unfortunately the lid for the steeping basket of my Breville has gone missing (seriously, how far could it have got?) so I didn’t have it pre-set to be ready for me, and I ended up running late (as per usual) so this suffered a bit from a too-short steeping time. Still a deliciously delicate balance of fruit and floral.


It is worth it… :) repeat after me.


In high school, I participated in an annual golf tournament near Stratford. I always wanted to go there, but never got the opportunity to get there as an adult. I’ve heard the theater is fantastic!


teawing, thanks for the support! I did accept it was worth it with my second cup.

QuiltGuppy, Stratford is wonderful! The theatre festival is really remarkable and there are also a lot of lovely shops. Going there to see a Shakespeare production each year was part of my school’s curriculum and I definitely didn’t appreciate it enough at the time. I saw Jesus Christ Superstar this time and a while after buying the tickets I saw Andrew Lloyd Webber himself on CNN praising this production! Pretty cool. If you ever get another chance do visit. There’s a great tea shop!


Pretty jealous of your Stratford trip, being a canadian theatre gal :D
I have some TO friends so I def want to go to see some of the best theatre in Canada at Stratford some day. [Christopher Plummer stole my heart]!
Now I have a second reason to go, an awesome tea shop! :D


Do! It’s such a nice day trip from Toronto (it’s even nicer to stay the night and see something else the next day, but y’know, budget). The Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake is also great. And there are lovely tea shops there, too. Tea + theatre are just meant to be!


I hope I can one day. We live about midway between Port Huron (Sarnia across the bridge) and Detroit (Windsor across the bridge/tunnel.) If we go, I’ll be on the lookout for some fab tea shops! I’d love to have a weekend there. I’ll have to add it to my wish list.

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227 tasting notes

A sweet fragrance of vanilla and strawberries rises from this enticing reddish brown brew. The taste carries the strawberries and cream through, though there is additionally a strong black tea underneath with some bitterness and astringency. The sweet taste lingers in the mouth like good cream. From sniffing the dry leaves I’d thought it might be too powerfully sweet for a morning tea and might be better in the afternoon, but the strong tea is a good enough contrast and the sweetness is subtle enough that this is not an issue.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

This is one that’s on my to-buy list. Glad you enjoyed it, Carolyn!


I found it at the Williams-Sonoma Outlet store. I was suprised as I didn’t expect to be able to find this tea at all.


I’ve seen it at Williams-Sonoma and Dean + Deluca, but I just haven’t had enough information on Mariage Freres at all to make an educated guess as to what to buy!

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615 tasting notes

With the teabox done, I can get back to burning through samples, so yay to that!

I got samples of this one from both momo and Shelley_Lorraine (Thanks, both of you!)

While I can recognize this is a really well constructed tea, and it’s balanced insanely well, it doesn’t blow me away quite as much as it seems to have for other people. I hate feeling like a contrarian, but I think the reviews had me expecting liquid ambrosia, and it didn’t quite live up.

This is a really nice lightly flavored floral strawberry tea, though. I get way more in the way of vanilla and unpinpointable floral than I do strawberry through. I let the tea cool some as well, to see if I could coax out some more strawberry, but it really just ramped up the vanilla even more.

I’m glad I have a little more to play with and figure out if was that cup or I’m just not feeling this one like I thought I would.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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176 tasting notes

I received this in my fabulous takgoti box a while back (thank you again, wherever you may be). I’m always apprehensive when a description isn’t provided on Steepster of what the tea is supposed to taste like. Not because I want to be biased, just because I’d like a little warning. I have to be in a certain mind-set for cinnamon teas, for example. When I sniffed this cup of tea, I smelled berry, which was reassuring. I really like berry teas, especially when they’re a black base, as this is.

And this is extremely delicious. The first part of the sip is sweet and creamy, and as you’re swallowing, you get a hint of tartness that makes your mouth water and your tongue tingle. Fantastic. The tartness lingers for a really long time, with tiny strawberries exploding onto your tongue every once in a while. I’ll definitely be adding a tin of this to my cupboard come winter. Thank you, takgoti!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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792 tasting notes

After having this around for a little over three years I finally polished off the can today.

In hindsight Marco Polo was on the inconsistent and finicky end of the tea spectrum, but darn if this last cup isn’t delicious. If it always mostly tasted like this it would’ve been an instant repurchase, despite the expenses. It’s smooth and delicious-smelling, a bit like Black Forest cake.

Flavors: Berries, Caramel

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

It’s totally inconsistent. /sadness/ But so good when it works! Glad it went out like that!

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432 tasting notes

Backlogged….What a great find this one happened to be. My neighborhood is having a village wide garage sale and to my surprise I found 4 different teas, never been opened by Mariage Freres for just 50 cents each. I could hardy contain myself. As it turns out the wife bought these tins to display the tins and not for the tea itself and then never did anything with them so I was the lucky one who got to drink them and this is 1 of 4.

It is a delicious tea with clean fruit and floral flavors. It tasted wonderfully balanced hot and as it cooled off I can tell it would be yummy iced but I will have to make it officially to be sure.

What a great find so glad I went.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Score! :D


oh wow. that is QUITE a find.


SO jealous!

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

It was awesome…tomorrow is the last day of the garage sale think I am go back on the hunt again.


I’m seconding the SO jealous!


Wow, lucky find. I’m jealous!

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