Another sample packet I picked up, however my first impression of the concept – marrying berry with Darjeeling – isn’t very hopeful. The smell of the bag is lightly berry-like and pleasant, but steeping brings out the telltale bright red of hibiscus, which tells me to get the sugar ready. I don’t mind the flavor of hibiscus if I know that’s what I’m getting, just need to be ready with sweetener, as I find it really too sour otherwise.

The flavor is indeed really tart, so I’ve added twice as much sugar as I normally would. And it’s still pretty sour. In its defense, it does do a good job of bringing together berry and hibiscus flavors, but I’m having a hard time distinguishing the tea angle, let along something as specific as Darjeeling.

Nice to try, but I won’t be angling for this one again anytime soon.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Grandma introduced me to tea as a kid (lipton with milk and sugar; a bit poured into the saucer to cool it down and then sipped from there), and I’ve never looked back. Still have a slight preference for teas that go well with milk (or even better, cream) and sugar, but since Grandma’s day I’ve branched out to appreciate green and white teas, rooibos and pu erh. Absolutely love Mariage Freres!


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