I’m drawing down my supply of random individual bags so I can focus on the teas I’m more interested in, and this one is on the chopping block today. The description on the package sounds promising, with its blend of Assam, Keemun, Darjeeling, and Ceylon. And I can see bits of leaf in the bag larger than the typical dust and fannings size.

In execution however, it’s less than wonderful. The color is a medium clear brown, and the aroma is light. The taste without additives is really bland; I’m not getting any of the distinctive flavors that I’d usually associate with the individual components used in the blend, but rather a very watered down “tea” flavor. There are vague notes of malt and pepper, but they’re very vague. With cream and sugar it’s tastier, but only because of the cream and sugar and not because it’s bringing out any flavors previously hidden. Disappointing!

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 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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