Mariage Frères

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I believe this is the tea I have from Sil, originally from Ysaurella, but it’s possible I read the name incorrectly… anyhow, it’s a green, and I’m sad to say it wasn’t very good. Very bland and tasted like older tea. Which, of course, it is. I’ll give it another shot in case I brewed it poorly, though, as I seem to be doing that a fair bit lately.

Thanks, both, for the chance to try it, though!

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drank Nil Noir by Mariage Frères
312 tasting notes

Thank you Cameron B.!

Refreshing and light-bodied tea with citrus notes, stonefruits, fruity… Not in your face type of tea. Really well balanced. Slightly malty to make it more satisfying. It’s also perfectly sweeetened with honey(?) so it’s not too sweet either. Enjoyed this sample in my daily sipper.

Flavors: Citrusy, Floral, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Stonefruits

180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Delicious black tea with bright but elegant flavours of strawberry and raspberry.
Had it hot with light cane sugar and it was divine – like drinking a fresh berry compote.
I could see this being delicious iced as well in the summertime. Glad I requested a sample from the Cultured Cup.

Flavors: Berry, Burnt Sugar, Raspberry, Strawberry

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This tea looks, smells and tastes very much like a medium oxidized oolong, so it’s probably not exactly a green tea though it is sold as such. High temperature recommandations fit for this one and it reacts very closely to an oxidized Tie Guan Yin. Gong fu cha works well too and as expected reveals more complex aromas.

Flavors: Floral, Vegetables, Vegetal, Walnut, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 200 OZ / 5914 ML

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Sipdown! 161/397

I’m so so sorry to the person who sent me this, but it’s not on my spreadsheet and I have no idea why not! I have a feeling it was either Tea Pet, OhFancyThat or Red Fennekin based on the way it was packaged, so thank you all for your swaps and apologies again for not knowing which one this came in.

I was really excited about this tea. It’s gorgeous, smells divine and I have had nothing but positive experiences with Mariage Freres. It is a nice tea, but I think because I had such high expectations I was disappointed. The flavour combination seems bizarre and cluttered – too many flavours, not enough thought behind the combination. The description is pretty vague, and I couldn’t detect many pronounced notes except for a thick, syrupy cherry at the end of the sip. The mouthfeel was very thick, too, and was accompanied by a little astringency (even though I steeped it at a lower temperature for a black) that made me think of cough syrup. This is all sounding more negative than I meant it to, I promise I enjoyed the cup. It just didn’t blow me away or live up to my high expectations. I guess it lacked the subtlety and complexity of most Mariage Freres and other French teas I’m used to. I paired it with homemade sunflower seed bread, which I think actually went very nicely and brought out more of the subdued spice notes in this tea.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank CHA THAÏ BOPF by Mariage Frères
4529 tasting notes

On the 18th day of December, my tea advent calendar gave to me… a tea sample from MissB! That I don’t believe I have tried before. Unfortunately, if this tea was supposed to have any chai-like flavouring, it was absent. However, the base was pretty tasty, so I’m not sad to have a cup of it left. It was malty and flavourful. Not rating since I assume I’m not getting the full story here.

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Not rating because, well, I really dislike clove unless it’s delegated to a very minor supporting role, and unfortunately that is not the case here. But it seems churlish to low-rate a Christmas tea for having too much clove. I mean this flavor is exactly what one would expect from something named “Esprit de Noël,” but I had hoped MF might handle it a bit differently and give me a nice surprise. All the other ingredients with no clove, or just the tiniest bit, would be right in my wheelhouse, but the amount of clove in this just undoes me.

I did have it steeped in hot milk this afternoon, and that’s probably the only way I can enjoy it … once in a blue moon. I need to give this to someone who will appreciate it.

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drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
53 tasting notes

Okay, I guess I better go ahead and give this a number, finally. The reason I’ve avoided this is that Marco Polo and Wedding Imperial were in my very first “posh” tea buy, the purchase that put me on the road (not very long ago!) to trying more and more teas, and the reason I hardly drink coffee any more. But! I really overdid it with these two, to the point of making myself sort of sick of the taste of them … thus my delayed write-up.

To be honest, I would have waited longer, but I just got one of those fancy new gravity infusers, and had to give a thought about what tea to christen it with. Well, why not the first fancy tea I ever sampled? Marco Polo, then, yes. Unfortunately, I was also a bit hungry, and had eaten some salted almonds just before. Unwise. As a general rule, I’d guess that “don’t salt your mouth before tea tasting” might be a good one. At least it’s a good one for Marco Polo. My first few sips, black with a tiny bit of sweetener, were awful! “Bejabber!” I moaned, “And zooterkins! Truly I have bespoiled this once fair elixir by my own depraved intemperance!

Luckily, though, those first sips did a good job of rinsing my mouth, and when I added more sweetener and some milk, my old love was back to the lovely, luxurious, creamy strawberry shortcake flavor I remembered. Maybe too much so, since now I’m tempted to have more … and more! But no, I’ve sworn I’ll not ruin any more delights with gross overindulgence. No, really.

/me hums innocently

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
Mastress Alita

Gravity infusers are the best. <3 I just had to deep clean mine yesterday, it was getting pretty rank…

I once tried adding sweetener to a tea that had salted leaves in it. Never. Again. Biggest tea mistake I ever made. So I know those feels…


I love the gravity infuser so far! I’m pretty excited about reorganizing my tea space to mostly use that and get a lot of strainers and infusers and saucers and lids and assorted flotsam and jetsam off the countertop. I swear to keep the salt shaker faaaaar away, though! :P

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Sipdown no. 127 of 2018 (no. 483 total).

This one found itself at the bottom of the ratings and so became my take it to work tea until it was no more.

I feel like I just wrote the initial note on this the other day so I don’t really have anything to add, except that because its problem (at least for me) was that it was neither fish nor fowl — it wasn’t really fruit and it wasn’t really floral, but was trying to do both — I noticed that when I was taking it to work and not focusing on the warring fruit v. floral or indeed anything else really, I enjoyed it a lot more.


Tell me who are you?
Who are you, who who who who
Cuz I really wanna know
Who are you, fruit or flor-al

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I thought for some reason that this was a green version of Montagne D’Or, which is why I slated it to try today. But it’s not a lychee tea.

It’s a fruit and floral combo. The fruit is mostly what I smell in the packet. I don’t really smell any rose.

After steeping the tea is a deep gold color and clear. The aroma is mostly apple, a little papaya, and a little rose at the end of the sniff.

The flavor is a weird in between of something trying to be tropical fruit and something trying to be floral. This is a rare situation in which I think a French tea’s mystical ingredient combo isn’t working as all for one and one for all. I think this tea is trying to do too much at one time.

I’d prefer it choose to be one thing, and I think I’d prefer that one thing to be tropical fruit.

As it is, this is not a favorite. It isn’t bad, it just isn’t doing the mystical French thing. It’s more of what I’d expect of a lesser blender than Mariage.

Flavors: Apple, Floral, Fruity, Rose

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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I have made it to the last black tea in my cupboard! And as far as I know, I don’t have any black tea samples left to taste either.

This is a pretty tea, and yes, it is lychee — very strong lychee, a very singular lychee note — that I smell coming out of the tin.

The tea is a dark chestnut color, leaning toward mahogany. It smells like lychee, but also like something else. Something minerally. Rock like. Maybe a little like potato. For those synesthetes out there, if a malty yunnan smells gold, this smells silver.

There’s also a warmer note in there somewhere. Something coffee-like.

Flavor-wise this is better than I expected. I am not a huge lychee fan. I don’t dislike it, but it isn’t something I’d put in a favorite category. Still, done well it can be quite enjoyable for me.

This one is done really well. It’s probably the best lychee black tea I’ve had, though I haven’t had that many (oh Steepster, when will you let my search my notes based on flavor profile? Or based on rating? Or based on anything? I would so love a search function as the ordering functions are limited in their utility.)

If I was going to stock a lychee black tea in my permanent collection, this would be it. Say no more.

Flavors: Coffee, Lychee, Mineral, Potato, Wet Rocks

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 500 OZ / 14786 ML

I dig reading the note while your link plays. Nice touch.


It’s a nice recording. :-)


Do you find lychee teas to differ quite a bit in taste? I tried one and disliked the taste so much that I have not been able to bring myself to finish the reminder of the 50-g bag – which is rare for me. So I am wondering if I need to try a couple of more before I write them off completely.


If you really dislike lychee, you might not like this. I don’t dislike it — to be honest, I don’t think about it much at all — but I have found that some lychee teas either have something about the base that doesn’t go well with the flavor, or the flavor is too heavy, or too artificial, or something along those lines. This is unusual in that the base is nice and the flavor doesn’t seem painted on. It’s not something I’d drink every day, but if I wanted to keep one on hand as a change of pace I’d pick this one.


Thank you Morgana, it was informative. By the way, how do you order Mariage Frères teas? I went to their website and it is all in French. Do you order them off the Amazon or do you read in French?


I ordered from a place called the Cutured Cup which is in Dallas.


But also you can change the language on the Mariage Freres site to English in the upper right hand corner.


Thank you, thank you! Will explore both.

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A woodsy, not overly sharp smell comes from the dry leaf. I steeped at a lower temp than usual, 195F for 3:30. I think I might have to up the temp some. The tea’s color is a sort of apricot-to-amber and a bit on the pale side, which makes me think hotter might get more out of the leaf.

I smell the Sakura from yesterday in the steep — it must have worked its way into the Breville or I failed to rinse it fully. The flavor is mild, vaguely like champagne.

I am going to do this again at 200 instead, and hope that the Sakura has been ousted.

Second try at 200F. The combination of the hotter temp, and the Sakura having washed away (or at least not being noticeable) is an improvement. The tea is a little darker amber, too.

This is a very mild darjeeling. Smooth, no sharp notes at all. No water logged effect on the stomach that I sometimes get with first flush darjeelings.

This is actually a blend of teas from various estates. I don’t think there is a Princeton estate — I did google it and nothing came up, but I suppose it could be the one thing that managed to escape google.

The tea has a fruity aspect, grape, maybe some plum. And a woody aspect, though it is subtle. Not much earthiness.

It’s really everything I like about first flush darjeelings and nothing I don’t, which is why it is getting high marks from me.

Flavors: Champagne, Fruity, Grapes, Green Wood, Plums

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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I mentioned a few days ago that I’m a fan of cherry green teas. And fortunately for me, here’s another one.

In the packet there’s a strong smell of cherry, like Luden’s cough drops. After steeping, this becomes mellower, and takes on a vanilla note as well. The tea is a medium, golden yellow color and has some particles suspended in it.

The flavor skips that vanilla note I mentioned, but keeps the cherry and adds a floral effect as well, which I suppose isn’t surprising given that this is flavored with cherry blossoms rather than cherry fruits. It’s not perfumy, though — it’s a gentle cherry essence mixed with a mild, grassy green tea.

A very nice example of its kind.

Flavors: Cherry, Floral, Vanilla

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Ever the rebel, I’m defying convention by having this morning tea in the evening! I actually bought this because I was on a nostalgia kick and looking for something to stand in for a taste like Constant Comment, unavailable here.

This isn’t that, but it does have a strong citrusy taste, and a slight dessert flavor playing hide and seek under the zing. For me it’s a bit too acidic, and I might like it better with a little more assertive caramel or creamy note to offset the citrus a bit. It’s quite nice with milk, though, and I will enjoy the rest of the tin, but probably won’t repurchase.

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Had this lovely stuff this morning, sweet and strong with milk. Though I love to snack on almonds, it’s not really my favorite flavor for desserts or beverages — nevertheless this is really gorgeous and yummy when I’m in the mood. The weather hasn’t been cooperating with the whole chilly “festive season” thing, so some of the more wintery holiday tea options didn’t strike my fancy and this was a nice alternative, just a wee bit spicy and smoothly cheering, without a jarring jingle bell vibe.

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I bought this from Mariage Frerès, but since they are always so weirdly coy with their descriptions, I’ll quote The Cultured Cup: “Cocada de Colombia, our newest tea from Mariage Frères, is an organic Colombian black tea flavored with toasted coconut. This tea is named after Cocada, the traditional coconut candy found in many parts of Latin America” … “A dark-colored, medium bodied tea generously sprinkled with toasted coconut” … “A creamy flavored tea with a suggestion of coconut sweetness” … “Instead of adding milk to this tea, consider adding coconut milk. It will greater enhance the tea’s delightful tropical flavor, as well as its natural creaminess.”

So. Yes. I do love coconut, though I sort of feel like it’s the embarrassing boyfriend of flavorings. Blame Thai food! Before I had Thai food, I never liked coconut, and now I’m all heart-eyes emoji. However! I’m still not down for sickly candy sweet coconut flavors! I think this one is handled quite well, a nice, light, “bright” lightly coconut-perfumed tea that feels very warming, cozy and refined to me — definitely not WOO PIÑA COLADA TEA PARTY TIME Y’ALL at all. :P

I’m experimenting with amounts and steeping time. For this, I used almost 4 grams to 300 ml water at about 95C, steeped for maybe 2.5 minutes.

Flavors: Caramel, Coconut


Just ordered some from CC as well! So excited to try it :)

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Sipdown no. 125 of 2018 (no. 481 total).

This poor tea ended up at the bottom of the ratings in the cupboard, even though it is a really good tea and I could have continued drinking it happily for a while.

I feel a little sorry for it. Because it was at the bottom of the ratings, it ended up getting put at the front of the iced tea queue. There wasn’t enough to make an entire pitcher, so I filled up the other half with Upton Scottish (Breakfast) Blend.

I am sure I have other teas that I’ve rated higher that I like less, so the reason I feel sorry for this tea is probably because I feel guilty for being unfair to it. But hey, when you’ve been writing notes over eight years and your tastes change, what can you do?


Oh, a sipdown. That’s my cue to sigh in relief.


Tastes change, it’s ok.


Heh. Yeah, I have not had as many sipdowns lately since I set out to write a note about every tea in my cupboard. I need to get on the stick.

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After doing a rough count of my as yet untasted and unwritten about black teas, which I must now revise, I did a similar count of greens.

I have 24 untasted green teas according to my cupboard. Of those, 11 are matcha.

I’ve been taking matcha to work lately. I was scared of doing that at first, but then my BFF the internet showed me the way: I’m using the shake in the thermos method and it works just fine for a quick method in the morning.

The first time I tried it, it didn’t work so well. I used water that was too hot, and I didn’t shake long enough. The tea tasted ok, but the were a lot of undissolved matcha grains at the bottom and I got a mouth full of them in my last sip.

Here’s what I’ve found works:

1 matcha spoon (the bamboo ones) per 4 oz water. My timolino holds 12 oz, so that’s 3 spoons.

12 oz water heated to 175.

Spoon matcha into timolino, then add water, close lid and shake. I shake 100 times. Et voila.

But I digress. Actually, this was a digression to a digression. Let’s get back to the most recent point of divergence: the green teas in my cupboard.

I will say there are a couple of those that I don’t think I’ve seen in a while, so I could have failed to remove some teas in which case I’d have even fewer. But for now, I’m leaving the cupboard as is.

Now, stepping laterally into another digression: revised count of untasted, un-written about black teas (NOT including this tea): 13

And finally, back to the topic at hand. This tea.

This is a “tea of the holidays” so I’m having it over Veterans Day weekend. It has a citrus-floral smell in the packet.

After steeping it’s less citrusy and floral in aroma. It smells a little malty, with a caramel note. I know I used the word chestnut to describe a tea’s color already today, but I can’t think of a better one for this. It’s that color they use to describe brown horses that has a tinge of orange to it.

I think the caramel note is vanilla, somewhere on the continuum between chocolate and vanilla. I’m now thinking that caramel is on that continuum somewhere between the two.

The flavor is much milder than I expected. I expected a dominant citrus, but that’s not the case. The citrus is very gently represented in the blend, almost totally in the background.

Which makes it rather difficult to find something about this tea that makes it special. It’s obviously high quality and tastes just fine. It’s just a bit plain for what I’m wanting when I decide to drink a flavored black tea.

Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Floral, Malt, Vanilla

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

I feel that way about a lot of the French teas. They are lovely and pleasing to drink, but rarely truly special.


I’m a huge fan of French teas, so it’s not often I find one that doesn’t excite me at least a little. Alas, this poor tea did not.

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Jasmine green, a perpetual favorite of mine if done right.

Done right to me means:

1. The jasmine smells and tastes like the essence of flowers rather than a flavoring agent.
2. The jasmine is integrated into the tea, rather than smelling and tasting pasted on.
3. The tea base is both a great delivery vehicle for the jasmine and not completely overpowered by it to the point where it disappears.
4. Extra points for juicy, flowery goodness.

This tea, which is a vibrant, clear golden color after steeping gets high marks on the first three. The underlying tea contributes a soft, buttery aspect to the tea.

It could be juicier. But 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.

Flavors: Jasmine

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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