Earl Grey Impérial

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Black Tea
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Bergamot, Citrus
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Edit tea info Last updated by Ysaurella
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec 12 oz / 362 ml

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From Mariage Frères

The base tea of this delicious Earl Grey is a first flush Darjeeling. Flavored with the very finest oil of bergamot, this tea is very perfumed and can be infused several times. Sprinkled with silver tips.

Drop by the remarkable French tearoom of Mariage Frères in Paris and you’ll be instantly charmed by the atmosphere of old elegance and permanent grace. We recommend you order their Earl Grey Imperial to sip. It is a grand tea for a grand setting. (And equally at home in your own teapot.) France

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14 Tasting Notes

2036 tasting notes

Hard to believe I’m the first to write about this one. But here goes.

I’m starting to get to what feels like the mid-point in my Earl Grey exploration before I settle down with some favorites. I’m thinking a regular, a creme/vanilla, a lavendar, a rose, and maybe one or two others for the Earl Grey harem. I may have to reconsider the Upton chocolate since I haven’t seen any other chocolate Earl Greys. Hmm.

I remember liking another French Earl Grey, the one from The O Dor, quite a bit. I’m interested to see how this will compare.

The dry leaves smell very strongly of bergamot, but I’ve learned that isn’t necessarily indicative of how that agent will show up in the flavor. I noticed from the note here that the tea base is Darjeeling, which I suppose is why the tea doesn’t look overly dark in color. It even has some green to it.

The liquor is a light amber, almost a bronzed golden color. Much lighter than the typical Earl, and explained by the Darjeeling base. The aroma is not at all strong on the bergamot, but it does have a sharpness to it, which I associate with Darjeeling.

The bergamot returns in the flavor, where it takes center stage. This is not what I am looking for in an Earl Grey. I like more of an essence of bergamot, a suggestion around the edges, enough to make it obviously and distinctively an Earl Grey (as I’ve also had teas that didn’t have enough bergamot to seem to me allowed to claim to be Earl Greys) but not enough to scream at me. I’m worried this one is going to sit heavily in my stomach. Which is a shame because the little glimpses of the Darjeeling that I get are quite nice. It has a sort of butteriness to it, which if the balance were struck differently enough to make it assert itself more, could be quite lovely.

It should be noted that this tea is very honest. Its notes say that it is “heavily perfumed” so the centrality of the bergamot shouldn’t be surprising.

I suppose I must be something of an Earl Grey purist, as I didn’t care for the only green Earl Grey I tried, either. Bergamot is such a strong flavor to me that it needs something equally sturdy to stand up to it. But those who love strongly bergamot flavored teas (Miss Sweet?) :-) might really like this.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Your comment is as satisfying as a warm cup of the on a cold day. I enjoy the rich description, and want more. I’m a big fan of Mariage Frères, can’t wait to receive my shipment. What do you think about their Blue Earl Grey?

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150 tasting notes

I have a confession to make… I’m not usually a fan of Earl Grey. It’s the bergamot that has made me shy away in the past. It’s just so in your face. Like an over indulged child demanding “Look at what I can do!”. I get it bergamot. You’re bright, aromatic, and uplifting. Now, please let the other tea flavors have a turn!

Surprisingly, this tea may make me a drinker of Earl Grey. The leaf aroma defiantly has that bergamot punch in the face. I know, I know, it’s Earl Grey. The aroma of the liquor is pleasing and far more subtle. The first sip is bright and lemony fresh, (Yes, hello bergamot). That flavor quickly gives way to a nicely astringent Darjeeling body, and the finish is sweet, delicate, and floral. I actually like this tea.

Am I a tea snob? No, but I do have to admit that if my tin didn’t say Mariage Fréres, I may have stuck to my “I don’t care for Earl Grey.”, guns. Have you seen the Mariage Fréres apothecary style tea jars? I want to live in them! I have a sample of Winter White Earl Grey from Harney & Sons that I’m really eager to try now. I bet Vanilla Earl Grey would be very up my alley. Hmmmm…

And who do I have to thank for my Earl Grey turnaround? Well, this will come as no surprise, but the person’s Steepster name starts with a Quilt and ends with a Guppy.

Edit: I added a little turbinado sugar and almond cream to my second cup, and I’m liking the flavor even more!


I haven’t been a huge fan of Earl Grey in the past either. I have not tried a good quality loose leaf Earl Grey though, and I think Vanilla Earl Grey would be the best place for me to start! If it has vanilla in it, it’s worth trying :)


Viva La Tea, let me know if you want to try some of this one. I also hadn’t tried a very high quality Earl Grey, and the Darjeeling really makes a difference!


I ordered a 3oz amount of the Mariage freres wedding blend after a friend has said they were having a hard time finding a cheap source of it for a wedding…I was hoping I could reverse engineer it (as I have a talent for that kind of thing) and was dismayed to find that the tea itself is a base FOP (probably Ceylon) but that it was chemically scented with a flavor oil (no flowers/fruit and oily sheen gave that away) that smelled very much like dolly madison zingers (anyone remember those from being a kid?). I couldn’t bring myself to cup it and sent it to my friend with the words of my defeat and asked him to present it to the bride (whose favorite this tea is) as a gift for the wedding…turns out the company is very strict in thier selling policies and only sell it through a few US sources (its UK based) and they wouldn’t even discount it for the celebration of a wedding or sell it to me in bulk for repackage as wedding gifts to the bridal party…thought that was somewhat ironic…..



1.) I wish I had the talent to reverse engineer anything. Even if only to brag about it and use the words reverse engineer more often.
2.) Is is horrible that when you said Dolly Madison Zingers my mouth watered a little bit?
3.) I really like you.
4.) I know… just because tea is French doesn’t make it automaticly good or high quality. Merde is merde. BUT have you seen the MF glass apothecary jars??? I get that it’s just packaging but I neeeeed them.
5.) Lovely chatting with you.


no…i totally agree…zingers make me want to watch reruns of charlie brown cartoons and curl up with a cup of tea after dashing through some leaves ‘calvin and hobbes’ style….and reverse engineer is a fun injection…and its TOTALLY ok to jazz up on apothecary jars…even if its just an excuse to use the term apothecary ;)


Glass apothecary jars? WHAT? Why doesn’t my tea shop have these? I would pay obscene amounts for that! I already love their black tins and can hardly bear to part with them, but I do manage to give them to friends.


Ashmanra, lookie
Dean & Deluca (my stateside connection) doesn’t carry them either, but I will have them :)


Now, that’s frustrating! I clicked on the link and it says that the page doesn’t exist. How about this one:


Yes, but merde sounds so much nicer. I have not seen the glass apothecary jars, and yes, Kashyap, I rather enjoy writing apothecary. ;) I need to check out the MF jars… and I admit that I’m not thinking Mariage Frères when I write MF.


I’ve never used this site, but I contacted them about trying to get Lily Muguet, which I’ve been dying to try. (Only in Europe for now…) This one is in Illinois for the low, low price of $57.00.


QuiltGuppy, MF, MF, MF. Now that I have that out of my system, I have to say that $57.00 doesn’t sound that unreasonable to me. And that’s how I know that I’ve offically lost my mind.

Using the word “apothecary” makes me feel sciency in the same way I think being able to reverse engineer would :)


I think Porte Rouge has the best MF selection in the states, definitely, and the exchange rate is actually equivalent without a markup… a 40euro apothecary jar of tea on the MF translates to a $57 jar on the Porte Rouge website! (That’s one of the reasons I didn’t buy any MF teas in Paris that were available in bulk at Porte Rouge)


WAAAAH! Gee, thanks! I just googled their website and found about a dozen things that arer absolutely beautiful. And the prices are pretty obscene. I can almost guarantee you that their cast iron teapots are absolutely identical to the ones at Teavana, but cost considerably more if I am right on the current exchange rate, and I think I am since eldest daughter just got back from Europe. I would put up a brand new set of shelves to display those jars if I had them! Beautiful! Wasn’t it Rachanac who got some MF tea at a yard sale for fifty cents each because a lady had liked the black tins and wanted them for kitchen decor and then didn’t use them? (Gasp!)


I emailed Porte Rouge about the Lily Muguet tea and they were very quick to respond and say that they have it and it should be on the website this weekend. :D ((big smiles)) I’m going to give them a try.


Ashmanra, yard sale MF? What a weird and wonderful happenstance.

QuiltGuppy, you are some sort of tea shop Svengali! Lily Muguet wasn’t on the website, you ask about it, and poof it will be available for purchase this weekend? Yay you!

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6444 tasting notes

Sipdown!! (116)

Thank you Aimee Popovacki for sharing a sample of this tea. It is always exciting to get a chance to try something that is not easily accessible (as is the case with Mariage Frere teas) so I was happy when I saw this in our swap.

Unfortunately, sipping on this tea, I am not so happy. It is soapy and astringent and rather unpleasant. This is just not for me and now I know for sure.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

My cupboard….it glares at you….menacingly..


Haha I was looking at different sites online but nothing has inspired me enough to place an order.

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254 tasting notes

Today was the third face/off in the Battle of the Earl Greys – and this tea was victorious!

You can read a re-cap of the battle here:

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2201 tasting notes

Sipdown, 148. I am getting dangerously close to 150, and I just won some oolong samples from Teavivre, so I need to get some sipdowns in. Of course many of the sipdowns I have are things I would prefer to give full reviews to, but so it goes. This sample comes to me thanks to wheezybee.

When I requested this sample from her I didn’t know it was a darjeeling base, and I’m not really a fan of darjeeling. But I will try it nonetheless! I always think that someday a darjeeling will make me love darjeelings, so I am always open to trying them. I’ve also learned to brew them cool as they quickly get bitter on me.

Well I guess I should have gone short time as well as cool with this one, because it is bitter bitter. And way astringent. The bergamot is fine, but the base is not. Yup, still don’t like darjeelings.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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338 tasting notes

Having this at Cafe Vue at the airport. This is going to be my last cup of tea before leaving Melbourne!

I love Earl Grey. The name sounds so regal and posh, doesn’t it? Drinking it always makes me feel like a lady. And I think this Earl Grey Imperial from my beloved MF is a great one. It’s very delicate and subtly fragrant, unlike some Earl Grey that is so heavily scented with bergamot oil probably because the tea itself isn’t very exciting. MF uses first flush Darjeeling, it says. It’s so floral that I can almost see a French garden from the window… :)


I can’t believe they are serving MF blends in Australian airports and just awful teas in the Parisian cafés and airport -I am jealous … Lucky you !

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658 tasting notes

This tea was a lovely end to a lovely day out yesterday in the more charming locales of this city. The Darjeeling base is delightful. A subtle but really interesting spin on the classic! More floral, a little spicy, and very elegant.

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15662 tasting notes

Adventaggedon Day 21 – Tea 4/6

This was a nice tea, but I don’t think being on a Darjeeling tea base really added anything special to it at all. In fact, I think I prefer the Earl Grey from earlier in the advent better. It was more full bodied, brisk and flavourful – this one was smooth but a little bit thin in body.

Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJFCQREg2g5/

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333 tasting notes

For my 300th tasting note, I tried this lovely sample from a friend. The dry tea has a bright, fresh bergamot scent that is quite strong. The leaves are light in color for a black tea (which all made sense later, when I read that it was a Darjeeling). After brewing, the tea liquor comes out to a pale golden color, and the aroma is quite inviting.

As far as Earl Grey goes, this is a subtle one, both in terms of the tea base and bergamot flavor. And in this case, that’s a good thing. Compared to the dry scent, the bergamot flavor is light, with a touch of creaminess. The tea base is delicate, slightly floral, and not as finicky toward brewing conditions as some Darjeelings can be. The overall effect is almost weightless, and unlike any Earl Grey I’ve tried before. Would be perfect as an afternoon tea or for fancier occasions.


Happy happy 300! Sounds like a great one to celebrate with.


Thanks! I can’t believe I’ve be on here this long!


That’s a bunch!


It just kind of sneaks up on me!

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5 tasting notes

Strong Bergamot flavour. One of my favourite Earl Greys, but be careful not to brew this one for too long. It is very easy to overbrew this one, and it will go very bitter.

Flavors: Bergamot

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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