1530 Tasting Notes

drank Opera Rhapsody by Mariage Frères
1530 tasting notes

Advent Day 14

I was so excited thinking this was a black tea at first, but it’s not. It’s white and I steeped it at black temps. I thought it was going to be minty based on the large amount of little green flakes, but this is not minty at all. It’s fruity. Was I seeing mate instead of mint? It kind of makes me think of a light Marco Polo. It doesn’t have the depth of MP and the strawberry flavor is weaker and more airy with something else in it. I tried looking it up on MF’s website, but can’t find it. I find a Rhapsody collection and several teas with Opera in them, but not the two together. I know it exists! I feel a little gaslit by a tea company! LOL!

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drank Witch's Brew by Friday Afternoon
1530 tasting notes

This tea smells really good dry. Rich heavy raspberry with chocolate notes. When I steeped it the cup ended up way too strong with a layer of oil on top and so concentrated that didn’t taste good. Adding cream diluted it a bit to where I could enjoy the taste. When I go in to take a sip I get this quick flash of what I can only describe as the smell of iodine. I don’t taste it, it’s just a quick impression. The sip has a little raspberry at the front, but is a little bland after that. The finish is where the chocolate raspberry come out and lingers. I’m not sure how I feel about a tea being all finish. I think me not saying I’m sure about something is a thinly veiled way to say no me gusta. So far this is the best flavor out of all four teas I got from Friday Afternoon, but I’m not feeling this company overall. I really want a new independent blender who works with unique flavor combos, a Butiki or Quarter to Tea replacement and this isn’t it. This is similar enough to Lupicia’s Chocolat Framboise that has a near permanent place in my cupboard that I don’t think I’d restock this even though it has a badass name.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Advent Day 15

A black tea!!!! It’s been too long! I wonder what MF’s thing is with Marco Polo. How many versions do they have and at what point do they decide a new blend will be a MP and not given a unique name of it’s own? Just checked the website and it looks like seven. Seven different varieties of Marco Polo!
This is a nice cup, but I wouldn’t call it sublime. It has that deep strawberry scent and taste. The taste is very dark and heavy with the lighter notes of the berries peeking out. I can taste the berry in the sip, but there is a flash of alkaline in the start of the finish and it leaves my mouth slightly dry. It’s a nice enough tea, but I’ve never been super excited about Marco Polo, blue, sublime or regular.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I only knew about one Marco Polo!

Dustin

I kinda wish there was only one. They have MP regular, sublime, white, green, rooibos and blue, if memory serves me correctly. SO many.

ashmanra

I no longer have a source for MF so if I ever place an order I will take a look at those.

CrowKettle

I understand the existence of a green and rooibos one, but two black tea versions seems excessive

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drank Blanc & Rose by Mariage Frères
1530 tasting notes

I put the tea bag from the advent in a jar of water in my fridge and left it there for it looks like 11 days. A lot longer than I had intended, but I’ve been busy. The rose flavor is very bright. If I think about it really hard I can imagine mint and lemon, but if they are really in this tea they are added in such small quantities to be indistinguishable from the rose. Maybe that is what is special about this blend? Like adding a pinch of salt to something to bring out the flavors without even noticing the salt? I’m trying to be kind, but it’s still not striking me as that special of a tea. Enjoyable yes, but that’s about it.

Preparation
Iced
CrowKettle

I’m wondering if the mint I picked up is a cross-contamination from “No.17”. We shall soon find out :P

Dustin

Oh! Maybe? I love the idea of mint and lemon in a rose tea. I really want it to be there!

CrowKettle

lo and behold.. “No.17” contains mint! So there you go. Pretty sure it contaminated “Marco Polo Vert” for me too. :P

I wish MF had given us the rose mint white tea instead of this. If you break down what certain rose types taste like it can have a “mint-like” crispness but not what like I was tasting..

Dustin

You are an advent physic! I thought of you this morning as I pulled my minty scented sachet from the calendar!

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drank Gabacha by Mariage Frères
1530 tasting notes

Advent Day 13

I just took a bite of a passionfruit from a friend’s yard and it’s throwing off my tastebuds a little! Most of these MF teas say to steep for 5 minutes, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that to a green so I only steeped it for one. I’ve been taking my tea out of the bags and suspect I’m getting fuller flavors by letting the leaves expand without restrictions. I’m not a huge green tea fan, but I’m liking this one. There is no hay or grassiness, it’s just smooth and light with a slight buttery taste or feel at the end of each sip. The flavor is the same once the cup has cooled. It is a very enjoyable cup and I would drink it again, but it isn’t standing out enough for me to want to buy it.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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This tea has a light banana scent when dry with this almost but not quite earthiness in the background. Once steeped it totally changes. Banana is very present and the not quite earthy scent is gone. There is a strong deep cinnamon, like cinnamon without the heat and only the deeper base flavors. It makes me think less of snickerdoodles and more of a banana foster, but I guess that would usually be more creamy. It’s a pretty smooth tea overall with good flavor. I caved and added a little sugar a few sips in thinking it would round out the banana flavor, but I don’t know that it improved the cup, it just kinda changed it. I bet this tea would do well as a latte! Maybe next time.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Maple Hojicha by Friday Afternoon
1530 tasting notes

I was super excited to try a flavored hojicha. I think I’ve only tried one other and really liked it. This one is just okay. The sip is a little flat. I don’t get any maple in the sip, just a roasted cardboard taste that slowly changes to a roasted hojicha flavor. The finish is more complex with some maple. Sweetening this didn’t change the flavors at all. I’m going to have to play with the steeping parameters because I want to believe there is a better cup in there.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Kawaii433

I have never had a flavored hojicha. Interesting ^^

Dustin

There is one I found from Lupicia called Hatsune and it was really good. It had a nice apricot cinnamon taste. I’ve only ever seen it at the Paris Lupicia store. :(

Mastress Alita

TeaSource had a maple houjicha loooooooooong ago… that they only carried for a year, and never again. It was great though! Since the tea aged pretty harshly from me trying to “horde” it, in the end I had to make it as a latte with added maple syrup since the flavors had faded a lot.

Dustin

I hate it when hoarding goes bad!

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drank Love Story by Mariage Frères
1530 tasting notes

Advent Day 11

A black tea! Wonderful! It smells lightly floral with some sort of deep red berry scent. It tastes like that too. Maybe a hint of apple in there too? I’m trying to sip it while it’s hot because I have to go somewhere. I might leave the rest of the cup and see if I like it better when cooled.
I’m realizing that a lot of the MF teas I’ve had and really enjoy are not ones I usually like after one cup. They have to grow on me over time and an advent calendar isn’t really conducive to that method of finding new favorites. Still, I wouldn’t change having gotten the advent. I’m still thrilled at getting to try 25 new to me teas!

Update: Back to half a cold cup. This is way fruitier than before. I’m tasting strawberries very clearly. The finish is a little bitter, but the sip is still smooth. I usually favor greens cold steeped, but this might be a good black to try iced.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Evol Ving Ness

I really do need at least two cups to make up my mind about a tea.

Maybe one needs to get two of the same calendar.

Evol Ving Ness

Also, because French teas tend to be layered and complex, I especially need more than one cup.

AJRimmer

I agree, I almost never leave a tea review until I’ve had a tea multiple times, prepared various ways, so the advent calendar style is very different for me!

CrowKettle

The dilemma with hit n’ run tea sample notes.. I’m enjoying this advent so far, and there are a couple I want to revisit, but I also wish I had longer with each tea.

I personally like recording fleeting first impression notes and then comparing them to later encounters though. Sometimes my experiences line up and other times they don’t; I find it insightful keeping a personal record of inconsistency, missteps, and preference shifts across the years too! :)

Dustin

This would be a pricey advent to buy two of, especially with shipping, but I’d like to have more than one cup worth of each tea. It’s too bad they don’t offer a deluxe version like Theodor does some years or Fortnum and Mason. The only thing that is a bummer about MF is that to get another few cups of any of these you’d have to buy 100g which is a lot for a tea you are uncertain of.
I also love seeing how my feelings on a tea changes over time, good or bad.

CrowKettle

Yeah, I agree with you. They don’t have good options for sampling; maybe “Grand Coffret HENRI” but it’s pricey and has a lot of unflavoured teas. A joint order with a few people would be a good way to divide 100g quantities, but those area hassle to organize. MF’s catalogue is also huge! Even with this advent, and ignoring 100g sizes, I don’t know where I’d start..

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drank Bouddha Bleu by Mariage Frères
1530 tasting notes

Advent day 10

This tea has two entries, one for bagged and one for loose, but no one has made notes on the bagged so I’m posting here.
Another day another non black tea. I do wish I loved greens more, especially considering their health benefits, but my heart is just like my preferred tea… black. I expected not to like this. I thought this would be another light wispy tea that I yawned over. Surprise! I’m not sure what fruits are in this tea, but I keep picking up melon and not knowing if it’s rock or honeydew. It’s mixed with something else that I can’t sort, but the description says pineapple, so maybe that is it. The fruit flavors are light, the base is very smooth with an almost buttery way about it with no green grassy bites. It leaves my mouth feeling a bit dry after the sip which isn’t a sensation I enjoy. I do like this tea, but it isn’t one I’d buy.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Rainbow Rhapsody by Mariage Frères
1530 tasting notes

Advent Day 8
Things have been getting busy and I haven’t had time to enjoy tea while taking notes. I steeped this last night while helping the tiny roommate with her school report and explaining the meaning in the songs in Hamilton since she had a song on her playlist. This cup was neglected in the mix and picked back up cold today for notes. I recall not being impressed by this last night and I’m getting the same feeling today. It’s light and fruity with a hint of alkaline at the end of the sip. The finish is almost more fruity than the sip. If I was offered this tea again I’d skip it for another.
And what’s up with the steeping time being 5 minutes on all these teas?!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Tiny roommate duty sounds kinda fun!

CrowKettle

I actively ignore their suggested steeping times :P

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Bio

My name is Dustin and I like tea.

I’m an added flavor kind of tea fan, but have had a growing appreciation for plain. I want my tea to remind me of cookies and cakes with coconut and almond slices with a hint of chocolate drizzled on top. I want dancing ponies and flying monkeys shooting off fireworks! And no hibiscus. Hibiscus is the devil.

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