Marco Polo Rouge

Tea type
Fruit Rooibos Blend
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Edit tea info Last updated by CHAroma
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 36 oz / 1073 ml

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22 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I was very nervous when I smelled this as the rooibos was very strong. However, in the steeped cup the rooibos, though present, is more muted than I expected. There is also a hint of strawberry...” Read full tasting note
  • “I haven’t actually drank any of this in a long time, so I brought it out last night. Upon revisiting, I definitely prefer the black version. The rooibos is a little too prominent here, and I don’t...” Read full tasting note
  • “Scheherazade shared this with me, and it was one that I didn’t even know that I was interested in at all! Only once I had it, it turned out that I was. I had the black version of MP through a swap...” Read full tasting note
  • “I ran out of the black tea variety of this one long ago, but still have a little of their red. It hasn’t got anything recognizable besides rooibos in the dry leaf, but my does it have the scent...” Read full tasting note

From Mariage Frères

The rooibos version of Mariage Freres’ famous black tea. ’Marco Polo Red’ is Mariage Frères own masterpiece and will help you travel in distant and mysterious lands. Scented with fruits and flowers from China and Tibet, it develops a refined and velvety taste. A wonderful blend. 100% caffeine-free.

“Succès incontesté de la Maison Mariage Frères, ce thé rouge secret vous fera voyager dans les plus lointaines et mystérieuses contrées. Les senteurs de fleurs et de fruits de Chine et du Tibet lui confèrent un arôme velouté unique. Un bouquet extraordinaire pour le plus mythique des thés parfumés. 100% sans théine”.

About Mariage Frères View company

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22 Tasting Notes

6444 tasting notes

I was very nervous when I smelled this as the rooibos was very strong. However, in the steeped cup the rooibos, though present, is more muted than I expected. There is also a hint of strawberry which is nice. I don’t think I will be getting more when the sample runs out but I probably won’t have any issues drinking the sample either. Thank you Scheherazade for the chance to try this tea.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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2238 tasting notes

I haven’t actually drank any of this in a long time, so I brought it out last night. Upon revisiting, I definitely prefer the black version. The rooibos is a little too prominent here, and I don’t get much in the way of strawberry. I’ve still got a lingering cold and sore throat, so I’m probably not tasting flavours as well as I usually do, but this seems fairly bland. On the other hand, the strawberry that is there tastes a lot more natural than the strawberry in the black version, which sometimes comes across quite strong and chemical in flavour. Still…I do prefer it on the whole, I think, though I’ve enjoyed being able to try both.

Today hasn’t been such a good day. I found mould in my room again, on the wooden slats under my bed. It was a problem I thought I’d solved when I moved from an old, damp house into this new one, so it made me sad to find the problem again. All of my tea is okay, which is good, but I lost a few bags and pairs of shoes I had stored under there. It made me clear stuff out, but I’d still rather not have the problem to start with sigh

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Ugh. Sorry about the mold!


That really sucks to hear about the mold. I hope you are able to deal with it soon. It is definitely not a fun situation to be in.

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1353 tasting notes

Scheherazade shared this with me, and it was one that I didn’t even know that I was interested in at all! Only once I had it, it turned out that I was.

I had the black version of MP through a swap years ago, and I seem to recall that I rather liked it. At the time I didn’t understand why a rooibos version even existed, because I didn’t care for rooibos at all during that time. Later on I forgot all about it. It’s not a blend that you see around on Steepster a lot after all.

It’s weird actually, that period. It lasted several years. I started out quite liking rooibos, both unflavoured and flavoured. Then I suddenly couldn’t stand the stuff no matter how it came. That went on for years. I even gave all my rooibos blends to Husband back when he was still Boyfriend. Then Cteresa sent me a rooibos blend with vanilla and strawberry I think it was, which I dutifully tried because I feel that when someone shares something with you, it’s polite to at least give it a go with as open a mind as one can muster, even when it’s something one doesn’t expect to like very much. So I tried the blend Cteresa shared with me and was promptly knocked clean off my feet and I gave a score of 90-something points.

So now, suddenly, I rather enjoy rooibos blends again, although I still don’t care for unflavoured rooibos. That tastes a bit like chewing a pencil.

And I’ve clean forgotten where I was going with this.

Anyway, I can’t remember what goes into a Marco Polo blend on any base, but I think it was something with chocolate and strawberry. I believe there was a third thing, but I can’t say what it might be.

Well, it smells like chocolate and strawberry and rooibos, so so far so good.

It also tastes quite like strawberry, but not so much like chocolate. I’m getting a bit of that on the swallow, but otherwise it just tastes fruity.

I have previously elaborated on my difficulties with chocolate flavoured blends, so all in all I found this a remarkably pleasant blend.

Although it seems to have given me hiccups.


I am going through exactly what you described! Perhaps it is a typical progression of tea appreciation development? I started out liking rooibos—in fact, it’s what made me think I could get into tea—then I really started liking true teas and rooibos qua rooibos no longer seemed to measure up, started to take on all sorts of unpleasant characteristics, etc. Now I’m back to where I can appreciate a good rooibos blend, but for me that usually means I can’t really taste the rooibos as a separate flavor, and I usually prefer green rooibos blends to red ones.


I’ve only had one or two green rooiboses, so I can’t honestly remember much about what they taste like. I do seem to recall not being terribly impressed last time I had one. Mind you, I did drink ‘real’ tea LONG before I ever tasted a rooibos.

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237 tasting notes

I ran out of the black tea variety of this one long ago, but still have a little of their red. It hasn’t got anything recognizable besides rooibos in the dry leaf, but my does it have the scent and flavor of a master blend! The rooibos does give it that distinctive flavor as a base, so those who aren’t fond of it should probably steer clear. Wrapped all around the rooibos though is the Marco Polo profile – naturally sweet and featuring just the right amounts of citrus and floral notes. Yummy yummy.

Off on a three-week road trip tomorrow! I’m not taking any of my teas with me and will rely on chance encounters with newly discovered denizens of the world of tea while I’m gone…

205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

Happy travels.


Have a safe and fun time :)


I hope you’re having fun on your road trip!! How fun! It’s back to work for me tomorrow.

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362 tasting notes

This Marco Rouge is lovely and nice – it is rooibos (duh) and upfront about being rooibos. If you hate or just dislike plain rooibos this one might not be a rooibos for you.

The tea smells heavenly on the package, brewed up its smell seems far less complex – but then again, it is rooibos, it brew very hot and long. But then again Berry Berry Nice (by Yumchaa, a small London tea company) which is my favorite rooibos ever and to which I can not help comparing this with, is also brewed very hot and long and seems more intense and complex when drinking. A lot more.

After brewed Marco Rouge tastes of plain rooibos (stating the obvious, sorry. But a good rooibos) and strawberry and vanilla. Nice. Not bad, but for this sort of thing, my beloved Berry Berry Nice is much better and deeper. IMHO and all that.

Boiling 7 min, 45 sec

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111 tasting notes

This was my first rooibos blend ever and I’ve almost finished the box; there’s just enough for another cup or two, no more.
I really like the mellow taste, hinting of vanilla and flowers but in which the blend makes all the flavors mixed together, so that none of them overwhelms the others. It’s therefore quite difficult for me to really identify the different flavors within.
It used to be my favorite evening drink for a while, then got superseded by Nil Rouge, later on by Rouge Bourbon. But when I tried it again to finish it, I found back what I had liked so much at first about it : a real smoothness that makes it very easy and pleasant to drink, without anything strong about it that might get overwhelming and in the end nauseating.
I do not know if I’ll buy it back this Christmas but surely sometime in the future.

205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

My main (realistic) tea shopping dilemma right now is whether to buy this or Nil Rouge. I got 50 grams of each last winter, finished this and got just a couple teaspoons of Nil Rouge. And I absolutely love both (and Bourbon as well, but I got a similar very good vanilla rooibos, so got to finish that first). Now, which one do I love better? Trying to make my mind. I suspect I will hedge my bets and get 50 grams of each again.


I still have a little less than 50g of Nil Rouge left…
I understand your dilemma. Where can you buy MF by 50g ? I never could buy less than 100g from them.


A local gourmet shop, they sell Mariage Freres, Kusmi and Fauchon loose teas by the weight. And minimum is 50 grams, which is oh so nice of them because that weight I can try more teas. Wait, I will show you their shop window, a photo I took some months ago

I never buy the tins, particularly the special tins. They are so expensive, and with a price hike from Paris. The loose tea is still a bit pricier than in Paris, but a lot more reasonable.

50 grams is sort of my perfect buy-size. Enough for me to know if it´s going to be a must-have staple, and if not, enough for me to drink and wave farewell.


Looks real nice.
I agree for the 50g being perfect. It’s usually not too difficult to use the first 50g, but for average not so great teas, finishing the pack can get real tedious. And I feel a bit bad buying and opening new ones when I already have too much ongoing.
I confess I have bought a few black tins from MF, as I really like their design; it looked perfect in my previous kitchen (don’t think I ever took a picture however). Anyway I mostly buy loose also. It also takes less room in the cupboard.


I got a few black tins, though most of the hoard was when this gourmet shop decided to stop carrying tea and was selling it for almost half price. Investment! I like how we can peel off the sticker with the price when reusing the tins and I reuse tins a lot – I steam them, let them dry really well and reuse them. And black tins were sort of reasonable, the first one I bought was 11 euros or something a few years ago. And most of my hoard was from when a store decided to stop carrying tea (I would have been sorry if I had known they sold tea before they decided to stop) and was selling them for 9.95€. But right now they are selling even the black tins for 19 euros, it´s ridiculous price hike from Paris. And the oh so pretty special tins are even more expensive :(

I have been eyeing Dammann Freres. 10.50€ a tin, and it looks nice and compact and very good quality the tin. I love when you can pile up tins. The reviews for the tea are promising!


I’ve bought (or got offered) my 3 black tins from Paris shops at around 11€; I agree that 19 € upwards is really too expensive.
Haven’t tried Damman yet and do not even know what their tins look like; but I also like to be able to pile them up. I might look at it also at Christmas…
I’ve not had to really clean mine, as the finished ones were Marco Polo Rouge and Nil Rouge which I know I’ll keep on buying. But I may try the steaming for Rouge Ruschka once I’ll have finished it (it might take a while though).

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618 tasting notes

Big thanks to Scheherazade for sharing some of this tea with me! I’ve always loved the reviews about Marco Polo, but unfortunately didn’t have the same experience. I found the black tea version to be disappointing at best. I love rooibos and knew I just had to try the rooibos version of Marco Polo!

Giving the tea a sniff… I notice the woody rooibos scent followed by a bit of berry and sweetness… quite promising! Sipping… ooh, this is lovely! I taste fruit, flowers and the rooibos all mixed up together. There is also something a bit like vanilla that adds the nicest bit of sweetness. How tasty! I wish that I had been able to detect all of these notes in the black tea version, but I actually think that given the choice, I’d still like this one more. As far as the floral note is concerned, I can’t put my finger on what it tastes like.. I’m thinking of a bunch of flower petals, to be honest. So very happy to have tasted this blend! Will definitely purchase this in the future.

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1713 tasting notes

When I opened the bag of this tea, all I could smell was rooibos. It made my tongue feel dry just smelling it! Spaced it during stepping and left it sitting for a few minutes longer than intended, but hey, the dishes got done so it is still a win.

I really don’t taste anything on the actual sip, but as soon as it goes down I get a fruity flavor on the aftertaste followed by strong rooibos. I’m keeping in mind that it has been an allergy-rific day for me, but I don’t remember this tea wowing me last time we met. The longer aftertaste is a pretty even mixture of woodsy rooibos and fruit. I have read that this is supposed to be cherry, but I’m just not able to pick that out. This rates as pretty meh for me.

0 OZ / 0 ML

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9 tasting notes

Finally, the masterpiece I have been building up to.
This is the first Marco Polo Blend I tried, I had been obsessing about Rooibos for years, and then when I found this I bought 100g in a Boite du Thé withouth trying it, and have since got a re-fill of 200g on a successive Paris visit.
The is something just amazing about this blend, I can drink it any time of day, with or without milk, and never ever get sick of it, I’m “always in the mood” for this tea, and it helps me set to work on the task at hand.
How to brew?
I put 2/3 desert spoonfuls of it in a 6 cup pot, as rooibos doesn’t suffer from tannins and I can re-steep the hell out of this baby.
Water has to be boiling or just off, and I prefer to warm the pot as it makes it brew better, and it’s fine with milk or without, if I have brewed it strong with milk is best.
Anything else?
Colour, once brewed, is lovely, taste is so fruity and rich and warm, not at all heavy, a really excellent brew!
And very reasonable in price too.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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27 tasting notes

Good, but not awesome.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 200 OZ / 5914 ML

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