drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
1994 tasting notes

When I wrote about the green version of this a while back, I was surprised to find I hadn’t written a note on the black version. I know I’ve had this before, but somehow never wrote about it.

I intend to try this at different temperatures and steeping times given the variety others have used. Starting with boiling for 3:30.

In the tin, I smell cocoa and berries. In the steeped tea, I smell berries and vanilla bean.
The berries I smell are red, rather than black or blue, but as between strawberry and raspberry, I get a bit of a mash up. There’s a sweetness that is very strawberry like, but it’s almost like it’s at a distance, which is very raspberry like.

The tea is a clear, medium-dark amber. I wouldn’t describe it as smooth in the sip, but it doesn’t have a bite, either. The aftertaste is quite smooth, though, with a somewhat silky mouthfeel. It’s got a magical French thing going on with the flavors, which are very like the aroma with the added bonus that they integrate and balance seamlessly with the tea base, which has a depth that gives the tea a lot of character.

It’s got to be one of the best I’ve had from Mariage Freres, so it’s no surprise it’s their signature tea. It’s not the best tea I’ve ever had, but it’s awesome and something I’ll want to keep around.

Flavors: Cocoa, Raspberry, Strawberry, Vanilla

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes


Bay Area, California



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