I got this tea through the Cultured Cup, where I placed an order for a number of Mariage Freres teas. I didn’t know who Stephen Pyles was until I found this tea and read about him, but for those who don’t know, he’s an award-winning chef based in Dallas who is known for the “southwest” style.
My guess is that the Cultured Cup commissions custom blends from Mariage Freres, as well as selling some of their standards, because I’ve seen several teas available at the Cultured Cup that bear the Mariage Freres name, but that I haven’t seen on the Mariage Freres site or elsewhere.
In any case, this one smells heavily of bergamot in the packet. After steeping, there’s a dusky vanilla mixed in with the bergamot, along with a baked bread quality in the aroma. The tea is a clear, dark chestnut.
As with most Mariage Freres and indeed most French blends, there’s no clear demarcation between where the flavor ends and the tea begins. The flavors don’t just sit on top of the tea, they meld with it in a very pleasant way.
The bergamot isn’t overpowering in the sip, but it does linger in the aftertaste, moreso than the vanilla.
The only thing that’s missing, and that would make this truly wonderful is more depth to the tea base. With a malty Yunnan base, this would be spectacular.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Vanilla