Review: Mariage Freres Earl Grey Imperial

Black Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Mariage Freres Add comments
James’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"A strong, rich black tea with plenty of bergamot, sure to please die-hard Earl Grey fans."
James’s Teaview: 8/10
Your Reviews: 8.5/10
2 reader reviews | Add your review »
mariage-freres.jpgMariage Frères is a French tea shop whose teas are famous, but hard to find. The Cultured Cup in Dallas is the only local store I am aware of, and I try to visit at least once a month. When I do visit, I take time to get a whiff of some of the teas and decide which ones to try. Although I am not a fan of Earl Gray, these tea leaves had a wonderful aroma that made me want to try it. The smell of bergamot was very strong and blended nicely with the quality black tea leaves.

The Cultured Cup recommends 1.5 teaspoons of tea, steeped for three minutes. Following these directions produced a rich, dark cup of tea with the strong bergamot aroma still present. The leaves unfolded very nicely as the steeped. This cup of tea had a very high quality appearance and aroma, making me look forward to drinking it. I've only tried a handful of Earl Grays, but I've noticed that the smell of bergamot is no guarantee that it will be present in the taste. In this case, the bergamot was present, and stronger than any of the other Earl Grays I've tried. It continued to linger in the aftertaste, minimizing the astringent taste usually found in black tea.

I am still not a huge fan of Earl Gray and I don't expect to make this one of my regulars. However, I can certainly appreciate high quality tea, and Mariage Frères Earl Gray Imperial is exactly that. It probably deserves a higher rating than what I am giving it. For those who love Earl Gray, this one is ideal; a strong, rich black tea with plenty of bergamot.
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3 Responses to “Review: Mariage Freres Earl Grey Imperial”

  1. Aimée Says:

    My friend Shaunna spoiled me by sending a package of three tins of loose leaf tea from Dean & DeLuca – an Earl Grey, and two green teas (one a citrus blend and the other vanilla-infused.) I was thrilled to try them since D&D seems to have a fantastic reputation. I had never heard of the brand tea before (Mariage Fréres.)

    Being that I had been baking so many sweet treats, it made more sense to me to try the Earl Grey (for some reason green tea and madeleines just don’t go together in my head.) This tea is PUNGENT! Earl Greys always have a very distinctive scent to them – one that is, frankly, not very appealing to me. But the subtle nuances to the taste of this tea far outweighs any hesitations I might have due to its fragrance.

    All that being said, the scent of this blend does not stray far from my generalization of Earl Grey scents: it is very strong and can be clearly discerned within moments of being opened from nearby. The can describes this blend as a daytime bergamot brisk tea. I can’t lie – I had no idea what bergamot meant until after tasting and my review notes.

    The first thing I noticed as I removed the infuser from my mug was the amount of particles sitting at the bottom of the mug. I was somewhat surprised by this, and am unsure whether it was a fluke, a sign of good/bad quality leaves, or just a problem with the infuser. I don’t know. I do know D&D and this particular tea company have fantastic reputations, and the leaves from the tin look superb, but again – I was a little concerned by the large amount of small particles.

    The personality of this tea is definitely like that of a man one would describe as a ‘big teddy bear.’ Essentially, the leaves pre-steeping were almost intimidating, but the flavor was much calmer with a distinctive aftertaste of citrus rind (not too acidic though.) I found that I steeped this tea for quite some time, and got very close to oversteeping; the bottom of the mug was bitter. This might have been due to the excess particles at the bottom.

    The flavor well complemented the lemon madeleines I had baked earlier that afternoon. This tea is definitely good for snacking, meals, and tea services.

    Bottom line: this tea is satisfying, though not something I would be likely to buy for myself in the future. However, drinking the remainder of the can definitely will not be a chore.

    My Rating: 7/10

  2. Aida Says:

    To enjoy this tea to perfection, you have to boil the water at 90.F and infuse it no more than 3 min. It is an amazing tea done right. First time I had it in Paris was a dream. When I did it at home it was pungent. Check the instructions, did as suggested and it has become my favorite afternoon tea 🙂

    My Rating: 10/10

  3. Aida Says:

    90 C sorry, not 90 F 🙂

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