My inventory tracking systems have had a nervous breakdown! Poking around the pantry for just the right tea to have with a dense slice of fruitcake, I pulled out a can of Mariage Freres Earl Grey Tea with Blue Flowers, twisted it open and stared aghast at the last remaining tablespoon of tea leaves! Yikes! And there are no trips to Paris planned in the next year or more! I drink tea. I do not, for some reason like coffee except in ice cream. And I like lots of different brands and flavors of tea though for special occasions or that once off need for something particularly refined, I like Mariage Freres. Perhaps itâ€™s the nicest black packaging in the entire tea world, or the seriously light and delicate leaves that are packed inside, or the flavorings that are so unique and gentleâ€¦but it is very good tea indeed. The hue of the tea when infused in water is refined as wellâ€¦it doesnâ€™t turn a deep brown like mass-marketed crushed teas in tea bagsâ€¦instead it is a rich light to medium caramel. The aroma is better than most of the other teas I have tried.
My everyday tea is a Twinnings Earl Grey (regular or decaffeinated if on a diet) that turns a deep dark brown if you leave the tea bag in too long. It is good but clearly made with bigger, less superior leaves (the finest ones being the newly sprouted leaves that are picked in the early morning just a day after they have unfurled). Tea bag trivia â€“ did you know good tea bags have abaca fibers in them? Yup, the stuff from Bicol and used more commonly in scratchy placemats! But when I want a special cup of tea I take out my private stash of English and French Teas â€“ Fortnum and Mason, Hediard, Mariage Freres. The family Mariage has been involved in tea since the 1660â€™s. In 1845, the company as it is called today was formed by the brothers Henri and Edouard Mariage, hence the name Mariage Freres (Mariage brothers).
The Mariage Freres tearoom is stunning. With over 500 blends of tea on offer, it is a tea lovers paradise. They pride themselves in developing several new teas a year and they try to experiment and seek new combinations and uses for their tea. They have even introduced the use of tea in jellies and other desserts. They are also totally anal about how they serve their tea. They infuse the hot water then remove the tea when just right, bringing the insulated teapot to your table without any remnants of tea leaves left. This differs from the English or even Chinese manner of serving tea. Mariage Freres â€“ 30 & 32 rue du Bourg-Tibourg 75004 Paris. Wickedly expensive.