Mariage Frères is one of the most well known tea brands in the world: its history started on 1 June 1854 in France where the company was founded by brothers Henri Mariage and Edouard Mariage. They have a few shops in Paris and Tokyo but also they have a lovely emporium and tea rooms near Covent Garden in London. I’m sure that if you follow me for a little while, you’ve seen different afternoon teas by Mariage Frères I’ve been invited to try.
This spring however Mariage Frères is up to a new activity: French Tea Club. It’s an hour long tea tasting taking place in their Tea Museum well hidden from the tea shop and tea room area. We’ve been lucky to attend the very first French Tea Club meeting at the beginning of April – and it was such a great experience for a tea lover like me!
Read about tea ceremonies in Shanghai, China and in Japan too.
Each of the guests of the French Tea Club has a personal table with eight cups, a tea menu and a leaflet where one can leave notes about different teas such as their visual, olfactory, and tasting characteristics. The experience is led by a Tea Master who provides insights into different teas and a Tea Sommelier who brews teas.
Our menu was dedicated to spring-themed Japanese Teas prepared exclusively for Mariage Frères company. Those included:
- Sakura white tea,
- Sakura (green tea),
- Sakura, Sakura! 2021 (green tea),
- Sakura, Sakura! 2022 (launch of a new green tea of this season),
- Reiwa Premier (green tea dedicated to Reiwa, a new era in Japan that started in 2019 and it translated as ‘a beautiful harmony’),
- Sakura Blue (oolong tea with some butterfly pea flower tea),
- Tokyo in Love (Blue tea)
- and Smoky Sakura (smoked black tea)
We had an opportunity not only to try different kinds of tea but also to visualise them because the dry teas were shown to us as well in petri dishes. As you can see, the teas look different too not only because they have different add-ons such as rose petals, plum petals, sakura petals, chrysanthemum etc, but also different in shape, wilted/not wilted and the stages of oxidation vary too. Those characteristics lead to different tea brewing time and temperature too with the white tea being the most delicate one with the most caffeine load.
In addition, we also tried the tea infused dessert inspired by cherry blossoms too with an almond base, almond mousse and cherries.
If you’re looking for a nice tea tasting experience with an educational twist, probably you should join The French Tea Club too!
Which tea would you like to try the most?
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