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Mariage freres tea

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mrsjoujou Sep 26, 2006 05:32 PM

What are your favorites? Is there any difference in quality between the ones you buy form paris and what you order online or buy in the US?
My favorites,so far,are the wedding imperial(so delicious),marco polo and the earl grey imperial.

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    EclecticEater RE: mrsjoujou Sep 27, 2006 05:14 AM

    If you'll look at this site they used to use the bags from the Mariage freres tea group. Now they use their own and you can see the resumblance at the www.houseoftea.com site. This place had some of the best green tea I ever tasted. They only sell tea. They have an interesting background (life story). They can probably help you to find a tea like the one you're looking for.

    http://www.phillyblog.com/philly/arch...

    Their site is:

    http://www.houseoftea.com/
    and have many deneral Chowhounding Topics Feed-icon
    Mariage freres tea

    I met Nat Lit who founded the place, an interesting raconteur, and I'm sure his daughter who runs the place is just great at helping people find the kind of tea they want.

    1. CynD RE: mrsjoujou Sep 27, 2006 05:15 PM

      My favorites are the Bourbon (a rich sherry/vanilla flavor) and Fils de France. I've brought it home each time I visit Paris; can't find it anyplace in the So Cal region. Thanks to EclecticEater for posting the online site!

      1 Reply
      1. re: CynD
        Woolsey RE: CynD May 28, 2007 08:20 PM

        There's always that tiny, tiny selection of Mariage Frères Williams Sonoma carries here in SoCal. Boule on La Cienega in near the Beverly Center was carrying a bigger selection when they first opened, but they've switched to Le Palais des Thés. (Which, of course, is so necessary, what with Jin Pâtisserie's selling Le Palais des Thés, and our having a Palais des Thés boutique in Beverly Hills...) The sales assistant there told me that it was just easier to get Le Palais des Thés, so, like their amazing viennoiseries - How I miss those kouign amanns! - Mariage Frères tea was dropped from Boule.

        Strangely enough, I find Mariage Frères candles all over town but never the tea outside of the one or two varieties at Williams Sonoma. Someone's got to be carrying it, though.

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        mwood RE: mrsjoujou May 25, 2007 01:53 PM

        i love the jasmin mandarin. i found a huge selection online at

        markethallfoods.com

        1 Reply
        1. re: mwood
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          kathleen440 RE: mwood Jan 25, 2012 12:28 PM

          Me too, the Jasmin Mandarin is the bomb.

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          mrsjoujou RE: mrsjoujou May 27, 2007 11:15 AM

          Well, I order some from the cultured tea and I think, they are lesser quality than the ones from paris.

          1. jpr54_1 RE: mrsjoujou May 27, 2007 11:43 AM

            I order directly from Paris-

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              french roast RE: mrsjoujou May 27, 2007 12:33 PM

              I just love this stuff. I brought back so much from Paris the last time I was there, I'm having quite a time drinking it all before the "consume by" date. Nice problem to have:-) BTW, if ANYONE knows of a brick and mortar store where I can get this in the Los Angeles area, I will jump for joy.

              One of my new favorites that I discovered the last time I was there is Sultane. It's an unflavored black tea, but WOW, is it awesome! There is just something really special about it, and it is simple divine black tea (yes, w/milk and sugar!) perfection. I don't see it listed on the Market Hall website, which is unfortunate...Also, I found a wonderful blend called "Fall in Love" tea, which is very aptly named. Love it. It's black tea with delicious caramel and vanilla notes, but less like ice cream and more like a whiff of excellent cigar tobacco. Yum.

              As far as their quality issue, I wonder if the ones sold here in the US are different? I can't imagine Mariage Freres making a lesser grade for exporting (quelle horreur!) Could it be tht since it doesn't sell as fast as it does from the source, it's not as fresh?

              1 Reply
              1. re: french roast
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                stephtx RE: french roast May 27, 2007 02:38 PM

                I get the tea from a store here in town (Dallas) and it seems to be great quality (as good as oversees). I love Marco Polo.

              2. hitachino RE: mrsjoujou May 28, 2007 03:32 PM

                i'm curious, what could make this tea any better than any other tea? is this some sort of marketing genius or does this tea place somehow have access to better tea than any other tea place?

                (it's not like they grow, roll, ferment tea in france.)

                is it like a starbucks phenomena?

                possibly, with a bit of research and some good suppliers, couldn't most folks could come up with their own mariage freres type blends?

                2 Replies
                1. re: hitachino
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                  french roast RE: hitachino May 30, 2007 11:31 PM

                  I don't think so. Mariage Freres has been making tea and tea blends for a long time, and I believe they have well over 350 blends that have been tried and true. I've tries teas from many sources, and I haven't found anything that comes close. Actually, I think it's kind of an anti-Starbucks situation, because it's so hard to get. They are just masters of the mix, I guess! I'm sure there's a little snob factor worked in there, but their teas are simply better, IMHO, that those you get at Palais des Thes or anywhere else.

                  1. re: hitachino
                    PseudoNerd RE: hitachino Jun 2, 2007 12:49 AM

                    It's easier for some companies to offer consistent products than others, and Mariage Freres has a lot of pull in the industry (as well as the money and the reputation to back them).

                  2. jpr54_1 RE: mrsjoujou May 30, 2007 05:52 PM

                    There is also www.lepalaisdesthes.com

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                      daniellx RE: mrsjoujou Feb 12, 2008 12:28 PM

                      I just ordered 12 teas (100 gram bags) from the Mariage Freres website. The website is a total nightmare to use, and I didn't think the tea would ever be delivered, but it did arrive about one week after I ordered it. It is A LOT CHEAPER to order it this way if you buy the loose leave tea not in the canisters. I spent $150 which is about half the price of any of the other websites that carry this tea, even with the euro as high as it is. My favorites are: Impressionist, L'Opera, Wedding Imperial, and Paques (easter tea).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: daniellx
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                        mrsjoujou RE: daniellx Feb 13, 2008 08:24 AM

                        Once you drink their tea, it is hard to go back to any other tea. I, too ordered from the website and very happy with my selection.

                      2. omotosando RE: mrsjoujou Feb 14, 2008 10:00 PM

                        I have liked the Ruschka and the Casablanca. Bourbon, which is a rooibos rather than a tea, can be good when I'm in the mood for it (although it is somewhat sweet and tastes cloying when I'm not in the mood). I haven't liked most of the blends - thumbs down for me were Marco Polo, Wedding Imperial, Sultane and Alexandra David-Neel. I guess I'm not really a blend person for the most part. I thought the Darjeeling I ordered was just okay - nothing spectacular. I strongly disliked the Chandernagor, which is a blend of cloves, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and pepper - I really like a good Indian chai, but this just didn't do it for me. Except for Casablanca, which is a green mint tea, I haven't ordered any green tea from Mariage Freres, since I assume there are better places to get traditional high quality green tea.

                        I agree that the website is a nightmare.

                        I have been thrilled with all the tea paraphernalia I have ordered from Mariage Freres - lacquer tea tins; tea cups, spoons, etc.

                        Watch out for customs. Most of my orders have sailed through, but the last one was stopped by customs and I was tagged with some $50 in extra fees, most of which was not the actual U.S customs fee, but a UPS fee that I assume was tacked on for their "work" in dealing with customs.

                        1. FrancaV RE: mrsjoujou Dec 14, 2008 02:01 PM

                          Hello! This is my first post here, so apologies for any mistakes!

                          We love Mariage Freres tea and always bring some home with us from France. But that doesn't last long so naturally I am always on the lookout for more local sources. ;) Am coming in to this discussion late, but in case anyone is still looking for online sources of Mariage Freres tea in the U.S., I have found it at these places:

                          http://www.deandeluca.com/ - best prices, surprisingly

                          http://markethallfoods.com/ - already mentioned previously in this discussion

                          http://bellocchio.com/catalogue/confi...

                          Bell'Occhio had the highest prices and smallest selection, but it happened to be the only one of the three places that had the Darjeeling Himalaya in the muslin bags in stock (my husband's favorite). So, in the Christmas spirit I did my best to ignore the rather inflated shipping cost (it's only travelling about 90 miles, for goodness' sake) and ordered some to put under the tree. I figured it was worth the extra shipping to avoid the hassle of international ordering this time of year and I was also a bit put off by the caveats here regarding the user-unfriendly Mariage Freres web site and the potential for unexpected customs-related charges!

                          Happy holidays, all!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: FrancaV
                            omotosando RE: FrancaV Dec 31, 2008 09:11 PM

                            Just got another order from Mariage Freres in Paris. I think I am finally used to their crazy website. What I like about ordering directly is that you can get any kind of tea you want - they have hundreds - not just the limited selection offered in the U.S.

                            One tip I have finally figured out about the website is that if you can read any French at all, use the French website, not the English one. The French website prompts you to set up an account with a password so you don't have to keep entering your information (the English site doesn't let you set up an account). Also, when I have ordered through the English site, I never get a confirmation email (so you wonder if the order went through until the tea shows up on your door step). When you order through the French website, you get an email confirming your order.

                            I love those little muslin tea bags for when I am at the office (plus I love the box that that the muslin tea bags are packaged in). This order I got Fuji-Yama (a Japanese green) and Earl Grey Impérial in the muslin tea bags. Haven't tried the Earl Grey Impérial bags yet, but was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Fuji-Yama.

                            Also ordered loose Earl Grey French Blue (has blue cornflowers) and two Japanese senchas. I'm usually not big on Earl Grey, but I was feeling experimental, and it's really pretty good. Tried one of the senchas and it is also good.

                            Much to my surprise, I got tagged with an extra $21 fee from UPS. I'm not actually sure what it was for, since I only ordered tea (which I don't believe is subject to customs) and no paraphernalia (which I believe is subject to customs). Still, UPS wasn't handing over my tea until I forked over the $21 so I just paid and didn't ask questions. I do see, however, that the Earl Grey Impérial bag, for which I paid 12 Euro (about $17 at current exchange rates) is $20 at Dean and Deluca, so I guess if you order enough tea, the money you save on the tea, makes up for the strange UPS fees.

                            The website has some killer red porcelain teapots, which I keep admiring, but they are super pricey.

                            P.S. I agree with the poster above who likes the jasmine mandarin. I've ordered it in the past and it is really nice.

                          2. choco_lab38 RE: mmacek45 Jun 20, 2009 05:00 PM

                            Thank you for that info.! So glad I checked this thread again!
                            I've been spending a lot extra $ ordering from the MF website, what with the exchange rates and shipping costs(although their packing is great and the order arrives in just a few days!)
                            I love the French Breakfast tea and can't find it locally. Now, if only I knew where I might find their Easter Tea (The de Paques) and Iced Tea products...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: choco_lab38
                              omotosando RE: choco_lab38 Jun 20, 2009 07:07 PM

                              Do tell us about Easter Tea and why you like it. I am always on the lookout for a new tea.

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                              snowbrocade RE: mrsjoujou Feb 15, 2011 08:28 PM

                              Well, seems like this thread died a while ago but I did get some nice tips from reading about yr favorites.

                              I logged onto the mariage freres website and it seems fairly easy--probably updated it. It is pretty expensive but cheaper than markethall.

                              I registered on the Francais website but when I logged onto the english website to check it out it had my basket and wish list.

                              I think I will try the french breakfast, imperial earl grey and sultane. I love keemun so I will probably try a few of their keemun selection.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: snowbrocade
                                omotosando RE: snowbrocade Feb 16, 2011 05:26 PM

                                I ordered one of Mariage Freres keemums. Not sure if they still have the exact same one -- it was their most expensive -- and it was delicious. I'm not a fan of the sultane, but that is a personal taste preference. I'm not a coffee drinker and something about the sultane is coffee-like to me.

                                I see they have totally changed their website. Seems easier to navigate.

                                1. re: omotosando
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                                  snowbrocade RE: omotosando Feb 16, 2011 07:32 PM

                                  Thanx for the tip--it seems that there are 4 keemuns on the webiste ranging from 4 euros for 100g to 20. The 20 euro one is FTGFOP1. but the others are all FOP--I was thinking about trying the 4 euro one and the 16 euro one--after all this is a very discriminating company so even their cheaper teas should be quite good.

                                  I would like to hear more of the taste of sultane?

                                  1. re: snowbrocade
                                    omotosando RE: snowbrocade Feb 17, 2011 12:27 AM

                                    I definitely bought the most expensive keemum that they had at the time and it was definitely worth the price. (Although since I didn't buy the less expensive ones, I had no way to do a value comparison).

                                    Sultane is very small leaves (almost like a CTC tea or maybe it is a CTC tea) and has a flavor profile that invokes coffee to me (one of those flavored coffees perhaps). Just didn't appeal to me but I think my reaction may be idiosyncratic.

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                                Uncle Yabai RE: mrsjoujou Feb 16, 2011 12:16 AM

                                Auntie loves Mariage Freres, she buys it by the metric ton. Usually at their shops in Tokyo or Kyoto, where you can usually find 200-300 of their blends to buy on site, or to try upstairs with some cake.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Uncle Yabai
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                                  snowbrocade RE: Uncle Yabai Feb 16, 2011 10:29 AM

                                  Yah--it has been awhile since I have been in Tokyo or Kyoto-sounds marvelous! My local William sonona has only two kinds--earl grey silver and one of the darjeelings.

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                                  yshuto RE: mrsjoujou Feb 24, 2011 11:53 AM

                                  I frequent the Tokyo-Ginza Mariage Freres store to buy my tea. 20 years ago, Twining Darjeeling was good enough for me. Then I tried the Princeton blend from Mariage. Night and day difference. After that I tried the Queen Victoria blend, Princeton was not good enough anymore. Then I stepped up to Castleton. The quality and the selection of Darjeeling offered by Mariage trounces all other stores, even the online stores. Yet you will pay a fairly large premium on Mariage teas compared to other online retailers. You can buy their full selection in Paris, Japan, or online. You will be hard pressed to find the best of the best teas Mariage offers at any store with the exception of the ones listed above.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: yshuto
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                                    snowbrocade RE: yshuto Feb 25, 2011 11:01 AM

                                    Lucky you! I bet the Ginza store is amazing. I have only been able to find two teas locally at William sonoma--the earl grey silver tips and the darjeeling princeton. The earl grey is awesome I love it! It is very smooth and the bergamot is perfect--very fragrant without being harsh. The princeton I only tried once and didnt really llike it that much--it was a little bitter. I will try it again and maybe just brew it 2 minutes to see if it will taste better. I saw on the MF site that there is a Darjeeling rose--it isnt flavored the tea just naturally has a taste of rose. Have you tried that one?

                                    1. re: snowbrocade
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                                      yshuto RE: snowbrocade Feb 25, 2011 01:25 PM

                                      The Mariage in Ginza is amazing. The employees, especially the store manager knows what they are talking about and can explain the teas in detail. I have not tried the Rose D'Himalaya or the Darjeeling Rose Camelia. You should try experimenting by altering steeping time, water temperature, etc. Since Mariage is pretty expensive, you might want to try a Darjeeling sampler offered online at Upton Tea imports or other online retailers and decide whether you like Darjeeling or not. If you do like Darjeeling then Mariage can open up that world with over 50 types of Darjeeling, Spring, Summer, Monsoon Flushes, Darjeeling blends etc. I sent Mariage (Paris) an email inquiring about some the teas they offer. They promptly responded by sending me a phone number and they were more than willing to offer advice on their teas. Mariage is expensive, but for black teas, they are the best. For Oolong, I go to Taiwan to buy my tea. I consider myself fortunate as my work takes me to Asia about five times a year.

                                      1. re: yshuto
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                                        snowbrocade RE: yshuto Feb 25, 2011 06:24 PM

                                        I like your idea of the sampler--I will look it up.

                                        One day I hope to go to a Mariage Freres store. Can you taste acup of the tea before you buy it? I was just reading up on the princeton tea--MF recommends a short brewing time. I like a variety of black teas--keemun is one of my faves, but also like yunnan, assam and oolong. I also had a south african tea--Ntignwe Kwazulu black tea from Taylors of harrogate which was great with cream. Peets coffee and tea has a very nice premium darjeeling Kalimpong. I seems to like most black tea except the very smoky sort--a little smoke goes a long way!

                                        I tried to order some tea on MF website but for some reason the order did not go thru. I found some MF teas on a California website--they had a very limited selection. I orderd two earl greys and the french breakfast tea--it is a flavored black tea which I mostly dont like, but it had rave reviews so I wanted to try it. They had it in a refill bag for $12 so that seemed like a reasonable try.

                                        Going to asia to buy tea sounds awesome! I would love to tour some of the estates sometime.

                                        1. re: snowbrocade
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                                          Uncle Yabai RE: snowbrocade Feb 26, 2011 07:18 AM

                                          Don't know much about the brewing times, but at the Mariage Freres tearoom in Ginza they will bring you the teapot already brewed and no leaves, so as to prevent over-steeping of the tea while you drink it. The teapots themselves are insulated in a metal shell with a felt lining to reduce heat dissipation and prevent your tea from cooling as you drink the teapot.

                                          1. re: snowbrocade
                                            omotosando RE: snowbrocade Feb 26, 2011 05:43 PM

                                            Wonder if perhaps your Mariage Freres order did, in fact, go through. The same thing happened to me the first time I ordered from the website -- I didn't think the order went through because I never got an acknowledgment of any kind -- and then a few days later the tea showed up on my doorstep.

                                            A very nice and relatively inexpensive Mariage Freres blend (which I am drinking this very second) is THÉ DES POÈTES SOLITAIRES. It's only 10,50 E for 100 grams, which is one of their less expensive teas. It is a very nice blend of Chinese tea and darjeeling oolong --just a nice blend, no funky "flavors" (I hate flavored tea).

                                            I need to order some keemun!

                                            1. re: omotosando
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                                              snowbrocade RE: omotosando Feb 26, 2011 07:20 PM

                                              Oh , that would be great!! I saw that you have paid extra duty on some occasions--are you in the US?

                                              Mmmm--that blend sounds nice--theone thing about MF is that they dont have detailed descriptions of their teas on the website which makes it hard to knit is. ow exactly what it is. I got their book which helps a but but still some of them have very little detaile. I will put Poetes on my wish list!

                                              As for Keemun, while it is undoubtedly not as good as what you find on MF, there is a tea company called Culinary Teas online and they have a nice selection of Keemun teas--they have one called Keemun Hoa Ya A which they assert is the tea that the Queen of england drinks.

                                              One of the nice things about this company is that they offer a one ounce sample of each tea--so you can try even the very expensive ones. the Hoa Ya is 10.55 for the 1 ounce sample.

                                              1. re: snowbrocade
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                                                yshuto RE: snowbrocade Mar 7, 2011 09:47 AM

                                                You can try tea in the Ginza Mariage Salon but it will cost you since you will have to pay for the tea. i've been to the Ginza store so many times that the store manager knows what I like and offers advice accordingly. I tend to stay with their Darjeeling teas. Princeton is a decent blend and not very expensive. Queen Victoria is a better blend and is moderate in price. Then there are the premium estate teas which I like. For Spring flush, Castleton, Margaret's Hope, Bloomfield, Namring Upper, Moondakotee, etc.. For Summer flush, Ambootia, Happy Valley, Namring Upper, Puttabong, etc. Then there are the vintage Darjeelings which is limited in supply and represents the best of the season offering the finest taste, flawless appearance of the leaves, and a high proportion of tips. If you like milk in your tea, then try the relatively inexpensive Cha Thai (not a Darjeeling).

                                                1. re: yshuto
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                                                  snowbrocade RE: yshuto Mar 7, 2011 10:56 AM

                                                  I was reading about the cha and was thinking it sounded good.

                                      2. re: yshuto
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                                        sjannol RE: yshuto May 19, 2012 11:25 AM

                                        I know it's been a while since this first thread but you can find Mariage freres online at the culture cup. They are very good

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                                        DJade RE: mrsjoujou Mar 7, 2011 09:56 AM

                                        Awesome...I didn't even know you could get Mariage Freres outside of France. I went to their salon de the a few times while I lived in Paris...pricey stuff but totally worth it for the lovely service.

                                        The first time I went with a friend, and I was the type who thought "well it's just tea..." The man waiting behind us happened to be a German tea-buyer for a tea company, and was more than happy to put me in my place. :)

                                        I hope the quality is as consistent online. Where do you guys order from? I can't kid myself into thinking I'll find it in person where I live...

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: DJade
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                                          snowbrocade RE: DJade Mar 7, 2011 10:54 AM

                                          DJ--you can get MF through Markethall foods in the SF bay area--they have a limited supply online. www.markethallfoods.com. Also I found two MF teas at my local Williams of Sonoma but I didnt find any online with them.

                                          Quality seems very good but since I havent been to one of the stores I cant say for sure.

                                          I recently bought the Earl Grey French Blue which is almost as good as the Earl Grey silvertips I bought at Williams of sonoma. I also got the French Breakfast which is a flavored black tea.

                                          I dont usually like flavored teas but it is very popular so I decided to try it. It is very good and I will definitely get it again. the chocolate flavor is very subtle and works really well with the smooth black tea.

                                          I think I will eventually put together a large order for MF online because the prices are just better plus a choice of 350 teas.

                                        2. omotosando RE: mrsjoujou Jan 24, 2012 08:06 PM

                                          Time for a Mariage Freres update, as a new order from France just arrived at my door.

                                          First, their website has been completely redesigned since this thread was started 6 years ago and the website is now user-friendly. (I guess web design finally made it to France).

                                          Second, although even with shipping fees it is vastly cheaper to buy the tea direct from Paris than locally, I just got hit with a $28.39 UPS "brokerage fee" as in the UPS man wasn't releasing my package without my check for the fee. It's been awhile since I was hit with one of those fees on a Mariage Freres shipment. I don't know if the brokerage fee is connected to the fact that I included a non-tea item with the shipment or because it was such a large (and therefore high dollar value) shipment. As to the non-tea item, I got seduced by a 9 Euro ($11.72) wooden tea serving spoon, which I added to my shipment of tea. My speculation is that perhaps non-tea items have to clear customs separately -- if that is the case, the $11.72 spoon, with added "brokerage fee" actually cost me over $40!

                                          Third, showing how one's tastes can change, I have revised my opinion of Sultane, which I just received in my order. It's a very dark, strong tea and at first I didn't like it. But I've been enjoying it on cold winter mornings, so I ordered more.

                                          I also received an order of ORCHIDÉE Bleue, which is a an oolong tea from Thailand (Mariage Freres calls their oolongs blue tea for some reason). I bought it locally for an exorbitant price (it was a fraction of the price on the website) and enjoyed it, so I ordered some more. It's packaged in an attractive white tin, but they don't offer the option of just buying it without the tin and refilling.

                                          Another order of Rouge Bourbon in sachets, which is my go to office afternoon tea (I've given up brewing loose leaf at work). Rouge Bourbon is rooibos with vanilla. It holds up well to the less than optimum brewing conditions at work.

                                          An order of "Love Song" rooibos. The "Love Song" collection is rose petal, almond milk flavored loose leaf tea in tall pretty tins that comes in rooibos, black and green tea. I haven't previously tried the Love Song rooibos, but previously enjoyed the "Fall in Love" rooibos in a tin, which I think is identical except for the almond flavor.

                                          Also, a few other new to me Mariage Freres teas in this shipment, which I will report back on once I try them.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: omotosando
                                            Caitlin McGrath RE: omotosando Jan 24, 2012 08:53 PM

                                            A dozen years ago, I gave some tea to my mother that I bought for her at Mariage Freres in Paris, and last spring she went to Paris and made a pilgrimage there. She brought back a tea called Ruschka that we both ended up liking - another strong, dark one that's very malty and almost slightly smoky (not smoky like lapsang souchon, though). Thankfully, we found we can buy it locally in the Bay Area at the Pasta Shop (whence www.markethallfoods.com), but only in tins, so it's quite pricey, almost $20. They've got a few in bulk, but only the super-popular ones like Earl Grey Imperial, Marco Polo, etc.

                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                              omotosando RE: Caitlin McGrath Jan 24, 2012 09:13 PM

                                              Yes, I have Ruschka. I would describe Sultane as Ruschka on steroids. I'm enjoying Sultane more than Ruschka these days, although I hated Sultane the first time I tried it.

                                              1. re: omotosando
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                                                french roast RE: omotosando Jan 24, 2012 11:32 PM

                                                Sultane is my favorite MF tea. I didn't know you could buy it stateside!

                                                1. re: french roast
                                                  omotosando RE: french roast Jan 25, 2012 12:02 AM

                                                  This was an order shipped from France.

                                            2. re: omotosando
                                              omotosando RE: omotosando Feb 10, 2012 08:01 PM

                                              I finally cracked open the "Love Song" rooibos that I ordered. I wish I hadn't. Cracked open the can. It smells like perfume or potpourri. I'm not a fan of potpourri tea. The "almond" flavor is overwhelming. I would not suggest ordering this (or the black or green tea variant of Mariage Freres Love Song tea) unless you like highly perfumed manipulated teas. I only ordered it because the "Fall in Love' rooibos was not available and I naively thought "Love Song" rooibos was more or less the same, but it is not.

                                              On the bright side, THOWRA and KAISER are nice, invigorating, malty, relatively inexpensive,morning teas from Mariage Freres. Thowra is an Assam. Kaiser is a blend. I particularly like Kaiser.

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                                              yshuto RE: mrsjoujou Jan 24, 2012 11:18 PM

                                              If you have the chance, try the top tier Spring Flush Darjeelings offered from Mariage. They never disappoint. FF Castleton, FF Namring, FF Namring Upper, FF Margaret's Hope, FF Junpana, FF Bloomfield, FF Moondakotee are all outstanding 2011 Darjeelings. This is where Mariage excels above all other retailers.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: yshuto
                                                omotosando RE: yshuto Jan 25, 2012 12:01 AM

                                                Next order -- on this order, I picked up the 2011 Happy Valley FTGFOP1.

                                                1. re: yshuto
                                                  FrancaV RE: yshuto Jan 25, 2012 05:30 PM

                                                  Am thrilled that this discussion is revived periodically with new information. I love MF teas. :)

                                                  You folks who order from MF in Paris - can you tell me approximately what you pay in shipping? (Not counting those extra UPS charges which seem to be rather random.) I am in California but have a friend in Florida who is also interested. Last we checked there was no way to see the shipping charges before placing the order. I don't mind paying extra for international shipping but don't like not knowing what amount will be charged to my credit card for a transaction. I realize that MF has no control over customs and random UPS surcharges but I don't understand why the MF site can't calculate the basic UPS shipping once the items are all in the cart and the shipping location has been entered. Or is the MF site now able to calculate shipping charges prior to finalizing the order?

                                                  I'll be in France in June and am hoping to stock up on the MF Darjeeling in bags that none of the sites stateside seem to carry. Why is that, anyway?? What have they got against Darjeeling in bags?

                                                  Regarding those Darjeeling teas - Upton Tea in Massachusetts carries a vast selection of single estate Darjeeling teas. I recognize many of the above mentioned estates from the Upton Tea catalogs. Upton Tea sells loose teas from around the world (no tea bags) and is a great company with superior customer service; I highly recommend them! It couldn't hurt to look for your favorite estate Darjeeling teas there on the chance that you could restock and enjoy them without the hassle and expense of international shipping.

                                                  1. re: FrancaV
                                                    omotosando RE: FrancaV Jan 25, 2012 06:43 PM

                                                    You still can't get a shipping charge before placing your order at the Mariage Freres website. The website says shipping to the U.S. is based on weight, package dimensions and distance (which is exactly how UPS charges). So apparently, unlike some retailers, they don't have an arbitrary shipping rate based on the dollar (or Euro) amount of purchase and they can't estimate the fee in advance because they don't know the weight of the package or the dimensions.

                                                    On my last order, to California, I just paid 28.50 E (approximately $37.35) in shipping. But it was a fairly large order ($269 worth of tea) that came in a largish box. It is still much cheaper for me to order from France than to buy locally (to say nothing of the fact that only a few of the Mariage Freres teas are available locally). For instance, I just paid $34 at the website for a tin of Orchidee Bleue -- when I bought it locally last month, it was $64 for the exact same tea -- so I paid $30 extra in L.A. for one tin of tea -- in other words, my shipping fee on this order was more than covered by the price differential of going directly to the source.

                                                    The Rouge Bourbon tea sachets that I just paid $17 for are available from Market Hall Foods for $23 (or $6 more), and Market Hall would charge me an additional $8 in shipping and handling, so again it is much cheaper to order from France, especially when you are ordering a few things.

                                                    1. re: omotosando
                                                      FrancaV RE: omotosando Jan 25, 2012 10:13 PM

                                                      Thank you very much for the info!

                                                    2. re: FrancaV
                                                      y
                                                      yshuto RE: FrancaV Jan 26, 2012 11:51 AM

                                                      I have tried the FF Darjeeling teas from Upton and although they are good, they cannot compare to the complex, delicate yet full bodied flavor of the FF Darjeeling teas from Mariage. In particular, I have tried the 2010 FF Arya and the 2011 FF Margaret's Hope from Upton. i wish it were not so since i hate paying the high price of teas from Mariage. This is my honest opinion for FF Darjeelings. For Oolong, I will continue to buy from my favorite shop in Taipei, for Green Rooibos, I buy from a number of retailers including Upton, but for Darjeelings i still seek retailers on par with Mariage Freres. i have tried Harrod's, Thunderbolt, The Brook Bond tea salon, The Shiseido tea salon, Fauchon, The Marine de Bourbon tea salon, Fortnum& Mason, Upton, and yet none can compare to Mariage Freres. Mariage does offer less expesive FF Darjeelings like Orange Valley and the Princeton FF Darjeeling blend but they too fall short when compared to the Top Tier Estate Teas.

                                                      As for shipping, it is 28.50 Euros to California. i have ordered from 600grams to 1.0kg and the shipping has been the same at 28.50. This does not include the ridiculous brokerage fees.

                                                      1. re: yshuto
                                                        omotosando RE: yshuto Jan 26, 2012 12:32 PM

                                                        A bit off topic, but since you said you frequent the Tokyo-Ginza Mariage Freres store, do you perhaps know the best place to buy top-grade sencha over the Internet? I've actually gotten some great sencha from Mariage Freres in the past (although it seems counter-intuitive to have Japanese tea shipped from Paris). Lately, I've been ordering directly from Japan at www.o-cha.com , but I'm not entirely satisfied for the price.

                                                        I just received an order of Tosen-Meicha sencha from MF for 60E (!), but I don't love that either. It's a beautiful green color, but It's not grassy enough for my taste - has more of a lingering sweetness.

                                                        I've grown weary of Ito-en as well. I feel like all the great sencha in the world is hiding from me!

                                                        1. re: omotosando
                                                          y
                                                          yshuto RE: omotosando Jan 26, 2012 01:00 PM

                                                          You can find a wealth of information on all types of tea, online retailers, etc. at
                                                          www.teachat.com

                                                      2. re: FrancaV
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                                                        IthacaNancy RE: FrancaV Feb 21, 2014 07:53 AM

                                                        Seems like I paid about $40 in fees to the delivery company extra in order to have my 200 Euros worth of teas (650 grams) delivered to me. This was on top of whatever shipping fees I'd paid to to Mairage Freres.

                                                        I recently came back from London where I made a fairly large purchase of teas at the Mairage Freres counter in Selfridges. I don't know how the prices compared to the online prices - I'm just guessing they were the same. No duty to pay or shipping charges, but a trip to London seems excessive as a way to avoid shipping charges!

                                                        The clerk was reluctant to sell me more than he thought I could drink in a year. : ) Sometimes I like the way teas age, so I just went ahead and purchased as much s I wanted. It was nice having a real person, who knew the teas well to advise and suggest.

                                                        And I still really like the Fugiyama green, so I'm hoping I'll be able to find it again from a domestic source at a reasonable rate.

                                                    3. m
                                                      mrsjoujou RE: mrsjoujou Jan 25, 2012 10:10 AM

                                                      Well, I picked up a a few tea last time I was in Paris after sniffing for half and hour on their shop at Faubourg Saint- Honore

                                                      Wedding Imperia-l love it as usual

                                                      The Sur Le Ni-l it is a very nice green tea

                                                      Earl Grey French Blue- I prefer Imperial over this

                                                      Black Orchid- Raelly like this one. Very nice rich taste

                                                      Montagne D' OR- This one was Ok. It is china black with some lemon peel and other fruits

                                                      Casablanca- This was an Ok peppermint tea

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: mrsjoujou
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                                                        snowbrocade RE: mrsjoujou Jan 25, 2012 11:00 AM

                                                        rejoice mariage freres fans--try out Porte Rouge of Chicago. http://www.porterouge.biz/category.as...
                                                        they have a large selection of mariage freres teas both in tins and in bulk. no keemun unfortunately but they do have one of my favorites: Earl Grey Bleu--it comes in 100 g bags for 13.25 which is a pretty good deal as opposed to the tins.

                                                        1. re: mrsjoujou
                                                          omotosando RE: mrsjoujou Jan 25, 2012 02:24 PM

                                                          I'm a big fan of Casablanca. I add mint from my garden to kick it up a notch and always get oohs and aahs when I serve it after dinner.

                                                          Wedding Imperial is one Mariage Freres tea that I was unable to drink -- it is very "flavored" and I didn't like the flavor. I actually still have a stash -- I'll have to give it another try and see if perhaps my palate has changed. But I doubt it -- it has chocolate and caramel and I'm not a person who likes my tea "sweet."

                                                          1. re: mrsjoujou
                                                            omotosando RE: mrsjoujou Jan 25, 2012 06:58 PM

                                                            Just dug out my Wedding Imperial from MF and still hate it. I wonder if MrsJouJou takes it with milk and sugar? I'm not a milk and sugar tea person myself, but I could imagine that if I were, Wedding Imperial would be more palatable. It doesn't taste like tea to me -- it tastes like a tea flavored drink much like those flavored waters that some people like.

                                                            1. re: omotosando
                                                              m
                                                              mrsjoujou RE: omotosando Jan 26, 2012 10:31 AM

                                                              To me the Wedding Imperial taste more like coffee than a tea. I don't taste much chooclate and caramel. It must be my tast bud. I don't take sugar and cream and if my husband make the WI too strong, it gives me a heart burn just like a strong coffee. That is why we call WI, coffee tea!!!!!

                                                              1. re: mrsjoujou
                                                                omotosando RE: mrsjoujou Jan 26, 2012 12:23 PM

                                                                Ah hah, this probably explains why I don't like Wedding Imperial. I hate the taste of coffee!

                                                                At first I didn't like Sultane either because it too reminded me of coffee, but now I like Sultane, but only in the mornings. I don't think I'll ever change my opinion of Wedding Imperial though. I do love the name though -- that's what seduced me into buying it originally.

                                                                1. re: mrsjoujou
                                                                  s
                                                                  sabinedk RE: mrsjoujou Aug 9, 2012 03:03 AM

                                                                  The temperature of the wather is very important and you must not let it steep to long. If you do you will get a bitter and not very nice flavour. In my store i do sell the wedding imperial and it very strong in the caramel taste..
                                                                  so i would recommend to try again use 1 teaspoon pr cup the water should not be boiling it should be maxium 203 F. I hope this gives you a better experince with thier tea. Also remeber that a to large amount of tes will make it less like likely to taste good. I´m merely trying to help so you don´t get stucked with a back of tea you will never drink :)

                                                                2. re: omotosando
                                                                  s
                                                                  sabinedk RE: omotosando Aug 9, 2012 03:10 AM

                                                                  If you can´t drink it you can use it in scoones or such as to add flavour. a tea which consist of caramelised chocolat will always be sweet :) However you can let it steep for a shorter while and the sweet taste will not be as massive.

                                                              2. y
                                                                yshuto RE: mrsjoujou Jan 25, 2012 06:55 PM

                                                                Mariage requires stiring of the tea as the final step of the steeping process. This is to extract the full flavor of the tea. It may not be important in some of their less expensive teas, yet

                                                                1. omotosando RE: mrsjoujou Feb 19, 2012 03:37 PM

                                                                  For those of you who prefer not to order directly from France, I just found another place in the U.S. which sells Mariage Freres. http://stores.pandcmarket.com/-strse-... They have a large selection and are located in Washington D.C.

                                                                  I am slowly making my way through my new stash of Mariage Tea. I have repositioned the Love Song Rooibos, which I hated hot, to ice tea. It is actually pleasant as ice tea -- the flowery and almond tastes that bugged me when hot seem to mellow out when the tea is chilled.

                                                                  The Tosen Meicha Japanese tea was excellent (as expected for 60E for 100 grams), but I need to find another green tea because I go through loads of the stuff and 60E is just too expensive for everyday tea.

                                                                  And I rediscovered an old stash of ALEXANDRA DAVID-NÉEL, which I hated when I ordered it two years ago, but which I have lately developed a liking for. It's a black tea with spices,
                                                                  including pepper, clove, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom and is nice on a cold morning. It's only 12E in a tin ($22 if you buy it in the States from P&C Market.

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: omotosando
                                                                    s
                                                                    snowbrocade RE: omotosando Feb 19, 2012 07:25 PM

                                                                    I was just looking at the Porte Rouge Website
                                                                    http://www.porterouge.biz/product.asp...
                                                                    and they have a green tea called Fujiyama that is $14 for 100 grams. It sounds like a nice one.

                                                                    1. re: snowbrocade
                                                                      omotosando RE: snowbrocade Feb 19, 2012 11:15 PM

                                                                      I've tried Fujiyama -- it's a fairly low end sencha. I want something of a little better quality, just not 60E quality!

                                                                      1. re: omotosando
                                                                        y
                                                                        yshuto RE: omotosando Feb 20, 2012 03:16 PM

                                                                        Have you tried other vendors for green teas?
                                                                        http://www.hibiki-an.com/
                                                                        http://www.kyoto-teramachi.or.jp/horaid ... mation.htm
                                                                        https://shop.ippodo-tea.co.jp/shop/en/
                                                                        http://www.kaburagien.co.jp/english/
                                                                        http://www.zencha.net/index.php
                                                                        There are probably a dozen others.

                                                                        There is a reason why I buy the FF Darjeelings from Mariage. No other retailer or distributor can come close to the aroma, taste, and flavor Mariage offers. The 2011 FF Castleton has a complex set of delicate flavors and it takes a brewing time of 5 minutes to extract every bit of taste this tea offers. Even at 5 minutes there is only a hint of astringency so it is very smooth with almost no aftertaste. The 2011 Namring DJ1 was surprise this year as it joins the Namring Upper with a grading of SFTGFOP1. It has a lighter "green" taste and is full of flavor as all the other premium Darjeelings. The aftertaste is a slightly nutty "almond" taste. I could recommend 6 or 7 other MF FF Darjeeling teas which, IMHO, I consider as premium Darjeelings. Since I drink green Rooibos which is neutral in taste, I'll buy it from various retailers. For the Oolongs, I go to a small shop in Taipei which I have been buying tea from for the past 20 years.
                                                                        Find me a less expensive online retailer that can match the caliber for FF Darjeelings and I would embrace such a retailer with open arms since i hate putting up the premium in addition to the shipping price and adding to that, the ridiculous US handling fees.

                                                                        1. re: yshuto
                                                                          omotosando RE: yshuto Feb 20, 2012 03:53 PM

                                                                          Tried all the green tea vendors you mention except for Kyoto-Teramachi whose website appears to only be in Japanese and Kaburagien. Perhaps my next order will be from Kaburaigien. I keep going back to Mariage Freres for high-end Japanese tea, which seems entirely counter-intuitive, but maybe they just know how to source the best.

                                                                          Maybe I'll try an order of Castleton on my next Mariage Freres order. This time I got 2011 Happy Valley FTGFOP1, which I still haven't cracked open.

                                                                          I've never had green rooibos. I want to try it. What is your favorite?

                                                                          1. re: omotosando
                                                                            y
                                                                            yshuto RE: omotosando Feb 20, 2012 06:27 PM

                                                                            I like green rooibos because it is usually unflavored. The last time I purchased it was from Upton. The leaves are green but when brewed, the tea you get is of a very red color. Since rooibos contains no caffeine, I drink it at night,

                                                                            As for FF Darjeelings from Mariage Freres, you might also consider the Jungapana SFTGFOP1. At 28 Euros, it is the best cost performance wise. This is also a very good tea. Others you can try are Bloomfield SFTGFOP1(30E), Margaret's Hope SFTGFOP1(36E), Namring Upper (SFTGGOP1(35E), Castleton SFTGFOP1 DJ5 (40E). They are all very good, all similar in many ways since they are all Darjeelings, yet each one exhibits flavor and character which is very particular to the estate. There are others I have tried but these are the FF I would recommend. As you probably know, the label on the teas will have brewing instructions. Use this as a baseline and modify accordingly to suit your tastes. Happy Steeping!!!

                                                                  2. s
                                                                    sabinedk RE: mrsjoujou Aug 9, 2012 02:49 AM

                                                                    Hi, there is no differnce between what you buy in Paris or in the rest of the world. I own a store in Europe that sells Mariage freres.
                                                                    I depends on what kind of tea you like...
                                                                    my preferences are

                                                                    Black tea: Balck orchid,blueberry,thé au tibet and pleine lune
                                                                    Green tea: Vert provence,the a l´Opéra, yuzu temple, montagne de jade and sakura
                                                                    Rooibos tea: Red marco polo, rouge metis,and capetown

                                                                    I hope this helps :)

                                                                    1. i
                                                                      IthacaNancy RE: mrsjoujou Nov 18, 2013 07:09 AM

                                                                      I'm so pleased to find this discussion. I had a cup of Mariage Freres Fujiyama at least five years ago, and I've been saving the tag ever since so I could purchase more. I looked online and found nothing a few years ago - well, maybe the French website, but it was so unfriendly that I couldn't figure out how to order from it. After reading through this conversation, I've placed an order, and I'm really eager to receive my teas.

                                                                      I am not sure why tea is such a discounted beverage . . . if I order a second cup of tea, I'm likely to be offered more hot water - does that happen to coffee drinkers - "here, let me run this hot water over those used grounds"? If I have dinner at a 'fancy' restaurant, I might be offered supermarket tea after dinner. And worst of all, tea that has been made and poured from an insulated pot that held coffee! Yuck! I'm glad to read that others value their tea too!

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: IthacaNancy
                                                                        jpr54_1 RE: IthacaNancy Nov 18, 2013 07:32 AM

                                                                        http://pages.ripco.net/~c4ha2na9/tea/

                                                                        this is a great site
                                                                        you have to go to all the highlighted pages

                                                                        http://pages.ripco.net/~c4ha2na9/tea/...

                                                                        these pages were my introduction to tea
                                                                        rec.food.drink.tea

                                                                        1. re: jpr54_1
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                                                                          IthacaNancy RE: jpr54_1 Nov 18, 2013 08:39 PM

                                                                          Thanks, I'll check them out. I'll also go to Selfridges when I'm in London in February, and hope to save a bit on shipping. ; )

                                                                        2. re: IthacaNancy
                                                                          jpr54_1 RE: IthacaNancy Nov 18, 2013 07:39 AM

                                                                          you might also enjoy these teas as well
                                                                          http://us.palaisdesthes.com/en_us/

                                                                          1. re: IthacaNancy
                                                                            t
                                                                            tarheelexpat RE: IthacaNancy Nov 22, 2013 05:34 PM

                                                                            For those in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dandelion at 55 Potrero Ave, San Francisco has a decent selection of Mariage Freres - about 15 - 20 kinds. (Note: this is NOT the chocolate store also called Dandelion that's on Valencia.)

                                                                            Dandelion's website shows only a few MF teas, but maybe they will ship the others if you call them or email them directly. I bought the one tin of Darjeeling Rose Camelia that they had about a year ago, but they weren't planning to stock more because it doesn't sell fast enough (too expensive, I suppose, at $45). However, I bought a tin of Darjeeling Rose d'Himalaya from them 6 months ago ($37.50) that I enjoyed very much, too. The store called me today to tell me that a new shipment of MF has just arrived...I'll be heading over tomorrow for an early Christmas present for myself!

                                                                            https://secure.dandelionsf.com/items/...

                                                                            1. re: tarheelexpat
                                                                              omotosando RE: tarheelexpat Nov 24, 2013 04:45 PM

                                                                              Went to their website and was not too excited by their list of teas (you did explain that more were available in-store), but they do have a great selection of Japanese teapots.

                                                                              Website is a bit of a pain, however. I just "ordered" a teapot, but they actually don't have web commerce. "Ordering" just means it submits an inquiry to the shop and then they call you to tell you whether they actually have the item in stock, how much shipping costs and to get your credit card. In my mind, the whole purpose of web commerce is that you can do it when it is convenient for you and not have to waste time during the workday.

                                                                              1. re: omotosando
                                                                                t
                                                                                tarheelexpat RE: omotosando Nov 25, 2013 10:16 AM

                                                                                I didn't make this clear in my first post: this is not a tea store.

                                                                                They sell MF teas, but this store is mainly about selling nice gift & home decor items, books and cards. It's a small local business owned by one or more older gentlemen that appears to rely mostly on shoppers coming in to browse and "discovering" some charming thing they just have to have. It's the kind of place that specializes in unusual, good quality things, things you won't see in other stores, and I think their selection changes over time. So while they do have the website, I don't think it's a big part of their business.

                                                                                They do have the Mariage Freres, though, along with some imported chocolates and other sweets. One of the employees told me they have from 20 - 40 kinds of MF, but to me it looked like they had about 20 - 25 kinds. That's a lot more than I've found in any other store in San Francisco.

                                                                                If you are a MF fan and live in the SF Bay area, or are visiting, the store is worth a visit, but I agree, their web presence is not very strong for the MF teas. If you want to order teas online, there are better web storefronts.

                                                                          2. jpr54_1 RE: mrsjoujou Nov 25, 2013 04:40 AM

                                                                            you also might want to checkout
                                                                            www.markethallfoods.com
                                                                            http://www.theculturedcup.com/

                                                                            1. foietographer RE: mrsjoujou Feb 9, 2014 10:39 AM

                                                                              Searching for help to open a Mariage Freres tin and found this old thread (full of great recommendations, by the way).

                                                                              Mariage Freres teas I've bought in the past have come in short and easy to open tins, but we got a 100 gram container of Earl Grey French Blue while in Tokyo, and I cannot open it. My fiance who is good at opening jars has struggled with it, we've tried using rubber bands for more grip... The top twists a little bit but I can't seen an opening and we're starting to feel like crazy people -- probably just need caffeine this morning, but can't get to the tea! ;)

                                                                              It looks like this: http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique...

                                                                              Anything I'm missing, or is it just stuck for good?

                                                                              Will console myself with a cup of Wedding Imperial for now.

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                              1. re: foietographer
                                                                                FrancaV RE: foietographer Feb 10, 2014 11:19 AM

                                                                                My husband prefers bags for his daily fix of MF Darjeeling so we have never encountered a tin like that. I'm afraid I'd have to see one in person to have a clue as to how the lid might work. In any case it sounds like a very poor design if you can't figure it out. Make sure you have an empty tin available if you end up destroying this one to get at your tea! I would be soooo frustrated, LOL! I hope you can get it open eventually - good luck!

                                                                                1. re: foietographer
                                                                                  FrancaV RE: foietographer Feb 10, 2014 11:21 AM

                                                                                  Just had a thought - maybe you could contact MF customer service through their web site and ask if there's a trick to opening this type of tin?

                                                                                  1. re: FrancaV
                                                                                    foietographer RE: FrancaV Feb 10, 2014 05:22 PM

                                                                                    Hi Franca. I think we'll going to stop by a local shop that sells MF but that's a good suggestion, thanks! :)

                                                                                  2. re: foietographer
                                                                                    omotosando RE: foietographer Feb 12, 2014 04:59 PM

                                                                                    Your post made me remember that I have a tin of Mariage Freres in that same tin. I do remember that I had some difficulty in opening the tin when I first got it, but I just went and got the tin and easily popped off the lid. I think when I got it, I may have run a knife under the lid to pry it open.

                                                                                    At some point, I acquired a set in every color of the lacquered tins that Mariage Freres sells. http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique... I usually order tea from Mariage Freres that comes without a tin and when I get it, I transfer it to one of the lacquered tins.

                                                                                    1. re: omotosando
                                                                                      y
                                                                                      yshuto RE: omotosando Feb 12, 2014 11:19 PM

                                                                                      The issue I have with the laquered canisters are, depending on the tea, they cannot hold the full 100g. They are attractive thou and I have nine of the 100g and four of the 200g. Be careful opening the tin with a knife as they scratch easily. The lid should loosen up with usage and time

                                                                                      1. re: omotosando
                                                                                        foietographer RE: omotosando Feb 19, 2014 10:51 PM

                                                                                        We stopped by a store that sells those tins today, and it was, indeed just stuck. A salesguy knew where the joint was and on first attempt broke a plastic knife. He then pried it open with a metal knife which did chip off a bit of the paint, but at least I can get to the tea now :)

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