If tea was the drink of choice for any Gods out there, Mariage Frères would be the brand they’d have nestling next to their kettle. Not that Gods are probably all that into brands, but that’s a whole other matter. Generations of the Mariage Frères family have been hell-bent on sourcing the perfect cup of tealeaves. Since 1660 the tea trade has been imbedded in the family’s way of life and thankfully they have never stopped.
If you’ve ever set foot in one of the three Mariage Frères shops in Paris, you might have noted the scent of infusions and blends wafting around the store. There are also shops dotted around other French towns such as Cannes and Lille, so it’s not just the Parisians that have access to this tealeaf gold mine. Being an ardent Mariage Frères junkie, I imploringly begged a friend to keep an eye out for a shop during her recent visit to Lille. I had banged on about the Paris shop a bit: “It’s amazing there – the tea is amazing, did I mention it was amazing?!”. In all truth she was probably thinking, “How amazing can tea be?”. But then, when she randomly and thankfully stumbled across the shop in Lille, they performed the wafting trick on her.
“Would mademoiselle like to smell the tea first?” enquired the shop assistant as she made her order.
“Erm….yes, okay then.”
With what can only be described as a flourish of French proportions, the assistant opened the huge tin of tea and gestured for my friend to take in a good lungfull. At which point she raised an eyebrow, and conceded that the tea smelt, well…amazing.
There are a staggering number of blends available from Mariage Frères, but if you like your green tea, you will probably love a cup of their ‘Thé sur le Nil’ which has been infused with lemon for an extra kick of freshness. The taste? Amazing.
(Luckily for those nowhere near France, you can place orders on the Mariage Frères website. It can be tricky to navigate but there is an English version for those whose French isn’t quite up to scratch yet).