Morgan had raved to me about Mariage Freres teas and scoffed at me like I was a naive fool for not being familiar with them , so I had to give this tea a try. The next day after she reminded me about the tea (she had given me some for my Birthday one year, but she didn’t label it, so I had no idea!), I went up to Napa with some friends and visited Dean & Deluca where they carried a line of Marige Freres teas. After smelling each tin carefully, I selected a black tea – French Breakfast. It was less daring than the other blends – but it had the perfect mix of a black tea (Earl) with floral hints, so I thought it would be the perfect daily afternoon tea I could brew at work.

I have to admit, it took me a few cups to get used to it  (because it is a rather odd blend),  but now I LOVE IT. It is such a smooth black tea and goes super well with a little cream and sugar. More than an afternoon, it has become my morning, in between morning and noon, and late afternoon tea 🙂 It has the perfect blend of black tea boldness with floral gentleness. To me, it’s lovely and it also makes me feel so regal when I’m drinking it. I’ve kept the black box and  packaging tin on my work days – which whisks me away to Paris day dreams every now and then.

Mariage Freres French Breakfast. My new love.

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Last Tuesday, a co-worker sent me a link to the Kulov Tea Festival and I was overly excited with joy that something like this existed. Even though it was in LA (and I’m in Northern CA), I knew I had to be there. The festival took place over this past weekend (5/13-5/15) at Royal T in Culver City, Los Angeles. I bought my flight on Friday AM and flew in Saturday morning for the first official day of festivities at 10AM.

It felt wonderful to be among other tea enthusiasts who share my love and interest in this miracle drink. The festival consisted participating local tea companies who displayed their varietals and knowledge, tea labs (tea tastings), and educational tea classes. I attended Diane Hubbin’s Tea Meet-up session on how to meet other local tea enthusiasts and Tanya William’s “Everything you wanted to know about green tea, but were too afraid to ask.” It was awesome to hear about the differences in Chinese and Japanese green tea production, technique, and culture. Even though Dragonwell green tea is the most “economical” and tame in quality, it is still the best tasting to me 🙂

Some cool facts:

  • The best harvest period for green tea is from April – May (1st Flush)
  • Green tea was considered high society in China (reserved for the dynasty) and was not passed to commoners until the 1500s.
  • Best temperature for green tea is between 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit
Some other local tea companies that have me saying “yay!”:
I’m testing out some oolongs from Naivetea (very cute Korean entrepreneur couple)…and Algabar sample mix. Will let you know which ones I like the best.
Oh, and the World Tea Expo is in Las Vegas in June 24-26th. I’m so bummed I can’t go, but for all you tea lovers out there I’m sure this is the largest show with other tea enthusiasts, producers, manufacturers from all over the world.