With multiple locations all over Paris, Mariage Freres (the Mariage Brothers in English) has a storied history in the tea industry. In 1660, the Compagnie des Indes and Louis XIV appointed Nicolas Mariage, a specialist in and traveler to the Persian countries, to convince the Shah of Persia into commerce with France and their products. At the same time, his brother Pierre Mariage, was sent as a special envoy to Madagascar for this same purpose. More than a century later, one of Pierre’s descendants, Jean-François Mariage became head of a colonial commercial company of tea, spices and food products based in Lille. In 1820, Jean-François’s three sons, Aimé, Charles, Auguste and Louis, established a family firm, Mariage Freres. In 1845, Aimé and Auguste opened in Paris, another firm, now called Auguste Mariage et Compagnie, on rue du Bourg-Tibourg. On June 1, 1854, Aimé’s sons, Henri and Édouard, started the first importer of French tea in the same building. In the following years, Mariage Frères became well known as the most important purveyor of tea and its products for tea houses, hotels and for the Parisian high society during the Second Empire.
We stopped into Mariage Freres for an afternoon tea and lunch. It’s highly recommended that you try the Snob Salad paired with for lunch but there are so many different varieties of tea to choose from that you should probably come back multiple times to try as many as possible (if you’re a tea lover). Each cafe has a little boutique with tea cups, pots and more for sale. Don’t leave without purchasing something (anyone for a bottle of TEA PERFUME?!) cute to take home and enjoy your tea with.
FIVE STEPS TO PERFECT TEA:
For black teas, matured teas, blue teas, and flavored teas
Pre-heat the teapot, after inserting the tea strainer or filter, * by rinsing it with boiling water.
Place a teaspoon of tea (roughly 2.5 g) per cup in the warm strainer* and let it stand for a few moments, allowing the steam to begin developing the leaves’ aroma.
Pour simmering water on the tea so that all the leaves are covered.
Let the tea steep (refer to chart)
About 2 minutes for fannings
About 3 minutes for broken leaf teas
About 5 minutes for whole leaf teas
Barely 3 minutes do the first flush Darjeeling (slightly increasing the amount of tea to 3.5 g per cup)
7 minutes for blue teas
It is then essential to remove the strainer or filter*containing the leaves. the tea must then be stired (another important step) and finally poured. Teas from great gardens should not be drunk too hot; let them stand a few moments after steeping, so that the palate can better appreciate the most subtle of fragrances.
White and green teas :
Pre-heat the pot or chung (cup with cover) as above.
Place the appropriate amount of tea per person or cup (refer to chart). Let the tea leaves stand for a few moments to allow the steam to begin developing the aroma.
Place the appropriate amount of tea per person or cup (refer to chart).
Let the tea steep (refer to chart) :
For green tea, 1 to 3 minutes
For the white tea Yin Zhen, 15 minutes
For the white teas Pain Mu Tan, 7 minutes
Remove the tea leaves, stir and serve.
* Use a cotton tea taster filter if no strainer come with the teapot.