Year of the Monkey Tea from Mariage Frères
Beautiful Tea for Beautiful People
We tend to think of the French as inveterate swillers of coffee, dunking their croissants into thick, gravy-like breakfast coffee as they offer their first Gallic shrug for the day. It may surprise you to learn that they have a proud tea tradition with a long heritage that began in the 17th century.
For example, Mariage Frères — British outpost in Selfridges, London — a French tea company founded in 1854. Like we British, Mariage Frères has long recognised that tea offers a more sophisticated taste experience over coffee, with more variety, subtlety and richness in flavour. Mariage Frères has over six hundred blends to choose from, which coffee is going to struggle to match.
With typical French panache, the packaging of Mariage Frères lives up to the fineness of their tea blends. They've produced the blend (above) for the Year of the Monkey (or singe), which starts today. The blend is a white tea, with citrus notes of mandarin, clementine and orange, safflower and goji berries. Yum yum, it's a veritable salad sitting on the spoon there.
Note that the lacquered tin is silk-screened by hand.
At this stage I should make a monkey-related joke, like you should go bananas for this tea, but I will just leave you with this charming little film from great friends of The Tweed Pig, British Pathé (as ever) showing a chimps' tea party at London Zoo in the 1950s. Simpler times and excellent table manners from the dear old apes in the beer garden.
It's your year, chaps.