What Should It Taste Like – Darjeeling

by Jason Walker on July 3, 2013

in black, darjeeling, how to, Member Content

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Darjeeling Flavor Wheel

Part of a series: What Should It Taste Like?

It is becoming increasingly difficult to pin down a tight range of characteristics for darjeeling teas. For one, there are multiple harvests, or flushes. 1st and 2nd flush are not the same. Production errors can get in the way of the expression of characteristics. And to a certain extent, differences in variety used and the estate where darjeeling is grown can be a factor. More recently, Darjeeling estates are also offering wulong, green, and white teas which contain some of the essential darjeeling characteristics.

A few tea references have sought to capture the darjeeling  flavor profile:

The Tea Enthusiasts Handbook included descriptors like: “brisk” and “muscatel.”

The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea used “muscat grape,” “plum” and “peach.”

The Tea Drinkers Handbook employed words like “rose,” “grape,”  “almond” and “cedar.”

Tea: History,Terrior, Varieties noted characteristics of wildflowers, muscat grape, and peach .

Just as important as the flavor and aroma characteristics are notes about intensity of flavors and textures, and duration of aftertaste.

The diagrams may help you visualize my records of higher scoring darjeeling characteristics along various spectra. Note that I use the spectra universally across teas, so these show darjeeling’s general place in relation to most other teas, whether they be green, wulong, etc.

I find many of these darjeelings include a rose-like flavor component. This rose component may be more prominent in the 2nd flush. Additionally, I frequently detect a sweet-spice note similar to nutmeg, clove, or cinnamon. This spice note is usually one of the weaker  elements in the profile.

Darjeelings can have brisk or lightly astringent tones as well, but any astringency or briskness balances well with other elements in the better performing darjeelings.

Darjeeling Flavor Wheel2

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Walker Tea Review- a tea blog with tea reviews and tea tastings.
Want to see a tea reviewed? Contact me: jason@walkerteareview.com

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