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Expressing Darjeeling Taste Profiles

"De gustibus non est disputandum" - There Is No Accounting For Taste

It may be that there is no accounting for taste, but the way we talk about the taste of tea can be very helpful. In the world of film, for example, which is more likely to be helpful in deciding if you will like a movie? A friend could simply tell you the movie is good, or another friend might explain that the plot is well-developed, the characters have depth, and the cinematography is high quality. Both are ways of saying the movie was good, but one gives more defined, helpful reasons for why you might appreciate it.

Likewise with good tea. There are a few key areas to consider when talking about a tea:

1. Flavour & Aroma - The complexity, intensity, and duration of smells and tastes.

2. Texture - Textures can vary from harshly drying, to silken, to creamy. They can differ in intensity and duration.

3. Aftertaste - After swallowing a sip of tea, residual flavours, sweetness, or briskness may remain. These can be strong or mild, long-lasting or fleeting.

Looking at Wan Ling Tea House's Darjeeling teas there are a few characteristics you may note:

Flavour & Aroma

There are several categories of flavours and aromas often found in Darjeeling teas. One that is most often mentioned is "muscatel," a grape with sweet, floral character. If it is difficult to pinpoint muscatel character specifically, other floral and grape-like components may be recognizable.

Others have noted stone fruit elements in Darjeeling teas. Peach, plum, apricot, and cherry characteristics may be present. Don't be surprised if there is a warm, sweet spice component - clove, cinnamon, or allspice flavors.

As always, flavours and aromas may be intense or light, sustained or brief. In any case, they should blend harmoniously rather than create discord.


Briskness is the most common element mentioned when discussing Darjeeling teas. Briskness is a pleasant dryness, a welcome level of astringency that adds a sense of tang or zest. Some have (wrongly) associated astringency with bitterness. A refreshing glass of lemonade is often combination of sweet, sour, and briskly astringent characteristics but is not usually considered bitter. Also note that 1st flush Darjeelings can be brisker than 2nd flush. Each person has their own preferences on intensity and duration of briskness.


After swallowing a sip of tea, a new set of experiences may arise. You may notice that flavours linger, or new flavours arise. Your mouth may react to the briskness by creating a mouth-watering effect. A sweet sensation may arise from the back of the mouth, comparable to having swallowed honey. Savor these elements of the tea's taste profile, and note their changes, intensity, and duration.

Talk About Tea - Leave A Review

Knowing how to describe the strengths and weaknesses of a tea can be invaluable. Doing so helps you understand and more clearly define patterns in what you like and dislike. It helps you remember and record the characteristics of teas you enjoy.

Why not leave a review of a Wan Ling Tea House tea? Or leave a review about another product? Perhaps you'd like to say something about our site, or our customer service?

You can leave reviews on individual product pages. Scroll down and click on the section titled "Customer Reviews".

Or, you can leave a review on our Facebook page.

Other Resources:

1. Compare 1st Flush teas across estates, years. Explore the differences between this year's tea and our earlier Jungpana and Thurbo First Flushes.

2. See our Tea Brewing Guide for making the perfect cup of Darjeeling tea.

3. Check out our Tea Facts page for background info on Darjeeling.

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