The Science of Taste
The flavor of tea is a complex perception. There is a certain flavor dynamic. What is meant by the dynamics of flavor? Most teas can be described as having a foreground (top note) flavor, middle ground flavor and background flavor. These combine to produce a profile, a “flavor profile”. For example, there is a “flavor profile” into which all Darjeelings will fall simply because they are Darjeelings or all Keemuns or all Yunnans or all Assams, etc. The reason is because all of the individual leaves of each growing region are basically identical. However, a well-balanced profile of each growing region falls within specific profile outlines. An unbalanced profile looks ragged (somewhat like a saw blade) and therefore becomes somewhat less than pleasant to drink. This unbalanced profile can be caused by many things: low altitude, improper pluck, poor processing, bad manufacturing, exposure to water or excessive moisture, to name a few. Tea is like the little girl: when it is good it is very, very good and when it is bad it is horrid.