Imperial Label

Tea type
Green Tea
Cinnamon, Green Tea, Licorice Root, Orange Flavoring, Sea Buckthorn Berries, Vanilla
Citrus, Licorice, Cinnamon, Orange, Vanilla
Sold in
Bulk, Loose Leaf, Sachet
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Sivasubramanian
Average preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 15 sec 1 g 9 oz / 268 ml

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From Kusmi Tea

Chinese sencha tea flavored with orange, cinnamon, vanilla, liquorice root and sea buckthorn. Inspired by a traditional Russian drink called sbiten.
This magic blend was exclusively created for Kiehl’s in 2009.

Main flavor: Orange, cinnamon, vanilla and liquorice.

About Kusmi Tea View company

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30 Tasting Notes

2802 tasting notes

I’ve been working on some of my flavored greens today, this and the green chai by Simpson and Vail. Of the two, the green chai is definitely better. The Imperial Label is such a strange mix of licorice, cinnamon and orange. It does leave a medicinal taste in your mouth. This is old enough (2 yrs, I think) that I might just pitch it after the winter is over. I remember last year it was good when i had a sore throat, due to the licorice.

Would never buy this again, however….

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Cameron B.

I agree, this one is so bizarre…


Maybe I like it when I’m sick because I can’t actually taste it? :)

Cameron B.

Well it is extremely heavy on the licorice, so I suppose it makes sense for sick time. :P


It sounds weird, but… interesting. I wonder how they come up with these flavor combos!


I kind of think of this as a detox tea. As such I don’t mind it. I keep my steeps to about 1 minute though.


I detest licorice – in tea it would be a big turn-off

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1327 tasting notes

I got this sample tin out of a basket last time I was in Fru P. I hadn’t seen her having Kusmi samples before, so I had a look through. This was the only one that I hadn’t tried before or didn’t know would be an instant dislike, so I let the promise of vanilla in the ingredients list seduce me.

This smells like soap at first. Then, when the assault on my nostrils dies down a bit, I can recognise it as largely cinnamon. Charm the Cat seems to find it unbelievably stinky. This stuff has just cost me a lap-Charm, and that’s a pretty rare beast to begin with. One whiff, and she left.

I can’t decide about the flavour. It’s sort of hovering smack dab in the middle between ‘eurg soap!’ and ‘pleasant actually.’ It’s mostly cinnamon, but fairly smooth. I can sort of pick up vanilla and citrus, but not in the way that I can taste them as such. More in the way that it feels like this is what is tempering the cinnamon. The licorice root shows up as a sweet afterthought on the swallow, but that’s all.

I really don’t know about this stuff. I’m going to withhold rating for now because I feel very ambivalent about it. I honestly can’t tell you if I like it or not.


it is the only Kusmi I wanted to try. I’m not a fan of the brand but this one was appealing… not sure I am so hurry to have it now :)


Does she have Fauchon amidst her tea samples by any chance? :)


This is a great blend to drink when you’re sick with a sore throat :)


Ysaurella, I’ve had some fairly good experiences with Kusmi. I love their caramel and the smoky earl grey. :)

Courtney, I doubt it. I’d have to study the shelves closer, but I doubt it. Kusmi is pretty much the only one of the French brands that are available here. Anna sent me a couple of Fauchon samples recently though.

TeaBrat, I tend to prefer herbal things under such circumstances, especially minty things. Real tea just tastes peculiar when I’m ill. :)

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558 tasting notes

I abandoned this mug after making it and learned that this tea is actually better cold than hot. The citrus flavor really comes out and makes for a nice, refreshing drink. Good for summer, but also a nice accompaniment to a Mediterranean meal any time of year.

Thanks for the taste, oOTeaOo!

EDIT: This yields a nice second steep.

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175 tasting notes

Orange + vanilla + liquorice = Good. Really good. Really really good.

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 15 sec

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30 tasting notes

Love it. While I can’t taste much Sencha (or tea at all, really) in it, it definitely has a strong flavour that borders on sweet without crossing the dessert line. Smells as good as it tastes. I’ll definitely purchase this again.

185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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62 tasting notes

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the tea is the smell. It’s pretty much just citrus when dry, but when brewed and hot, it smells like some kind of beautiful cake. I couldn’t stop smelling it. It smells like cinnamon and orange and something vanilla-like. It’s such a good smell! Unfortunately, the flavour isn’t really a match for it. I’m sad about that, because if it were, I could drink it all day.

For me, the tea required more steeping than recommended. This may have been problematic: some reviews elsewhere said it needed no sweetening because of the licorice, but I beg to differ— mine was bitter and the flavour was just kind of dull with no sweetener, and the spices weren’t being brought out. When sweetened, the cinnamon and liquorice spice element can’t be ignored whereas before it was kind of just a nondescript spicy, herbal “vibe.” I think mostly this tea is yet another reflection of the fact that orange and spice consistently mix badly in teas. That’s unexpected (they can mix well in baking and perfumery, for instance), but this is not the first time I’ve felt this way. On that note, maybe part of my negative impression is based on the fact that it reminds me of Teekanne’s Oriental Spice Tea, which was literally the worst tea I’ve ever had in my life. Fortunately, this tea was nowhere near the trainwreck that was, but the base flavours of orange, cinnamon, and vanilla are common to the two. I’m going to try to stop thinking about that fact now, because the memory of the Teekanne tea seriously haunts me and it’s making me disgusted.

This tea has some stellar reviews around the Net, but I found it just okay. It wasn’t unpleasant or undrinkable, but the large amounts of liquorice and cinnamon gave it kind of a herbal, bitter, spicy, medicinal taste. At times some of those characteristics can be positive, but when you combine them all, as has been done here, I don’t think it’s a recipe for success. One strange thing was that, and I don’t know if it was just the combination of the spices or something, I could’ve sworn something tasted a bit cardamom-y. Normally, that would appeal to me, but in this kind of brew, it wasn’t a selling point. Those strong, medicinal-smelling spices like cardamom or liquorice with chai spices and soy milk? Sign me up. Those spices in a thinner, bitter brew? Hmmm, I’ll pass.

If I had some of this tea given to me (or got another couple of bags of it in a Kusmi selection pack), I’d drink it (because it’s not too bad and I love tea), but I wouldn’t buy a tin of it based on what I’ve tasted (based on what I’ve smelled? Well….) It wasn’t wholly unappealing, so if strong spices with some orange sound good to you, you should still give it a try.

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15 tasting notes

Yay, now I am going the review my all-time favorite tea, Imperial Label. It’s so good, everyone who hasn’t tried it, please try it. It’s a damn, fucking unbelieveable tea.
The dry leaf smells of orange (fresh and zesty orange), cinnamon (hot and spicy), and has an ever so lightly vanilla scent to it. In one word: GOD-LIKE!
The steeped tea’s smell is lighter on the orange, and slightly heavier on the cinnamon/vanilla. The color is light green, with no yellow glow at all, but is SLIGHTLY unclear…
The steeped tea’s taste is orangey, cinnamon-y and vanilla-y. Strongest on the orange and lightest on the vanilla. It’s just a hint of vanilla, not overpowering and sweet. The aftertaste is quite liquorice-like, as you would expect, and for a Scandinavian like me, it’s a pure delight, when things contain liquorice (we in Denmark eats a hell of an amount of liquorice, the salty one the most). Combine the liquorice aftertaste with the warmth of cinnamon, and the freshness of orange peel, and you have something truly amazing. The sencha tea itself is aromatic, rich, unbitter and unanstringent. This tea is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.
Wouldn’t change a thing at all.


Appearance: Dark green sencha needles, pieces of liquorice root and dried sea buckthorn berries. A very few cardamom seeds.
Dry tea-smell: Fresh and zesty orange, spicy cinnamon and sweet vanilla.
Color: Slightly unclear light green color.
Brewed tea-smell: Cinnamon, orange and vanilla.
Taste: Exciting sencha tea, the freshness of orange, the warmth of cinnamon and the sweetness of vanilla. Slighty tart due to the sea buckthorn berries.

Undoubtly the best tea I have tasted in my life!!!

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283 tasting notes

Monthly TTB Club.

I didn’t really care for this. It was pleasantly citrusy, but I didn’t like the way it blended with the green tea, and I really disliked the licorice root.

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202 tasting notes

I ended up buying this as part of a set of five Kusmi green teas about two and a half years ago before I knew anything about tea as a gift for my boyfriend. He got through about half the tin and it’s been sitting at the back of the cupboard ever since.

I ended up uprooting the set during a tea purge this afternoon and though “hey, this might be nice to try”. No idea what the flavour was like when fresh but this was pretty heavy on the citrus and cinnamon (which I mistook for ginger). I get a slight hint of licorice towards the end of the sip at the back of the tongue and down the throat. I usually avoid licorice teas out of personal dislike for the taste, but don’t usually mind it if it’s there.

I wouldn’t buy this again, mostly because of the licorice, but I’m happy I gave it a chance.

Flavors: Citrus, Licorice

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

I still have a tin of this sitting around I got a few years ago. I don’t like it either but it makes me feel better if I have a cold.


I had a sore throat about a month ago; this would have been perfect.

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7 tasting notes

Bag: The muslin(cotton weave) tea bags are packaged in individual plastic foil backed bags. On the label they have the brew time and temperature in Celsius.
Tea: Brewed at about 200F for 4 minutes the tea is a light amber color. Aroma was strong with the scent of earthy licorice, and orange bitters. Flavor was distinct with the taste of licorice, vanilla, and citrus with cool menthol like cooling on the back of my tong and in my sinuses. Astringency was nil.
Notes: This tea was from the Kusmi Tea Essentials pack of 24 teas, and each tea bag was about $0.94usd. Not sure what to expect when a tea is called Label Imperial, maybe more like an over powering flowery tea, not what this is. The ingredients read as follows “Imperial Blend” …. really. I hate it when tea companies are all hush hush about their ingredients. Like does this contain caffeine or not? I may never know. What I see in the tea bag is Licorice root bits about 6mm long, vanilla flower, 1cm green tea leaves, citrus rind, and some berry. That being said I did enjoy it but its something I would only be able to drink in the winter, its a bit too heavy for a summer drink and would probably do well with a teaspoon of sugar. Taste like Jager with orange bitters if I had to compare it to another beverage.

Flavors: Citrus, Licorice

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

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