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Imperial Label

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Green Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Leonor
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185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 g 8 oz / 226 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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22 Tasting Notes

2170 tasting notes

This tea is so incredibly fickle…I keep trying to do different things with it to hit some magic steeping parameter that will cause me to adore it. This afternoon I used a scant half teaspoon in an 8 oz mug and this is the best yet. I just think the herbs and flavorings are so strong a little goes a long way.

Not sure if I will finish the 4 oz. tin in my lifetime… :)

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I wish they had less than 4 ounces available.


If you want to swap for some, let me know!

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1192 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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312 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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26 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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1167 tasting notes

This is really interesting! Thanks, MissB!

Sadly the licorice/liquorice does ruin it for me. I like the orange and vanilla for sure. Some honey was added to see if I could moderate the licorice aftertaste. Sadly, nope. It’s way too much for me.

Thanks for giving me a chance to try the tea, but it is definitely not something I want to drink again!

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Hmm, that actually sounds like a really great combo. Sorry you didn’t like it. :(


It would be great without the licorice root aftertaste. :) The other flavours are fantastic, and it didn’t steep bitter or anything.

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397 tasting notes

I got this from MissB pretty recently!
I got some teas from her that were good for only one serving and I weighed them, and they were 4g samples. This one looks like it’s only good for one serving so I’m hoping that it’s 4g as well! I’m attempting to split this into 2 cups. This cup only has 1g of leaves and it’s in a 5oz teacup but I only filled it halfway so I’m hoping this’ll be enough!

Dude. It smells really nice thought. I was on the Kusmi site earlier (explanation down below) and this seems like it’s a fairly popular blend. This is the first time I’ve had Kusmi before, and right now they seem pretty amazing since this tea smells SOO GOOOD.
I’m not the biggest fan of ginger teas, but this one actually smells appetizing. It smells so bright and the ginger enhances the tea, rather than covers it up.
Drinking it, the ginger is definitely present, but it’s not the main focus. WAIT. I LOOKED AT INGREDIENTS AND THERE’S NO GINGER IN THIS. REWIND. So the stuff that I see is most likely licorice root. No wonder it had a sweeter taste :) I actually kinda like this. It has a bit of a bite, but this blend makes a great cuppa :) It just has a weird aftertaste that I can’t quite pinpoint. Ahh well. I’ve got probably 3g of this left so I’ll figure it out during my sipdown!

Okay you have no idea how excited I am for my trip to SF at the end of the month okay. So I’m totally going to San Francisco with my cousin and it’s going to be a massive Tea trip. We’re going to go to the Bloomingdales mall and visit DAVIDs and Lupicia and I’m obviously going to spend a whole lot of money there HA. And I’m treating her to Samovar near the Metreon.
I should be writing my paper right now buuut… I kinda got distracted and looked at tea and now I’m on the Kusmi site and THEY SELL KUSMI TEAS AT THAT EXACT BLOOMINGDALES!?!??!?! Yeah I totally can’t afford Bloomingdales, but I’ll visit just for Kusmi :))

((I was totally going to drink another tea from my aunt’s pantry, but as I was looking for the caffeine content of that tea, I saw the expiration date and it was good till 2009… umm yeah, I’d rather not drink expired tea and die right before finals, thank you very much.))

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

Kusmi has free shipping on any order till Wednesday;)


Ugh, I know! I need to stop spending money on tea though since that SF trip is… I already know I’m going to spend a lot of money in the city so I’ll save my online Kusmi order for their next sale or something :)


Hah! That tin is getting around! :D

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944 tasting notes

Seabuckthorn? Okay, this is a new one for me, and Kusmi is still new-to-me as well. Always fun to try new things!

I steeped this gently after reading some comments that this is a bit finicky. Well, I think I hit the sweet spot, as this is quite yummy. Licorice with a hint of black tartness at the end, something fruity-sweet, a bit of creaminess, and a really weird flavor that I can only put towards seabuckthorn berries… maybe. It’s nice. Will I reach for it? I doubt it. It’s still unusual enough to keep on hand and finish up the tiny, cute tin that Ysurella sent me. Thank you so much!

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

I think this might also have been me… :) I’m glad you enjoyed it though.


this one is not from me :)


I love seabuckthorn, but I keep passing this tea up at SOKO due to the licorice.


Darn it! Yes, it was from Angrboda, not Ysurella. I’m horrible for this, and need to start marking everything that comes with. I’m so sorry ladies. :(

OMG – I think I sent a small amount to you yesterday to try out, thinking you’d like seabuckthorn. Forgot about the licorice!


Oh, you did too. Well, I’ll try it! :) I might be surprised one of these days.

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